[This message comes directly from the desk of Matthew Miller, the Fedora Project Leader. — Ed.]

We’ve made it to the end of 2021, and I’m filled with so many emotions. On the one hand, I’m extremely proud of the work we have done this year. But on the other hand… when I wrote last year’s love letter, I thought we’d surely be able to celebrate our successes in person this year. Unfortunately, the global situation doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Our usual European winter events — DevConf.CZ and FOSDEM — are both virtual again. While I continue to hold out hope that we’ll be able to share a meal together soon, there are no clear dates in sight.

So, as we close out 2021 and approach the two-year mark of the pandemic, I’d like us all to take a moment to reflect on how we’ve continued to be a thriving community this year. Nest With Fedora brought together over 700 Fedorans—nearly twice the size of Nest 2020. We expanded our annual Fedora Women’s Day to Fedora Week of Diversity, celebrating the rich diversity that makes Fedora a great community. And we upgraded the way we communicate, bringing more conversation to Discussion and adding a new chat server using the open Matrix protocol. And all of that featured our new logo, introduced this spring.

Of course, as much as we love the Friends foundation, this community is about more than just having fun together. We also produce an excellent operating system. Fedora Workstation 34 led the way among major desktop distributions by featuring GNOME 40—a significant improvement to the widely-used desktop environment. We also changed the default audio system to PipeWire. And even though we broke our on-time streak with Fedora Linux 35, that just shows how seriously we take quality — we want to be leading edge, not “bleeding edge”, and we continue to demonstrate that in what we deliver to users.

And, thanks to all of our users for returning the love — for the second year in a row, we’re the Best Linux Distro in Linux Unplugged “Tuxies”, and our friends over at Destination Linux have some really nice end-of-year compliments as well. Phoronix says “Fedora had a stellar 2021 and continued running at the forefront of Linux innovations.” Even OMG Ubuntu! got in on the action, naming us one of the top five distros of the year and noting “In short, if you want to ride the crest of the open source wave near the front, Fedora 35 is the one to choose.”

Beyond the desktop, the Server Working Group, which had been stagnant for a while, sprung back to life this year. The team has been busy updating documentation and helping to keep Fedora Server valuable to sysadmins. Fedora CoreOS added the aarch64 architecture this year. And the Cloud Working Group made big improvements to Fedora Cloud by switching the default filesystem to BTRFS and adding hybrid BIOS & UEFI support.

Because the work we do is so technically sound, and our community embodies the best of open source, Amazon Web Services announced that the next version of AWS Linux will be based on Fedora Linux. This isn’t just validation of all the effort we put into the project, but it presents a great opportunity to grow our community. I’m looking forward to working with AWS engineers in Fedora in the coming year.

As we look forward to 2022, so much is still uncertain. But no matter what, Fedora will continue to be an inclusive, welcoming, and open-minded community that creates an innovative platform for hardware, clouds, and containers that enables software developers and community members to build tailored solutions for their users. (Yes, I just copy/pasted our Vision Statement and Mission Statement.) I really hope to see many of you in Detroit for Flock this summer or at other events around the world. But even if we need to continue with alternate ways to connect, I know we’ll all be here for each other the way we have for the last 18 years. As our big Community Outreach Revamp completes, we’ll be looking for new and returning local Fedora Ambassadors to help.

To everyone who has contributed to Fedora in any way, thank you. Packagers, blog writers, doc writers, testers, designers, artists, developers, spin builders, meeting chairs, sysadmins, Ask Fedora answerers, DEI team, and more—you kicked ass this year and it shows. Stay safe and healthy, and we’ll meet again in person soon!

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