You may remember reading about plans for Fedora 27 Server. The working group decided not to release that at the same time as the general F27 release, and instead provided a beta of Fedora 27 Modular Server. Based on feedback from that beta, they decided to take a different approach, and the Modularity subproject is going back to the drawing board.
Fortunately, there is a contingency plan: Fedora’s release engineering team made a “classic” version of Fedora 27 Server — very similar to F26 Server, but with F27’s updated package set. The quality assurance ran this version through validation testing, and it’s being released, so:
- You can now download Fedora 27 Server from the Get Fedora site. This is the “classic” Fedora Server, without Modularity.
- The Modularity Working Group is going back to the drawing board. Plans are still in progress, but it will likely produce a separate package repository which will build on top of and coexist with the traditional Fedora operating systems.
Modularity Past and Future
Modularity has a very straightforward mission: to enable Fedora to deliver multiple versions of components on different lifecycles across multiple base OS releases. It includes some other ideas about improving packager and user experiences in the process, but that’s the basic thing. Every Linux user has some things they want to move quickly, and others they want to not worry about. Fedora wants to give you that choice.
The approach in last summer’s “Boltron” and the recent beta envisioned an entirely new distribution of Fedora software, with the base operating system itself composed as a module. This offers some interesting benefits — in particular, it keeps the build dependencies of a piece of software well-defined and well-contained. But it has a huge drawback: if some random piece of software isn’t contained in a module, it wouldn’t be available on that edition of Fedora at all. Also, the definition files for modules were another layer of complication, and it became clear that wouldn’t get to an acceptable level of available software for real use.
So, the Modularity Working Group and Server Working Group together decided, rather than offer users and early adopters another iteration down that path, to release the traditional Fedora 27 Server you can find above and take a different approach. The teams are still working out what exactly that will look like, but the most promising involves adding an entirely separate package repository which can be layered on top of traditional Fedora, rather than building a new modular base operating system. This will make it easy for users to opt-in when they want to, and greatly reduces the complication for packagers.
“First” is one of the core foundations of the Fedora Project. At the leading edge of innovation, every step Fedora takes advances the state of the art, even when it’s not directly successful. And, if every try succeeds, Fedora’s not trying hard enough. Sometimes experiments produce negative results. That’s okay — the project learns even when trying a path that doesn’t work out, and it iterates to something better. That process is happening now, and if you’re interested, please join the conversation on the devel mailing list or watch for updates on the Fedora Community Blog in the Modularity Category.