Fedora is a Linux distribution created by the Fedora Project.
The Fedora Project’s mission is to lead the advancement of Free and open source software and content as a collaborative community. The three elements of this mission are clear:
- The Fedora Project always strives to lead, not follow.
- The Fedora Project consistently seeks to create, improve, and spread Free/Libre code and content.
- The Fedora Project succeeds through shared action on the part of many people throughout our community.
The Fedora Project as it exists today was born of a merger in September 2003 between the Red Hat Linux Project and Fedora Linux. Early that year, the original Fedora Project had been founded by Warren Togami as a community-driven provider of third-party software for Red Hat Linux (not to be confused with Red Hat Enterprise Linux). In July 2003, Red Hat, Inc. reached a business decision that it would no longer continue offering its consumer, non-enterprise Red Hat Linux product. As a result, it opened the development of Red Hat Linux to the community; the Red Hat Linux Project was the original name given to this community endeavor. Due to common goals and complementary resources with Fedora Linux, the Red Hat Linux Project Project merged with Fedora Linux under the Fedora Project name.
Fedora Core 1, code-named Yarrow, was the first release by the Fedora Project. Beginning with the seventh release (Fedora 7, code-named Moonshine), "Core" was dropped from the distribution name. Prior to Fedora 7, two different build systems were used to create packages. One build system was internal to Red Hat, and it was used to create the base distribution packages which were stored in a "Core" repository (hence "Fedora Core"). The other build system was used to create community-maintained packages which were stored in an "Extras" repository which complemented the base distribution. Coinciding with the initial development of Fedora 7, a new build system was put in place for creation of all the packages, and the "Core" and "Extras" repositories were merged into one repository.
The Fedora Project refers to the community's core values as its "Four Foundations", and these are "Freedom, Friends, Features, First".
Freedom: The Fedora Project promotes the use of free, open-source software, and it does not distribute proprietary software, with the limited exception of certain binary-only firmware required by some hardware to function properly.
Friends: The Fedora Project cultivates a diverse community open to people from all backgrounds.
Features: Fedora developers create and refine software solutions, and contribute to upstream software projects, such that all users of these free, open-source software projects may benefit.
First: Fedora not only serves as an upstream for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but also has often been first to showcase software (e.g. libvirt, NetworkManager, PolicyKit/polkit, PulseAudio, KDE 4, PackageKit, Plymouth, systemd, GNOME 3, etc.) and structural changes (e.g. merged /usr) that are later introduced in other Linux distributions.
Fedora is developed by community volunteers along with Red Hat employees. Around 35% of Fedora Project contributors are Red Hat employees. The project is governed by the Fedora Council, and the council is chaired by the Fedora Project Leader. Feature and technical policy implementation is overseen by the community-elected Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo).
Red Hat, Inc. is the primary sponsor of the Fedora Project, but other sponsors include Dell Inc., proIO GmbH, ServerBeach (a division of Cogeco Peer 1), Telia Carrier, OSU Open Source Lab, tummy.com, ltd., Colocation America Inc, DedicatedSolutions.com LLC, ibiblio, bodHOST Ltd., Heficed, InterNetX GmbH, and CDN77.
Fedora is released in several editions. These are Fedora Workstation, Fedora Server, Fedora Cloud, Fedora Internet of Things (IoT), Fedora Atomic Host,[note 1] and Fedora Silverblue. Fedora Workstation, Fedora Server, and Fedora Cloud use DNF (an RPM front-end) for traditional package management with dependency resolution; Flatpak is also included as part of the default package set for Fedora Workstation installations.
Instead of using DNF for piecemeal updating, container-based Fedora Atomic Host and Fedora Silverblue use rpm-ostree for transactional system upgrades which can be rolled back to previous trees (i.e. system snapshots) if needed. Fedora Atomic Host is intended for server use cases, while Fedora Silverblue is targeted at workstations. Whereas rpm-ostree is used for system upgrades, Flatpak is the preferred method for installing desktop applications on Fedora Silverblue, although rpm-ostree can be used to dynamically add more packages.
GNOME is the default desktop environment for Fedora Workstation and Fedora Silverblue. Alternatively, Fedora spins exist for the KDE Plasma, Xfce, LXQt, MATE, Cinnamon, LXDE, and Sugar desktop environments. The Fedora Project also provides a netinst image which allows more control over what software will be included when installing the operating system. As well as the aforementioned desktop environments, other desktop environments (e.g. Deepin, Enlightenment, Pantheon, etc.) and a variety of window managers (e.g. xmonad, dwm, awesome, i3, Openbox, Qtile, ratpoison, etc.) are available.
Additionally, the community offers customized disk images to meet special interests, and these are available via Fedora Labs. These include Fedora Astronomy, Fedora Design Suite, Fedora Games, Fedora Python Classroom, Fedora Scientific, Fedora Security Lab, Fedora Jam, and Fedora Robotics Suite.
New Fedora releases occur approximately every six months (around the beginning of May and the end of October), and each release is supported for two release cycles plus one month (e.g. Fedora 29 is supported until one month after the release of Fedora 31; Fedora 30 is supported until one month after the release of Fedora 32).
Fedora's development trunk is named Rawhide, and future Fedora releases are branched from Rawhide for further testing until deemed suitable for release.
The Fedora installer allows the operating system to be installed on ext4-, ext3-, ext2-, XFS-, or btrfs-formatted partitions.
Fedora packages are created in the .rpm file format. There are currently over 56,500 packages[note 2] in the "fedora" repository. In addition to the packages in the official Fedora repositories, the Fedora Project provides the Copr build system for the community. Copr facilitates the creation and hosting of packages in personal repositories to be shared with other users. Packages built in Copr are subject to the Fedora Project's licensing guidelines.
As per the Fedora Project's licensing guidelines, some software is deemed inappropriate for Fedora's repositories due to licensing issues. Third-party repositories exist which provide some of this excluded software. These repositories are unaffiliated with the Fedora Project. The most popular third-party repositories for Fedora are provided by RPM Fusion, negativo17, UnitedRPMs, and RPM Sphere, but there are several others targeting different needs (e.g. audio production, digital forensics, etc.). Some of these third-party repositories can conflict with one another. In addition to reading through a third-party repository provider's documentation for mention of potential conflicts with other repositories, users can set the
priority configuration option in .repo files in order to specify the precedence of repositories.
Some software companies also provide repositories for their applications (e.g. Google Chrome, Skype, Dropbox, etc.). Additionally, programs like Fedy and lpf exist to help Fedora users install software not included in Fedora's repositories. On Fedora Workstation, a few third-party repositories can be added directly through GNOME Software, although these repositories may also be added on Fedora spins by installing the fedora-workstation-repositories package. Applications are also available in Flatpak format from Flathub.
- Fedora Atomic Host will be replaced by Fedora CoreOS in the near future.
- This figure is an approximation based on a count obtained via
- Official website
- Fedora Magazine
- Fedora Project social media
- Fedora documentation
- Fedora Project Wiki
- Fedora FAQ
- Ask Fedora
- Fedora Discussion
- Fedora mailing lists
- Fedora IRC channels
- Fedora Bugzilla (the Fedora Project uses Red Hat's Bugzilla)
- Join the Fedora Project
- Interactive guide to joining the Fedora Project