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.

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