F13 Alpha release announcement

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The Fedora 13 "Goddard" Alpha release is available! What's next for the free operating system that shows off the best new technology of tomorrow? You can see the future now at:

http://fedoraproject.org/get-prerelease

What is the Alpha release?

The Alpha release contains all the features of Fedora 13 in a form that anyone can help test. This testing, guided by the Fedora QA team, helps us target and identify bugs. When these bugs are fixed, we make a Beta release available. A Beta release is code-complete, and bears a very strong resemblance to the third and final release. The final release of Fedora 13 is due in May.

We need your help to make Fedora 13 the best release yet, so please take a moment of your time to download and try out the Alpha and make sure the things that are important to you are working. If you find a bug, please report it -- every bug you uncover is a chance to improve the experience for millions of Fedora users worldwide. Together, we can make Fedora a rock-solid distribution. (Read down to the end of the announcement for more information on how to help.)

Features

Among the top features for end users, we have:

  • Automatic print driver installation. We're using RPM and PackageKit for automatic installation of printer drivers, so when you plug in a USB printer, Fedora will automatically offer to install drivers for it if needed.
  • Automatic installation of language packs. Yum language packs plugin support makes software installation smarter and easier for everyone worldwide, by automatically downloading language support for large suites of Fedora software when the user's environment requires it.
  • Redesigned user management interface. The user account tool has been completely redesigned, and the accountsdialog and accountsservice test packages are available to make it easy to configure personal information, make a personal profile picture or icon, generate a strong passphrase, and set up login options for your Fedora system.
  • Color management. Color Management allows you to better set and control your colors for displays, printers, and scanners, through the gnome-color-manager package.
  • NetworkManager improvements include CLI. NetworkManager is now a one stop shop for all of your networking needs in Fedora, be it dial-up, broadband, wifi, or even Bluetooth. And now it can all be done in the command line, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • Experimental 3D extended to free Nouveau driver for NVidia cards. In this release we are one step closer to having 3D supported on completely free and open source software (FOSS) drivers. In Fedora 12 we got a lot of ATI chips working, and this time we've added a wide range of NVidia cards. You can install the mesa-dri-drivers-experimental package to try out the work in progress.

For developers there are all sorts of additional goodies:

  • SystemTap static probes. SystemTap now has expanded capabilities to monitor higher-level language runtimes like Java, Python and Tcl, and also user space applications starting with PostgreSQL. In the future Fedora will add support for even more user space applications, greatly increasing the scope and power of monitoring for application developers.
  • Easier Python debugging. We've added new support that allows developers working with mixed libraries (Python and C/C++) in Fedora to get more complete information when debugging with gdb, making Fedora an exceptional platform for powerful, rapid application development.
  • Parallel-installable Python 3 stack. The parallel-installable Python 3 stack will will help programmers write and test code for use in both Python 2.6 and Python 3 environments, so you can future-proof your applications now using Fedora.
  • NetBeans 6.8 first IDE to support entire Java 6 EE spec. NetBeans IDE 6.8 is the first IDE to offer complete support for the entire Java EE 6 specification.

And don't think we forgot the system administrators:

  • boot.fedoraproject.org. (BFO) allows users to download a single, tiny image (could fit on a floppy) and install current and future versions of Fedora without having to download additional images.
  • System Security Services Daemon (SSSD). SSSD provides expanded features for logging into managed domains, including caching for offline authentication. This means that, for example, users on laptops can still login when disconnected from the company's managed network. The authentication configuration tool in Fedora has already been updated to support SSSD, and work is underway to make it even more attractive and functional.
  • Pioneering NFS features. Fedora offers the latest version 4 of the NFS protocol for better performance, and in conjunction with recent kernel modifications includes IPv6 support for NFS as well.
  • Zarafa Groupware. Zarafa now makes available a complete Open Source groupware suite that can be used as a drop-in Exchange replacement for Web-based mail, calendaring, collaboration and tasks. Features include IMAP/POP and iCal/CalDAV capabilities, native mobile phone support, the ability to integrate with existing Linux mail servers, a full set of programming interfaces, and a comfortable look and feel using modern Ajax technologies.
  • Btrfs snapshots integration. Btrfs is capable of creating lightweight filesystem snapshots that can be mounted (and booted into) selectively. The created snapshots are copy-on-write snapshots, so there is no file duplication overhead involved for files that do not change between snapshots. It allows developers to feel comfortable experimenting with new software without fear of an unusable install, since automated snapshots allow them to easily revert to the previous day's filesystem.

And that's only the beginning. A more complete list and details of each new cited feature is available here:

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/13/FeatureList

We have nightly composes of alternate spins available here:

http://alt.fedoraproject.org/pub/alt/nightly-composes/

Contributing

For more information including common and known bugs, tips on how to report bugs, and the official release schedule, please refer to the release notes:

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Fedora_13_Alpha_release_notes

Thank you, and we hope to see you in the Fedora project!