Fedora 10 alpha release
is now available. At this point, the next Fedora release (due at the end
of October) should be mostly feature-complete, though the project reserves
the right to continue development work through the beta release (currently
planned for August 19). So this seems like a good opportunity to have
a look at some of the features which can be expected in Fedora 10.
Rawhide users, who are well known for their masochistic tendencies, are
already running the 2.6.27-rc kernels. Given that 2.6.27 should come out
in the early part of October, chances are good that this is the kernel
version which will come standard with Fedora 10. So Fedora users will
be among the first to get enhanced webcam support, UBIFS, ftrace,
multiqueue networking, and more.
Improved webcam support is an explicit goal for Fedora 10 in general. The
kernel upgrade will help a lot in that regard, but Fedora is taking aim at
another longstanding problem: quite a few video applications still use the
Video4Linux1 API, despite the fact that said API has been deprecated for
years. To help improve this situation, Hans de Goede has been working on
another long-missing piece: a
user-space library to make the Video4Linux2
API easier for applications to use. It will handle things like format
conversions, which, by policy, are not allowed in the kernel; it also does
better impedance matching between the V4L1 and V4L2 interfaces. The end
result of this work will be better-working webcams for Fedora users - and
for everybody else.
A similar objective for Fedora 10 is better support for remote controls.
The LIRC remote control package has
always been a some-assembly-required affair; Fedora developers are trying
to improve this situation and get remote controls to just work.
"Just works," alas, is not a phrase which has been heard often enough
around the PulseAudio sound server. The upcoming Fedora release will have
a seriously rewritten PulseAudio; the biggest change is a shift to
timer-based audio scheduling instead of the older interrupt-driven
technique. The promised result will be glitch-free audio; those who are
curious about the details of how this will work can find them on this
page. PulseAudio is getting better.
Another big change, of course, is the shift to RPM 4.6 - the first real
update to the RPM package manager in many years. Being fully aware of the
a failed RPM upgrade, the Fedora developers are proceeding with great
caution. The on-disk format will not be changed anytime soon, and newer
RPM features are not, yet, being used in Fedora; that means that they can
revert back to the older RPM if need be without leaving systems stranded.
After some early glitches, RPM 4.6 would appear to be working fairly well,
though, so this upgrade will probably stick.
Beyond that, Fedora users can expect a long list of new goodies.
NetworkManager now has a feature allowing the sharing of network
connections via wireless. There are plans to provide much-improved support
of the Haskell programming language, though that project appears to be
moving slowly. And there is an interesting new security audit tool intended to
look for security problems and signs of intrusions. Your editor would have
loved to try out this tool, but, as of this writing, the version in Rawhide
appears to be lacking some fundamental features - like being able to start
up successfully. Stay tuned.
One thing that apparently will not be in Fedora 10, despite the occasional
user request, is KDE 3.5. Some KDE
users are not, yet, happy with the state of development of KDE 4 and
would like to have their old, familiar desktop back. This note from Fedora leader Paul Frields
explains why KDE 3.5 will not be returning to Fedora. In summary:
Fedora exists to push the leading edge, QT3 is no longer maintained, and
shipping KDE 4 helps that platform improve more quickly. So
KDE 3.5 will not be coming back - unless somebody else goes to the
trouble of packaging and maintaining it.
All told, there is a lot of work going into this distribution release. The
best way to really see what's going on - and to help the process - is, of
course, to try out the alpha release and report any problems which
result. After making good backups, of course.
to post comments)