Oh My Goddard! An Early Look at Fedora 13

Fedora 13 is on the way and while it innovates in its own right, it also borrows some major features from other distros such as Ubuntu and Mandriva. This is looking to be yet another great release from the Fedora community!

It might not have as much bling as Ubuntu, but Fedora still has a lot to offer. While the former focuses primarily on making life easier for new users (and generally does a great job at that), Fedora has been concentrating on the underlying technology and making the best possible entirely free operating system.

Back in February this year, some important project-wide development changes came to the Fedora project. Currently, the development pace of Rawhide (Fedora’s testing branch) slows the closer the project comes to a new release, slowing down the overall development pace of the project. This new development change will adopt a new approach, similar to that of Debian. Rawhide will always continue to be developed at breakneck speed, while a new testing branch will be created which will slow and in time become the new stable release. This will mean that future versions of Fedora to be managed even more efficiently, while allowing the project to continue developing at full speed.

It’s getting close to that time again, when another Fedora release will grace our mirrors and call out to be installed on all your hardware.

Underlying Features

All distributions are driven by specific goals, and Fedora certainly has a very business-centric view of the world. The projects is always pushing the envelope to create the best possible free operating system, often building and introducing technology long before any other. It’s great to know that it’s not just shiny stuff, but great free technology under the hood which is driving us all forward.

GNOME 2.30 desktop
GNOME 2.30 desktop

Fedora 12 “Constantine” is the current release, but will very shortly be replaced by “Goddard”. The development team has been very ambitious lately with the last number of releases having a huge number of major new features. This new release should see a total 48 (all of which are already 100% implemented), just 4 less than Constantine.

While some of these include updates to the latest version of GNOME or KDE, others are much more bleeding edge. Some of these include snapshot support for btrfs (which comes as a file system option) and Zarafa, a free software replacement for Microsoft Exchange which sits on top of existing mail systems, such as Postfix. It has lots of extra goodies including an advanced web interface and synchronization support for mobile devices.

Zarafa - replacement for Exchange
Zarafa – replacement for Exchange

Also innovative in this release is automatic printer installation. Rather than have every printer driver under the sun installed by default, Fedora will instead detect when a printer is plugged in and automatically install the correct system drivers. Now that’s plug ‘n print! Color management will makes its mark in this release, which will allow users to adjust the color profiles on their system and adjust accordingly. This means you can match the colour of a recently scanned picture and ensure images will print correctly. This is a feature often touted on the Mac platform, and something which is sorely needed for graphical work on Linux.

Color profile tool
Color profile tool

NetworkManager will finally get a command-line interface as well as integrated support for Bluetooth Dial Up Networking – finally, seamless tethering! It will also show signal strength for supported cellular wireless devices and whether the connection is roaming or not. The Palimpsest disk utility has also received a major overhaul, including improved S.M.A.R.T reporting, support for LVM device mapper drives and disk benchmarking. Also new in this release is an updated user tool for managing users on small to medium sized systems.

Account management tool
Account management tool

More, More, More…

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