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Fedora 28 Improves Linux Server Modularity

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted May 1, 2018


Red Hat's Fedora community Linux project announced the general availability of Fedora 28 on May 1. The new release is the first Fedora release of 2018 and follows Fedora 27, which was released in November 2017.

For server users, the biggest change in Fedora 28 is the new modularity initiative, which offers server administrators a range of options for application versions.Fedora

Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller explained to ServerWatch that with Node.js, for example, Fedora 26 came with version 6.x, while Fedora 27 had 8.x, and Fedora 28’s default is also 8.x.

"Fedora 26 will reach end of life a month after the F28 release, and if you’re depending on that 6.x version, previously your only option would have been to just not update, leaving you by the side of the road for security fixes," Miller said. "But in Fedora 28, we have 6, 8, and 9 as modules."

As such, Miller explained that a Fedora 28 server administrator can upgrade from F26 to F28 with the Node.js 6.x module stream with minimal disruption to the actual application. Additionally, he noted server administrators don’t have to wait until Fedora 29 for something newer than node.js 8, because Fedora didn’t need to make that call in advance.

"You can upgrade your base Fedora system, and still choose how fast — or slow — you want the part you care about to move," Miller said.

VirtualBox

Another area of improvement is in VirtualBox guest additions. VirtualBox is a widely used open-source virtualization technology project that has been supported in Fedora for some time. Miller said the new improvements affect Fedora as a VirtualBox guest, not as a host.

"It's the guest additions, which get you better performance, time sync, stuff like that," Miller said. "You could previously install them manually after the fact, but that’s awkward and not a great experience. Now that just works."

Atomic Host

Fedora 28 is also available in the Atomic Host edition, which provides a base layer operating system that has been optimized for container deployments. The Kubernetes 1.9 container orchestration system is included in Fedora 28's Atomic host edition.

The most recent version of Kubernetes is 1.10, which first became generally available on March 27. Miller said the Fedora 28 release didn't include Kubernetes 1.10 due to a timing issue.

"However, it's also worth noting that Kubernetes is now delivered as a container, so it’s decoupled from the host to a degree," Miller said. "It’s not yet a module, so we can only deliver one version at a time, but the team is looking into modularity, and this seems like a good fit."

Fedora 29

With Fedora 28 now generally available, work will begin on Fedora 29, which will come out by the end of 2018. A key direction for Fedora 29 will likely be an expansion of the modularity that Fedora 28 is now introducing.

"I expect to see many more modules — in this release, there’s just a handful to prove out the technology," Miller said. "In addition to the server-focused use-case where you choose different language stacks, databases, and other components, we have a project that converts modules with GUI applications into Flatpaks, and I’m excited about that — it’ll make Fedora a great source of high-quality packages even if you’re not using our desktop OS underneath."

Miller also expects the underlying tech from Atomic Host will be used in other areas.

"We’re working on a Fedora IoT edition, which will launch in a demo mode sometime this summer," he said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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