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A Rolling-Release Version Of Fedora Is Discussed

Fedora

Published on 24 January 2012 04:19 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Fedora
14 Comments

A discussion erupted this morning among Fedora developers about having a version of Fedora Linux that operates on a rolling-release model similar to Arch Linux, Gentoo, and openSUSE Tumbleweed.

This is what effectively began the discussion this morning on the fedora development list, "Fedora would appear to be out of line in not taking on board the potential user base for a rolling release version. For servers there would be huge advantages in management of systems. Is there any support at all within the development community for a rolling release version of Fedora (and possibly ultimately Redhat)? Is there a possibility that not moving to rolling release could ultimately damage Fedora in the future as other distributions increase their support base?"

Almost immediately, Fedora Rawhide was brought up. For the non-Fedora enthusiasts, Fedora Rawhide is just the current development head of Fedora in an RPM repository for what ultimately make up the next release.

Some developers were quick to call Fedora Rawhide their rolling-release, except that Rawhide is not always stable and can easily break in significant ways from time-to-time. Heck, the Phoronix Test Suite and Phoromatic used to track the performance of Rawhide on a daily basis until it left the test system in a broken state all too often. (Granted, that was back in 2009.) Rawhide also ships packages with various debugging options enables.

From the Fedora Project Wiki, "End users should not use Rawhide as their main day-to-day workstation. Because Rawhide is a development branch, many changes are not heavily tested (or tested at all) before being released to Rawhide, and packages in Rawhide can and do break without warning. It is even possible that bugs in Rawhide could cause data loss."

Fedora Rawhide isn't a rolling-release in the same capacity as Arch or openSUSE Tumbleweed, at least if you care about stability and using the system in a production environment. Rawhide just gives you a glimpse into the future of Fedora development, until it bites you.

No substantive solution has yet to be brought up, besides the lack of time/manpower among existing Fedora developers and seeing no significant need to change the status quo.

One proposal mentioned a combination of Arch's rolling-release model, Fedora's rapid releases, and Ubuntu's six-month and two-year-LTS cycles. The discussion then morphed into a debate whether systemd landed too early in Fedora... Plus a few messages that rolling-releases don't work (but a semi-rolling-release might).

Right now it mostly comes down to hot-air being blown around and a true rolling-release model for Fedora looks unlikely to materialize in this latest discussion, at least in any official capacity.

It was less than a year ago that a rolling-release model for Ubuntu was proposed and rejected.

Those wishing to enjoy the Fedora rolling-release discussion can find the full thread on the mailing list.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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