Fedora rolls out new desktop
The Fedora project has released Fedora 10, six months after the release of Fedora 9.
The new release, codenamed Cambridge, has a number of new features and improvements including better networking control and the latest developments from the Gnome and KDE projects. It also has built-in virtualisation and better package management.
One of the areas that will be noticeable for its changes will be the much-improved network management tool, which is still Network Manager but has had a few additional tweaks. One of the cooler of these is the new “instant on” collaboration. Essentially this means that a Fedora machine with an internet connection can easily share this connection with other computer users in the same area. It’s a pretty cool feature for short-term networking.
Also included this time around by default is the KVM (kernel-based virtual machine) hypervisor. Unlike Fedora 9 and Red Hat 6, which included KVM as an optional extra, it is included by default in Fedora 10. KVM’s inclusion in this release probably has a great deal to do with the fact that Red Hat bought KVM maker, Qumranet back in September.
KVM is also an interesting inclusion as KVM is already part of the Linux Kernel tree, unlike other virtualisation technologies such as Xen.
On the desktop interface side, Fedora includes both Gnome 2.24.1 as well as KDE 4.1 and the various additions that those bring.
Also, unlike Ubuntu, which decided to leave OpenOffice.org 3.0 out of its 8.10 release at the end of last month, Fedora 10 includes the latest version of the office suite. The decision by Ubuntu was made because of OpenOffice.org 3.0 being released late and too close to the release of 8.10. It wasn’t a popular decision among users, however.
Fedora, on the other hand, has had time to integrate OpenOffice.org into its latest release.
Putting the boot in
Networking and desktop apps aside, the objective of most Linux distributions at this time is to reduce boot times as much as possible. Fedora’s approach is Plymouth which is a completely new graphical boot sequence to replace the RGHB in previous releases. The idea is that Plymouth starts earlier the RGHB did – even before the root system is mounted – and doesn’t require n X server to run. Hopefully this will give the boot process a noticeable boost.
There are some requirements to display graphics during boot up, however, but there is also a fallback text mode for those systems without the requirements. The Register reports that the system works on ATI Radeon cards right now but that support for integrated Intel graphics chips was “pulled at the last minute”.
Package management is also improved in this release of Fedora, in specific through the use of PackageKit which debuted in Fedora 9. The latest release of the software has been enhanced to assist users in finding additional software they may need. For example, if specific codecs are required to play a media file, PackageKit ought to be able to assist and find the necessary files. Although in its initial stages, Fedora project lead Paul Frields believes this will lay the foundation for applications being able to find other types of code including things such as fonts, drivers and even other applications.
A full list of Fedora 10 downloads can be found here. Local mirrors such as mirror.ac.za and ftp.is.co.za didn’t have copies available at time of writing although they are likely to appear in the next couple of hours.