Exploring the new Fedora 21

Development Aid

As a new feature, Fedora 21 presents the DevAssistant application, which – as the name suggests – is designed for developers (Figure 3). DevAssistant lets you configure development projects in C or C++, Perl, Python, Java, PHP, Node.js, Ruby, and other languages. DevAssistant also integrates projects you have already started. The program automatically resolves missing dependencies, say, Eclipse IDE, using the package manager.

Figure 3: DevAssistant helps you create your own software projects in many programming languages.

The packages for the BitTorrent client, Transmission, and the Boxes VM management tool, which were missing from Fedora 20, are once again available in the workstation version.

Screen Cockpit

The server variant comes without graphical interface, but Fedora 21 introduces the convenient Cockpit [5], a web-based tool for managing and monitoring the system.

Cockpit shows the CPU, RAM utilization, and network throughput (Figure 4). You can also manage other administrative tasks, such as configuring users, setting up virtual machines with Docker, or controlling systemd and the services it manages.

Figure 4: Cockpit is a convenient front end for managing servers.

To access Cockpit from a remote computer, open a connection with Kerberos. To test the front end in the workstation version, install it first using Yum, and then set it up using systemd [6]. In addition to Cockpit, Fedora 21 also comes with the new Rolekit server management tool and the FreeIPA [7] domain controller.


Except for a few minor details, Fedora 21 makes a good impression. The generous break since the last release has benefited the project, as has dividing the distribution up into specialized versions for servers, workstations, and the cloud. The developers have resolved a few weak points associated with earlier versions, but the Anaconda installer and its partitioning tool still need work.

The Author

Jörg Thoma is responsible for open source at Golem.de. Previously, he worked as an editor with PC World magazine and covered topics relating to Linux as a freelancer. In 1995, he compiled his first Linux kernel, and he still regards Bash as a useful tool. He is passionate about anything open source.

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