The Fedora 16 "Verne" Alpha release is available! This release offers a preview of some of the best free and open source technology currently under development. Catch a glimpse of the future:
What is the Alpha release?
The Alpha release contains all the exciting features of Fedora 16 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 16 is due in October.
We need your help to make Fedora 16 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.)
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:
- 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.
- SELinux Enhancements. 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.
- Chrony NTP. Fedora has switched over to using Chrony as the default NTP client. There are several advantages including smaller memory footprint (1.3MB vs 6MB resident size), no unnecessary process wakeups which results in better power savings. better timekeeping on systems not running 24/7 or without permanent internet connection or with low quality/unstable clocks (virtual machines). Once the clock is synchronized, applications are not upset by backward time jumps. system-config-date and GNOME settings daemon has been modified to use Chrony as well.
- 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.
- Cloud Updates. Fedora now includes a number of new and improved features to support cloud computing, including a "cloud ready" version of GlusterFS, including additional auth*/crypto/multi-tenancy; pacemaker-cloud, application service high availability in a cloud environment; Condor Cloud, an IaaS cloud implementation using Condor and the Deltacloud API, and Aeolus.
- 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, improved ability to browse guest file systems, and a new sandbox tool to allow running individual applications within a virtualized sandbox.
- 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.
These and many other improvements provide a wide and solid base for future Fedora releases. This release increases the range of possibilities for developers and helps Fedora to maintain its position at the leading edge of free and open source technology.
A more complete list and details of each new cited feature is available here:
We also have nightly composes of alternate spins available here:
Issues and Details
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:
A shorter list of common bugs can be found here: https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Common_F16_bugs
Bug reports are helpful, especially for Alpha. If you encounter any issues please report them and help make this release of Fedora the best ever.
Thank you, and we hope to see you in the Fedora project!