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Python 3.1.2 can now be installed in parallel with Python 2.6.4, Fedora's default runtime environment for Python software. This is to make it easier, initially for developers, but ultimately also for users, to switch to the new Python generation, which in many respects, is not backwards compatible with the series 2 versions. The developers also added Python2 and Python3 support to improve the GNU Debugger and extended the debugger to include various Python-specific commands.

Fedora's package repositories now contain the Community Edition of the Java-based IDEA runtime environment; Netbeans was upgraded to version 6.8. The developers considerably extended the support of the Dogtag Certificate System – an open source framework for managing and using a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). Fedora's software range now includes the open source variant of the Zarafa Collaboration Platform(ZCP).

Onwards

In parallel with Fedora 13, in mid February the Fedora developers started working on Fedora 14 in the Rawhide development branch, which is updated almost daily. Called "No Frozen Rawhide", this parallel development strategy was first used by the Fedora developers for Fedora 13. In the past, new versions of Fedora were always created directly from Rawhide, which, some developers believe, slowed down the development of the next-but-one version, especially in the final development phase of a new Fedora version.

Fedora 14 was recently named after professor of physics and Nobel Prize laureate Robert B. Laughlin and is currently scheduled for release in October 2010. This would be just over two weeks after Ubuntu 10.10 – however, recent versions of Fedora have always been delayed by a couple of weeks, which makes a new version release in early November seem more likely.

By that time, the first half of Fedora 13's life cycle will almost be over, as the Fedora project only maintains a version until about one month after the release of the next-but-one version – in this case Fedora 15, which should be released in about one year's time. A long term stable release as offered in Ubuntu has been discussed repeatedly by the Fedora project, but not started. As a result, many users of conservatively maintained systems prefer Red Hat Enterprise Linux or free RHEL clones such as CentOS. While these distributions are closely related to Fedora, they are maintained over a 7-year period and, once or twice a year, receive updated drivers and software to ensure they work with modern hardware.

Even more

The feature list of Fedora 13 contains various further advancements:

  • Like previous versions, Fedora 13 supports Btrfs, a file system which is still in development and due to become the "Next Generation File System for Linux". The file system's snapshot feature now allows Fedora users to switch back to an older system version after installing updates if an update turns out to be problematic – like the Btrfs file system itself, however, this feature has not yet fully matured.
  • By default, Fedora now uses NFS version 4; the NFS client now also connect to NFS servers via IPv6.
  • For software management, Fedora 13 uses RPM 4.8among other things, this version offers various performance optimisations and uninstalls packages in the correct order.
  • Most of the software contained in Fedora 13 was recompiled during the latest development cycle – one reason for this was a linker modification which fixes an implicit dependency problem. The RPM version IDs of many packages that haven't been reconstructed contain segments like "fc12" or "fc11" – this isn't unusual and allows the users of older Fedora versions to avoid having to download new packages which are unchanged, but for their version number, when updating.
  • SIP Witch version 0.7 is to provide direct and secure peer-to-peer communication similar to Skype in Fedora 13; this does not require a mitigating service provider even if the clients are upstream of routers using NAT.
  • The System Security Services Daemon (SSSD) introduced in Fedora 12 is now installed by default and can be configured when the system is first booted or via authconfig programs.
  • The Fedora developers have integrated static probes in numerous further programs to improve the systemtap debugging and tracing options.
  • The Fedora team have also extended the LVM support in Udisk, which used to be called DeviceKit-disks, and in the Palimpsest GNOME program based on it. However, there is still room for improvement, because it is currently not possible to create volume groups or change the size of logical volumes. The program now also displays the structure and connection of multi-path devices and offers basic features for remotely configuring other systems.
  • By default Fedora 13 aligns new partitions properly to make sure hard disks with 4 KByte sectors deliver optimal performance.
  • The steps in the installer to set up and configure storage devices have been heavily reworked and improved, which makes these steps a lot easier.
  • While Fedora 12 still offered a relatively dated version of Upstart, Fedora 13 uses a series 0.6 version of Upstart for system and services initialisation.
  • The Fedora team have added a new program called accounts-dialog, which was developed in the GNOME environment and offers various user management functions and configuration features for the GDM log-in manager.
  • Fedora's software range includes Firefox 3.6.3, Thunderbird 3.0.4, GIMP 2.6.8 and OpenOffice 3.2.0; its standard C library is the glibc 2.12.
  • Like the Ubuntu developers, the Fedora developers had intended to exclude the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) from the new standard installation, but needed to postpone their plan because some applications still rely on it.

Variants

As usual, the Fedora project offers various spins – ISO images of live media with a software range customised for specific user groups – of Fedora 13 to download. In addition to the well-known spins containing components such as GNOME, KDE, LXDE or Xfce, Fedora 13 offers several new ones -- for instance the "Design Suite spin" created for image editors and graphic designers, or the Security spin for system testing and recovery. Another new spin focuses on mobile devices such as netbooks and contains the Moblin desktop, while Sugar on a Stick contains version 0.88 of the Sugar educational software by Sugarlabs, which is included in Fedora.

While previous versions of Fedora were also available for Power systems (PPC/PPC64), Fedora 13 will, at least initially, only be available for x86 systems with 32-bit and 64-bit processors (x86-32/i386/ix86/IA32 and x86-64/x86_64/AMD64/EM64T). However, several developers intend to create a PPC variant as a "secondary arch" – but no release dates for beta versions or a final version of Fedora 13 for PPC have so far been announced. The same applies to the other Fedora ports for ARM, MIPS and other processor architectures.

Next: Conclusion, More information, Extensions, Spins

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