I have recently switched from Ubuntu to Fedora but can't seem to understand how the repository release cycle is.

In ubuntu it seemed very OS centered where a new version of a package/program was released with the new version of Ubuntu. I guess most famously was Firefox 4 which wasn't released until natty came out, leaving everyone with an older version of Ubuntu with an older version of Firefox. Only security updates are released immediately.

How does Fedora handle software updates? Is it OS centric like ubuntu? Does an update make it into the main repos as soon as its approved? Or is it some other system?


In Fedora the packagers are given most of the decision control. It's up to the person that packages the software to decide which Fedora releases to push it into. For certain major "mission critical" type software that is used by lots and lots of people, and Firefox is a good example, they tend to wait until new versions of the OS before releasing an update. Thus Fedora14 still has firefox 3 and if you wanted firefox 4, you'd need to upgrade to F15. But I've a lot of other software that has been updated to the newest version even in older distributions. KDE often falls in this category and gets at least minor feature updates.

But do remember that the fedora release cycle is rather quick, and thus new versions of the OS come out every 9 months or so (and the older ones get obsoleted quickly). It's designed to be a "cutting edge" type system where they're always the first to pick up new versions of software. Which is both good and bad :-)

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  • Thanks, that really clears it up. Do these major pieces of software have a place like launchpad to get the new major version immediately if I would ever want to? – TheLQ Jun 8 '11 at 3:28
  • If you run "yum update" on a regular basis you'll get any new versions for the OS version you're running... There is a graphical manager that defaults to running in your task tray that will show you when updates are available as well. – Wes Hardaker Jun 8 '11 at 4:40
  • Not OS, software version. Like in the Firefox example where 4 wasn't available in the main repos until the new OS came out. Would there of been an alternative repo to get it from? – TheLQ Jun 8 '11 at 4:45
  • Generally not. There are a bunch of other repos that provide some benefit, but I can't think of one that had a new version of firefox for f14 and below. That being said, firefox is an odd one because you could download it directly from them as well (which I did at one point for f14). – Wes Hardaker Jun 8 '11 at 5:12
  • @TheLQ: The very awesome Tom Callaway generally maintains repos for Firefox on older Fedora releases for a little while. (Instructions for Firefox 5 on Fedora 14 are here.) However, now that Mozilla has modified their versioning scheme, Fedora is permitting full version updates like Firefox 5 in the current release (Fedora 15). – Patches Jun 28 '11 at 1:28

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