Last week, just before the final release of Fedora 12 was announced, I had the opportunity to speak with
Fedora Project Leader Paul Frields. The following article is based on that
Although F12 had a slightly shorter release cycle than F11, there are
more new and improved features
in this release. Support has been added for many models of wireless and
video cards. Paul was particularly
excited about the newly-added support for bluetooth tethering, which allows
him to connect his laptop to the internet through his mobile phone.
Of course there are also new desktop productivity applications, and new
artwork for this release. Thanks to the Fit and Finish
project there are clearer menus, and tooltips and notifications are better
positioned and easier to read. PackageKit, a system designed to make
installing and updating software on your computer easier, can be used with
shell commands or GUIs. It uses PolicyKit for
For Java programmers there's NetBeans 6.7
and SystemTap users will
be happy to see it integrated with Eclipse. System
administrators and software testers should appreciate the virtualization
features. These include the kernel shared memory (KSM) feature, which allows better performance
guests using less RAM. The introduction of libguestfs and the
interactive tool guestfish allow easy access to virtual machine disk
We spoke briefly about the What is
Fedora? debate and Fedora's target
audience. Paul was looking forward to discussing these and other
topics at the upcoming FUDCon in
Toronto, December 5-7, 2009. Paul went on to say that Fedora already
has thousands of contributors, but they are always interested in
encouraging more people to contribute. Of course there are many ways to
contribute. Developers, artists, translators, bug reporters, wiki editors,
etc. should all feel comfortable in contributing to the Fedora Project.
The Fedora Project seeks to cultivate a community of contributors with open
ideas. By designing a better system for contributors they hope to create a
better system for consumers as well.
We also talked about the future of rawhide. Jesse Keating has proposed
a significant change to rawhide, which is Fedora's development branch.
plans are really funny. I plan to make rawhide more unstable more of the
time, and I plan to make "rawhide" more stable more of the time. Crazy eh?
How can I do this? By splitting "rawhide" in two."
In this proposal rawhide will not be an installable tree. Instead it
will become a repository of developmental and experimental packages.
People who want the latest versions of their favorite software can install
all the packages they want from rawhide, but the base system will be more
stable. On the other hand, there will also be a "pending release"
installable tree. The installable tree will spawn F13 alpha, beta, and any
snapshots that are released for testing until the final F13 release.
Meanwhile developers can work on bringing the latest features to the
rawhide versions of these packages, without stopping for feature freezes.
There is more information about this proposal on the
wiki. There was also a recent meeting about this proposal, and this meeting summary provides an overview with
a look at some of the obstacles.
Fedora elections are coming up, the nomination period is over and
candidates have started campaigning. Seats are open on the Fedora Advisory
Board, FESCo (Fedora Engineering Steering Committee), and FAmSCo (Fedora
Ambassadors Steering Committee). A short
list of release names for Fedora 13 is out now, and voting will begin
Fedora is free software and it is built using free software. Paul likes
to think of it as "drinking your own champagne". Fedora 12 is available
now, along with several official
spins. Download Fedora 12 from a mirror near you,
and check out the new features for yourself.
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