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Fedora 17 is available for x86 systems (32- or 64-bit) only. A version for Power and PowerPC (PPC) systems is in the pipeline, with a beta having been released on 11 May. A beta of Fedora 17 for ARM processors was released on 23 May. These ports are classed as secondary architectures, meaning that problems which affect only these ports will not delay work on the x86 versions, which are classed as primary architectures. The Fedora's ARM development team is working towards having its architecture reclassified as primary, so that it will be developed as part of the standard development process and will be released simultaneously with the x86 versions. Before this can happen the ARM port has to fulfil various criteria recently outlined by Fedora's Engineering Steering Committee.

While the finishing touches were being put to Fedora 17, work on Fedora 18 was already under way. The NetworkManager version to be included in this version will support the creation of hotspots. This feature was originally planned for Fedora 17, which it may still make its way into via an update. In Fedora 18, the firewall should be managed by firewalld by default. This step had been planned in both Fedora 16 and 17, but in both cases was ditched in the final weeks of development.

Also planned are a major revamp of the installer user interface, an upgrade to RPM 4.10 and the use of tmpfs for the /tmp/ directory. Fedora 18 is scheduled for release on 6 November, but delays are a common occurrence at Fedora, so that date is likely to slip by two to three weeks. Fedora 18 will be called "Spherical cow", a name which, as usual, tips its hat to the previous version name.


Of the many changes made, the two that stand out are software rendering for GNOME Shell and the sandbox function for isolating applications. These, and many other changes, are likely to find their way into other distributions soon. Time will tell whether that will also be the case for the much-discussed filesystem reorganisation.


The Fedora Project maintains several download pages for the distribution. The main download page limits itself to the standard edition – the desktop spin for 32-bit x86 systems (ix86/ix86-32), which comes with the GNOME desktop and can be installed onto a CD or USB drive. The 64-bit x86 (x86-64/x64) system edition is available from a second download page, which also includes links for downloading the most popular spins, including spins with KDE, Xfce or LXDE as the default desktop.

Fedora also has further spins, featuring collections of software aimed at specific target groups, available from the spins subdomain. These include the previously standalone Sugar on a Stick (SoaS), the DVD-oriented Games spin, and the Security Lab spin, containing primarily system rescue, forensic system analysis and security auditing software.

A further download page lists CD, DVD and USB drive images for creating installation media. These do not allow users to try before installing, but do allow users to select the software they want to install. Network installation requires the use of these images. The very small gXPE image even allows the installation environment itself to be booted from a network.


The Fedora 17 package repositories contain twenty seven thousand packages for x86-64 systems. These are then combined to make up the various editions of the distribution.

The widest range of software and the greatest level of control are offered by the images for installation media, which permit users to configure the packages selected, the filesystem and many other factors. These images are suitable for DVDs or USB drives and, for example, contain the packages for both GNOME and KDE, but not those for LXDE or Xfce, though the latter can be added during installation if online repositories are activated as installation sources in the installer.

Fully or semi-automated installation using Kickstart is only possible with the installer from these editions. They can also be used to upgrade older Fedora installations, but updating with PreUpgrade is likely to be a better solution for most users, as it is more user-friendly, often quicker and also updates software which is not included in the images.

In addition, the project offers "spins" – live media containing software collections customised for different groups of users. Like the standard ISO images on Ubuntu installation CDs and DVDs, spins are suitable both for trying out the distribution without endangering your existing system and for installing the distribution onto a hard disk. This option does not allow users to select the software to be installed or the filesystem for the root partition, but with a fast source medium it is extremely quick. A fast USB drive, onto which the spin ISO has been transferred using a program such as dd, is ideal. Because Fedora Project images are all hybrid ISOs, this makes the spin bootable. Alternatively, liveusb-creator, which is available for both Linux and Windows, can be used to load up USB drives. The program can also set up a storage area onto which Fedora, when running from a LiveCD or USB, can save data which will be preserved after rebooting.

As many of the spins are intended to fit on a CD, less software is installed to disk when installing a spin than when installing from an installation DVD. For space reasons, spins are usually missing the enormous LibreOffice, though it can easily be installed afterwards by running the following command line command as root:

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

With the exception of a few firmware files, Fedora only contains software available under open source licences recognised by the Fedora Project. Licences which forbid commercial use of the software or redistribution to others do not make it onto this list. The Fedora project also excludes software which uses technologies known to be patented.

This approach is a conscious choice, made with the aim of creating an open source operating system which guarantees that users wanting to use or distribute it will not be subject to copyright or patent claims.

It does mean that Fedora is missing some day-to-day features important to many Linux users. These include Adobe Flash Player and proprietary AMD and NVIDIA graphics drivers. It also lacks software for playing many common audio and video formats, including support for playing MP3s, intellectual property rights relating to which have been have repeatedly asserted by the patent holders.

On a laptop or desktop, therefore, Fedora is only really ready for action once package repositories for installing much of the software excluded by the Fedora Project have been activated. The best-known and most used Fedora repositories are the "free" and "nonfree" repositories from RPM Fusion, which can be activated post-installation in just a few simple steps. If a Gstreamer-based application needs a codec not included with Fedora, PackageKit will ask you to confirm and then, if available, install it automatically from an RPM Fusion repository. A how-to explaining how to install NVIDIA's proprietary graphics drivers is also available.

RPM Fusion provides access to many popular applications and drivers ignored by Fedora, but by no means all. It does not, for example include Adobe Reader or the Adobe Flash plugin, as this is forbidden under licensing conditions for the two programs. Adobe does, however, maintain its own package repository which can be used from Fedora. Google also maintains Fedora-compatible repositories for its software.

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