Fedora and Red Hat to Merge

New project takes over maintenance and support of RH Linux products; RH Enterprise Linux unaffected.

On Monday, September 22, Red Hat sent out an announcement about the future direction of Red Hat Linux: it will be merged with Fedora Linux. This is not a corporate merger; instead, it is a change in how Red Hat Linux is maintained and supported. The result is the Fedora Project. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is unaffected by this merger and will continue to be a Red Hat product.

The main reason for the Red Hat/Fedora merger is straight-forward: Red Hat is a for-profit company, not a charity. In short, Red Hat loses money on Red Hat Linux. Turning it over to Fedora will help keep the company profitable. One bit of fallout is the boxed sets will no longer be available in stores. However, third parties may distribute Fedora, provided they follow Red Hat's trademark guidelines.

Although a lot of details are yet to be sorted out, the outlines of the new project are clear: Red Hat will no longer make, maintain or support new releases of its former low end product, Red Hat Linux. Existing Red Hat Linux products will be supported until the end of their product lives, as previously announced.

What is new is the fact that there will be no Red Hat Linux 10, aka severn. Instead, severn has been take over by the Fedora Project. You may continue to download severn betas at the usual places. As I write this, severn beta 2 (dated September 24) is trickling in to my computer.

Fedora users also will see several major changes from Red Hat Linux. The first is more frequent, faster and more bleeding edge releases. Releases now will occur two to three time a year, instead of the old six-month plus release schedule Red Hat followed (see "History of Linux at Red Hat". As a result, Fedora will be more bleeding edge, but it also may be a little less stable. Product life also will be shorter; each Fedora release will have a product lifetime of about two or three months past the next release.

This does not mean that Red Hat is disengaging from low-end Linux development. On the contrary: although Red Hat will maintain what they call "editorial control" over Fedora, they are seeking community involvement with Fedora for software development, integration, testing and documentation. In addition, many of the folks at Red Hat who have contributed to Red Hat Linux will continue to contribute to Fedora, with Red Hat's blessing. This is already clear from observing the traffic on the Fedora list. Red Hat, in fact, has considerable reasons to continue involvement in Fedora: Fedora will be a major source of new products to include in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat's bread and butter. Red Hat is, however, disengaging from the day-to-day support and maintenance of Fedora. Both of those items will be handled by the Fedora community.

For those accustomed to using Red Hat, Fedora offers several changes, including support for Debian apt style dependency checking. yum (Yellow dog Updater, Modified) also is included in beta 2. An apt-enabled version of RPM will be folded into severn. Indeed, the Red Hat Update Agent, up2date, now supports installing packages from your choice of apt and yum repositories as well as local directories. up2date now will handle dependencies and package obsolescence in the same way apt does. In addition, some packages previously offered that may have licensing issues have been removed from Fedora. Some of these are stored at apt/yum-enabled repositories outside the US.

For those concerned with how the Fedora merger will affect Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat has put together a table comparing it with the Fedora Project.

Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) and Red Hat Certified Technician (RHCT) training and certification will be affected by the Red Hat/Fedora merger, but the details of those effects are not settled yet. Fedora should be a useful learning tool for RHCE and RHCT candidates, although RHCE training may include RHEL-specific knowledge. RHCEs and RHCE candidates should monitor Red Hat's training page for details.


Fedora will be more bleeding edge and, therefore, possibly less stable and less secure than Red Hat Linux. That, plus the shorter product lifespan of releases almost mandate a user policy of "upgrade early and update often", to paraphrase W.C. Fields. Fortunately, the inclusion of apt, yum and other software to handle package dependencies will make such a policy easy for the Fedora user to implement.

One thing I will do when using Fedora is develop kickstart files for my critical computers to allow fast and fairly painless new installations. Kickstart's post-installation script offers a great deal of flexibility when bringing configuration files over from previous installations.

Red Hat is searching actively for community participation in the Fedora Project. This is your chance to give back to Red Hat some of the delightful contributions they have made to Linux and open source over the years.

Charles Curley (www.charlescurley.com) has sagebrush, buffalo, hot springs, deer and archaeologists for neighbors.



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Reg : Solution Required

Santhosh's picture

Hi all my home pc is a sata hard disk 160 gb i have already installed
xp sv pck2 in it and i need to install linux os also in it
i tried red hat 9 and lower other versions of red hat but it failed
showing error " No Hard Drives Found " , Can some one Please suggest
me a solution ?? what version should i use or any solutions ?

I guess my move will be to Suse or Mac OS X

Anonymous's picture

I really havent been happy with Red Hat current releases, desktop items didnt seem to work with RH 9. No media support since 8. Server or enterprise based OS seems to be a self filling sterotype of what Linux suited as a server OS. After reading this I am whipping RH 9 off my PC and note book and will be going out to buy Suse 8.2 or 9.0. I just might now trade my laptop in for a Powerbook. A shame because Red Hat was my first Distro.

Need Fedora 6 cd

Anonymous's picture


I am Looking out for the Linux Journal Edition with Fedora 6 cd given with it. Plase can I know the edition of the Journal?


Seems like a good move for Red Hat

Anonymous's picture

Unlike some I think this is a good move for Red Hat.

I used Red Hat as my main OS from version 6.1 through 7.3, but switched to Debian after 8.0 came out, having become frustrated with Red Hat for dropping packages that I used, and the resulting dependancy problems I encountered installing 3rd party RPMs. It was getting so that it took half a day to set up a new Red Hat box and get it working right.

Now that Fedora is available, with apt and a larger set of RPMs, I plan to seriously evaluate it and perhaps switch back over again.

It seems that the only people who have cause to complain are those who downloaded Red Hat and never sent them a dime. The free ride is over!

I have paid for my Red Hat versions...

tirolerbaer's picture

I have paid for my versions od Red Hat. I havent been really happy with Red HAt since 7.3. Actually I am switching to Suse, for desktop OS I perfer Suse.

Re: Fedora and Red Hat to Merge

Anonymous's picture

Red Hat Linux was available in stores but the majority choose not to buy, but to download the product. Now that it will be no longer available in stores, everyone is disappointed. The same goes for me here. So what is the problem? It's the fact that we won't have access to the quality Red Hat brand that we all are accustomed and gotten used to. It's a testament to the esteem in which the product is held and to the Red Hat brand. Sorry indeed to see it come to this...

Re: Fedora and Red Hat to Merge

Anonymous's picture

This is a very bad move for the Linux brand.

Any version of Linux requiring frequent updates because of unstable and unsecure software will be equated
not with that version - but with the entire Linux brand by the general media. Making updates "easy" is just an insult into the bargain.

The consequences could be devestating.

As for RedHat - any company following microsoft licensing methods deserves the collapse in credibility they
are about to suffer from this backward step away from reliability.

I have been trialing RedHat 9 for my (small) company but now I know all this I'm shifting to SuSe and removing
the Redhat installations from Monday.


Re: Fedora and Red Hat to Merge

Anonymous's picture

I see good and potential for bad to come out of this.

I'm glad to see RedHat getting away from the 6 month or less release cycle. It will be a good thing for the corporate environement, and the software vendors who port thier code to linux. A version of the OS will now be around long enough to provide a stable environment. As good to see Fedora picking that up for the people who want the latest and greatest available all the time.

The problem will arise if you can Only get this long term stable OS if you pay for extended support contracts.

In our environment, we are maintain several linux servers, running CAE analysis codes. With the rapid release cycle, each time one of the cae vendors comes out with a new release, it may or may not work on the existing OS level we have installed. I don't mind having to apply patches , or maybe upgrade once during a 3 year lease cycle, but having to upgrade multiple times to keep up with the latest OS level so we can support various vendors requirements is troublesum.
Especially since the vendors are all coding to different release levels. Its hard enough to convince them to code to RedHat instead or in addition to SuSe, or others, but with out stable longer term versions, when they do code to RedHat there is no consistancy to the version level. So far we have not run into a situation where 2 vendors codes will not work with the same OS level, but in many cases we have to run thier code on "unsupported" platforms to be able to support multiple applications.

We do all of our linux support In House, we do not have need for all the additional services typically offered in the enterprise packages, and don't want the expense associated with 24x7 support with one hour response.

Ideally we would get a new piece of hardware, install the latest and greatest stable OS ourselves (or have it come shipped from hp/dell etc), and only have to apply the occational patch to the system over its 3 year life until the lease is up.

Re: Fedora and Red Hat to Merge

Anonymous's picture

So the 'standard' Red Hat Linux evolves into something totally unsuitable for mainstream business production use. Instead, they are pushing the rather expensive Enterprise range.

This may well seem fair enough, and I was seriously considering proposing it for the small company where I work. I really wanted to give money to Red Hat, but...

Look deeper, however, and you will find that the Enterprise editions are all cleverly wrapped up in a Microsoft-style licence that restricts copying (the GPL allows it, but the all-important service agreement forbids it).

If you use Red Hat for serious business use, you must now agree to such onerous terms as allowing them to come onto your site and audit your licence usage, including up to a year after the service agreement ends.

This negates many of the reasons for not using Windows and once more imposes the burden of compliance on users.

So where does that leave Fedora? For home/hobbyist users, why contribute to such practices when you can happily be involved in true community projects like Gentoo or Debian?

Beats me.

Re: Fedora and Red Hat to Merge

Anonymous's picture

This is for the corporation that wants corporate support. They don't trust their IT department knows enough about the internals of everything linux to be able to solve the problem *now*.

That's what they want, and that's what they'll get, but you have to pay for it, and you can't provide that kind of support to other companies without (and actually be able to handle the load if they all have a problem at once) if you don't charge per support unit.

Yes if you trust your IT department, the community is so much better, and more personal also, but many suits don't understand this at all with no money involved...

Re: Fedora and Red Hat to Merge

Anonymous's picture

Red Hat Network makes it very easy to spend money on every single machine, and very easy for Red Hat to see that money is being spent. It should be a great service model.

Red Hat are ratcheting up the prices too quickly and making the licence terms too restrictive. The value proposition is barely better than Windows, and rapidly worsening.

Re: Fedora and Red Hat to Merge

Anonymous's picture

>So where does that leave Fedora? For home/hobbyist users, why contribute to such practices when you can happily be involved in true community projects like Gentoo or Debian?

I agree with this last point completely. Also folks looking for Linux certification should look no further that the LPI (www.lpi.org). IBM on their Linux Portal has some great training materials there (http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/linux).

Re: Fedora and Red Hat to Merge

s3pt1k's picture

Excellent point. I personally think that Fedora will be short-lived. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm failing to see where this will succeed. Bleeding edge users aren't going to support the product. As everyone realizes, at this point, the life of Linux depends on it getting into the hands of home users. Bleeding edge software will simply, befuddle and confuse the majority.

Re: Fedora and Red Hat to Merge

Anonymous's picture

Fedora is not a bad thing. The name is not as leet as RedHat, but the improvments made in the desktop arena will make the switch worth it.

Re: Fedora and Red Hat to Merge

Anonymous's picture

I still wonder who's pushing redhat to drop the mass-support. The commercial acceptance of their high end products stems from their dominance on the linux platform as a whole, on the low end part. Don't forget Suse isn't free. So Mandrake, Debian and Slack are slill there as truely free and open source distros, in both the free speech and free beer sense.

Good Move

Anonymous's picture

Red Hat does a good job at providing for the higher end. I like their products in terms of servers and administration, but absolutely abhor their desktop work.

I strongly feel that we either need one of the existing companies that focus on Desktop Linux to (1) support LTSP and (2) support a rapid release (bleeding edge) edition alongside their more stable and refined edition. Techies want the bleeding edge and those distros make quick, but short lived money. Real world deployments require far slower release cycles and highly professional refinement.

My company is in R&D for a distro focused on terminal services (LTSP and similar services). But we are too small and poor to maintain anything more than a distro tied explicitly to one particular set of hardware. We're working on a KDE-based GNU/Linux desktop server that seemlessly integrates applications from Windows terminal servers and MacOS X into the menus and desktop icons of the main Linux desktops. And, a small, durable, workstation device with no moving parts.


Re: Good Move

Anonymous's picture

> I strongly feel that we either need one of the existing companies that focus on Desktop Linux

That company is called Mandrake Linux. Once you tried Mandrake, you will not go back to RH or SUSE.

Re: Good Move

Anonymous's picture

Desktop users at the corporate level can look forward to a stable OS with a long term maintenance cycle with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS product (http://www.redhat.com/software/rhel/ws).

Re: Fedora and Red Hat to Merge

Anonymous's picture

I'm really not sure how strong the support for apt is going to be in the first official release of Fedora Core. I've gotten no indication from the relevant discussions on mailinglists or irc that making sure apt is a working upgrade path is a development priority. I don't see anyone suggesting that testing dist-upgrade like functionality is a high priority in this test phase. I do see a continued focus on anaconda as THE prefered upgrade path when trying to upgrade to Fedora Core when it comes out of testing.

I think a lot of people in the community are looking on the currest test phase and really want apt dist-upgrade like functionality (either through apt or yum) to be a focus during testing..but I don't see it happening right now. I could be wrong though. I do see a continued focus on using the install/upgrade methods provided by anaconda on the installer iso images as getting a lot of attention during the current test phase releases. And I would humbly suggest that the level of interest during the test phase to make sure anaconda is working correctly, is a good indication of the importance anaconda is going to continue to play as the prefered upgrade path in the future.

yum and apt might be playing stronger roles in how to get package updates and package add-ons..but've seen no real evidence that apt and yum are going to get the testing necessary during the current testing phase to be the preferred distribution upgrade tool.


Red Hat and the Home Market

Anonymous's picture

Of course SuSE Linux 9.0 is always an option:


Re: Red Hat and the Home Market

s3pt1k's picture

I think that SuSE has ALWAYS had a stronger offering. RedHat, IMO, seems to be losing focus on what brought them to the point they're at now; their desktop users.

Re: Red Hat and the Home Market

Anonymous's picture

SuSe LiNuX 9.0 will be just the ticket for a shiny new Athlon 64 box. It's too bad that Red Hat is abandoning Red Hat Linux, but there are plenty of distributions to choose from.

Re: Fedora and Red Hat to Merge

Anonymous's picture

Actually, there will be something for retail from Red Hat but there aren't many details as to what it is:


Re: Fedora and Red Hat to Merge

Anonymous's picture

Actually I see NO merger at all. Fedora was a Red Hat ( a "fedora" is a Hat) project to start with. What we see is Red Hat separation from Fedora.. There is NOTHING that I can see that says Red Hat in Fedora. Fedora is simply going to be a bleeding edge beta for Red Hat. That Red Hat is NOT going to support Fedora, but rather allow the "community" to develop it is a bad sign. People choose Red Hat because it is a quality product from a known company. In the outside world who the hell has heard of "Fedora"?? No one!!! Unless Red Hat gets involves with Fedora, and market it as a Red Hat product, end users who trust a Red Hat product will migrate to a different distro -- Mandrake, SuSe, and/or Debian. Bleeding edge releases are great for people who like bug fixing, but not so great for people to need a STABLE product. I usually have more than enough quirks with Mandrake, Fedora will be worse. Fedora's acceptance is DoA.

Red Hat Network - The Future?

Anonymous's picture

One of the better aspects of Red Hat over the past few releases has been the Red Hat Network and up2date functionality, but this Fedora business doesn't really seem to clarify the situation very much, although I can't claim to have read every document on the subject. What is going to happen to RHN? Will there be any more updates? Is that where the apt-rpm stuff comes in?

I've seen some other distros - notably Mandrake and Debian - and they don't really seem to provide the combination of intensive support with ease of use that Red Hat has attained with the up2date tool. Note that I'm not saying that Red Hat was always this good - it wasn't any fun when one had to mess about with RPMs by hand - but it would be a shame to throw away the grassroots support that RHN gives Red Hat, no matter how unprofitable it is.

Right now, I'd recommend Red Hat to any business wanting to do Linux deployment (and wanting to spend cash to get a relatively painless experience), but what happens when people like me have had to migrate to another distro? What recommendations are going to be made then?

Re: Red Hat Network - The Future?

Anonymous's picture

up2date will still be there, but pointing to the Fedora repository.

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