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Red Hat's Fedora to Get Longer Support

Red Hat's next release of its community Linux distribution will sport a slightly modified name, more packages and a longer supported life.

Since its inception in November 2003, Red Hat's community Linux project has been called Fedora Core; starting with version 7, it will be known simply as Fedora.

The name change comes as the project merges the effort of its Fedora Core, Fedora Extras and Fedora Legacy efforts. Core produced the core operating system, Extras dealt with packages not included in Core and Legacy provided support for older version of Fedora.

Fedora Legacy is now no more, and with its demise the length of support for a Fedora distribution has dropped significantly.

With the help of Fedora Legacy, a Fedora release could have had support of over two years in some cases. The Fedora Core project, on the other hand, only provides support for the current release and its immediate predecessor. Considering that Fedora Core releases occur at least twice a year, that doesn't leave room for a very long support cycle.

The loss of extended legacy support for Fedora apparently hasn't cost Fedora. Fedora Project Leader Max Spevack told internetnews.com that the end of Fedora Legacy has not had a negative impact on the number of downloads for Fedora Core.

To be sure, Fedora Core 6 recently passed the million user mark .

"While the "Legacy" name might be disappearing, we're also planning to extend the time frame that a Fedora release is officially maintained from its current period, which is about 10 months, to probably something like 13 months," Spevack said.

"One of the things that Fedora users have been asking for is a longer official lifecycle, which sort of rolls some of the Legacy charter into the main Fedora distribution."

For those that need longer support than the 13 months Fedora will offer, there is Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) which provides multi-year support with guaranteed maintenance. There is also the free RHEL clone, CentOS for those that don't need full Red Hat support.

"Fedora's goal is still to be on the leading edge in terms of new technologies, etc," Spevack said.

"If we spend a lot of our resources with multi-year support, it will detract from our ability to be innovative without really adding much that doesn't already exist in more enterprise-focused distros."

Fedora 7 is expected to be released on April 26 this year.