Fedora 12 beta released
One week later than planned (standard procedure at Fedora), the Fedora Project has released the first and only beta version of its Fedora 12 Linux distribution, codename Constantine, for download. As a result of this delay plus the extra week for the Alpha, Fedora 12 is now scheduled for a November 17th release.
Since the Fedora development team had already integrated almost all the major changes into the alpha version, released in late August, there are no major surprises in the beta version. The developers have, however, added Yum plug-in 'yum-presto' to the list of packages installed by default. In future, therefore, Yum will automatically use Delta RPMs (available from package repositories since Fedora 11) for updates, significantly reducing the amount of data downloaded.
As in Fedora 11, the beta configures the open source Nouveau driver for NVIDIA graphics hardware. The development team claims to have made significant improvements to this driver in recent months. KMS (kernel-based mode setting) will now be activated automatically. There have also been a number of enhancements for G80 (8000 series and later) GeForce hardware. Nouveau also now has better support for monitoring system-wide sleep modes (suspend/resume). Further details can be found in a blog entry from a Red Hat staff member.
Fedora developers having added the drivers and Linux 2.6.32 kernel patches for utilising the 3D support offered by the AMD R600 and R700 GPUs used in Radeon 2000, 3000 and 4000 series hardware, so there are also further enhancements for AMD graphics hardware. The code, which is listed as experimental, is only utilised if the "mesa-dri-drivers-experimental" package is installed.
The release announcement for the beta includes an overview of additional changes. The Fedora project is scheduled to work on a number of release candidates through early November, but these are generally available to Fedora developers only. As always, users can test the latest development version of the forthcoming Fedora release by installing the Rawhide development branch, which is updated pretty much daily.