It is hard to conclude which side of Fedora is more popular to the Internet audience – the fact that it is a powerful free operating system based on the Linux kernel, or that it represents a whole new concept in the distribution of open-source software where the global community of supporters plays a fundamental role.
First and foremost, Fedora is a Linux-based operating system created back in 2003 as a community distribution called the Fedora Project. It was released along with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which was to be the next official Linux distribution after Red Hat Linux was discontinued. Its main purpose was to serve as a source of software innovations for the Hat Enterprise Linux releases. This connection between the two Linux distributions explains the origin of the Fedora name – 'fedora' refers to the characteristic fedora hat used in Red Hat's "Shadowman" logo.
The first set of Fedora releases, known as Fedora Core 1-4, was launched within the period 2003-2005, followed by the Fedora Core 5-6 set in 2006 and Fedora 7 in 2007. Those versions, however, are no longer supported by the Fedora Project. The following Fedora versions – Fedora 8 (introduced in 2007), Fedora 9 (released in the spring of 2008) and Fedora 10 (launched at the end of 2008), are all officially supported by the Fedora project. The latest of them – Fedora 10, code named 'Cambridge', features a whole new set of innovative characteristics such as a new 'Solar' artwork, faster startup with Plymouth, web-based packages installer, ext4 filesystem support, Sugar Desktop Environment and many others.
Fedora and open source software
The Fedora project is famous for being backed up by an ever-increasing community of both advanced and technically inexperienced supporters from around the world who keep creating innovative free open-source software for Fedora users. Moreover, all new features released by the Fedora community can be easily incorporated into any other Linux distribution. This high productivity makes Fedora a 'factory' for free open-source software innovations where everyone could make a contribution as a volunteer worker.
It is a well-established practice of the Fedora developers to distribute all software fixes and innovations by making upstream changes. This makes it possible for any updates to be instantly available to all Linux distributions that already use Fedora features. Examples of very successful open-source software releases under the Fedora Project include: NetworkManager, PolicyKit, FreeIPA. SELinux, HAL, D-bus, PulseAudio.
The flexible capabilities of Fedora also make it easy for everyone to create their own Linux-based distribution. This can be done by means of Fedora's set of spinning tools, allowing individuals to quickly select the desired packages and create live images for CD/DVD or USB, or installation discs. This has helped many of the official Fedora versions such as Fedora Electronic Lab and Fedora Xfce Spin evolve.
Fedora and security
Just as all Linux distributions, Fedora is focused on security. Unlike Ubuntu, which is another very popular Linux distribution based on Debian, in Fedora a firewall is present right from the start and can be easily configured both using the terminal or via the graphical interface. Fedora also is one of the main promoters for SELinux, which stands for Security-Enhanced Linux, a feature which implements several security policies, which are missing in most of the Linux-based distributions. Additionally, Fedora comes with several custom security enhancements, which derive from its connection with Red Hat's Enterprise Linux. This makes Fedora a very popular choice for web servers. Fedora is also the OS of choice for Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel, and is used as the operating system for several NASA systems and supercomputers, such as the Roadrunner.