Some Linux releases have more "beef" in them than others. The Red Hat sponsored Fedora Linux community today released its beefiest distribution effort yet in Fedora 17, codenamed "The Beefy Miracle."
"Normally we feature a lot of under-the-hood goodies and this time around we've got over 50 features," Robyn Bergeron, Fedora Project Leader told InternetNews.com. "We have the newest OpenStack release in Fedora 17 and we've got JBoss Application Server (AS) 7, too."
While JBoss is also part of Red Hat, the JBoss Application Server has not traditionally been part of the Fedora Linux distribution. Bergeron noted that this is the first really big collaboration between the JBoss and the Fedora Linux communities. In her view, JBoss Application Server is a big release for both system administrators and developers. Developers will also benefit from the inclusion of Java 7 as well as Eclipse Juno for Java development.
The inclusion of the OpenStack Essex open source cloud platform is another key inclusion in Fedora 17. OpenStack Essex was first released as an upstream project in April.
The Essex release is a key milestone for both the OpenStack community as well as Red Hat for a number of key reasons. For one, Red Hat was one of the top corporate contributors to that release, contributing more code than Ubuntu, which had been aligned with OpenStack for a longer period of time. The other key reason is that Red Hat has now officially joined the OpenStack effort, making the Fedora 17 release the first time that OpenStack has appeared in a Red Hat-led effort since that event.
From Bergeron's perspective, the fact that Red Hat is now an official sponsor of OpenStack has had no bearing on how OpenStack is implemented in Fedora.
"It has been the same group of folks working on OpenStack in Fedora for the last six or seven months, and there has been no change in direction," Bergeron said.
Virtualization gets a boost in Fedora 17 with the oVirt virtualization project. The oVirt open source project is the feeder project for Red Hat's Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) product. RHEV is Red Hat's attempt to take share in the virtualization market from VMware, with a KVM hypervisor-based system.
"oVirt is an upstream project, so other companies can also participate," Bergeron said.
Virtualization also gets a boost by way of the Virtualization Sandbox, libvirt-sandbox. With the new sandbox, virtualization can be embedded into applications, extending the use-cases for virtualization deployments.
Fedora 17 also marks a significant change in how the distribution as a whole can be mounted on a system. Starting in Fedora 17, the /usr directory will merge in directories that had previously included /bin, /usr/bin, usr/sbin, /lib and /usr/lib.
"It's mostly about reducing complexity in a number of areas — from things as simple as having a cleaner overall filesystem layout to making packaging easier for someone who is packaging software for multiple distributions," Bergeron explained. "There are also benefits from a power-user or enterprise perspective — you can do snapshotting of the OS, or share it between multiple hosts."