Fedora 18 Beta adds MATE and Cinnamon desktops
After almost two months' delay, the Fedora Project has released the first and final beta of Fedora 18. The distribution, which is code-named "Spherical Cow", includes the MATE desktop – a continuation of the classic GNOME 2 interface – in its repositories for the first time. Fedora 18's default edition uses GNOME 3.6.2 as its interface and a separate KDE Spin provides the KDE Software Collection 4.9.3; Xfce 4.10 and version 1.6.7 of Linux Mint's Cinnamon are also available from the distribution's repositories.
The main reason for the delay to the Fedora 18 development process was the retooling of the distribution's Anaconda installer, which has received a completely new interface. In the process, Anaconda has lost the ability to update older versions of Fedora, a duty that in future is supposed to fall to the new fedup tool. Before an update, fedup downloads all relevant packages under the old version of the distribution, restarts, and then executes the distribution upgrade. Fedora 18 can also update itself more safely by using the offline updates capabilities in systemd.
Other new features in Fedora 18 include support for joining Active Directory domains, the ability to use MDNS shared printers through Avahi, and improvements in NetworkManager that make it easier to set up a machine as a wireless hotspot. A complete overview of all the features in the beta is available on the Fedora Wiki.
If further delays can be avoided, the final Fedora version should be released on 8 January. However, delays are not unusual for the project and this date might be pushed further back if the developers find problems with the beta release. The Fedora 18 beta is available for 32- and 64-bit systems from the Fedora Project web site as installable images and live media and with a variety of desktops. The current stable version of the distribution is Fedora 17 "Beefy Miracle".