On Tuesday, Red Hat unleashed the brand new Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. And while it’s taking the IT world by storm, it probably didn’t create a huge stir in the Fedora community, beyond some smiles, nods, and hearty claps on the back for those who’ve been working on it.

Why? Because RHEL 7 is chock full of technology we’ve already seen in Fedora. In fact, the very reason most of these features are in RHEL is that they’ve been through the community wringer of Fedora first.


But wait, does this mean Fedora was a beta for RHEL 7? No, RHEL 7 had its own alpha and beta releases, like other RHEL releases previously. Fedora is, however, where technology can be first integrated into something resembling a product. In this case, it’s something that people can download, install, kick the tires on, and more importantly, use and remix to power their own personal and group passions.

This relationship is something I spoke about often in my tenure as Fedora Project Leader, And I’m not the only one. Open source luminary Michael Tiemann has often and aptly described this as a technical election process. By using features in the distribution, and putting them through paces solving other problems, the Fedora community becomes a bellwether for what sticks and what falls away.

Consider for a moment systemd. This was a controversial but game-changing technology for Linux systems. We in the Fedora community took a sometimes uncomfortable but ultimately rewarding plunge by including it in our product. Embracing a change like this, at the basic level of system startup and management, wasn’t easy.

But the result was that Fedora helped expose issues and opportunities for improvement early, and provided a venue to integrate those fixes. By the time Fedora 18 and 19 rolled around, systemd had come into its own, as a technology that solves a lot of real world system administration problems. The vote in this case was clearly “aye,” and so systemd is a major new feature in RHEL as well.

This is just one example of many great technologies that Fedora has had for some time which have only just appeared in the hardened, enterprise-ready RHEL. Our former Fedora Project Leader Robyn Bergeron blogged about quite a few others as well.

If you saw the RHEL release media, you know that Red Hat sees RHEL 7 as redefining the enterprise operating system. The Fedora community should be rightly proud of the essential part they play in that process.

Let’s call this changing the IT game. And let’s also proudly say that we in Fedora took the playing field early.

Thank you to each every one of our contributors for helping change the world!