Red Hat Creates Fedora Foundation

The company says the new foundation will take over control of the open-source Fedora Project, but some developers are skeptical.

NEW ORLEANS—Red Hat Inc. has decided to hand over control of the open-source Fedora Project, creating the new Fedora Foundation to manage the project.

Mark Webbink, the deputy general counsel at Red Hat, of Raleigh, N.C., will make the announcement during a talk at the Red Hat Summit here early Friday morning.

Until now the Fedora Project, which Red Hat describes as an "openly-developed project designed by Red Hat, open for general participation, led by a meritocracy, following a set of project objectives," has been dominated by Red Hat staffers, with the technical lead and the steering committee all being Red Hat employees.

"The goal of The Fedora Project is to work with the Linux community to build a complete, general purpose operating system exclusively from open source software. Development will be done in a public forum ... By using this more open process, we hope to provide an operating system more in line with the ideals of free software and more appealing to the open source community," the Fedora Project Web site says.

But it appears that Fedora has not been all that appealing to developers, many of whom have questioned how Red Hat, as a commercial vendor of Linux software and support, could also control the project.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about the controversy that erupted when Fedora was announced.

"We feel that we are now at a point where we need to give up absolute control. We built our company on the competence of the open-source community and its time for us to continue to manifest that," Webbink told eWEEK in an exclusive interview before his talk.

Fedora, including the just-released Fedora Directory Server and all other components, would remain licensed under the GNU GPL (General Public License and would be placed under the control of the Foundation.

/zimages/6/28571.gifThe Free Software Foundation is working on the first revamp to the GPL in 13 years. Click here to read more.

While Red Hat would continue to play a significant role and some of its staff are likely to help maintain some key aspects of the project, the Fedora Foundation would have its own board and drive its own agenda at that point, Webbink said.

Next page: Not everyone is convinced.