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Obscured by clouds

An interesting subtext of this release may be the recent speculation surrounding OpenStack, CloudStack and Eucalyptus. Robyn Bergeron notes that "Fedora, in many ways, has strong ties with all three communities. We have a number of Euca folks active within the Fedora community, even outside of the Cloud space, and their VP of Community, Greg DeKoenigsberg, used to sit in this very FPL chair that I sit in now. CloudStack also has a number of folks who hail from Fedora-land as well, including their community manager, David Nalley, who also currently sits on the Fedora Board." Red Hat is also a substantial code contributor to OpenStack, and has announced its intention to become a platinum member of the OpenStack Foundation, despite previous reservations about the governance of the project.

Alongside the expected updates to userland projects like GNOME, a good number of the highlighted features in Fedora 17 can be seen as enterprise scale products that reflect Red Hat's continuing transition from focusing on the OS and OS services to involvement with the middleware and software services that sit further up the stack. IaaS offerings include OpenStack Essex and OpenNebula. Both CloudStack and Eucalyptus were also accepted for inclusion.

There are upgrades and enhancements to a variety of clustering and virtualisation software, and the DIET (Distributed Interactive Engineering Toolbox) toolkit which is designed for managing "High Performance Computing in heterogeneous and distributed environments (workstations, clusters, grids, clouds)" is also included. Originally, the plan was to default to the Btrfs filesystem for Fedora 17, but the lack of Btrfs partitioning facilities in Anaconda, the Fedora installation program, and delays in the development of btrfsck, the btrfs filesystem checking and repair tool, meant that btrfs has been postponed for a later release. In the meantime ext4 continues to be improved. In the past ext4 filesystems have been limited in size to 16 terabytes. In Fedora 17, this will be increased to 100 terabytes, which is useful in enterprise level clustering and storage deployments.

To the right kind of user, with imagination and adventure to spare, Fedora is a thing of wonder. And for other users there are Fedora spins which give a different set of perspectives for those with specialised tastes and preferences. The value of Fedora to ordinary users is that it doesn't stand still, and each new release brings new possibilities.

Red Hat has become successful by sticking to the principles of its own open source business model, rather than moulding itself to the expectations of corporate culture. Red Hat survives and thrives on its brand, the quality of the software and services it provides in association with trusted brands such as IBM and HP, and its bonds with its own user and developer communities.

The value of Fedora to Red Hat is that it keeps Red Hat honest and true. The mutual interdependence between Red Hat and Fedora ensures that Red Hat remains true to its community, and Fedora stays close to the edge.

For other feature articles by Richard Hillesley, please see the archive.

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