Fedora 12 "Contantine" Alpha is available! When Fedora 10 and 11 were released, users and press alike gushed: "Slick and stable... has a rock solid feel". "Fast and easy". "A great release". What's next for the free operating system that shows off the best new technology of tomorrow? You can find out at:
For this release, we have slightly changed the schedule of Fedora test releases distributed to the public. Previously, the Fedora Project released Alpha, Beta, Preview Release and final versions. With Fedora 12, we will provide Alpha, Beta, and final versions, and now the definitions of Alpha and Beta are roughly equivalent to their industry standard meanings. The Alpha release contains all features in a form that is publicly testable by anyone. Public testing helps us identify bugs, and the Fedora QA team helps target areas needing the most help for a solid release. The Beta release should be code-complete with these known bugs eliminated, and will bear a very strong resemblance to the final release. The final release of Fedora 12 is due in November.
To achieve a rock stable distribution, we also hope to repeat the crazy success of Fedora 11's Beta contest! Test five things in the Alpha that are important to you as a user. If you find a bug *and* report it, you get the free attention of a package maintainer on a problem personally important to you! Do your part to make Fedora 11 that much better.
Among the top features for end users, we have:
- Faster and Smoother Graphical Startup - Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) is now enabled by default on Nvidia systems as well through the Nouveau driver. Fedora 10 originally included support for KMS but only for some ATI display cards. In Fedora 11, this was extended to Intel cards as well.
- Better webcam support - Started in Fedora 10, adding out of the box support for a lot of new webcams has been extended in Fedora 12.
- Empathy as default IM client - Empathy is an instant messenger client better integrated in Gnome which is going to replace Pidgin.
- Gnome 2.28 and KDE 4.3 - The latest code from the two main desktop environments and all usual application that come with them.
- Network Manager Mobile Broadband - By providing a database of preconfigured mobile broadband providers, supporting more hardware and permit to scan GSM networks, NetworkManager will make the use of mobile broadband much easier.
- PackageKit improvements - PackageKit now has plugins to install applications from a web browser and the command line when a user tries to open a document type that is unknown to the system.
- PulseAudio improvements - The PulseAudio volume control applet has been extended to support profiles, input switching and easy speaker setup.
- Better power management - Fedora 12 offers better power management features regarding CPU, disk and network I/O.
For developers there are all sorts of additional goodies:
- NetBeans 6.7 - NetBeans 6.7 is the most recent version of Sun's excellent IDE.
- PHP 5.3 - PHP 5.3 has been integrated.
- Eclipse 3.5.0 - The latest release of the popular, open, and extensible development platform is included.
- SystemTap - Updates to this debugging capability include better documentation, tools, and examples; support for kernel tracepoint and modern gcc debuginfo ("dwarf") output; and Eclipse support for launching traces and graphing results.
Peek under the hood and there is still more:
- Better IPv6 in NetworkManager - NetworkManager has been extended to fully support IPv6 configurations through the GUI.
- Automatic Bug Reporting Tool - Fedora 12 provides ABRT, a service that automatically reports application crashed to Fedora, without requiring the end user to have any special knowledge on error reporting.
- RPM XZ payload - All the RPM's have been switched from Gzip to XZ (LZMA) compression to save space on mirrors and reduce download times.
- x86 optimized for Atom - The 32 bit version of Fedora 12 will be compiled for i686 with a specific optimization for Intel Atom processors used in many netbooks.
- GRUB ext4 support - Fedora 11 included Ext4 by default, however GRUB in that version did not support Ext4 and hence required a separate boot partition formatted as Ext3 or Ext2. Fedora 12 now includes a updated version of GRUB with Ext4 support.
- Dracut - New Booting System - Up until Fedora 11, the boot system (initial ram disk or initrd) used to boot Fedora was monolithic, very distribution specific and didn't provide much flexibility. This will be replaced with Dracut, an initial ram disk with an event based framework designed to be distribution independent.
- Bluetooth Service On Demand - In order to support bluetooth devices, bluetooth background service was started by default in previous versions of Fedora. In this release, bluetooth service is started on demand when needed and automatically stops 30 seconds after last device use instead reducing initial startup time and resources.
- KVM improvements - Many things have been improved for KVM virtualization: reduced memory consumption and improved performance, NIC hotplug, better disk I/O, modern PXE booting, support for flexible network configurations, and much more.
And that is only the beginning. A more complete list and details of each new cited feature is 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: