Fedora 13 Alpha release notes

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Release announcement
The Fedora 13 Alpha release announcement, which is a shorter summary, can be found here.

Contents

General Information

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Download Fedora 13 Alpha now
To download Fedora 13 Alpha, visit http://fedoraproject.org/get-prerelease?wkrnF13a. Download options are available for BitTorrent, direct download, and Jigdo. This release is available for all 32-bit and 64-bit Intel-compatible platforms. Note that Fedora uses SHA256 instead of MD5 or SHA-1 to verify images in a more secure way. For more information, refer to #How_to_Try_Alpha on this page.

Filing Bug Reports

Please file bug reports on this Alpha release if you find any problems.

Known Issues

Refer to the Common_F13_bugs page for a listing of issues, and any known resolutions, commonly found with this release. This page is maintained throughout the Fedora 13 development cycle.

Release Overview

As always, Fedora continues to develop and integrate the latest free and open source software. The following sections provide a brief overview of major changes from the last release of Fedora. For more details about other features that are making their way into Rawhide and set for inclusion in Fedora 13, refer to their individual wiki pages that detail feature goals and progress. Also, throughout the release cycle, there are interviews with the developers behind key features giving out the inside story. Features for this release are tracked on the feature list page.

The Purpose of the Alpha Release

This release is an installable, testable version of the code and features being developed for Fedora 13 (Goddard). The software is going to have bugs, problems, and incomplete features. It is not likely to eat your data or parts of your computer, but you should be aware that it could.

You have an important part to play in this release. Either install or run a Fedora Live instance of the Fedora 13 Alpha release, then try using a few applications or activities that are important to you. If it doesn't work, file a bug. This release gives the wider community a set of code to test against as a very important step in the process of making a solid Fedora 13 release. You can make the Fedora 13 release better by testing this release and reporting your findings.

What's New in Fedora 13 (Codename: Goddard) Alpha

The following sections document major new features and changes in the Fedora 13 Alpha release.

3D Support for Nvidia Systems

In addition to the experimental 3D support for certain ATI chipsets introduced in Fedora 12 the mesa-dri-drivers-experimental package now includes 3D support for Nvidia systems via the free and open source Nouveau driver and your early testing and feedback is appreciated.

Improved Software management

Performance of RPM has improved considerably with the integration of RPM 4.8 Beta 1 which is included in this release. A number of other enhancements included ordered erasures, smarter dependency loop handling, revamped Python bindings including compatibility with Python 3.x and a large number of bug fixes. For more details refer to the official announcement by Panu Matilainen from Red Hat.

Topology Awareness

Both the kernel space file system code and the IO stack now have the ability to use information from certain types of storage about how best to layout data. Specifically, the kernel exports information about the optimal byte alignment for a partition, the optimal and minimum IO sizes and whether or not the device is rotational. This work is done in the kernel, users can query /sys/block/sda/queue for example to see these and other parameters. Note that not all storage devices export this information and that work is ongoing to take advantage of this information in the various file system tools like mkfs.

Enhanced Init System

Upstart has been updated to 0.6 which provides an incremental step towards moving to native Upstart scripts in a subsequent release of Fedora.

Installer Changes

The Anaconda installation program's user interface has been upgraded, with a simpler workflow for desktop and laptop users, enhanced options for advanced storage usage, and more understandable dialogs. Of course it still retains the powerful kickstart capability for automating the installation process.

The /boot partition now defaults to a size of 500 MB during a fresh installation, to aid in later use of PreUpgrade and the dracut utility.

On systems with more than 50 GB of free space, the /home partition is now created separately during a fresh installation. A separate /home partition makes it easier to perform some backup, upgrade, encryption, and re-installation procedures.

Firefox 3.6 Web Browser

Firefox 3.6.1 is included in this release.

In Firefox 3.6 Personas are built in. HTML 5 video can now be displayed in full screen, support for the WOFF dont format is added, and better Javascript support which includes better speed and improved overall browser responsiveness.

Firefox 3.6 uses the Gecko 1.9.2 web rendering platform which renders web pages faster and provides support for the new CSS, DOM and HTML 5 web technologies.

Webcam Support

Fedora 13 now includes out-of-the-box webcam support for many so called dual-mode cameras. These are cheap still cameras (which usually hold only on board storage, no memory card slot), which can can also function as a webcam.

For a list of all webcams and applications with which Fedora 13's improved webcam support has been tested, refer to the BetterWebcamSupport feature page.

NetworkManager

A command line interface (CLI) for NetworkManager is included in Fedora 13. The NetworkManager applet contains support for current signal strength, cellular technology (GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSPA or 1x/EVDO etc), and roaming status for Mobile Broadband connections.

NetworkManager now has support for connecting to the internet using a cell-phone paired via Bluetooth using Bluetooth Dial-up Networking (DUN).

User level MPI

A rethink of MPI software management has been made in Fedora and relevant packaging guidelines have been adopted for Fedora 13.

Instead of the system-wide alternatives system, support for MPI compilers and runtimes is now managed at userlevel in Fedora with environment modules. The compilers, runtimes and any software compiled against them are installed in separate directories outside the $PATH. Now, for example, it is possible to run program A in one terminal session with Open MPI and program B with MPICH2 in another session. For this reason no default MPI runtime is set by default.

To load support for Open MPI on Fedora 13 x86_64 run $ module load openmpi-x86_64 and for MPICH2 $ module load mpich2-x86_64. If you want e.g. Open MPI support to be automatically available in your sessions, add the command above to your shell config.

[These changes may have already happened on Fedora 11 and/or Fedora 12, depending on the MPI runtime one has been using.]

Linux Kernel 2.6.32

A number of features including memory de-deduplication and ATI R600/700 3D and KMS support in this kernel release was driven by Fedora and already part of Fedora 12 but this kernel includes several other significant features including a rewrite of the writeback code which provides noticeable performance speedups, many important Btrfs improvements and speedups, other graphic improvements, a CFQ low latency mode, tracing improvements including a "perf timechart" tool that tries to be a better bootchart, soft limits in the memory controller, support for Intel Moorestown and its new firmware interface, run time power management support, and many other improvements and new drivers.

More details at http://kernelnewbies.org/Linux_2_6_32

KDE 4.4

This release uses KDE 4.4 by default as the KDE Desktop environment. KDE 4.4 offers new features such as PolicyKit 1, KAuth backend, and improved PulseAudio integration. In this release KNetworkManager is used instead of nm-applet.

The KDE Desktop Live image is a downloadable CD you can use to test the new KDE environment with or without installing it. The image can be written to a CD, or to a USB flash disk using these instructions.

Additional Information

How to Try Alpha

This release is accompanied by installable live media of both the GNOME and KDE desktops. With Live media users can perform testing and demonstration without installing any software to the hard disk. As this release is largely targeted at developers and contains many bleeding edge packages, this is the best method for less experienced users who want to get involved with testing. The Live media also has an option to install Fedora to the hard disk for the more intrepid users.

The best way to download this release is through BitTorrent -- visit the Fedora torrent server for a listing of available images. Release images can also be downloaded from any of our mirrors. Remember that live images can be used on USB media via the livecd-iso-to-disk utility available in the livecd-tools package on existing Fedora systems. Refer to the USB How-to for more instructions. You can also use Jigdo to download the i386 or x86_64

Verify Fedora

Fedora does not publish MD5 or SHA1 hashes to verify images since they are not secure enough. Instead we have been using SHA256 since Fedora 11. In Linux, you can use sha256sum command (part of coreutils and installed by default) to verify the Fedora image

sha256sum -c *-CHECKSUM

Windows can use free to download utility HashCalc.

Mac OS X can use the free to download utility hashtab.

Fedora GPG signatures can be verified following the instructions here

Debugging Information And Performance

Fedora kernels have many extensive debugging options during the development cycle that have a negative impact on performance but provide developers with more information automatically or in the case of bug reports. If you are running performance analysis on Rawhide or test releases such as Alpha or Beta, make sure you take this into account.

Fedora 13 Release Schedule And Feature Details

Development continues on Rawhide during and after this release, leading up to the beta and then the final release. The links below provide the release schedule for both the pre-releases and the final release, as well as the wiki pages for tracking the various features planned for inclusion in Fedora 13.