The countdown is on: Fedora 13, "Goddard," is set to launch in mid-May. Fedora is the leading edge, free and open source operating system that continues to deliver innovative features to users worldwide, with a new release every six months.
But wait! What's that? You can't wait a whole month to try out the latest and greatest in Fedora's leading-edge technologies? You want to be the first to see what's new? Well, you're in luck. The Fedora 13 Beta release is available NOW. Hop on board and take a tour of the rocking new features.
What is the Beta Release?
The beta release is the last important milestone of Fedora 13. Only critical bug fixes will be pushed as updates leading up to the general release of Fedora 13, scheduled to be released in the middle of May. We invite you to join us and participate in making Fedora 13 a solid release by downloading, testing, and providing your valuable feedback.
Of course, this is a beta release, some problems may still be lurking. A list of the problems we already know about is found at the Common F13 bugs page. If you find a bug that's not found on that page, be sure it gets fixed before release by reporting your discovery at https://bugzilla.redhat.com/. Thank you!
A universe of new features for end users:
- Automatic print driver installation. We're using RPM and PackageKit for automatic installation of printer drivers, so when you plug in a printer, Fedora will automatically offer to install drivers for it if needed.
- Desktop enhancements. The Shotwell photo manager, Deja-dup backup software, Pino Identi.ca/Twitter client, and Simple Scan scanning utility are all delivered by default to provide a enhanced desktop experience out of the box.
- NetworkManager improvements include better Mobile Broadband, Bluetooth, and new CLI abilities. NetworkManager is now a one-stop-shop for all of your networking needs in Fedora, be it dial-up, broadband, wifi, or even Bluetooth. Mobile broadband enhancements now show signal strength. Old-style dial-up networking (DUN) over Bluetooth has also been added. And now, you can even use NetworkManager from the command line in addition to the improved graphical user interface. Getting a connection when you need it has never been easier to figure out, whether you're at home, at work, at the local coffee shop, or riding your city's wi-fi enabled public transport.
- Color management. Do you like your printouts to look the same as they do on screen - or your scanner output to look the same as what you just scanned? Color Management allows you to better set and control your colors for displays, printers, and scanners, through the gnome-color-manager package.
- Enhanced iPod functionality. Newer Apple iPod, iPod Touch and iPhone models are supported by some of your favorite photo management software, and music library applications such as Rhythmbox. The devices are automatically attached using the libimobiledevice library, so you can work with your content more easily.
- Experimental 3D graphics support extended to free Nouveau driver for NVidia cards. In this release we are one step closer to having 3D graphics supported on completely free and open source software (FOSS) drivers. Fedora 12 saw the enabling of a number of ATI cards; this time around, we've added a wide range of NVidia cards to our list of liberated video capabilities. You can install the mesa-dri-drivers-experimental package to try out the work in progress.
- Experimental 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. 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 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 Java EE 6 support. The NetBeans 6.8 integrated development environment 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). 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. How does this help the sysadmin? This means, 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 -- 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 all the new features onboard Fedora 13 is available here:
We have nightly composes of alternate spins available here:
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:
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!