The Fedora 21 Alpha release has arrived, with a preview of the latest free and open source technology under development. Take a peek inside!

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What is the Alpha release?

The Alpha release contains all the exciting features of Fedora 21’s products in a form that anyone can help test. This testing, guided by the Fedora QA team, helps us target and identify bugs. When these bugs are fixed, we make a Beta release available. A Beta release is code-complete and bears a very strong resemblance to the third and final release. The final release of Fedora 21 is expected in December.

We need your help to make Fedora 21 the best release yet, so please take some time to download and try out the Alpha and make sure the things that are important to you are working. If you find a bug, please report it – every bug you uncover is a chance to improve the experience for millions of Fedora users worldwide. Together, we can make Fedora a rock-solid distribution. We have a culture of coordinating new features and pushing fixes upstream as much as feasible and your feedback will help improve not only Fedora but Linux and free software on the whole. At the end of this announcement you can find more information on how to help.


Fedora prides itself on bringing cutting-edge technologies to users of open source software around the world, and this release continues that tradition. No matter what you do, Fedora 21 has the tools you need to help you get things done.

To see how Fedora 21 is evolving from Fedora 20, see the accepted changes here.

Fedora.Next and Fedora 21 Products

As part of the initiative, Fedora 21 will boast three products: Cloud, Server, and Workstation. Note that for the Alpha release, the network installers act as generic, ‘universal’ installers, offering the entire set of Fedora package groups by default, rather than only the groups associated with the Product they are meant to represent.

Fedora 21 Base

Each of the products will build on the “base” set of packages for Fedora. For instance, each product will use the same packages for the kernel, RPM, yum, systemd, Anaconda, and so forth.

The Base Working Group develops the standard platform for all Fedora products, which includes the installer, compose tools, and basic platform for the other products. Base is not a full product intended for use on its own, but to be kept as a small, stable platform for other products to build on.

Fedora 21 Cloud

The Fedora Cloud Working Group and Special Interest Group (SIG) have been busy leading up to Fedora 21. Cloud is now a top-level product for Fedora 21, and will include images for use in private cloud environments like OpenStack, as well as AMIs for use on Amazon, and a new image streamlined for running Docker containers.

Modular Kernel Packaging for Cloud

Space is precious, and there’s little reason to include any kernel modules that aren’t used in the cloud. As part of the work for Fedora 21, the cloud SIG and kernel team split the kernel into two packages. One package contains the minimum modules for running in a virtualized environment, the other contains the larger set of modules for a more general installation.

Fedora Atomic Host

In early April, Red Hat announced Project Atomic, an effort to provide the tools and patterns for a streamlined operating system to run Docker containers. The Fedora 21 release will be the first to offer an “Atomic” host for Fedora, which includes a minimal set of packages and an image composed with rpm-ostree. While using the same RPMs as other Fedora offerings, the Atomic host will allow users to roll back updates (if necessary) as one atomic unit — making update management much easier. For users and organizations looking to run Docker containers, the Atomic host will be ideal.

Fedora 21 Server

The Fedora Server product is a common base platform that is meant to run featured application stacks, which are produced, tested, and distributed by the Server Working Group. Want to use Fedora as a Web server, file server, database server, or platform for an Infrastructure-as-a-Service? Fedora 21 Server is for you.

Fedora Server Management Features

The Fedora Server product introduces new Server management features aimed at making it easier to install discrete infrastructure services. The Fedora Server will introduce three new technologies in Fedora to handle this task, rolekit, Cockpit, and OpenLMI.

  • Rolekit is a Role deployment and management toolkit that provides a consistent interface to administrators to install and configure all the packages needed to implement a specific server role. Rolekit is at an early stage of development in Fedora 21 Alpha.
  • Cockpit is a user interface for configuring and monitoring your server or servers. It is accessible remotely via a web browser.
  • OpenLMI is a remote management system built atop DMTF-CIM. It can be used for scripting management functions across many machines as well as querying for capabilities and monitoring for system events.

Domain Controller Server Role

As part of the server role offerings available for Fedora 21, the server product ships with a role deployment mechanism. One of the roles offered in 21 is the Domain Controller Service.

The Domain Controller Service packages up the FreeIPA integrated Identity and Authentication solution for Linux/UNIX networked environments. A FreeIPA server provides centralized authentication, authorization and account information by storing data about user, groups, hosts and other objects necessary to manage the security aspects of a network of computers. As with Rolekit itself, this role is at an early stage of development in Fedora 21 Alpha.

Fedora 21 Workstation

The Fedora Workstation product is a reliable, user-friendly, and powerful operating system for laptops and PC hardware. Fedora 21 Workstation is aimed at providing a platform for development of server side and client applications that is attractive to developers of all stripes. Whether you’re a student or hobbyist, or a developer working in a corporate environment, Fedora Workstation is for you.

Latest GNOME

Fedora 21 Workstation includes the latest GNOME desktop. Fedora 21 is tracking GNOME 3.14, which is due to be released in late September. GNOME 3.14 includes many new features such as integration of Picasaweb and DNLA media server support in GNOME Photos, a new game called Hitori similar to Sudoku, and much more.


Fedora 21 Worsktation includes the new DevAssistant tool by default. DevAssistant helps developers set up environments for their projects, so they can concentrate on writing code. For more information on DevAssistant, visit the website at

Issues and Details

This is an Alpha release. As such, we expect that you may encounter bugs or missing features. To report issues encountered during testing, contact the Fedora QA team via the test mailing list or in #fedora-qa on freenode.

As testing progresses, common issues are tracked on the Fedora wiki:

For tips on reporting a bug effectively, read “How to File a Bug Report:”

You can join the Fedora QA team mailing list here:

Release Schedule

The full release schedule is available on the Fedora wiki. The current schedule calls for a beta release in the end of October, and a final release in early December.

These dates are subject to change, pending any major bugs or issues found during the development process.


There are many ways to contribute beyond bug reporting. You can help translate software and content, test and give feedback on software updates, write and edit documentation, design and do artwork, help with all sorts of promotional activities, and package free software for use
by millions of Fedora users worldwide. To get started, visit today!