Celebrate Fifteen Years of Fedora

On November 6, 2003, Red Hat announced Fedora Core 1, the first software release of the Fedora Project. This announcement marked the beginning of a collaborative project between Red Hat and its user community.

A history lesson

The Fedora Project traces its roots to a community-led project called fedora.us.

Fedora is a community project to ease publishing and delivery of 3rd party software on the Red Hat platform.

At the time, Red Hat Linux provided a core set of packages suitable for most users. The Fedora project set themselves up as a community of dedicated Red Hat Linux users with a goal of finding and packaging more software that was not shipped in the core Red Hat Linux product offering.

A few months after launching Fedora.us, an even bigger announcement hit the fedora.us homepage. Red Hat Linux was merging with Fedora Linux, resulting in the Fedora Project. ????

The Fedora Project was now a single, community-based team of passionate Linux developers, many of whom were still Red Hat employees. However, the projects were still somewhat separate. Red Hat Linux became Fedora Core; an openly developed project but was restricted to Red Hat employees. Fedora.us (or Fedora Linux) became Fedora Extras, where community members could continue to contribute packages and enhancements on top of Fedora Core.

This structure continued to exist for six releases of Fedora Core. With the release of Fedora 7, the distinction between Fedora Core and Fedora Extras was dropped, and Fedora was one big, happy family!

What’s new in Fedora Core 1

The Linux software ecosystem 15 years ago looked very different that today. Fedora Core 1 introduced a few new packages that might sound familiar to the astute reader:

  • bitstream-vera-fonts
  • dbus
  • epiphany
  • nano
  • rhythmbox
  • yum

Innovation and early adoption has been a part of Fedora since the beginning. Even in 2003, the Fedora Project was pushing forward with new projects. The following are excerpts from the Fedora Core 1 Release Notes.

  • “CUPS is now the only print spooler provided. During upgrades, if LPRng is installed, it will be replaced by CUPS.”
  • “Fedora Core 1 includes the Native POSIX Thread Library (NPTL), a new implementation of POSIX threads for Linux. This library provides performance improvements and increased scalability.”
  • “Fedora Core 1 now uses a graphical interface while booting.”

Not only that, Fedora was in the process of migrating its font system to the new fontconfig/Xft, and switching to UTF-8 across the distribution!

Default desktop

Even in 2003, GNOME was the default desktop for Fedora.

Fedora Core 1 shipped GNOME 2.4, adopting the classic Red Hat Linux panel layout over the upstream project’s two-panel layout.

The Mozilla Suite was the go-to web browser at the time. Mozilla had not yet started the Firefox standalone browser project, so this suite included an email client and usenet news reader. While Mozilla included an email client, Fedora defaulted to Ximian Evolution as its email/groupware program.

Also included:

  • OpenOffice.org (formerly StarOffice, and not yet LibreOffice)
  • gAIM (Pidgin would rise in popularity as alternatives to AIM came about, such as Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger)
  • X-Chat

Hardware requirements

Fedora Core 1 has some pretty modest hardware requirements, even for 2003.


At a minimum, it requires a Pentium-class CPU. The release notes include an important note about compiler optimizations.

NOTE: Fedora Core 1 is optimized for Pentium PRO (and later) CPUs, but also supports Pentium-class CPUs. This approach has been taken because Pentium-class optimizations actually result in reduced performance for non-Pentium-class processors.

For a graphical installation (an X11-powered desktop), a 400 MHz Pentium II is recommended. And for text-mode only, a 200 MHz Pentium-class or better!

Hard Disk Space

The release notes list a few different space requirements, depending on the intended use:

  • Custom Installation (Minimal): 520MB
  • Server: 870MB
  • Personal Desktop: 1.9GB
  • Workstation: 2.4GB
  • Custom Installation (Everything): 5.3GB

In today’s world of terabytes of cloud storage, the modest difference in megabytes between a “Server” and “Personal Desktop” seems downright quaint in comparison.


There is evidence of Moore’s Law in the memory requirements for Fedora Core 1 too. At a minimum, for “text-mode”, it requires 64 MB! And for graphical installations, that increases to 192 MB at a minimum, but recommends at least 256 MB.

Try it out!

Fedora is proud of its heritage. There is no better way to understand history than to experience it. Fortunately, modern virtualization software ships with Fedora Workstation by default! So why not try out Fedora Core 1 yourself? We’ve put together a virtual disk image of Fedora Core 1 (927 MB download) that can be imported directly into GNOME Boxes. It even points to the “current” update repositories so you can try out the “new” yum package manager yourself.

Fedora Project community


  1. Joakim Forøysund

    This recalls good memories. My first real Linux experience was FC2, after struggling with errors and viruses in Windows XP. The few problems I encountered in Linux were pure fun to explore.

    For some time I used Ubuntu, Debian and OSX, but recently returned to Fedora. It’s better than ever before. The community is doing an excellent job!

    Thank you, all – and happy aniversary!

  2. Alfonso Savio

    It was love at first sight with FC4 as server and then also for desktop. This aniversary cames close to IBM acquisition of RED HAT; I hope that the community will go forward as last years in future.

    Happy aniversary to the whole Community !!!

  3. Ole K Skramstad

    My first distribution was Ubuntu, but after distro hopping for a while I tried Fedora and settled down. There was simply no one else that offered such a reliable, complete and up to date package. These days I work with RHEL based distrobutions such as Scientific Linux and Centos. Having Fedora 29 as my workstation and home OS makes everything simpler.

  4. Zaptac

    The release of FC1 was the time when I switched my desktop computers at work and private finally to Linux.

  5. Liviu

    I was with Fedora from the very beginning and even before that, as I started using Linux back in the days of RedHat 6 :). I always loved the innovation and the feature rich system distributed by the Fedora team. I still can’t wait to try out each new release, it’s makes me feel like I’m buying a new computer each time :)).

    In almost to decades of using it I had a lot of fun, got a ton of work done and learned twice as much. Thank you all for that!

    • Rich

      Same here! I got RedHat Certified on 6 (on a whim) after several years running Linux for the PPC on a PPC Mac and converted my stuff at home to RH6. Greatly enjoyed the distribution as it went from RH7 to Fedora Core 1 to Fedora of today!

  6. Leguis

    The first time I saw a linux based computer was in 2005. I was in Puerto Rico, and I just had finished my master studies, so, to celebrate, I was invited to dinner in a popular bar in the north site of the island. To my surprise, there was an internet spot in the bar with four computers running with a different OS that I never seen before. It was Fedora. Honesty, I didnt knew how to react in from of those machines, but I’ve tried. Two years later, I guy that was an IT, did the first installation of Fedora on my PC with a double boot OS. It didnt took too much until I dumped the other system and never look back. Thanks, Red Hat and Fedora team for your efforts and a big CONGRATULATIONS for you all!!!!

  7. zermok

    15 years is yesterday… so it shows how humans can work together and make a system evolve very fast, so it can be a lesson at the human society we are living and take act of it. happy birthday

  8. (Mr) Leslie Satenstein

    Wow, You made me realize that I to have 15 years of dedication to Fedora. I started with Fedora 15 years ago, with the initial release, when a friend gave me a CD. At that time, Fedora core fit into a 800meg CD. Now, just the network installer fits onto a 800mg CD. I never wavered from using Fedora all this time.

    I still have a CD / DVD burner attached, that collects dust.

  9. /me points out that fedora core 1 is EOL and should be upgraded to fedora 29 as soon as possible. 😉

  10. i believe i started with fedora core 1. i definitely remember fc2. it was a welcome replacement to cygwin, which was good to a point. after i installed fedora, i found the irc fedora channels and found the community. it’s one of the best things i’ve done.

  11. Jeremy

    You talk about Gnome but have a screenshot of KDE. Why?

    • @Jeremy: It’s not. That’s a GNOME interface from Fedora Core 1, circa 2003. Looks really different, doesn’t it? 🙂

  12. svsv sarma

    I first started with RedHat 9 in 2003 but struggled with it as it was not as popular as Ms Windows and there were no spoon feeders. No internet, no manuals, no compatibility with window programs and no supportive apps. I had to continue with Windows for work.
    Later I tried Ubuntu, Debian, LinuxMint, Solaris and etc which never satisfied me fully. Finally Fedora suited me fine!
    Thank you all Fedora.

  13. tom

    It’s very meaningful to experience old linux dist.
    I still rember the first time playing Red Had 7.3 (2002 year came out,not the RHEL 7.3)dist in my first Computer (Celeron 1.1Ghz ,128MB+64MB memory ,ATI Radeon 7500 graphics card,40Gb Hard disk and a 24X CD-ROM),and let me knew that I would use my computer without Micorsoft fucking stuff.

  14. David

    I’ve been using Fedora since FC10. I think it’s probably the best distro out there, and has a lot of community involvement.

  15. Matthew Bunt

    This article and the comments made me think back to my own humble beginnings with Linux. When I was in high school I had to make up a credit in order to graduate (don’t skip school kids). I took a Linux class for summer school at a local ‘career center’ and ended up being exposed to Linux for the first time in the form of RedHat 8. I think that class was one of my best memories from high school and one of the big things that started me on my Linux journey.

  16. Emir Morataon

    it doesn’t feel like it’s been 15 years like it’s only been 5 years. I still remember the first time I saw and learn about linux.

    First try on RHEL 3 then try suse linux, debian, knoppix, ubuntu, mandriva, slackware, fedora, opensuse, mageia and last back on fedora again.

    Security at Fedora is not too hard or not too much soft, fast to build what I want to be on my cpu. in my opinion is perfect to use my daily project and used reguler daily, that why I return back to Fedora.

    Thanks Fedora team and RedHat team

  17. Tomas

    On Sep 03 2003, I just entered university to study Computer Science.
    On Sep 11 2004, I spent 4500 RMB to buy my first desktop computer, which was 512MB DDR400 memory, AMD athlon 2500+ CPU, and ATI 9550 Graphics Card.
    In December, I installed Fedora Core 3.
    And I continued using Fedora Core, seeing its name changing to Fedora 5, expecting every new release every 6 months.
    Now, I’m a software engineer working at a chip-maker company, and I use Fedora as my working OS everyday.
    Now I’m using Fedora 29.
    I’ll go on using Fedora, the most developer-friendly OS!

  18. João Rodrigues

    I started using GNU/Linux at the same time I started college in 2000. In the labs they had computers running Red Hat Linux. A couple of years later they changed to Mandrake Linux (and later to Mandriva).
    I remember we could buy some blank CDRs and ask the I.T. guy to burn a linux distro on them.

    Installation was not very straightforward and there was lots of hardware that needed manual configuration so every year our department organized a Linux Installation Party. We’d bring our PCs to the party and older students and I.T. staff helped install a distro on our computers.
    Heck I still remember the horizontal and vertical refresh rate values of my CRT monitor because I needed those values to configure X.

    I also installed Slackware on an old 486DX4 with 8 Megabytes of RAM, a 540 Megabyte HDD and 3 ISA (oh the joy of setting IRQ and DMA jumpers!) 10Mbit NICs and after a lot of reading tldp.org, iptables and dnsmasq manuals, managed to configure it as a network router. This was before wifi, when ISPs only provided a cable modem (not a router) and we had a whopping 640kbit down/128kbit up network bandwidth.

    From Slackware I changed to Gentoo for the greater package selection and the customization possibilities (and for the challenge of getting Gentoo running).

    I started using Fedora in 2010. By that time I bought a notebook (an eeepc!) and I wanted a distro with bleeding edge packages but I didn’t want to spend all the time and battery compiling packages in Gentoo.

    Stopped upgrading when Fedora 15 was released because of the whole gnome 3 debacle and changed to Mint, which had the Gnome 2 fork, MATE Desktop. Later Fedora also started including the MATE Desktop (and now it’s a Fedora Spin) and I went back to Fedora.

    Man, I feel old just from remembering all this.

    Happy 15th birthday and many hats!

  19. SampsonF

    Fedora Core, Fedora.

    The main OS for my desktop PC.

  20. Dirk Gottschalk

    I am a Fedora user since FC1. It’s the best distribution out there, IMHO.

    Nothing more to say, except: Happy Birthday Fedora. 😀

  21. felix Calderon

    Empeze usando RedHat, y pense que lo extrañaria, no imagine que a lo largo de estos 15 años la “excelencia” de Fedora me envolvio y vivo muy satisfecho de usar Fedora.
    No obstante justo ayer, sufri un percance, toda mi carpeta de descargas no se puede abrir, y se ha ubicado en la parte final del arbol principal, no tiene padre, no tiene tamaño, ni permisos, “TODO DESCONOCIDO” .
    Se que no es el lugar apropiado, para contarlo, pero me siento honrado por ser parte anonima, hasta hoy de esta Gran Familia.

    saludos y exitos

  22. Ben Porter

    Can’t tell if I’m just missing it, but how to log in to root? Tried a few default passwords, but couldn’t get it. What is the default root password?

  23. Love the old Bluecurve theme and Bluecurve Classic. My favorite? Bluecurve classic! I love it and I wish the Bluecurve Classic is installed on Fedora 29 Mate Desktop. Ahh I forgot most of stuff back then in 2003 when I was 24 years old. Now I am 39 years old. Man! That was looooonnnnngggg time ago! In Gnome-Boxes I couldn’t connect to the Internet, I even go into Control Panel…. Hmmm. Not sure what am I suppose to do? I forgot! LOL. But I love the Bluecurve Classic theme! 🙂

    I am current running Fedora 29 Mate on MacBook Pro 9.1 (Mid-2012).

  24. Evillagr

    I’m still remember a corrupt CD when I installed FC1. So I excluded OpenOffice as solution.
    Good memories!!

  25. Steven

    Congratulations and a big thanks to Fedora Team and Redhat!

    Redhat 5.X user since late 90’s, then FC, then Fedora up to release 29. Even after trying other distros, I can say it is the best distro by far.

    BTW, any word about the future of Fedora after RedHat acquisition from IBM?

    • Dirk Gottschalk

      I) don’t think this would change much. Fedora is not RedHat. I don’t think IBM would cancel sponsorship of Fedora since it is kind a development tree for RHEL. This would be like cutting off the branch they are sitting on, if you understand what I mean.

      • Steven

        Thanks for your reply

        Completely understood. Not interested in ranting or trolling, wish Fedora remains alive and will not end up cancelled by a bunch of managers wheening that it does not meet strategic goals or trying to make shareholders happy by saving a few bucks. Huge companies can be incompetent (former IBMer myself)

  26. Happy birthday… I am Fedora user since core1, main OS for decade and a half… Today all computers at my office/work (100+ users) are on Fedora 🙂 and some freeBSD as servers…

  27. Happy birthday Fedora!

    I remember trying out FC1 and so many other releases after that. To commemorate these 15 years, I wrote a humble thank you to the whole Fedora community during this very special Fedora Appreciation Week!

    Thank you, Fedora!

  28. Happy B’day Fedora,

    Congratulations and a big thanks to Fedora Team and Redhat!

  29. Sumit Bhardwaj

    Wow…thanks for the virtual disk of FC1, it brought back so many memories 🙂 I started with Linux when Redhat Linux 9 was made free for all to download, then moved to FC1 and stayed till FC 14….After that I took a break from Fedora and tried few other distros but came back to it during FC19 beta cycle. Can’t go back to anything now, running every release since then, right from its beta stage. dnf-system-upgrade plugin has made it so easier now to upgrade to new releases, its very reliable.

  30. Love this. I’ve been on this ride since Core 3 and look forward to every new release. Thanks to the hard work that goes into each one. I never take it for granted.

  31. Rob Grunsky

    I begged my parents to let me install linux after accidentally erasing windows 95 during the partitioning segment of Mandrake linux when I was 11 (my error was trusting the mandrake installer to resize my windows partition correctly). It was VERY difficult to live down the fact I had deleted hundreds of songs downloaded from napster. Some time around 2003, after my parents moved onto a new computer with Windows XP, I started talking about dual booting Linux while assuring them I won’t destroy their files. They purchased the Red Hat Linux Bible for me and I read the whole thing front to back over and over for about a year, at which point they nervously allowed me to setup the dual boot system. I’m not sure which distro was my first official one, but after cycling through distros like a maniac over the next few years, by the time I was 20, I was totally set on fedora.

    Thank you everyone at Fedora & Red Hat for all of the memories, and experiences, and support over the past 15 years! Here’s to another 15 more :).

  32. Iztok

    I was running FC1 in demanding production for almost 8 years on one of my servers (I know it was not wise to use it so long without updates ;))) … no downtime, working like a charm …

    I had personally installed all the versions of Fedora (I am writing this post on Fedora 29 ;))) and I really love this distro …

    I got used to find new problems during installation while being an early adopter all the time. This time I had to solve this one (I used network install for change and installer broke down during installation):


    … but I always managed to solve all small initial problems with the help with the community …


    Those small problems helped me to learn new things about my machine when introducing new bleeding edge features as fast as Fedora does it …

    Happy anniversary Fedora ;)))))

    Thank you all for the great work …

  33. ibims

    I use Fedora as my main desktop OS since 11/2004 without any breaks, when FC3 was released. Before, i started with SuSE Linux 7.2 till 9.3.
    I am still happy with Fedora and very special thanks to all for their work to make this possible. After all this years i never wouldn’t change the distro. This works perfectly for me (in combination with CentOS for my servers). So, happy birthday abd i am looking forward for the next 15 years.

  34. Vamsi Krishna Brahmajosyula

    I started off with FC4. Today fedora powers my desktop at work and home.
    All the best to the community .

  35. SkipF

    Do you think it’ll run on one of my OLD Raspberry Pi ‘2’s?

  36. Folkert Meeuw

    I started my experience with a RedHat 4.2 system. It was coming on a CD with the Linux Magazin. I still stayed on RH for a while until the commercialisation dropped me. Mandriva was my next choice until it split. Polish AUROX distribution was the next until the final release. Next was Fedora 14. I think it was 14. Actually I’ve a set of hard disks with Fedora 20, Fedora 27, Fedora 28. What will the future bring me? The horizon rises up the IBM/RH deal. I think it’s open.

    Fedora, congratulations to your fifteenth birthday and success, In three years you are of age.

  37. Mehdi

    I can’t get it to install. Tried desktop and laptop computer. None worked. I get stuck in the first next screen and I am unable to send a button to the installer, although Gnome Boxes is already capturing the keyboard.

    • There are issues with mouse tracking within the screen. Try navigating to the Next button with the keyboard; tab until you see the dotted line around the next button and see if hitting the Space bar will press the button.

      While I was creating the virtual machine, I noticed that keyboard and mouse input would stop working if the machine has both a USB input device (mouse and/or keyboard) and a PS/2 input device (mouse and/or keyboard). Open the machine settings in virt-manager and check to make sure it only has PS/2 input devices.

  38. George M

    My first foray into Linux was the free disks on the cover of Australian Personal Computing magazine. That was RedHat 4.3 I think. Back then you had to modify the driver for your video card yourself to get it to work properly. There was a very real risk of literally smoking up your video card if you got it wrong! I dabbled and played and had fun with it on and off. I finally became a full-time Linux user with Fedora 12 but still played with other distro’s on my experimenter PC. I have to use Windows for all my work related activities because that’s what my employer uses. All my personal computing needs are handled with Fedora and it is, by far, my favourite Linux environment. As others have also said, congratulations to all the Fedora Project contributers for your excellent work. Happy 15th Anniversary!

  39. rengar

    I’ve been using Fedora since FC1.
    Before I used RHEL.

    I don’t change distro never.

    Congratulations to your fifteenth birthday.

  40. Aah !! 15years. I had started learning linux on my PC with FC2. Those days didn’t have the tabs / smart phones. Everytime I had a problem, I had to boot back to Windows and check internet for solutions. ( I was still trying to configure eth0 😀 ). Things I learnt back then are still gold-dust for me.

    When FC5 came, I had joined a startup. I successfully manged to get the devs working on FC5 (atleast those who were brave). Now its Fedora + Ubuntu on 2 diff machines at office.

    I’ll for sure be trying out the FC1 image. I miss the snazzy


    font, can’t remember which one it used to default to along with the ever handsome Bluecurve theme. If anybody has an answer to the font, please reply. I want to replace the Cantarell for a week in honor of the B’day!

    Personally I never thought I’d be stuck to Linux and Fedora for such a long time. What began as a hobby or curiosity has grown into mainstream use for me. Kudos to all the guys who’ve spent hours and days working on it plus to those angels who helped newbies like us to configure and fix our desktops.

    Thanks to the community again!

  41. I started via Conectiva 9 (what is incarnation today, of Mandriva, sort of), switched to Red Hat 9 and then to Fedora Core 1. It was a balsam for me. I did realize I had a north to learn how to tame my machine.

  42. Benjamin Gring

    I miss Blue Curve sooo much.

  43. I’m curious as to the default root filesystem type of FC1, DistroWatch says ext3 was unsupported (but for some reason mentioned in its overview table), while JFS, ReiserFS and XFS were supported. My main question is what was the default filesystem type and did FC1 use LVM like the presently-supported versions of Fedora do, or did it just use standard partitions?

  44. Mehdi

    Happy birthday Fedora. I’ve been a happy Fedora fan for over three years now!

  45. quinquen

    thanks to all of you!

    this work its a clear example about the life we want. many thanks for the fun, collaborative work, a really friend time.

    I start with RedHat 6.1 or maybe 6.2…. a lot of fun.


  46. Congratulations fedora I hope you remain active for more years they deserve it.

  47. FC4 was my first experience with Fedora and after that, I am keep using Fedora.
    Long live Fedora, redhat and IBM.
    Fedora is quite stable and I believe it could be a good alternative for IBM’s enterprise customer desktop system.
    I hope IBM has a good plan to keep developing Fedora, keep it free and find commercial customers for it that guarantees development and more commercial applications on fedora.

  48. Max

    My start with Fedora was with version 8. First love, first linux, first impressions and expirience. Old good times)
    I`m still dreaming about lts-based spins for home users :p

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