Facebook's Linux Desktop Choice Is Fedora But Ramping Up CentOS Stream

Written by Michael Larabel in Fedora on 14 February 2021 at 04:16 PM EST. 12 Comments
Among Facebook employees while they are mostly using Windows and macOS on their laptops/desktops, for those using Linux the primary choice has shifted from Ubuntu to Fedora but they have begun ramping up CentOS Stream too.

Michel Salim of Facebook presented at last weekend's FOSDEM 2021 virtual conference on the company's internal desktop fleet. While Facebook is known for their usage of CentOS on servers, when it comes to Linux on their employee desktops Fedora is the primary target but with growing support for CentOS Stream.

Facebook internally recommended Ubuntu LTS releases in the past for their employees but shifted to Fedora in being able to re-leverage much of their internal infrastructure around handling CentOS on their servers. By using Fedora on their desktops they have also found it to "serve as an integration point for driving features into CentOS." With using CentOS on Facebook servers rather than Ubuntu, all around it's a better fit with Fedora / CentOS Stream on the desktop. Fedora / CentOS Stream on the employee devices is also an official stance for those wanting to run Linux where as their prior Ubuntu recommendation left employees to self-support themselves. But, of course, Windows and macOS remain the most common platforms for their employee laptops/desktops.

In addition to the standard Fedora repositories and Facebook's own internal repository, they also do enable RPM Fusion on their desktops and also support the usage of Flatpaks. Facebook's usage of Fedora on the desktop has also been why Facebook engineers have been collaborating and driving recent Fedora changes like endorsing the Btrfs file-system usage by default, enabling Btrfs Zstd transparent file-system compression, enabling systemd-OOMD by default, RPM copy-on-write, and more.

Among the reasons Facebook is now pursuing CentOS Stream on the desktop is to serve as a stable rolling-release, binary compatibility, punctual security updates, and its close relationship with Fedora. Facebook also backs the new CentOS Hyperscale initiative. Facebook expects to be fully supporting CentOS Stream on their desktops this year.

See this slide deck (PDF) from FOSDEM 2021 for more details on Facebook's usage of Fedora and CentOS Stream on their internal desktops/laptops.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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