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Further Features

In Verne, the Fedora developers have also implemented a wide range of other changes:

  • Having switched to the Systemd alternative to SysV-init and Upstart in Fedora 15, in version 16 the project has adapted further services so that they start via Systemd's service units instead of SysV-init scripts. This enables Systemd to call more services in parallel than before, which typically speeds up a system's boot process.
  • Regular users will from now on receive a user ID/UID of 1000 or above; other distributions have used this approach for some time, but Fedora previously started at 500.
  • Extensively used in hardware and kernel abstraction in the past, Hal has not been included in Fedora's default installations for some time, and the developers have now completely removed it from their repositories; to this end, they have adapted several dozen programs which previously still required Hal.
  • Fedora continues to provide Java support via OpenJDK 1.6.0; those who want to use the emerging Java 7 can simply obtain OpenJDK 1.7.0, which is a "technology preview", via the package repositories, and use the alternatives framework to declare this version as their default run-time environment.
  • Fedora no longer creates an /etc/rc.d/rc.local file when the distribution is installed from scratch. However, if such a file is created manually and marked as executable, Systemd will still execute it.
  • Chrony has taken over the task of default client for the Network Time Protocol (NTP). Fedora's documentation says that it is better suited for virtual machines and notebooks which only have intermittent network access.
  • The Anaconda installer now allows the Wi-Fi connection to be configured so that additional software can be downloaded during installation. The Anaconda developer lists various further changes in the Fedora wiki.
  • The release notes state that installing Verne requires at least 640 MB of working memory; according to the Fedora 15 documentation, this version's text-based installer only requires 256 MB.
  • Fedora 16 brings a range of improvements for the SELinux security framework; Fedora developer Dan Walsh has explained these improvements in blog posts entitled "Prebuilt Policy", "File Name Transitions", "Permissive domains module" and "Shrinking policy". The "Prebuild Policy" discussed in the first blog post speeds up the SELinux policy's update process and reduces memory requirements.

Variants

The Fedora 16 package repositories contain twenty-five thousand packages for x86-64/x64 systems which the Fedora project has combined to create different variants of the distribution.

The traditional installation environment offers the most comprehensive software range and the most extensive options, allowing users to influence the selection of packages and filesystems, as well as numerous other factors. The DVD ISOs with the flexible installation environment contain the most used software; desktop environments such as LXDE or Xfce are not included but can be added during installation by activating the online repositories as an installation source. Only the traditional installation environment allows users to perform a network installation or a fully or partially automated installation via Kickstart. The traditional installer can also update older Fedora installations; however, updating via PreUpgrade is probably the preferable option for most users because it is faster and more convenient and updates packages that are not included on the media.

The project's "spins" are live media with software collections that have been customised for different groups of users. Like an Ubuntu installation CD, spins allow users to test a distribution without risk, as well as install it. Neither the software nor the root partition's filesystem can be influenced when installing this way – with its high-speed source medium, however, this installation method is extremely fast. The ideal solution is to use a program such as "dd" to transfer an ISO of a spin to a fast USB flash drive – which will then become bootable because the images are hybrid ISOs. Alternatively, the distribution can be transferred to a USB flash drive with liveusb-creator; this method allows users to set up a storage area where data can be saved while operating from a live medium.

Since spins tend to be designed to fit onto CDs, most spins will install less software than the traditional installation environment. For example, the rather large LibreOffice is often omitted for space reasons. However, it can easily be added once installation is complete; simply execute the following command line instruction as root:

yum install \
 libreoffice-{calc,draw,graphicfilter,impress,writer,xsltfilter}
 

Next: Outlook and Conclusion

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