Fedora 16 At A Glance
Fedora is one of the oldest and most popular Linux distros in existence. The Fedora project originally had a significantly more recognizable name: Red Hat Linux.
When Red Hat Linux became paid enterprise software, the community-driven Fedora Core was created. Fedora Core, which later dropped Core from its name, is intended as an upstream testbed for RHEL. This means that software and features that eventually make their way downstream to RHEL first appear in Fedora.
As the community extension of RHEL, the Fedora project enjoys the largest corporate sponsor of any free distribution, and is consistently ranked among the top four Linux distros in the world (according to DistroWatch).
|Why Fedora Is So Important|
A Proud Parent
Besides serving as the community testbed for RHEL (an important job all on its own), Fedora also fills the role of a parent distribution. Most of today's Linux distros are not completely original projects, but derivatives of a few key distributions. A majority of top-tier Linux distros were, at one point, based on either Fedora/Red Hat, Debian, or Slackware.
As a parent distribution, Fedora must remain 100% Free and Open Source (FOSS) so that other projects can build upon and redistribute the code. While the strict adherence to FOSS principles can hinder Fedora in the end-user space, it makes Fedora a fundamental pillar of the Linux community.
As a Red Hat-sponsored project, Fedora naturally utilizes RPM packages (as opposed to the DEB packages used by Ubuntu and other Debian-based distributions). Red Hat maintains the RPM spec, which is used by many of the top Linux distributions including: openSUSE, Mandriva, PCLinuxOS, CentOS, Oracle Linux, Scientific Linux, and Mageia. In essence, Fedora is to RPM-based distros what Debian is to DEB-based distros: the original.
|What's New In Fedora 15?|
Fedora 16 ships with version 3.2.6 of the Linux kernel.
One distribution after another is dropping Oracle's (previously Sun's, and now Apache's) OpenOffice.org suite in favor of the Document Foundation's LibreOffice. Fedora is no exception. Starting in Fedora 15, LibreOffice is the default office suite of Fedora.
You will not find LibreOffice pre-installed if you're using the handy live CD installation media, although it is if you opt for the larger and less trial-friendly DVD image.
The Document Foundation's fork of OpenOffice.org boasts improved performance, as well as better interoperability with Microsoft Office formats. Most important, it benefits from unwavering commitment to the project and the FOSS community at large.
|Web Browser||Mozilla Firefox||7.0.1|
|BitTorrent Client||Transmission||2.42 (13013)|
|Partition Editor||Disk Utility||3.0.2|
|Optical Disc Editor||Brasero||3.2.0|
A Quick Word On Fedora Package Management
For those of you coming from Ubuntu, the way in which Fedora handles package management is going to be somewhat of a throwback. Like versions of Ubuntu that predate the Ubuntu Software Center, Fedora uses an Add/Remove Software wizard for package management. However, Fedora's Add/Remove Software is more like the Synaptic Package Manager than Ubuntu's old Add/Remove Applications or the Ubuntu Software Center. Add/Remove Software is a graphical front-end for YUM, the package management mechanism used by Fedora, just like Synaptic is a graphical front-end for APT.
In Add/Remove Software, all packages are listed either by relevance to a search term or alphabetically by category. Like Synaptic, this includes applications, applets, libraries, and plug-ins (essentially, all software). While most Linux veterans don't mind, and many even prefer this type of comprehensive package management, it is not exactly optimal for new users. Without any differentiation between actual end-user applications and support packages, browsing for software really isn't an option. In order to use this package manager most effectively, you'll want to know the names of the packages in question.
Despite YUM lumping all software packages together, one type of software isn't welcome in Fedora: the proprietary kind. Due to Fedora's rigid 100% FOSS stance, many popular applications, drivers, and libraries are not available in the default Fedora software repositories (repos).
Where Ubuntu has simple methods for installing non-free software out-of-the-box, Fedora does not. The Ubuntu Software Center has popular applications like Skype, plug-ins like Flash, audio/video codecs, and even a handful of retail applications. The Additional Drivers tool in Ubuntu scans your hardware and brings up the option to install drivers for components like graphics, Wi-Fi, and other types of hardware that may require proprietary drivers. In Fedora, you have to hunt all of this down and do it manually.
Don't worry, we'll show you how. But first, let's go over the installation procedure for Fedora 16.