I’ve been working on an article on Fedora to be included in the first ever LUGM magazine. We intend to release the magazine in electronic format ( pdf ) during the OpenWeek via e-mails etc.

Here is the first draft that I’ve written for all of you to see. Please feel free to point out any corrections / edits.

Fedora : “freedom”

We begin with a history behind the Fedora Project. The origin lies with Red Hat Software Linux (RHS Linux), the first Beta of which was launched in July 1994. A series of Red Hat Linux operating systems followed, the final Beta being released in July 2003. Thereafter, RHL was discontinued as Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the Fedora open development project dug in their roots. Within a few months of the final Beta release RHL, RHL 9.0.93 , codenamed “Severn” , Fedora Core 0.94 was released in September 2003.

The name Fedora is derived from “Fedora Linux”, a volunteer project that worked to provide extra software to Red Hat Linux. The Fedora Linux project was eventually absorbed into Red Hat. The Fedora logo is a trademark of Red Hat Inc.

The Fedora logo has a history in itself.

As stated by Matt Muñoz, a member of the Red Hat design team, “A bit of background information — we knew the new logo must be more than a text treatment (so people will perceive it as a “real” logo), be extensible (so subprojects can be expanded in a logical way), and that it cannot be a fedora (out of respect for the Shadowman and Red Hat’s wishes). One of the members of your list, Fabian M. Schindler, wrote, “… a good logo needs to be simple, easy to print, with minimal distraction, attractive, dynamic, and easy to distinguish from other logos.” The following is our attempt to do just that. To create the Fedora symbol, we dissected the concept of infinite freedom into visual forms. We started with the infinity sign’s well-known shape. Secondly, we created a customized “f” to signify Fedora and freedom. And lastly, we gave the voice of the community a visual representation. Now we had the three elements we’d combine into the new Fedora symbol.”

The online document also contains a gallery of the images that were related to this process.

The quote clearly underlines the thinking and theme that went into the creation of the Fedora project.

The Fedora operating system is used all over the world by millions of open source enthusiasts. As on 26th of January 2008, there were 11,997,237 connections to the Fedora repositories. Among other well known users, NASA, Roadrunner (the number one supercomputer in the world) and various derivatives such as Red Hat and OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) are noteworthy. Linux creator Linus Torvalds is a Fedora user.
The Fedora project has four basic foundations, the 4 Fs, its corner stones. Freedom, Friends, Features and First are the core values that govern us.

“Freedom” represents the dedication to free software. It lays emphasis on the creation, usage and promotion of free, open source alternatives to proprietary or closed source solutions. Our aim is to provide software that is reliable as well as a hundred percent legally redistributable to everyone.

“Friends” signifies the strength of the community. The project consists of people from different parts of the world with different ideas and views with belief in Fedora’ s core values as their binding force. Everyone who wants to help is welcome at the community. Our decisions and steps are taken after a consensus is reached, as between friends!

“Features” represents our commitment to excellence. Fedora is responsible for the creation and constant improvement of software that takes the Linux world forward. It is for the benefit of all users of free software regardless of their distribution of choice.

Lastly, “first” represents our commitment to innovation. It signifies that every major step in the project is taken with a view of the future. Fedora is described as a bleeding edge distribution that always provides the latest available for Linux.

There are different ways in which you can contribute to the Fedora Project. It is not compulsory for one to have programming, or say, knowledge on the Linux kernel in order to be able to contribute. you just voluntarily pick a field of your choice and dive in. You could choose to develop applications,or package them for users, or fix bugs, or help triage them, or help in uncovering them by testing the software that our developers release. You could even choose to help spread the word on Fedora, Linux and Open Source, as a Fedora Ambassador. All our discussions are transparent and are held publicly at the various IRC channels, mailing lists and the sort. If there is something you want to know or aren’t sure of, you post on one of these and whoever can will clarify it for you. A channel that requires mentioning is the #fedora-classroom, the name is self-explanatory. In short, every contributor has his/her work cut out, and together, we make up the Fedora community.

One of the more exciting ways of communication that is extensively used is Planet Fedora. It is a huge collection of blog posted by the community. The page is full of event reports, bug discussions etc. post after post. The page is ample evidence of the diversity of community members and their work .

Before moving on to the operating system itself, the events that are held by the Fedora community are a necessary inclusion. The FUDCon (Fedora Users and Developers Conference) is one of the biggest Open Source meets that are held in the world today. FUDCon is a combination of sessions, talks, workshops, and hackfests in which contributors work on specific initiatives. Topics discussed include infrastructure, feature development, community building, general management and governance, marketing, testing and QA, packaging, etc. A FUDCon is always free to attend for anyone in the world. Various FADs (Fedora Activity Days) held at college fests and Open Source meets are miniature versions of the FUDCon.

The Fedora operating system itself is currently in its 10th cycle. F10 Cambridge is the current release while F11 Leonidus lurks under development. Fedora is released bi-annually. The quick release cycle is aimed at quick innovation. Fedora is a RPM based distribution. I will not cover the history or working of the RPM in this article.
Fedora provides a huge amount of Open Source software to its users. This comes under the F that says “features” . All software provided by Fedora is Open Source. The Open Source nature is a must. No software in the Fedora DVD, Live CD releases or repositories are closed source or proprietary. Software that comes under these categories is provided to users via Third Party Repositories such as RPM Fusion.

It is beyond the scope of this article to cover the software available. It would require an Encyclopedia to discuss them all.

Fedora is known for its commitment to Open Source. The community is proud to release an OS that is stable while also maintaining its status as the showcase for the newest that the Linux world has to offer.
If you believe in the same core values as we do, join us!! Be a part of the community and help us in our endeavor to spread Open Source software around the globe.

Fedora : Freedom || Friends || Features || First !!