Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts tagged as “fedora”

Linux Distros: What’s in a Name?

Yesterday, the Fedora Project released Fedora 21, and with it the tech media got on its proverbial horse and started reports and reviews of the latest release. While it’s a good release and we won’t be reviewing it here — I already gave it a shakedown during the alpha and found it to be fantastic and completely worth the wait — there’s one thing that’s missing from Fedora 21 that I find rather disheartening.

Namely, Fedora 21 is missing a release name.

It’s quirky, perhaps, but release names are a favorite item of mine in the FOSS realm. While completely useless in the scope of the software itself, it does actually reflect a degree of creativity within the respective communities. Depending on the how it’s done, the decision process ranges from a spirited event to a tried-and-true yawner.

Fedora logoUntil Fedora 21, the Fedora Project used to have a process for release names in which knock-down drag-out brawls would break out, rhetorically speaking, in the debate and community-wide voting for the name. Arguably, Fedora 17 “Beefy Miracle” wobbled the process from the rails, and while the rest of the names were noble — my favorite was Fedora 19 “Schrodinger’s Cat” — the formula was fairly simple: Names had to meet a “is-a” test. For example, “Schnozz is a ____, and so is Keister.” Taking the example of naming Fedora 14 “Laughlin,” the Fedora Project took the name of Fedora 13 “Goddard” and, though the miracle of the “is-a” test, had a list of candidates, of which Laughlin won. So the formula is as follows: “Robert H. Goddard was a professor of physics, and so was Robert Laughlin.” To see this in action, you can look at the Fedora Release Name History.

32-bit Man in a 64-bit World

We’re going to go off the beaten path a little bit here and start with Joe Walsh — the musician, not the politician — of all people.

In his latest album, Joe proclaims he’s an “Analog Man.” He’s an analog man in a digital world, and that’s something to which I can clearly relate. Here’s why: Until yesterday, all of my non-Macintosh hardware in the “Jungle Room” — I call it a lab because it’s filled with hardware, though I really don’t do anything in this room that remotely resembles research-and-development — is of 32-bit vintage.

32-bit or 64-bitIn comes a castoff ThinkPad T500 from a friend in Seattle and I’m now in the 64-bit club.

I get the advantages of the better/faster/stronger processor capacity, obviously: From Computers 101, say it with me, “The number of bits in a processor refers to the size of the data types that it handles as well as the size of its registry. A 64-bit processor is capable of storing 264 computational values, including memory addresses. This makes it capable of accessing over four billion times as much physical memory than a 32-bit processor.”

Larry Cafiero

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

Fedora 21 Alpha Gets Off on the Right Foot

I say this often – a little too often – and I’ve hammered home the point in various blogs, to say nothing of calling out people who “review” alpha or beta versions of distro releases: Reviewing an alpha or a beta version is akin to sticking your finger in a bowl of cake batter and writing about how a baked cake is going to turn out.

That said, this is not a review of the Fedora 21 Alpha, released yesterday, but rather a test drive of a version that is destined to be improved upon when it is released in December.

So now you can have your cake batter and eat it, too.

First, a moment of silence for the untimely demise of the Fedora Release Name, as Fedora 21 doesn’t have one. Fedora had the best process for release names, causing spirited debate and possibly fisticuffs along the way: $CURRENT_RELEASE_NAME is a ________ and so is $NEXT_RELEASE_NAME, with the blank being filled in with whatever the current name was. Fedora 20 Heisenbug was the last of the named Fedora releases.

Larry Cafiero

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

How Many Linux Distros Are On the Top Ten?

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the number of GNU/Linux distros there are out in the wild. This is nothing new, as this has been an ongoing discussion among Linux users for at least as long as I’ve been using Linux.

In a nutshell, in case you’re new to the Linux world, some say that the overabundance of Linux distros is overkill, that it weakens the development by spreading developers out on the various distros when they could be focused on just one or two key distros. Those in this camp also claim that the huge number of distros also confuses the public, thereby acting as a roadblock to desktop Linux’s growth.

On the other side of the fence, there are people who claim that the choices offered by the numerous distros are actually good for Linux, that the plethora of distros means that users can find an implementation of Linux that’s just right for them.

I’m in the latter camp, but that’s neither here nor there. No matter which side of the fence you sit, there’s actually not nearly so many distros as there may seem.

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Debian Tops Our Community Distro Poll

The results have been tallied and Debian got the most votes in our Community Distro Poll. We would call them the “winner,” but this wasn’t about winners and losers. It was about trying to reach a consensus on what we mean by the term “community distro.” We asked, “Which GNU/Linux distros do you consider to be legitimate community distros?” Choices weren’t limited to one; voters could choose as many as they wanted and even add more through a text box supplied by choosing “Other.”

CentOS Tops Our Web Server Poll

The polls are closed. The votes have been counted. CentOS hands down wins our Web Server OS poll.

About six weeks ago we offered-up a list of six GNU/Linux distros and asked which you’d choose for your web server if you were limited to the distros on that list. The list was composed of what we’ve found to be the most frequently offered Linux OS choices by web hosting companies for their virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated server customers. We offered each of the six in both their 32 bit and 64 bit implementations, which is also usually the case with web hosting companies.

CentOS web server winnerMissing from the list were two distros that are almost exclusively associated with server environments, Red Hat and SUSE Linux Enterprise. They were not included in our list because they’re rarely offered without additional cost by hosting companies because they’re not freely available to download and install.

Best Newbie Distro? You Say Linux Mint.

According to our “Newbie” Distro Poll, someone considering moving from Windows or Mac to Linux should consider taking Linux Mint for a spin. The poll asked the question, “What Linux distro would you be most likely to recommend to a new Linux user?” Evidently this was a subject that interested many of you, because a whopping 1,339 votes were cast in this poll, making it the most number of votes one of our polls has ever received.

What Makes a Community Distro?

Editor’s note: At approximately 8:30 pm EDT on Monday, June 10, 2013 we decided to pull the plug on our Community Distro poll which is referenced in this article after we discovered that 90 votes were cast from the same IP address, evidently in Norway. All votes cast by this IP were for the same single distribution, evidently by an overeager fan of the distro wanting to improve its ranking as a community distro.

Due to issues of public trust, we have decided NOT to continue this poll with a manual count. We appreciate the time all of you took to participate, and we apologize for not being able to see this poll through to it’s completion.


We love it when you make us think and last week you did just that.

On Monday, Christine Hall stirred-up the mud a little with her article Since When Was Ubuntu A Community Distro? The article was written as a tongue in cheek response to a post on another site, in which a writer had feigned surprise while lamenting the fact that Ubuntu was “no longer a community distro.”

Ms Hall feigned surprise right back, while asserting Ubuntu to never having been a community Linux distro, despite Mr. Shuttleworth and Canonical calling it so.

Breaking News: