The Red Hat sponsored Fedora Project has released its Fedora Core 6 Linux distribution.
One of the software's main additions is the inclusion of support for the Xen virtualisation technology.
Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server already supports the open source Xen technology in version 10 of the distribution that was launched last July.
The application also added support for the Intel-based Mac computers Apple started shipping earlier this year.
Fedora is sponsored by Red Hat, the world's largest Linux distribution. The application serves as an open development laboratory for the enterprise grade Red Hat Enterprise Linux (REL) distribution.
The new version essentially offers users a preview of what they can expect in the upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 application, which is scheduled for release by December this year.
"Fedora is the place where we understand and improve and make usable all the newest open source technology," said Max Spevack, project leader for Fedora.
"Fedora is where we make the stuff work and REL is where we support it."
He claimed that the distribution has a technology lead of about one and a half years over REL.
Where REL is sold as an annual service including support, users can download Fedora free of charge. Red Hat doesn't offer commercial support for the application, but there are numerous known cases of enterprises, educational institutions and government agencies running Fedora on production systems.
Despite Red Hat's sponsorship, Fedora still controls its own development agenda, stressed Spevack.
For Fedora Core 6, the project decided to replace the Up2date tool with Yum. Both are update managers that install new software and updates. The Yum tool, however, allows users to automatically download and install new applications off the Internet when the operating system is first installed. This, for instance, allows users to select an alternative browser or email application from the default selection.
Novell's Suse uses the Yast setup and configuration tool to manage application and update installations.
"With Yum, it becomes much easier to take the base Fedora application and add on all the community packages and third-party products that are out there. Now those can be just put on your system at install time," Spevack told vnunet.com.
"The fact that Fedora uses Yum is a clear example of the best piece of software winning out. Compared to Up2date, the Yum community was bigger and it is easier to work on and use Yum."
Red Hat is expected to follow Fedora's lead and switch over to Yum as well.
Spevack was unable to give an estimate of the number of systems running Fedora. The application has logged more than 500,000 downloads from the Red Hat website and through its Bittorent feed, but is also available from third-party sites and international mirrors.
The project in the future plans to more closely track installations and downloads of the application.
The next version of the application is scheduled for release around April next year. The project is currently starting discussions about the additions it seeks to make to the application.
Spevack suggested that the project might further change the setup tools, giving users more control over the applications that are added on the first installation.
Fedora Core 6 goes live
By Tom Sanders on Oct 25, 2006 8:42AM