Fedora 7 unifies Red Hat, outside coders

The new Linux version pools the efforts of Red Hat programmers with outsiders contributing to the project.

Red Hat on Thursday released a new edition of its hobbyist version of Linux, Fedora 7, a version which unifies the work of programmers inside and outside the company.

Fedora 7, as expected, unifies what had been two separate software components, Red Hat-built Core and community-built Extras. Shortly before the final version was released, the project also switched to a new open system called Koji for housing and building the software components.

"With our new open-source build process, our community of contributors will enjoy much greater influence and authority in advancing Fedora," said Max Spevack, Red Hat's Fedora project leader, in a statement.

Fedora is freely available, but Red Hat doesn't provide formal support for it or certify software and hardware compatibility as it does with Red Hat Enterprise Linux . Fedora is intended in part to test out new features the company eventually puts in RHEL.

Fedora competes with OpenSuse from Novell and with the up-and-coming Ubuntu version of Linux from Canonical .

One new feature in Fedora 7 is KVM , open-source virtualization software that can enable a single computer to run multiple operating systems simultaneously. KVM is a newer alternative to Xen , another open-source alternative that's built into current versions of RHEL and Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server .

Among other Fedora 7 features are GNOME 2.18 and KDE 3.5.6 desktop interface software; fast switching among multiple users; better power management through a new timing mechanism in the kernel; and the experimental Nouveau open-source driver to support 3D graphics features on Nvidia graphics chips.

Fedora 8 is due to be released October 31. On its tentative feature list is a more polished graphical start-up, remote management for virtualization software, and a helper application for dealing with multiple audio and video formats.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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