Fedora 28: The new developers' Linux arrives

Red Hat's latest edition of Fedora Linux brings open-source programmers more choices than ever for projects with its new modular repository.

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Is Fedora Linux for everyone? No. I recommend Mint or Ubuntu for most users. But, if you're a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) or CentOS user, or an open-source programmer, it's another story. Then, Fedora should be your first choice.

The Fedora Project is Red Hat's community-driven open-source Linux. Fedora is also essentially RHEL's test bed. As such, it uses cutting-edge software, such as the 4.16.3 Linux kernel. This latest version, Fedora 28, comes in three distinct editions: Fedora 28 Server, Fedora 26 Workstation, and Fedora 28 Atomic Host.

All versions are built from a common set of base packages. As with all new Fedora releases, the packages come with numerous bug fixes and performance tweaks as well as new features. The Fedora 28 base package includes updated compilers and languages including the latest version of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) 8, Golang 1.10, and Ruby 2.5.

For developers, one of the most interesting of Fedora's new features is its modular repository. With this, programmers can choose alternative software versions instead of the default packages. So, for example, if you want to run a different version of Node.js, you can do it.

This is done via a new optional repository Modular, aka the "Application Stream" or AppStream for short. This ships additional software versions on independent life cycles. This way you can keep your operating system up to date while having the right version of an application for their use case, even with the default version in the distribution changes.

To see what programs are available run the command:

$ dnf module list

...from the shell.

Fedora 28 also includes improved Virtualbox, Oracle's popular desktop virtual machine (VM) hypervisor, guest support. With this, Fedora 28 integrates and performs better with host operating systems when you run it on them as a Virtualbox guest VM. This results from Linux developers adding VirtualBox Guest Additions to the Linux kernel.

Besides Modular support, Fedora 28 Server now includes support for 64-bit ARM as a primary architecture. Always thought ARM would make a great server platform? Now you can find out.

Fedora Atomic Host is is a minimal footprint operating platform. It's designed for the sole purpose of running containerized application. You can use it to run containerized workloads from your desktop all the way to the public cloud. Fedora Atomic Host includes a base image for creating virtual machines, an Atomic Host image for creating container deployment hosts, and base container images as a starting point for Fedora-based containerized applications. Fedora 28 Atomic Host also includes Kubernetes 1.9 for orchestrating container-based workloads.

Finally, Fedora 28 Workstation comes with new tools and features for general users and developers with the GNOME 3.28 desktop. GNOME 3.28 adds the capability to favorite files, folders, and contacts for easier organization and access. Additionally, the new application Usage is included to help users more easily diagnose and resolve performance and capacity issues. The new Fedora also introduces GNOME Photos as the default photo management application.

Fedora Workstations has more than a pretty new face. After years, Fedora finally supports third-party software repositories, which include proprietary software. When you launch GNOME Software 3.28 for the first time, an alert bar asks about enabling third-party repositories. Selecting Enable gives you the following repositories:

  • Google Chrome, the web browser from Google (google-chrome.repo)
  • PyCharm, Python IDE for Professional Developers by JetBrains (_copr_phracek-PyCharm.repo)
  • NVIDIA's proprietary graphics drivers (rpmfusion-nonfree-nvidia-driver.repo)
  • Steam client, digital distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation (rpmfusion-nonfree-steam.repo)

You can, of course, ignore these and use only free and open-source software repositories.

Matthew Miller, the Fedora Project Leader, summed up: "The Fedora Project's mission is to bring leading-edge innovation to our users, and Fedora 28 offers that through the addition of some of the latest open-source technologies including GNOME 3.28 and Kubernetes 1.9. Additionally, with the introduction of the new modular repository, Fedora 28 users are provided with more control over their environments through the ability to choose the right speed for various updates based on their unique needs."

You can download Fedora 28 today. Give it a try, and if you're not afraid of cutting-edge Linux, you'll like it.

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