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Fedora 38 will still support framebuffer X11 and NIS+

Next version of Red Hat's bleeding-edge distro won't drop all the older tech it had hoped to

The shape of Fedora 38 continues to get clearer as next month's planned release approaches. The latest meeting of the Steering Committee (FESCo) has decided some stuff just isn't ready to remove yet.

Back in January, we wrote about what new things will be in Fedora 38. The minutes of the last FESCo meeting in February revealed some of the things that the project had hoped to drop, but now won't be.

Support for NIS+ in PAM (the Pluggable Authentication Module) and user space are staying… for now. Amusingly, some of the best documentation on NIS+ is from Red Hat's parent company. NIS+ evolved from NIS, which was formerly called Sun Yellow Pages: it's a network directory service for Unix, now largely replaced by LDAP.

(When your correspondent started work at SUSE, he was surprised to find that, nearly 15 years after Novell acquired SUSE, Novell's NDS – now called NetIQ eDirectory – still hadn't been integrated into SUSE's Linux distros. The Linux world has never fully assimilated the benefits of distributed authentication mechanisms; this remains a core strength of Microsoft Windows.)

While is not going anywhere just yet, there was a plan to remove some legacy drivers – notably the VESA and fbdev drivers. As we covered last year, this was planned for Fedora 36 and then for 37, but for now, they survive.

This is significant because the removal of the old framebuffer console and its driver is tied in with merging the patches for the real-time kernel, as already used in Real-time Ubuntu for instance, into the mainline kernel. Printing to the console happens via printk, but this is relatively slow and requires locking the console, as described in this patch.

Linus Torvalds already rejected a patch to remove console output completely from kernel 6.0. Instead, although it is proving tricky, printk is being reworked.

In general, components or features that disappear from Fedora will generally disappear from most other distros some time later, so the writing on the wall is quite large and clear here. As we explained when introducing Real-time Ubuntu, not everyone needs or would benefit from a real-time kernel, but it would simplify development if the patches were part of the main kernel source tree.

Some of the things that won't make it under the wire in time are not removals, but new features, such as OStree native containers. This mainly affects the immutable editions of Fedora (CoreOS, Silverblue and Kinoite) and won't impact the main desktop editions at all.

A feature that certainly will affect more people is the new, more secure UKI boot process devised by Microsoft's Lennart Poettering. Work to support this on Fedora is under way, but there is some concern that it's not ready for prime time just yet. ®

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