Interesting facts about Fedora Linux

Last updated on September 22, 2020 by Dan Nanni

On September 22nd this year, Fedora turned 17 years old. Since the historic announcement ten years ago, the Fedora Project has remained massive volunteer-driven community effort that complements the Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and has led to several popular spin-offs such as CentOS and Scientific Linux.

To celebrate its 17th birthday, I would like to share several interesting tidbits about Fedora Linux.

1. Fedora Linux started out as an undergraduate project by Warren Togami at the University of Hawaii in 2002. The goal of Fedora Linux was then to provide a single repository with well-tested packages for Red Hat Linux.

2. Fedora release names are suggested and voted on by the community. Name suggestions are solicited through a Fedora wiki page, and the final release name is decided through a community vote. A suggested name for release N must have the same "is-a" relationship as the name for release N-1. For example, given the release name "Schrödinger's Cat" for Fedora 19, the name "Heisenbug" passes "is-a" test for Fedora 20; Schrödinger's Cat is a paradox where the object changes state when studied, and so is a Heisenbug.

3. Fedora consists of 100% free and open source software (FOSS). Items classified as content (e.g., fonts, package documentation, clipart, background images) must also be freely distributed without restrictions. A notable exception is binary-only firmware and driver files, in which case those files must not be able to run on their own in Fedora.

4. The Fedora Board is composed of a mix of community-elected seats and Red Hat-appointed seats.

5. Fedora logo symbolizes three elements combined: "infinity", "freedom" and "voice". This symbol signifies the voice of the community that drives infinite freedom and innovation.

6. Unlike other major distros such as Debian, Ubuntu or Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora does not offer a long-term support (LTS) version. Instead, Fedora commits to "release early, release often" principle (e.g., six month release schedule) to focus more on innovation and lead the progress of FOSS.

7. According to DistroWatch, there are 94 distributions based on Fedora, of which 27 are currently active.

8. When estimated by counting the distinct IP addresses connected to Fedora repositories, the total number of Fedora users per release is in the range of 1 to 7 millions.

9. The total number of contributors at the Fedora Project is over 25,000.

10. Fedora is the pre-installed operating system of XO laptops, famously known as $100 laptops developed by the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) non-profit organization. Fedora Linux is also used on IBM Roadrunner, a supercomputer built by IBM for the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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