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Red Hat, the company, essentially had two different Linux product lines: a consumer product for personal desktops and workstations (Red Hat Linux 8 and 9, for example), and a separate product for corporate users (Red Hat Enterprise Edition). The corporate product is and always has been Red Hat’s cash cow, as companies pay for the system on a subscription basis along with various support services. The consumer version, despite its great popularity, was essentially a money loser because most users would just download it for free, rather than buy it.
In the first half of 2003, Red Hat announced that it would no longer package and sell the consumer product as a boxed item, and instead set it off as a semi- autonomous unit under the Red Hat umbrella called the Red Hat Linux Project. The new project would continue producing the consumer version, but as a totally free product developed by the project with Linux community involvement. Most saw this as a positive move, as it would allow greater input into and more rapid development of the distribution. Work then progressed on what most people were then calling Red Hat Linux 10.
Shortly after the establishment of the Red Hat Linux Project, however, work began on a merger between that project and another completely separate community project, the Fedora Linux Project. The Fedora Linux Project, rather than building a distribution of its own, worked to prepare application packages (RPMs) for use with Red Hat Linux. As the goals of the two projects were overlapping, the two projects merged. The result is the Fedora Project, which is still under the Red Hat umbrella. Rather than continue using the name Red Hat Linux, however, the Fedora Project opted to use the more all-encompassing name Fedora Core as the name of its distribution.
Fedora Core, at this point, is essentially what Red Hat Linux 10 was going to be, just with a new name. It is hardly a startling departure from what has come before. Red Hat Linux 8 and 9 users should feel completely at home with Fedora Core, as it retains the look, feel, and functionality of Red Hat Linux 9. To paraphrase the folks at the project, changes will be evolutionary, not revolutionary. This is certainly the case so far.
Of course, with every new version release, there are a few changes, but other than the updated Bluecurve theme and the inclusion of a couple of new applications, most of the changes will not be readily apparent.
With so many distros out there, you may wonder why you should opt for Fedora Core. Well, I’ve tried quite a few distros, and Fedora Core is the one that pleased me most. As for the reasons, they basically come down to these:
Ease of installation The Mandrake distro is often cited as the easiest distro to install, and perhaps in terms of setting up a dual-boot Windows/Linux system, that might be true to some degree. However, I have to give the nod to Fedora. Though I do not advocate doing this, one could just press ENTER at every stage of the Fedora Core installation process and end up with a perfectly usable system. What could be easier than that? Even if you screw up, you don’t.
RPM based As you will soon learn, RPM (Red Hat Package Manager) provides a very easy way of installing additional software and related files.
RPM availability Perhaps because of its market share, there are many more RPMs out there for Red Hat Linux and Fedora than for any other distro.
Dependable and robust I know these terms come across as mere hype, but after you smack things around in your Fedora system a bit, particularly when using GNOME, you come to understand what they mean. Knock things down and around, and they bounce right back — this is very important for beginners who often have a knack for screwing things up. Nothing turns a new user off more than a twitchy system that has to be velvet gloved all the time.
Good selection of applications Fedora Core comes with more applications than you will know what to do with, and most are configured so that they will work as soon as you run them.
One last point worth mentioning is that the Fedora/Red Hat community of users is actually even larger than the number of people who use Fedora Core or Red Hat Linux. Many other distros are actually Red Hat–based, meaning that they are essentially Red Hat Linux distributions with all the Red Hat references and logos being replaced and with certain software packages added or removed to customize the distro for its targeted audience. JAMD, Yellow Dog, and Alt Linux are all Red Hat Linux–based distros. In theory, even you could create your own Red Hat–based distro. Red Hat, the company, is pretty cool in that sense, and as the
Fedora Project is continuing that same policy, you could even create your own Fedora-based distro and call it something like Boaz Linux, for example, once you know what you are doing.
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