This post is part of an FAQ series about the updated strategic direction published by the Fedora Council.
What does it mean to “release Fedora”?
Fedora operating system releases are (largely) time-based activity where a new base operating system (kernel, libraries, compilers) is built and tested against our Editions for functionality. This provides a new source for solutions to be built on. The base operating systems may continue to be maintained on the current 13 month life cycle — or services that extend that period may be provided in the future. A solution is never obligated to build against all currently maintained bases.
What does this mean for today’s Editions, Labs and Spins?
We are not moving your cheese. At least, not very far. Today’s outputs are essentially unaffected, except in being granted more freedom. It becomes easier for these solutions to release on their own cadence and to provide alternative software (which could be consumed by other solutions) to meet their users’ needs. We may want to release (for example) Fedora CoreOS completely separately from the base OS refresh, and have a marketing splash entirely around that solution and what the new release does for its target audience.
Labs and Spins are no longer required to be named as such — within the project, they are “Solutions”. (If you like the term “Lab” or “Spin” for something you’re making, feel free to keep calling it that!) These Solutions are “vertical” in that they consume various services to solve their target use case. Solution builders are free to build their solutions on anything the Project has to offer that meets their needs.
Solutions may have access to different services based on criteria set by those vertical service providers, possibly following strategic guidance set by the Council or following recommendations from Mindshare. For example, the Website Team support in the form of presentation on the main downloads page may be restricted to solutions with a large user base. Solutions with smaller user bases can grow their usage and gain access to this.
We are retaining the idea of Editions to denote those solutions we use as a test-gate for our releases. These are our showcases that we will advertise heavily to users and use as a way of framing conversations about the project.
What about solutions that need long or short release cycles?
This is an area where we want the Fedora platform to shine. Modularity enables us to provide multiple versions of applications simultaneously, solutions can release frequently with what have traditionally been thought of as blocking upgrades. This means that these high-speed solutions can keep growing.
When a solution requires frequent changes to the base operating system to meet its need, the entire Fedora platform benefits. These solutions can also be building block or service providers. Therefore if, for example, an IoT solution requires more frequent base library upgrades, another solution can also choose to use those rapidly updating base libraries as part of their build too.