Long-term Fedora Linux support ending

Lack of contributions from outside programmers, funding among reasons Fedora Legacy project is winding down.

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Stephen Shankland
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A volunteer effort called Fedora Legacy to provide longer-term support for Red Hat's hobbyist-oriented Linux version is shutting down.

Red Hat offers two versions of Linux, but only Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) comes with long-term support. Fedora is a faster-changing but free version that acts as a proving ground for new technology.

Red Hat offers only short-term, limited support for Fedora, but volunteers on a project called Fedora Legacy tried to maintain the free version longer. The idea was that the free version would be something customers could rely on even after Red Hat's support ended.

It didn't work out.

"The Fedora Legacy project is in the process of shutting down," said project organizers Jesse Keating and David Eisenstein in a Fedora Legacy mailing list posting Friday.

The organizers didn't provide a specific reason for the decision, but a lack of contributions from outside programmers contributed, Keating said in a separate mailing list posting.

"Nobody has responded to our calls for help," Keating said. "There are a good number of consumers, people who will happily consume until the project ends; however they are not willing to actually do any of the work necessary to keep the project alive."

Funding also was a problem.

"If any of these hosting firms or software (companies) would put up some resources to keep Legacy going, we might not have had to shut the doors," Keating said in another message. "Unfortunately, it's all take, take, take and no give."

Another factor was Red Hat's extension of Fedora support from 9 months to 13 months, Keating said in an interview. That duration means that Fedora users won't have to upgrade to every new version to get support, but will be able to use every second version.

Red Hat released Fedora Core 6 in October, following the company's plans of updating the software every few months. Fedora Legacy has begun curtailing its support for earlier versions, the organizers said.

"The current model for supporting maintenance distributions is being re-examined," organizers said. "In the meantime, we are unable to extend support to older Fedora Core releases as we had planned. As of now, Fedora Core 4 and earlier distributions are no longer being maintained."

In the days since Fedora Legacy got started, another free option for Red Hat has cropped up: CentOS, an attempt to reproduce RHEL based on the real project's underlying source code. More recently, Oracle has begun a similar RHEL cloning effort.

Also emerging on the scene in the years since Fedora is Ubuntu, supported by start-up Canonical. Deliberately taking a different approach than the Fedora-RHEL split, the free version of Ubuntu is the same one for which Canonical sells support.