Is Fedora really a semi-rolling release distribution?

How often do package updates come to Fedora? I have been using stable (such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint) and rolling release Linux distributions (such as EndeavorOS) for a long time. I recently installed Fedora Linux on a UTM virtual machine on an M3 iMac. The very first Linux distribution I ever encountered was Red Hat, from which Fedora is derived. The last time I used Red Hat 8, I always followed the development of Red Hat and Fedora, although I did not run Fedora for active, day-to-day purposes. How often would package updates come compared to the mentioned distributions?

What’s “semi-rolling” supposed to mean? Either there’s a rolling release and any kind of update can come at any time – even changes breaking compatibility or user experience – or not.

With Fedora Linux, there’s a new stable release (introducing potentially breaking changes compared to the previous release) circa every 6 months, and updates within these releases are supposed to be “conservative” regarding changes.


I often read that Fedora is classified as a semi-rolling release. Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE - how different release cycles can impact enterprise server space? | Blog (

There are some packages that keep up with upstream, like a rolling distro will do.

I think its only the kernel and browsers that update to latest upstream.
This is because of security concerns. Running the latest kernel is best for the systems security. And threats from the we require browsers to be kept up to date.

For the rest of the packages in Fedora only bug fixes are expected.

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It should be noted though, that since Fedora is using “the latest and greatest”, updates are provided on a daily basis.

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If you already mentioned the kernel, is it possible to install LTS kernel on Fedora? Sometimes it comes in handy if, for example, the system does not start with the normal kernel.

I can back this up. Ever since I installed Fedora, there have been a few package updates every day, of course not as many as in a rolling release distribution.

Fedora Linux only has one kernel package, but up to three versions are kept on a system automatically. So, if an updated kernel doesn’t boot, you can choose the previous working one instead.


Thanks, it seems I’m used to the existence of the LTS kernel on Arch Linux, but there is none here.

Yes it is, but they comes from third party repositories and they could be not as well tested and integrated like the one you can find in the Fedora repository.

Of course, don’t install a kernel from a third-party repository.

Well no. You are free to do that! :slight_smile:
There are repositories with good reputation.
But yes: do it at your own risk.

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For example, if the system does not start even with the last three kernels, then it is worth installing the LTS kernel.

Err… Fedora had to start/work at some point else you would not be able to end up with the last 3 automatically backed-up kernels.

Do you mean that if Fedora doesn’t boot with the last installed kernel, it would most likely boot with one of the other two?

yes, there is the COPR kwizart/kernel-longterm

Fedora does not provide one, even though I think this would make much sense.

Also btw RedHat Enterprise Linux is derived off of Fedora, not the other way around. Actually it is derived of a variant of Fedora built with RHEL systems. And they also dont use everything in Fedora, like BTRFS.

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I also think that the LTS kernel would make a lot of sense. COPR itself seems similar to PPA on Ubuntu, although the latter is done by developers, but am I seeing the analogy correctly?

I didn’t even know that, most people think the other way around, that the improvements from RHEL are included in Fedora after a while.


  1. PS. Off topic question. How can it be set in the individual forum profile so that the full name is not visible, only the nickname? ↩︎

Working kernels don’t just stop working on a given system, if they did work in the past (except maybe when one performs hardware changes to the system).

The way I see it, and the way I think it usually works for the majority of users, is that, presuming you have the default setup of 3 retained kernels, at least one, but usually all but the last one is working on the system. In my view there are 2 scenarios:

  • A new kernel totally breaks your system, to the point that you can’t even boot into it, in which case you boot into a previous one, and wait for a newer one which would work. If you want to stay on the safe side, you can remove the “faulty” kernel(s), so that you have only working ones on the system.
  • A new kernel boots up the system, but there are bugs/annoyances. The users can decide if they can live with those bugs, or rather revert to a previous kernel.

Then there is always the possibility to increase the number of retained kernels on the system.

If you have extremely old hardware, and the current kernels won’t work for you at install time, maybe Fedora is not your best pick, since its philosophy is different, and there is only so much development and maintenance effort available for the project.

But for the vast majority, there is really no point IMO to have an LTS kernel.

If you start experiencing a kernel not starting, you increase that number from 3 to something higher. Since diskspace almost doesnt cost anything these days, I keep 6 kernels on most of my systems.

No it does not. Fedora is, as quoted above, the “latest and greatest” and an LTS kernel does not match that paradigm. Fedora wants to provide the newest features and fancy stuff like btrfs, so you want the newest kernel. In my opinion, Fedora with LTS kernel makes no sense.


This is interesting, because the ability to install the LTS kernel on a truly rolling release Arch-like Linux (EndeavourOS for example) is considered useful, even on pure Arch.