F11 Talking Points
This page contains the highest-level talking points for the Fedora 11 release. When adding to this page, consider points that have a wide appeal, and consider whether or not there is a "bigger picture" that needs to be described. In some cases, a feature is part of a multi-release arc of work, and that context can be useful to provide.
For desktop users and everyone
- Automatic font and mime-type installation - PackageKit was introduced in Fedora 9 as a cross-distro software management application for users. The capabilities it offers thanks to integration with the desktop became more visible in Fedora 10, where it provided automatic codec installation. Now in Fedora 11, PackageKit extends this functionality with the ability to automatically install fonts where needed for viewing and editing documents. It also includes the capability to install handlers for specific content types as needed. Some work is still being completed to provide automatic installation of applications.
- Volume Control - Currently, people using Fedora have to go through many levels of mixers to properly set up sound sources. These are all exposed in the volume control on the desktop, making for a very confusing user experience. PulseAudio allows us to unify the volume controls in one interface that makes setting up sound easier and more pain-free.
- Intel, ATI and Nvidia kernel modesetting - Fedora 10 provided the first steps by a major distribution into using the kernel modesetting (KMS) feature to speed up graphical boot. We indicated at the time that we would be adding greater support for additional video cards as time went on. KMS originally was featured only on some ATI cards. In Fedora 11, this work is extended to include many more video cards, including Intel and Nvidia, and additional ATI as well. Although not fully complete, we have increased enormously the video card coverage of the KMS feature, with more to come.
- Fingerprint - Extensive work has been done to make fingerprint readers easy to use as an authentication mechanism. Currently, using fingerprint readers is a bit of a pain, and installing/using fprint and its pam module take more time than should ever be necessary. The goal of this feature is to make it painless by providing all the required pieces in Fedora, together with nicely integrated configuration. To enable this functionality the user will register their fingerprints on the system as part of user account creation. After doing so, they will easily be able to log in and authenticate seamlessly using a simple finger swipe. This greatly simplifies one element of identity management and is a great step in the evolution of the linux desktop.
- IBus input method system - ibus has been rewritten in C and provides a simple clean input method framework with support for input of Asian and other languages. It is able to load and unload input methods from its configuration setup during a desktop session to avoid the need together with imsettings for having to restart the desktop to activate or deactivate input method support. Work on ibus will continue in F12 with more new features and improvements.
For system administrators
- Filesystem - Ext4 is the now the default FS in Fedora. The ext4 filesystem has more features and generally better performance than ext3. Ext4 enables support for volumes as large as 1 exabyte (over 1,000,000 terabytes). Extents, which are ranges of contiguous physical blocks are introduced to improve large file performance and reducing fragmentation. Ext4 also allows for pre-allocation of disk space for a file. Amongst other general improvements ext4 now also adds journal checksumming to improve realiability and faster file system checking.
- Virt Improved Console - In Fedora 10 and earlier the virtual guest console is limited to a screen resolution of 800x600. In Fedora 11 the goal is to have the screen default to at least 1024x768 resolution out of the box. New installations of F11 provide the ability to use other interface devices in the virtual guest, such as a USB tablet, which the guest will automatically detect and configure. Among the results is a mouse pointer that tracks the local client pointer one-for-one, and providing expanded capabilities.
- MinGW (Windows cross compiler) - Fedora 11 will provide MinGW, a development environment for Fedora users who wish to cross-compile their programs to run on Windows without having to use Windows. In the past developers have had to port and compile all of the libraries and tools they have needed, and this huge effort has happened independently many times over. MinGW eliminates duplication of work for application developers by providing a range of libraries and development tools already ported to the cross-compiler environment. Developers don't have to recompile the application stack themselves, but can concentrate just on the changes needed to their own application.
For architects and futurists
- Moksha - Moksha is a revolutionary new framework for building live information delivery on the Web. Built with best-of-breed underlying technologies such as TurboGears 2, AQMP, and jQuery, Moksha will allow real-time collaboration and information flow across the entire Fedora Project, bringing the community dashboard to life and people closer together than ever before. Moksha is yet another innovative Fedora Hosted project to which anyone can contribute.