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A Talk with Fedora Project Leader Paul Frields

By Rebecca Sobol
May 13, 2008
Late last week I had the pleasure of talking with Fedora Project Leader Paul Frields. Our conversation covered a range of Fedora Project topics, including Fedora 9, the latest Fedora release.

One thing Paul is passionate about is getting people to volunteer. There are many ways to get involved with the Fedora Project, lots of sub-projects and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that people can join depending on their interests and talents. The Fedora Project wiki is a good starting point for finding out more. The Join Fedora page also goes into the various roles that a Fedora contributor might be suited for, with easy links to setting up a Fedora account and using the Fedora Account system. You don't have to be a programmer or a computer expert to contribute to the project.

Joining the Fedora Project is easier now than it ever was during Fedora's five year history. As a result Fedora now has over 2000 registered account holders. That includes about 350 ambassadors who promote Fedora in their local area. In addition to making it easier to become a Fedora contributor, a variety of new web applications/collaborative tools are now available for contributors. Of course all Fedora infrastructure is Free Software, available in the Fedora repository, and running on Fedora.

All registered account holders may vote in Fedora elections, which is worth noting because there is an election coming up in June.

The composition of the Fedora board was recently changed to five elected members of the nine board seats. Four of those seats will be voted on in the next election. The other board seats are appointed by Red Hat, but are not necessarily Red Hat employees. Red Hat retains some control by employing and appointing the Project Leader. Paul took a job with Red Hat when he was offered the position of Project Leader.

Paul mentioned that former Fedora Project Leader Max Spevack is moving to the Netherlands to organize and manage Fedora volunteers in Europe. Paul also mentioned that Fedora has many Brazilian contributors. Of course Red Hat employs some Fedora engineers. There are fourteen Red Hat employees working full time on Fedora, mostly acting as team leaders and organizing the volunteers. In addition all Red Hat engineers will spend some fraction of their time working on Fedora in areas where Red Hat Enterprise Linux in involved.

Some people think of Fedora as a beta for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but its more realistic to think of Fedora as the upstream source for its enterprising cousin and spin-offs such as CentOS. So even though Fedora is a community project, Red Hat is still very involved in its development.

FUDCon (Fedora User & Developer Conference) is an event held on an irregular schedule several times per year. Some are smaller events held in conjunction with a larger event, such as the May 30, 2008 FUDCon, which will be held at LinuxTag in Berlin, Germany. Further out, there is some talk of having a mini-FUDCon at the 2009 linux.conf.au. The Boston FUDCon coming up in June, will run for several days. Co-located with the Red Hat Summit, the Boston FUDCon will feature hackfests, a barcamp and technical talks.

The Red Hat Summit will bring in Red Hat customers, and include talks about actual use cases. These talks should be interesting for Fedora developers, who will have a chance to see what people are doing with their work downstream. FUDCon is open to anyone, so stop by if there is a FUDCon in your area.

On to the just released Fedora 9 and the upcoming Fedora 10. Fedora 9 is one of the first major releases to feature KDE 4 by default. To make this work, the KDE SIG has built a compatibility library to keep KDE 3 applications running properly. For Fedora 10 Casey Dahlin is working on replacing the init system with upstart, the system developed for Ubuntu.

Some other items that we touched on briefly: Fedora maintains an open build system and works at getting patches upstream. The project also strives to cooperate with other distributions. From what I've seen, Fedora 9 looks very good, attractive and functional. Now that rawhide has moved on to Fedora 10 it will be a rough ride for at least a few days. So stick with Fedora 9, or get it from a mirror near you.

Fedora 9 is Paul's first release as Project Leader and he had a few words to add. "It's been less than five years since the first release of Fedora (back when it was called Fedora Core), and in that time Fedora has become not just a vibrant, innovative, and extremely popular Linux distribution, but also a thriving community. A community that believes that free and open source software is not just something you *use*, it's something you *do* -- something to which you *contribute*."

Comments (2 posted)

New Releases

Fedora 9 released

Fedora 9 is out. "First to hit were the live USB keys. The heathens cried out for mercy, but were powerless to resist. The sticks were damn persistent and non-destructively formatted - non-destructively! They showed up everywhere, casting out demons from computers infected by the dark one of the interwebs and rescuing lost data from the influence of the evil crackers." See the release notes for a rather more sober description of Fedora 9.

Full Story (comments: 10)

BLFS-6.3-rc1 has been released!

Beyond Linux From Scratch (BLFS) has released the first release candidate for version 6.3. The final version is expected before the end of May. See the release notes for more information.

Full Story (comments: none)

Distribution News

Debian GNU/Linux

Surveying the Debian community!

Several weeks ago we mentioned a couple of surveys for the Debian community. These surveys will be closing soon - 1am UTC time on the 1st of June 2008. There is a Debian user survey and a Debian DM/AM/NM survey.

Comments (none posted)

Fedora

Red Hat Board Appointments

Paul Frields has a note on the upcoming Fedora Board elections. "As everyone probably knows, the Fedora Board is moving into an election season due to the release of another Fedora. In advance of the election, Red Hat appoints one seat, and the final seat is appointed afterward to make sure the Board is fairly balanced to represent the Board's many constituents." Red Hat has named Harald Hoyer, a Senior Software Engineer in Red Hat's Stuttgart office, to occupy one of the two open appointed seats.

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Rawhide moving on to Fedora 10

Starting tomorrow, with the release of Fedora 9, Fedora "rawhide" will be composed of Fedora 10 content. "This will likely fail in spectacular ways due to all the pent up builds so it should be interesting." Click below for more information and remember: "Keep all body parts inside the cart at all times. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!"

Full Story (comments: 1)

rpm.livna.org repositories for Fedora 9 (Sulphur) now available

The Livna.org package repository for Fedora 9 (Sulphur) is open for business. "The Livna repository hosts software as RPM packages which cannot be shipped in the official Fedora repository for various reasons and support8s the i386, x86_64 and ppc architectures."

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Gentoo Linux

Gentoo council meeting summary for 8 May 2008

Click below for a summary of the May 8th meeting of the Gentoo council. Some topics include Active-developer document, ChangeLog entries, Ignored arch-team bugs, 8-digit versions, Enforced retirement and New meeting process.

Full Story (comments: none)

Ubuntu family

Xubuntu Meeting

The Xubuntu community had a meeting to resolve some issues. Click below for a summary of the that meeting. "I'd first like to start off this e-mail by announcing the Xubuntu community meeting was a *huge* success. We had roughly two dozen people take part (including old, current, and new faces) and a number of other individuals who sent in e-mails or left a quick IRC message to let us know that they were unable to attend but would be following up with much interest."

Full Story (comments: none)

Distribution Newsletters

OpenSUSE Weekly News/21

This week's edition of openSUSE Weekly News covers openSUSE 11.0 Beta 2, People of openSUSE: Greg Kroah-Hartman, Jigish Gohil: Sliced sphere in compiz-fusion-git packages, and much more.

Comments (none posted)

PCLinuxOS Magazine May 2008 Released

The May 2008 edition of PCLinuxOS Magazine is out. This week's highlights include Manage your Ipod with Amarok, PCLinuxOS Based Distros, Quick Fix for Damaged Xorg, Don't Complain, Something Completely Different, and more.

Comments (none posted)

Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 90

The Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter for May 10, 2008 covers Ubuntu Brainstorm Growing, Ubuntu Finland receives award from Finland's Minister of Communications, Ubuntu Featured on Italian TV, submit questions for Launchpad podcast, Forums News and Interviews, Ubuntu UK Podcast Episode 5, and much more.

Full Story (comments: none)

DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 252

The DistroWatch Weekly for May 12, 2008 is out. "It's a Fedora week here at DistroWatch. A new version of the popular distribution will be released later this week, complete with the usual cutting edge features, such as KDE 4, dramatic speed improvements, support for the ext4 file system and many others. One popular application set missing from the distro, however, is KDE 3.5, now relegated to the dustbins of history by the project. If you are a Fedora KDE user, should you upgrade or should you not? Read our first-impressions review of Fedora 9 KDE to obtain some answers. In the news section, openSUSE presents several user interface improvements for its package manager, Ubuntu prepares to deliver cool new features in Intrepid Ibex, Attila Craciun introduces the Slackware-based Bluewhite64 Linux, and PC-BSD updates its artwork and fixes bugs in preparation for the 7.0 release. Also included are several resources to help you manage your OpenSolaris system better and an interesting update on Oracle Enterprise Linux."

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Newsletters and articles of interest

Hats off to Fedora 9 (DesktopLinux)

DesktopLinux takes a look at Fedora 9 and includes a mini-interview with Paul Frields. "Many people mistakenly believe that Red Hat started Fedora. In fact, the project began independently in 2003, as a "community" version of the popular Linux distribution. The idea was to emulate the "freeness" and community involvement of the Debian distribution, while still leveraging Red Hat's testing and integration work -- not to mention its more regular release cycle schedule."

Comments (none posted)

Fedora 9 Released with KDE 4.0.3 (KDE.News)

KDE.News looks at KDE 4.0.3 in Fedora 9. "In addition to the inclusion of KDE 4 as the default KDE, Fedora 9 also comes with other major new features, such as the switch to Upstart to handle system startup, an improved NetworkManager including support for mobile broadband and systemwide configuration, a new, fast version of X.Org X11, TexLive replacing tetex, unified spellchecking dictionaries and much more."

Comments (none posted)

CNR supports Linux Mint, adds Weatherbug (DesktopLinux)

DesktopLinux covers an announcement from Linspire. "Linspire has upgraded its CNR.com (Click'N'Run) download site for Linux software to support the Ubuntu-based, consumer-friendly Linux Mint distribution. CNR.com will also add a Linux version of Weatherbug's weather service, which offers live, local weather information and severe weather alerts."

Comments (none posted)

Distribution reviews

Top 5 Tiny Distros (TuxMachines)

TuxMachines compares five tiny distributions. "I was cleaning up my /home partiton when I noticed I had several tiny distros hanging around waiting to be tested. So I thought this might be a good time to write an updated Mini-distro Roundup. Unlike last time, the five contestants are all less than 88 MB in download size. The five contestants are CDlinux 0.6.1, Damn Small Linux 4.3r2, Puppy 4.0rc, Slitaz 1.0, and Austrumi 1.6.5. All of these are the latest stable except Damn Small and Puppy, that are release candidates. So, we'll cut them just a bit of slack in the stability department if need be."

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Fedora 9 - an OS that even the Linux challenged can love (The Register)

The Register takes a look at Fedora 9. "Fedora 9, the latest release from the Fedora Project, goes up for download on Tuesday. The ninth release of Fedora ushers in a number of changes aimed at making the venerable distribution a more newbie-friendly desktop, but longtime users needn't fear a great dumbing down; version 9 packs plenty of power user punch as well."

Comments (none posted)

Page editor: Rebecca Sobol
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