The State of Fedora: 2015 Edition

Fedora’s third Flock conference kicked off Wednesday morning with a keynote by Matthew Miller, the Fedora Project Leader (FPL). How’s Fedora doing? Says Miller, “The actual state of Fedora is awesome, we’re doing very well as a project and it’s thanks to all of you.”

Miller says that the project is doing very well, and brought out some stats to prove it – with the caveat that stats can be misinterpreted and “dangerous” if used wrong. After a period of “disconcerting down releases” the Yum connection stats for Fedora 21 and 22 are showing that those releases are back up to the same levels as Fedora 14. Miller also walked through a number of other stats on downloads, and which releases are in use currently.

According to Yum connection stats, Fedora 22 is in the lead with Fedora 21 nearly as popular, and Fedora 20 sporting almost as many users as F21. Other releases and Rawhide make up just a little bit of the active user base today, according to Yum connection stats.

Fedora Workstation has about 68% of the downloads, Fedora Server carries about 14%, with Cloud clocking in at about 4%. The KDE spin is getting about 5% of downloads, and LXDE and Xfce each have about 2.5%. Of course, as Miller pointed out, we don’t know how many people use a release based on downloads. For example, folks could be spinning up hundreds of instances of the Cloud image – or they may be using Amazon Web Services and AMIs, which aren’t counted as downloads at all.2015-Flock-State-of-Fedora

2015-Flock-State-of-Fedora-cpuAnother trend is sharply away from 32-bit x86 CPUs. Miller brought up a chart that displayed the decline of downloads for 32-bit images from 2009 to 2015. Does that mean that Fedora should be dropping 32-bit? Maybe not yet, but it’s worth discussing where 32-bit x86 fits in Fedora’s future.

Beyond Downloads

Another area of the project that’s doing well is Fedora Magazine, which had an all-time high in May of this year. The most popular posts are for user-facing topics, like GNOME and other desktop topics. “In the future we’re working on a separate contributor blog, and make the magazine more and more user focused.”

If you look at visitors to the magazine by region, the United States leads by a large margin. The next countries are Germany, United Kingdom, India, Brazil, France, Italy, Canada, and Russia.

Fedorans do like to work together. Last year there were 1,066 IRC meetings (official meetings, not just being in IRC talking), and 765 IRC meetings in 2015 alone. “This shows how vibrant we are, but also is buried in IRC. There’s a lot of Fedora activity you don’t see on the Fedora Web site… I want to look at ways to make that more visible,” says Miller.

There are efforts to make the activity more visible, says Miller. “If I want to interact with the project, is somebody there? Yes, but we have millions of dead pages on the wiki… we need to make this more visible.”

IRC is “definitely a measure of engagement” but it’s also a high barrier of entry, says Miller. “Wow that’s complicated. Wow, that’s still around?” is a common response from new contributors to IRC. The technology, and “culture” can be confusing.


Again, there are many caveats with using the statistics we do gather as an accurate measure of Fedora’s health, or a clear picture of the existing Fedora user base. To that end, Miller says he’d like to have a more accurate census of Fedora users and usage, but is aware that previous efforts have met limited success and there’s privacy concerns with automatically surveying users.

Miller says he’d like to have an opt-out system that takes care of privacy concerns, but still gives better information about counting the popularity of spins, architectures, etc. He’d like to address this over the next “release or so.”

Copr vs. Koji

For some time now, Fedora has been providing Copr as a build system for packages outside the main Fedora build system (Koji). In the last year, Copr has become very popular amongst the Fedora community. “We’re sure doing a lot more in Koji, but Copr is taking off even more,” says Miller.

Koji’s increase can be attributed to a few factors, but one major factor is the mass rebuild being done due to GCC 5 for Fedora 23 this year. Last year, Fedora didn’t have a mass rebuild of packages.

Looking ahead to Fedora 23

“We’re nominally on track for a Halloween release of Fedora 23,” says Miller. Fedora 23 alpha was released on time, though Miller cautioned against “looking at how the sausage is made” for the alpha readiness.

Though the release is on track, Miller noted that we’re still working on the “story” for the release – above and beyond “this is an improvement on the last release.” He encouraged Fedorans to help craft the message for the release, and to work with the marketing team to surface themes for work that’s going into the Fedora 23 release that might not be obvious.


“Last Flock we had an awesome meeting about how we were going to reform Fedora top-level governance. Over the last year, we’ve done it.” The new governance model (Fedora Council) is in place, and is responding to requests for resources and providing leadership for direction.

The Council uses a “consensus-based model” to operate, rather than holding on approval from all folks unless there’s a specific objection. “A lot of this is set up so the FPL doesn’t get burned out as much,” and Miller pointed to the Council and the new Community Impact Lead Remy DeCausemaker helping to keep the project day to day activities going as well as putting on events like Flock. Miller also says that the search is continuing for the Fedora Diversity Lead.

On the council we have objectives, select those and move towards making those happen. Would like to use those in the future, to decide where funding goes for “all sorts of things,” focus marketing efforts, and more. The current objectives are the editions, university outreach, Fedora “rings”/modularization, and then … what’s next? We have empty objectives, so where do we want to go in the next year or 18 months? Miller says he wants to grow the user base, improve visibility into the project, but he also wants to get input from the larger community.

With that, and a few housekeeping comments from Flock organizers, the “state of Fedora” wrapped for 2015.

The full slides for this talk are available from

Fedora Project community Using Software


  1. Mark T. Kennedy

    COPR needs a category view to aid browsing.

  2. Cory Hilliard

    I’m just happy you guys finally made a Fedora/Cinnamon spin. Mostly everyone I’ve installed Linux for liked Cinnamon better. It’s more familiar and more intuitive for those I’m converting from Windows. I’m up to over 20 converted family households now, and all but one have liked Cinnamon better. (The other person had a touch screen, and liked Gnome 3 better).

    Now if I could just get you guys to agree to a rolling release cycle, it would save me hours and hours of upgrading all of them every 6 months.

    Thanks for being awesome.

    • Why use a spin instead of just using Mint? Obviously a great deal can go into why someone likes a particular distribution over another. However, I wonder how many people think “I like Cinnamon, guess I’ll use Mint.” Which is exactly what I did. By being a spin Fedora is telling me that my desktop is at best an afterthought. Or at least that is how I interpret it. 🙂

      I would certainly agree that making Cinnamon a spin is at least a large step in the right direction. At least it makes it possible for me to consider Fedora again.

      • Cory Hilliard

        I really enjoy the Fedora Community. I know where to go to get answers when I’m stuck.

        I love that Red Hat is a solid contributor to open source. Year after year they’re always within the top 5 contributors if not the first.

        I have been using Fedora and other Red Hat distros since about 2000, when I switched our company servers from Windows 2000 to CentOS back when I was an IT guy. It worked flawlessly.

        I personally switched to using Fedora full time when Gnome 2 finally felt comfortable to me. That was sometime around Fedora 12.

        I love the command line in “Red Hat distros”. I know that seems funny to say, but I’m dead serious. All distros under this company’s direction have nice little differences that I’ve grown accustomed to and use. Things like “ll” instead of having to type “ls -l” and for some reason vi seems so easy to use under these distros. I’ve tried debian distros and swear vi is a totally different program.

        The last one I’ll mention is the way software is handled. I love RPM and YUM and even the new DNF. I know how to work them, I am used to them and I’ve had great success with these tools. I would rather have one system for all, because if I write scripts for one distro, I would have to write another one for another distro. So I don’t care really if I’m using apt, or yum, or dnf. I care about easy of use. That if I’m helping someone with a problem, that I can say one command, or text one command and know that it will solve that person’s problem. I’m willing to learn a new software tool, if it will help everyone settle on one.

        Anyway, I won’t get into why I don’t like Ubuntu and therefore have issues with Mint. Even though I love what they’re doing with Cinnamon. So I’ll just keep it to why I like Fedora so much.

        • Márion SF Alves

          Excuse me. Fedora 22 is the best GNU-Linux.

      • Samuel Sieb

        A spin just means that some group of people has put together an integrated set of packages for a specific purpose. If you use the workstation network install, you can choose the Cinnamon desktop instead of Gnome. But either way, spin or network install, once it’s installed you have Fedora and you get updates just the same. The spin is just the easiest way to get the initial package set installed or to use live.

      • Kurama

        While I am using Fedora Xfce and not Cinnamon, the point here is Xfce is still a Fedora spin. With how my system is set up, I can definitely say that this is not an afterthought. Incredibly stable and fast, I haven’t encountered any problems yet. The web site may say that Fedora Xfce is a spin, but in reality, it’s as polished as it can get. Now Fedora Xfce comes with stock Xfce by default so it needs customization to make it look awesome. But then again Fedora Gnome looks just like stock Gnome 3.

  3. Juan Alpizar

    Back the Fedora 20 days, I was an almost inactive user, constantly switching on my double boot between Windows 7 and Fedora 20, being Windows 7 my main OS.

    Then, in some point in time on Fedora 21 I made Fedora my main OS, but I needed to constantly hop to Windows 7 for some things.

    Now on Fedora 22 I barely hop to Windows, and with the new laptop I’m getting if PCI Pass-through works fine, I’ll be discarding the double boot and sending Windows to a VM for the times I need some IIS requests from Work or games I can’t play on Fedora.

    Now with all of the news about Windows 10 I’ve been reading, I love Fedora even more <3

  4. Cory Hilliard

    This is what I’m getting now.

    Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!

    OK I’m giving up. I have a lot of reasons why I like Fedora. Email me if you want to know.

  5. Cory Hilliard

    OK, THAT pisses me off. How come I can’t even reply with a real answer, but it takes crap like that?

    • @Cory: This must have something to do with the Akismet spam detection engine. I’ve approved through the comment I think you meant to make. Sorry the engine screwed up here.

  6. Fedora continues to be one of the fastest distributions available. Part of my job is to evaluate and benchmark SSD and NVMe devices, Fedora has the support for the devices and always benchmarks higher than other distros and provides the stability for months of uptime.
    I use gnome on my servers with virtual boxes also running Fedora gnome or xfce spins, access to the virtual box desk tops is by vnc sessions. My personal preference is KDE which I run on my laptop and desktop environments. Fedora and the RPM/yum/dnf environment maps well to RHEL, OEL and the Solaris environments within which I work.
    In the past I flip flopped between SuSE, Red Hat, Fedora and Ubuntu, from Fedora 13 on this has become my preferred release on my systems.
    Thank-you for a stable, reliable release stream with enough leading edge support to permit performance and reliability testing of leading edge hardware and a repository that provides a rich set of tools for application development.

  7. Roy Markham

    Been using Linux on and off since the 90’s, Fedora has been my day to day primary OS since 20. It’s made Gnome, for me, the best from a productivity / power user perspective. When it comes to hardware support Fedora and Ubuntu (not Mint / Debian) are the top distros. I own a couple retail stores and it’s our OS of choice for testing client’s hardware etc. For printers though Ubuntu trumps the others.

    I’ve mucked with Mint since inception, it just doesn’t feel as polished. People bash Ubuntu but truth be told in the enterprise, it has many rounded off features that the other distros lack. Fedora does a great job there too though.

    You guys are alot more “approachable” and open to objective criticism than the Elementary OS guys. For all the above, thanks for the excellent, quality work Fedora Team!

  8. If Fedora either does away with 32 bit libraries or makes them a second-class citizen – just remember that they’re necessary for Steam to work (and, presumably, other video games).

    • @Eric: Very good point. I’m not aware of any desire to eliminate 32-bit libraries, for precisely this reason. The only idea I’ve heard is to eliminate the native 32-bit installation tree/media.

  9. I have a somewhat old Toshiba Satellite C855D-S5305 laptop, and Debian 8.1 would not install (installer froze even before disk partition steps). Latest FreeBSD installed fine bur did not recognize wireless interface. Fedore 22 installed fine, wireless is flawless, I am writing this now from the Fedora laptop. Thanks! Looking forward to more Fedora experience and exploration… Cheers!

  10. Márion SF Alves

    I use Fedora 22. Is the best. Thanks.

  11. Aaron Lu

    Thanks for the info, very interesting to know there are so few downloads of the alternative GUIs.
    BTW, I’m reading the magazine from China through a VPN channel in San francisco, I guess I’m counted as an American reader 🙂

  12. i am completely on fedora 23 as my only OS .

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