Fedora 11 Provides Glimpse of Future for Red Hat Enterprise Linux

The Fedora Project, a Red Hat, Inc.-sponsored and community-supported open source collaboration project, has announced the availability of Fedora 11, the latest version of its free open source operating system.

Fedora 11's feature set provides improvements in virtualization, including an upgraded interactive console, a redesigned virtual machine guest creation wizard and better security with SELinux support for guests. There are also numerous desktop improvements such as automatic font and content handler installation using PackageKit, better fingerprint reader support, and an updated input method system for supporting international language users.

Fedora, which now has almost 29,000 project members, functions as a kind of community-oriented R&D lab. The project fulfills several purposes and "one of them is to give Red Hat a place to contribute code and have it integrated into a release that is in very wide distribution to millions and millions of users," Paul Frields, Fedora project leader at Red Hat, tells Linux Executive Report.

The Fedora Project aims to release a new complete, general-purpose, no-cost operating system approximately every six months. "If you look at that distribution, what you see in there are the latest technologies that are beaten into shape by our community; and bug fixes and all sorts of improvements are applied, and that resulting platform is something that anybody can install and use," says Frields. The project allows Red Hat to give back and interface closely with the open source community, and is also used by Red Hat engineers as a platform for participation in other open source communities.

Looking at Fedora today gives you an idea of where the Red Hat Enterprise Linux product is headed in the future, says Frields. Somewhere down the line, Red Hat looks at the Fedora product and "more or less makes a snapshot" of it, and starts to do its intense QA processes and work with hardware and software vendors for certifications to make sure that partners and customers get the features they need in an enterprise-ready product. "Eventually, what comes out at the end is Red Hat Enterprise Linux."

By separating the two segments of end users, the businesses versus the consumers and hobbyists, there is "a lot more clarity in the mission for each product," Frields observes.