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Fedora 9 (Sulphur) Beta Release Notes

What is Fedora?

Fedora is a set of projects sponsored by Red Hat and guided by contributors. These projects are developed by a large community of people who strive to provide and maintain the very best in free, open source software and standards. The center piece of the Fedora project is an operating system (Fedora Collection) that is released twice a year, and is based on the Linux kernel, that is always free for anyone to use, modify, and distribute.

Before each release, there are three development releases made available, and each one has a different intended audience:

  1. The Alpha release is aimed at developers. It contains many bleeding-edge packages and is definitely not recommended for production machines.
  2. The Beta release is aimed at early adopters, and at this point in the development cycle most things should work and all new features should be in a testable form. Although still not recommended for production machines, by trying this release users can provide crucial feedback that will help ensure the final release is as good as possible.
  3. The Preview release is for users and contributors in the free software community. This release signals the point when we need full participation from the community, with plenty of feedback, as only through lots of use will we find all those hard to spot bugs that need fixing before release.

To find out more information about Fedora, refer to the following Web pages:

Official Announcement

You can find the official release announcement at this url:

Beta Release

What Is The Beta Release?

The Beta release represents a snapshot of Rawhide, the development branch of the Fedora Collection, and signals the feature freeze. This means that all major features must be complete or in a testable state, and so the Beta release provides a good indication of what users can expect from the final release. It is aimed primarily at developers and early-adopters, but less experienced users who are interested in helping with testing are encouraged to do so with the live media (bootable CDs, DVDs or USB sticks).

How To Try Beta

Thanks to the infrastructure that was developed during the Fedora 7 release cycle, this Beta release is accompanied by live media images (for CDs, DVDs or USB sticks) of the GNOME and KDE desktops. These live images make testing possible without installing any software on an existing system. As the Beta release is the time when we need plenty of input and testing from the community, this method is an extremely easy and effective way for anybody to get involved with testing the next Fedora release.

The Beta release is available through the following download methods:

  • (recommended) BitTorrent, an efficient and easy distributed file-sharing system
  • Jigdo, an alternative system that reduces download size in some situations, or for people who can't use BitTorrent
  • direct download from a mirror location near you

To download, visit:

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 this page for more instructions.

Providing Feedback

As mentioned above, the Beta release provides an opportunity for the wider community to begin testing the next release of Fedora. You can help the Fedora Project continue to improve Fedora if you file bug reports and enhancement requests. These links will explain what needs testing for the Beta release and allow you to submit your feedback:

Fedora 9 (Sulphur) Release Schedule And Feature Details

Development continues on Rawhide after the Beta release, ensuring that all the features that have made it this far and stable for the Release Candidate and 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 the various features planned for inclusion in Fedora 9 where their progress can be tracked.

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 9, please see their individual wiki pages which detail their goals and progress. Also, throughout the release cycle there will be interviews with the developers behind key features, so keep an eye on these to get the inside scoop.


GNOME Desktop 2.22 Release

GNOME 2.22 brings many improvements, not least of which is the introduction of GVFS and GIO as a replacement for GNOME VFS by Fedora developer and nautilus maintainer AlexanderLarsson. GVFS introduces many benefits including performance improvements, queuing multiple file transfers, and security enhancements via PolicyKit, which is developed and maintained by Fedora developer DavidZeuthen, and was first introduced in Fedora 8.

GNOME 2.22 also comes with a new world clock applet that displays the time and weather conditions for multiple time zones simultaneously.

File:Releases 9 Beta ReleaseNotes clockapplet.png

Also exciting on the GNOME front is the inclusion of the new GNOME Display Manager by default. It is a significant change from the previous GDM, enabling many new and exciting features. These features include the ability to take advantage of power management at the login screen, the ability to dynamically configure displays, potential improvements for "hot-seating," and better integration with PolicyKit.

GNOME Application Improvements


In GNOME, sharing files via Bluetooth has been better integrated into the desktop, rather than relying on several separate applications. Palm Pilots can also now be synchronised using Bluetooth.


Totem, among other improvements, now has better text subtitles support, a YouTube search plugin, and a MythTV plugin.


Rhythmbox is now the default CD player, and has UPNP support as well as better Podcast support (Atom feeds and iTunes podcasts).

Sound recorder

A number of bugs have been fixed in the sound recorder, making it solid enough to be included in Fedora 9.

KDE Desktop 4.0.2

KDE Desktop 4.0.2 features upgrades to core components such as the port to Qt 4. It also introduces a number of brand new frameworks such as the Phonon, a multimedia API; Solid, a hardware integration framework; Plasma, a re-written desktop and panel with many new concepts; integrated desktop search; compositing as a feature of KWin; and a brand new visual style called Oxygen.

Thanks to the hard work of the Fedora KDE Special Interest Group , KDE 4.0 is well integrated in Fedora. As a result, KDE 4.0 is the default for the KDE spin of Fedora, and includes compatibility packages to ensure that applications not yet ported to KDE 4 will continue to work.

File:Releases 9 Beta ReleaseNotes kde4.png

NetworkManager Improvements

NetworkManager has made managing your network devices easy in Fedora. With this release, our developers are aiming to expand the situations in which NetworkManager is useful. New features available in the Beta release include:

  • Ad-hoc support, so that you can easily form a network with any near-by wireless devices
  • Support for mobile broadband cards (GSM/CDMA) through PPP
  • System-wide network configuration through NetworkManager with PolicyKit

Firefox 3 Beta 5 Browser

Firefox 3 Beta 5 brings a number of major improvements including a native look and feel, desktop integration, the new Places replacement for bookmarks, and a re-worked address bar.

File:Releases 9 Beta ReleaseNotes firefox.png

Flash Browser Plugin

Thanks to swfdec changing to a GStreamer backend, Fedora can now ship a free software flash browser plugin available out of the box. It is capable of playing many flash content including videos, animation and games. Note that Fedora only includes patent unencumbered free software components.

Consolidated Dictionary Support

For some time, several Fedora applications, including, Firefox, Thunderbird, GNOME and KDE, have each had their own set of dictionaries. This situation was obviously not ideal, and unnecessarily increased resources like the size and memory footprint of Fedora releases. This problem is now fixed by consolidating all the dictionaries. This feature, which requires a number of changes to various software packages, is now almost complete and the benefits are already apparent in the Beta release.

More details and documentation can be found on the feature's wiki page .


Anaconda Installer Improvements

The Anaconda team is actively developing a number of new features for Fedora 9. The Beta release includes the following new features:

  • The inclusion of the netinst.iso as opposed to the previous boot.iso, rescuecd.iso and diskboot.img. The netinst.iso image contains the kernel, initrd and image used for installation - everything the user needs to install a system over the network.
  • Support for resizing ext2, ext3 and NTFS partitions. Watch a screencast .
  • Support for creating and installing to encrypted filesystems
  • Increased separation of the installer second stage and the packages being installed
  • Allow the user to set the install source during the second stage of installation
  • Use libblkid for filesystem probing
  • Experimental support for installing to ext4 filesystems if you install with iamanext4developer as a boot option
  • Support for native installation to x86_64 machines using EFI and booting via grub
  • Completely overhauled hardware probing and detection based on udev and HAL rather than kudzu

Live Image Improvements

Work has continued to better integrate the live images with the rest of the system and improve the tools used for building them. livecd-creator now also provides an API which can be used for building alternative front-ends as well as for building tools for other types of images.

The initial work to support persistent changes with a live image have also landed. The primary usage of this feature is booting a USB stick with your live image as well as the persistent changes. To do this, take the live image and you can run the following command: livecd-iso-to-disk --overlay-size-mb 512 /path/to/iso /path/tousbstick where 512 is the desired size (in megabytes) of the overlay. You can find the livecd-iso-to-disk shell script in the LiveOS directory at the top-level of the CD image. Note that you'll need to have space on your USB stick for the live image plus your overlay plus any other data you want on the stick.

Upstart Init Daemon

Fedora 9 uses the Upstart init daemon as a replacement for System V init. The benefit of this is that Upstart has a more sophisticated idea of how to to trigger and manage services. For Fedora this is particularly useful as it will help us to improve our boot and shutdown processes, streamlining a lot of what currently happens.

All current init scripts should run without errors. However, any customizations to /etc/inittab will need to be ported to upstart. For information on how to do so, please see the Upstart Getting Started Guide .

There are some known issues with upstart at this point that beta testers should be aware of, including:

For Fedora package maintainers, it is not recommended to move System V init scripts to native Upstart events at this time.


FreeIPA makes managing auditing, identity and policy processes easier by providing web-based and command line provisioning and administration tools that takes the pain away from system administration. It combines the power of the Fedora Directory Server with FreeRADIUS, MIT Kerberos, NTP and DNS to provide an easy, out of the box solution.


PackageKit is a cross-distribution package management solution that has a complete yum backend. It has been designed to make installing and updating software on your computer easier, and aims to unify all the graphical package management tools used in different distributions. To do this, PackageKit makes use of some of the latest technologies such as PolicyKit and D-Bus. It is the default graphical package manager in the Beta release, using the yum backend.

File:Releases 9 Beta ReleaseNotes packagekit.png

Fast X

X takes too long to start up slowing down many aspects of the system including boot, logout and fast user switching. The goal of this project is to tune and make some architectural changes to X so that it can go from exec to ready to accept clients in one second. For a detailed list of changes made to X so far, and what is still to come, check the feature's wiki page for the latest news.


Virtualization in Fedora 9, as with many of our other releases, has some significant new features and improvements. The information available here is a brief summary, to find more information about these features visit the feature list .

  • Upstream paravirt_ops based kernel for Xen DomU
  • Virt authentication
  • Virtual Manager Policy Kit
  • KVM supports the use of the virtio accelerated drivers for improving IO performance.
  • KVM defaults to emulating an e1000 network adapter and the VMWare SVGA display adapter

Font Changes

During the Fedora 8 release cycle, Fedora got a new Font Special Interest Group. Working exclusively to ensure that our packaged fonts meet with our own standards with respect to free software, and cater to as many languages as possible, they have been busy reviewing and packaging new fonts for Fedora 9. There's much more work still to be done, but below is a brief summary of what has been achieved so far:

  • !DejaVu full replaces !DejaVu LGC as default font set. !DejaVu LGC is still available in the repo for users who prefer it.
  • The Luxi font has been dropped since its license does not allow modifications.
  • !DejaVu and Liberation updated to new versions with more coverage.
  • The Stix, Tiresias, Yanonne, and Greek Font Society font sets, and several others, have been added to the Fedora software repository.
  • Many font packages were renamed and reorganized to avoid bundling font and regions.

ext4 Filesystem

The ext4 filesystem is the evolution of the mature and stable ext3. ext4 is both more scalable and better performing than its predecessor, and although it is still in development, it is available for users of the Beta release through a boot prompt option. For more details of the new features in ext4, and how to test it in the Beta release, see the features wiki page .

Kernel 2.6.25

Fedora 9 Beta features a 2.6.25-rc5 based kernel. 2.6.25-rc5 includes:

  • CPU "group scheduling"
  • memory fragmentation avoidance
  • tickless support for x86-64/ppc and other architectures
  • many new wireless drivers and a new wireless configuration interface
  • SPI/SDIO MMC support
  • USB authorization
  • per-device dirty memory thresholds
  • support for PID and network namespaces
  • support for static probe markers
  • read-only bind mounts
  • SELinux performance improvements
  • SATA link power management and port multiplier support
  • Large Receive Offload in network devices
  • memory hot-remove support
  • a new framework for controlling the idle processor power management
  • CIFS ACLs support
  • many new drivers, and other features and fixes

Information For Testers

  • The pam_mount facility now uses a configuration file written in XML. The /etc/security/pam_mount.conf file will be converted to /etc/security/pam_mount.conf.xml during update with /usr/bin/, which removes all comments. Any per-user configuration files must be converted manually, with the conversion script if desired. A sample pam_mount.conf.xml file with detailed comments about the available options appears at /usr/share/doc/pam_mount-*/pam_mount.conf.xml.