As of this last Friday, December 7th Fedora Core 6 is no more. With it goes the last release the Fedora Project had seen the split between “Community” (Extras) and Red Hat sponsored (Core). Those not intimately involved in Fedora might be interested to learn that when the merge happened it was the core packages that ended up having to follow the former “Extras” packaging guidelines and not the other way around. Yet another testament to the power of community.
Fedora often takes a bit of flack over not maintaining a longer release / support cycle. I think the main reason for this is simply because it allows Fedora to take bigger risks then any other operating system out there. By releasing often (now every 6 months) we can take any number of large risks. The worst case is having to fix it during the next release in 6 months, the best case is we integrate yet another killer technology before anyone else. Having been involved in Fedora for about 2 years I can say, 6 months is not very long.
At the same time not having to worry about updates for very long (current release + 1 release + 1 month) allows our developers to be more focused on innovation. Other groups and businesses are taking note of this as well as they integrate software into Fedora. It has become the perfect platform for a company to present new software to the world. Our setup allows us to be incredibly dynamic.
I think it’s best not to think of Fedora as a stand alone distribution but rather as part of a family of Red Hat compatible products. I mean that in terms of the technical specifications, not Red Hat the company. When Fedora is combined with RHEL and CentOS that family can fit into just about any market imaginable and I think that’s the key to the success of each of these distributions.