F16 Beta announcement

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Mark your calendars, and get ready to go exploring: The release of Fedora 16, codenamed "Verne," is scheduled for release in early November. Fedora is the leading edge, free and open source operating system that continues to bring everyone fresh, innovative features with each release, delighting users worldwide every six months.

We are proud to announce the availability of the Beta release of Fedora 16.

Come see why we love Fedora so much. We are betting you will, too. Download it now:

http://fedoraproject.org/get-prerelease?anF16b

What is the Beta Release?

The Beta release is the last important milestone of Fedora 16. Only critical bug fixes will be pushed as updates leading to the general release of Fedora 16 in early November. We invite you to join us in making Fedora 16 a solid release by downloading, testing, and providing your valuable feedback.

Of course, this is a beta release, meaning that some problems may still be lurking. A list of the problems we already know about is found at the Common F16 bugs page, seen here: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Common_F16_bugs

Features

This release of Fedora includes a variety of features both over and under the hood that show off the power and flexibility of the advancing state of free software. Examples include:

  • Cloud Updates. Fedora now includes a number of new and improved features to support cloud computing, including HekaFS, a "cloud ready" version of GlusterFS, including additional auth*/crypto/multi-tenancy; pacemaker-cloud, application service high availability in a cloud environment; and IaaS implementations such as Aeolus and OpenStack.
  • Virtualization. Once again Fedora raises the bar on virtualization support, including expanded virtual network support, an improved Spice for managing virtual machines, restored Xen support, a new virtual machine lock manager, and improved ability to browse guest file systems.
  • System Boot. Fedora 16 introduces GRUB2, the long-awaited next-generation boot-loader for Linux. GRUB2 automatically recognizes other operating systems, supports LVM2 and LUKS partitions, and is more customizable than the previous version. In this release, only x86 systems with a BIOS uses GRUB2 by default. Work is ongoing for making GRUB2 the default for other architectures and systems.
  • Services Management. Fedora 15 introduced the Systemd services management program. This release features better integration of Systemd via conversion to native systemd services from legacy init scripts in many software components -- for desktop users, this means faster boot times; for system administrators it means more powerful management of services.
  • Desktop Updates. The two major desktop environments have been updated to the latest releases: KDE Software Compilation 4.7 and GNOME 3.1 development release. GNOME 3.2 is available in the updates testing repository, enabled by default in this release.
  • SELinux Enhancements. SELinux now has a revamped policy that is much more efficient, makes the system boot much faster, consumes less memory and disk space. For more details refer to http://danwalsh.livejournal.com/46388.html. Also SELinux in this release introduces permissive domain module which can be removed easily to tighten the security access quickly. Refer to http://danwalsh.livejournal.com/46388.html for more details. SELinux policy package now includes a pre-built policy that will only rebuild policy if any customizations have been made. A sample test run shows 4 times speedup on installing the package from 48 Seconds to 12 Seconds and max memory usage from 38M to 6M. In addition to that, SELinux file name transition allows better policy management. For instance, policy writers can take advantage of this and write a policy rule that states, if a SELinux unconfined process creates a file named resolv.conf in a directory labelled etc_t, the file should get labeled appropriately. This results is less chances of mislabeled files. Also, from this release onwards, selinuxfs is mounted at /sys/fs/selinux instead of in /selinux. All the affected components including anaconda, dracut, livecd-tools and policycoreutils have been modified to work with this change.
  • System Accounts. Fedora now standardizes on login.defs as authority for UID/GID space allocation, and has moved boundary between system and user accounts from 500 to 1000 to match conventions followed by several other Linux distributions. Upgrading from a existing release will not be affected by this change and you can use kickstart to override this change during installation if necessary.
  • Developer Improvements. Developers get many goodies with Verne, including updated Ada, Haskell and Perl environments, a new Python plugin for GCC and a number of new and improved APIs.
  • HAL Removal. HAL, a hardware abstraction layer which has been a deprecated component for several releases, has been completely removed from all Fedora spins and DVD. Software components using HAL have moved over to using udisks and upower as well as libudev for device discovery. This results in faster system bootup and faster startup for applications depending on device discovery.

And that's only the beginning. A more complete list and details of all the new features in Fedora 16 is available here:

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/16/FeatureList

We have nightly composes of alternate spins available here:

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

Contributing to Fedora

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

http://docs.fedoraproject.org

There are many ways to contribute beyond bug reporting. You can help translate software and content, test and give feedback on software updates, write and edit documentation, help with all sorts of promotional activities, and package free software for use by millions of Fedora users worldwide. To get started, visit http://join.fedoraproject.org today!