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Fedora CoreOS, Red Hat CoreOS, and the future of Container Linux

In recent months, we've talked about our plans for Red Hat CoreOS, the new immutable, container-centric operating system bringing automated operations to Red Hat OpenShift. This week, the Fedora project announced the official launch of the Fedora CoreOS project, a new open source community effort under the Fedora banner. How do these new operating systems relate to CoreOS Container Linux, and what does the future hold?

Fedora CoreOS maintains our commitment to the user experience that Container Linux provides today: an automatically updating, minimal, monolithic, container-focused operating system, designed for clusters but also operable standalone, optimized for Kubernetes but also great without it. It’s also an opportunity to revisit some of CoreOS’s early technical decisions, apply lessons we’ve learned over the years, and integrate some of the innovative technology developed by Red Hat and the Fedora community.

We don’t yet know all the details of how Fedora CoreOS will look. Some Container Linux technologies, such as Ignition, are essential components of Fedora CoreOS. Others, such as update_engine, will likely give way to existing projects in the Fedora and Red Hat ecosystem, or to new tools. Fedora CoreOS also plans to build on the packaging and maintenance work done every day in the Fedora project. Most of all, we’re excited to build Fedora CoreOS together with the dedicated and enthusiastic Fedora community, whose long experience building developer and user communities at scale provides a wonderful opportunity to grow the container OS ecosystem.

Meanwhile, we intend to maintain Container Linux at least into 2020, and for at least a year after Fedora CoreOS is available. In-place upgrades from Container Linux to Fedora CoreOS will not be possible, but we plan to provide tooling and documentation to make the transition as straightforward as we can. Existing Container Linux communication channels — the issue tracker and the coreos-user and coreos-dev mailing lists — will continue unchanged for the lifetime of Container Linux.

Finally, Fedora CoreOS will serve as the community upstream of Red Hat CoreOS. Where Fedora CoreOS will strive to embrace the full range of use cases supported by Container Linux today, Red Hat CoreOS will provide a focused operating system dedicated to enabling deployments of Red Hat OpenShift at scale.

We’re excited to invite everyone in the Container Linux community to join the new Fedora CoreOS communication channels — the mailing list, the discussion board, and #fedora-coreos on freenode — and help us design and build Fedora CoreOS.