Linux Mauritius

SnowBird Linux

SnowBird Linux is a remix based on Fedora which I have developed for my company as a replacement for Windows based desktops. The remix includes a collection of the best free/non-free software packages. The latest version can be downloaded from Sourceforge while the kickstart files are hosted on github

Below is a FAQ which should provide an overview of SnowBird Linux and how I decided to build it off Fedora (work in progress).

What is Fedora?

Fedora is a fast, stable, and powerful operating system for everyday use built by a worldwide community of friends. It’s completely free to use, study, and share.

Why remix Fedora and not use the stock standard distribution?

Fedora by default ships only free software and business needs are quite different. We require the best of both free and non-free software to enable employees to excel in their respective fields.

Why use Fedora when it considered a test bed for Red Hat?

Fedora being a test bed is not entirely true, Fedora drives innovation and has a rapid release cycle but it is a solid distribution being the base of RHEL.

Why not use CentOS which has a longer life cycle/ESR model?

CentOS has a conservative model (Red Hat) while Fedora packages the latest and greatest software. A development environment requires the use of the latest technology which will appear (in RHEL and market) when considered mature enough. We depend on a lot of software packaged by RPM Fusion for Fedora.

What’s included in SnowBird Linux ?

Release 18 (NewCo) Cinnamon Desktop

Release 19 (New Dawn) Gnome 3 Desktop

Is SnowBird Linux secure?

Linux is secure by design (RBAC/MAC/DAC), immune to malware/viruses and Fedora has the benefit of using SELinux which runs in enforcing mode by default. Firewalld a dynamically managed firewall is enabled on SnowBird Linux.

How are files shared on SnowBird Linux?

We have disallowed SMB/NFS/WebDAV shares as a company policy and disallow the use attachments in emails, we encourage the use of ownCloud as a sharing platform which has the added benefits of links and versioning. Everything else is managed through SVN.

SnowBird Linux includes Libre Office so how do you collaborate with the external world?

As a company policy the ODF format is the standard. Whenever documents have to be distributed , they are exported to the PDF format and where the source document is required, the document is saved in the Office 2007 format (this ensures maximum fidelity) or hybrid PDF where supported.

Is Wine used to run Windows applications?

No, where Windows applications are required users can run the application in a virtual machine on the desktop or where it is CPU/Memory intensive it is run as a remote desktop application hosted on an oVirt node. Since we have to test applications under Windows XP, Vista and 7/8 we already have a pool of virtual machines available.

How are backups managed on SnowBird Linux ?

Backups are made using deja-dup which hides the complexity of backup options and provides a simple/user friendly interface while being robust and reliable.

How does SnowBird Linux manage central authentication (Active Directory model)?

We have bundled the Free-IPA client which is joined to a Free-IPA domain.

How does SnowBird Linux update software?

The built in software (Fedora) does a great job of managing updates. We apply security updates immediately (yum security plugin) and defer enhancements/features to a QA environment where they are tested before being applied to the machines in a controlled fashion.

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