The latest version of Fedora, the Linux-based operating system, gives users a peek at what they can expect to see in future Linux distributions from Red Hat and other vendors. Fedora 10 offers a broad security framework and new audit capabilities, and gives Linux enthusiasts a good way to upgrade from Fedora 9. However, those who use the Linux-based OS shouldn't expect any support from Red Hat.
Fedora 10 is the latest version of the community-supported, Linux-based
operating system that serves as the proving ground for future Red Hat software
products. As a result, Fedora offers organizations and individuals early access
to the state of the art in the Linux and open-source world.
For instance, Fedora 10 boasts what may be the broadest security framework
available in any general-purpose operating system, with support for
implementing mandatory access control and multilevel security through SELinux,
as well as a full complement of firewall, privilege management and buffer
overflow protection facilities.
What's more, Fedora 10 ships with a new audit utility, called Sectool, which
provides a set of system tests for detecting configuration issues regarding
permissions, firewall rules and the status of other system security features.
Like its more staid sibling, RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux), Fedora can be
put to a variety of uses, from notebooks and netbooks to desktops and
workstations to servers of both physical and virtual persuasions. Unlike RHEL,
which is sold by annual, per-system subscription, Fedora can be freely
downloaded and redistributed.
Click here to see eWEEK Labs' screenshot walk-through of the upgrade process to Fedora 10.
The catch is that while Fedora offers organizations and individuals a free
ticket to the leading edge of Linux, the distribution requires that you stay on
the edge once you arrive-and once you're there, you can't call on Red Hat for
assistance. That's because Red Hat offers no formal support for Fedora, and,
since the security and bug-fix patch stream for each version runs dry after a
year, users must upgrade their Fedora systems about once a year.
For example, Fedora 10 and the Fedora 9 release that preceded it both lack
support for functioning as host operating systems for Xen virtualization.
Fedora 8 can be used as a Xen host, but that version of the distribution is no
longer supported. Pending upstream kernel changes, a future Fedora release will
again function as a Xen host, but for now, the Fedora project counsels users
who require this functionality to switch to RHEL or to RHEL clone CentOS.
In any case, Fedora 10 is well worth checking out as a means of checking in
on (or taking part in) what's to come from Red Hat and from the wider Linux
world. What's more, for Linux enthusiasts who don't mind getting a little
compiler grease on their hands, Fedora 10 can serve capably as a workstation or
development server operating system.