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Linux Leaders, Part II: Fedora and Red Hat Derivative Distros

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Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) are the most influential distributions that use the Red Hat Package Manager. Although their influence lags behind that of Debian and Ubuntu, it is still strong enough that Fedora remains consistently in the top three most downloaded distributions on Distrowatch, and is the ultimate source of 50 (15%) of the 323 active distributions listed.

Fedora, the successor to Red Hat Linux and perhaps the most influential distribution prior to 2000, is consciously produced as the source for other distributions. In many of its releases, it is among the most innovative distros, releasing new software developed in co-operation with upstream projects. Development is more or less continuous within its Rawhide repository, with stable releases produced every six months.

The main derivative of Fedora is RHEL. RHEL is essentially a snapshot of Fedora, with extra testing for stability and quality control, and the addition of backports of some applications released by Fedora after the snapshot. Since Fedora installs with SE Linux for security, the result is a distribution well-suited to server installations.

However, RHEL is only the start of Fedora's influence.

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