Fedora 9 Alpha released
The development team behind the Fedora Project, which is primarily sponsored by Red Hat, on Tuesday released the first test version of Fedora 9 for download, just under two weeks later than originally planned. Many of the features planned for Fedora 9 are included in the alpha version. KDE 4 replaces the previous version of the desktop environment. For some programs, such as kdepim, kdewebdev and kdevelop, Fedora is sticking with older versions from KDE 3.5 distributions, as the latest KDE 4 versions are either not yet finished or are not considered fully developed.
The GNOME programs in the alpha version of Fedora 9 are derived from the 2.21 development branch from which GNOME 2.22 should emerge in mid-March. The browser will be a preview version of Firefox 3, the core rendering elements of which are in a separate XULRunner package. Preview versions of other applications such as OpenOffice 2.4 or X- Server 1.5 are also used. The development team have also improved the installation program so that existing ext2, ext3 and NTFS partitions can now be reduced in size. In addition, it is now possible to create encrypted Linux partitions directly during installation.
Fedora 9 Alpha uses version 2.6.24 of the Linux kernel, which was released just under two weeks ago. The final version, planned for late April, is expected to use Linux version 2.6.25, planned for mid - late April. The Fedora development team plans to move to a preview version of Linux 2.6.25 for the Rawhide development branch, which is updated almost daily and serves as an update source for the alpha version, in the next few days. They will update this regularly with the latest development version of the forthcoming kernel release. Fedora is also planning to release Linux 2.6.24 as an update for Fedora 8, which originally shipped with kernel version 2.6.23.
Fedora plans to release the first and only beta version of Fedora 9 in mid March. It should include all major new features. A preview release and a release candidate are planned for early and mid April, before final release on 29th April. There has also been a change of leadership at Fedora earlier this month. After two years as head of the project, Max Spevack has handed over to Paul Frields. Frields has worked on various parts of Fedora - in particular on Fedora documentation - over many years and was a member of the first Fedora board.