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Fedora's new distribution relies on Linux kernel 2.6.23, which was introduced less than a month ago. Among other things, its developers provided this kernel with the high resolution timers for x86-64 architectures which Linus Torvalds's official kernel will only be supplied with from version 2.6.24. Fedora 8 also comes with the seven new drivers for WLAN hardware by ADMtek, Broadcom, Intel, Intersil and Ralink which will be incorporated in developer kernel 2.6.24. The distribution also provides the experimental ath5k driver for Atheros wireless network hardware; its indirect predecessor Madwifi, however, hasn't been included since it contains a component which is not available in the source code.

For Xen 3.1, the eighth version of Fedora like the seventh version provides a Linux kernel 2.6.21 which has been extended to incorporate the comprehensive Xen patches but doesn't include many of the drivers for new hardware components introduced in the last few months. Therefore, modern systems with virtualisation functionality within the processor are better off with KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine), which also comes with Fedora and works with the standard kernel. Adding and managing virtual guests works comfortably via the command line or the graphical Virtual Machine Manager (virt-manager) in both solutions. Both KVM and Xen, however, only work with 32-bit and 64-bit x86 architectures; The PPC systems also supported by Fedora 8 have to make do without the virtualisation components.

Virtual guest systems can be comfortably managed with Virt-Manager
Zoom Virtual guest systems can be comfortably managed with Virt-Manager

Fedora 8's standard C library is Glibc version 2.7, which was published by the Red Hat developers a few days before the release of Fedora 8. In terms of compilers, Fedora is not quite up to date and continues to use GCC 4.1, although the compiler suite administrators already launched the 4.2 series several months ago. However, Fedora developers decided to skip the current GCC series. They claim to have backward ported the better features of version 4.2 into Fedora's GCC, but left out the lesser ones.

FORTIFY_SOURCE protection when compiling with the Fedora GCC is now also intended to prevent some security exploits involving C++ code. In addition, Fedora continues to use SELinux for restricting for example software access to a minimum - should an attacker abuse a server application for forcing entry into the system, he should at least not be able to do major damage. SELinux can now also protect kiosk systems, and its troubleshooting tool is said to be more user-friendly.

Desktop effects

Like the current versions of OpenSuse and Ubuntu, Fedora still relies on Xserver 1.3 – version 1.4 of 7.3 was not deemed robust enough by the developers. As has been the case since Fedora Core 6, 3D effects can be used with graphics drivers which support Aiglx; the official repositories don't offer Xgl. The graphics effects implemented via Compiz 0.6.2 can simply be switched on using a program in system preferences. More sophisticated 3D effects can be achieved by implementing the Compiz Fusion extension from the Fedora package repositories. Its plug-ins can be configured comfortably via the Compiz Config Settings Manager (ccsm), which is optional and included in this installation as a test update.

Proprietary drivers can be obtained from Fedora-compatible RPM repositories
Zoom Proprietary drivers can be obtained from Fedora-compatible RPM repositories

Some of the newer AMD/ATI cards in the X1000 or HD-2000 series can be used with the newly included Avivo driver whose programmers developed it using reverse engineering. It seems that Fedora developers intend to supply the Radeonhd driver, which has so far been mainly developed by Novell engineers in co-operation with AMD, as an experimental update for the two latest generations of graphics chips. As usual for Fedora's exclusive open source policy there are no proprietary graphics drivers – however, these can easily be installed later through external RPM package repositories.

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