In one of the most highly anticipated Linux Distribution releases in years, Red Hat’s Fedora Project launched its Fedora Core 2 (FC2), the company said.
“This release marks a great step forward,” Red Hat spokesperson Leigh Day told internetnews.com. “It’s based on the latest technology, the 2.6 kernel and also includes SELinux, as well many other improvements and new innovations that have been added to this release.”
The Fedora Project is Red Hat’s community based project and is the successor to its previous Red Hat Linux line. Red Hat Linux 9 was the final product in that line and reached its official end of life for errata updates at the end of April. Fedora Core 2 is the second major release since the Red Hat sponsored project began, Fedora Core 1 was released in November of 2003.
As a community project that is led by Red Hat, the Fedora Project’s goal is to work with the open source community to build an operating system through an open development process. Fedora Core 2 is considered to be a proving ground for technologies that will make their way into the next version of Red Hat’s commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, which is to be released in 2005.
Among the most significant and noteworthy new features in Fedora Core 2 is the 2.6 Linux OS kernel with all of the performance and scalability improvement that it brings.
According to Fedora Project Community volunteer Damien Nade, the kernel’s new features really make a difference.
“Which means, being on your best behavior on heavy CPU loads and new schedulers,” Nade told internetnews.com. “This make the system harder to crash and more responsive.”
FC2 also includes the latest desktop technologies including X.org (link), GNOME 2.6 and the latest version of KDE version 3.2.2. All of which will undoubtedly find their way into Red Hat’s latest goal of adding a consumer desktop platform to its repertoire.
SELinux is one of the other major features in FC2, improving the overall security of the distribution for those that choose to enable its functionality. SELinux is essentially an enhanced kernel that implements and handles mandatory access controls, allowing users the level of access required and not more.
Privilege escalation attacks are a common problem that SELinux hopes to address. SELinux is being developed in a project led by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and is released under the GPL. FC2 is the first wide major distribution release that includes SELinux. Red Hat has repeatedly stated that SELinux is part of its overall security roadmap and will be part of next year’s enterprise-driven RHEL 4 release.
“I think definitely the fact that this is based on the 2.6 kernel and SELinux, are the two most significant features about Fedora Core 2 and we’re definitely looking forward to testing and hardening both of those technologies extensively,” Red Hat’s Leigh Day told internetnews.com.
Jesse Keating, who leads The Fedora Legacy Project, a community initiative that supports legacy Red Hat distributions, had high praise for the latest Fedora release.
“Fedora Core 2 looks to be one of the best released Linux distributions to come out of Red Hat,” Keating told internetnews.com. “The operating system just seems very, very solid, very polished, technically advanced and I can’t wait to install it on every system I can.”