Fedora is an open source Linux operating system (OS) distribution developed and supported by the Fedora Project and in partnership with Red Hat. All Red Hat Enterprise Linux distributions for commercial use are based on the Fedora platform.
There are more than one hundred Linux distributions based on Fedora. The primary open source Fedora Linux OS is freely available for use and customization. According to the Fedora Project, the OS is “always free for anyone to use, modify, and distribute.” It is reported to be the second-most commonly used Linux distribution following Ubuntu.
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The Fedora Project
The Fedora Project is a group of community developers, volunteers, and Red Hat employees who collaborate and share solutions built on the Fedora platform. It was formed in 2003 as a partnership between Red Hat and volunteer contributors. The Fedora Project is responsible for all innovations and new Fedora releases. It also maintains other editions of Fedora that are intended for specific needs, like network installers and torrent downloads.
Fedora Project leadership
The Fedora Project is managed by three separate governing bodies:
- The Fedora Council is the appointed and elected top-level leadership body that identifies the short, medium, and long-term goals of the Fedora Project. It also oversees the financial and legal business of the Project.
- The Fedora Engineering Steering Committee is an elected body that manages the technical features and specific policy implementations in Fedora.
- The Fedora Mindshare Committee is an appointed and elected body that manages non-technical Fedora outreach.
There are currently five editions of Fedora:
- Fedora Workstation is an official edition for laptops and desktops and includes a wide range of developer tools.
- Fedora Server is an official edition for bare metal and cloud-based servers and supports cutting-edge data center technologies.
- Fedora IoT is an official edition for Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing ecosystems and enables application containerization.
- Fedora CoreOS is an emerging edition for running containerized workloads in a cloud computing environment.
- Fedora Silverblue is an emerging edition for desktops running container-focused workflows.
Fedora was designed as a secure, general-purpose OS. It has a relatively short six-month release cycle that keeps it up-to-date with best practices related to UI, security, and drivers, as well as ensuring the Linux kernel is always up to date.
Fedora Workstation uses the GNOME 3 desktop environment. It’s a simple, straightforward user interface that helps minimize distractions so developers can focus on their code.
All Fedora editions use Security-Enhanced Linux, a security module that supports access control policies. It reduces the surface of vulnerability through a technique called hardening, which Fedora does for all of its packages. Fedora IoT also supports TPM2, SecureBoot, and automated decryption with Clevis.
Out of the box, Fedora comes with a variety of preinstalled software applications, including LibreOffice and Firefox. Users can install additional software packages from the Fedora repositories. Or, users can add repositories from third parties to install software that’s otherwise unavailable from the official repository.
This article was updated July 2021 by Kaiti Norton.