Rock it - The first pre-release version of Fedora 13 arrives
One week later than scheduled, the Fedora Project has released the first and only alpha version of its Fedora 13 Linux distribution, aka Goddard, which is scheduled for release in mid May. With the feature freeze having come into effect a month ago, the first pre-release version of the distribution, which is being advertised under the release slogan "Rock it", now contains all major features likely to find their way into Fedora 13.
A pre-release version of GNOME 2.30, for example, adds new programs for managing users and for colour calibration of monitors, scanners and printers. The development team has also enhanced integration of PulseAudio into KDE, version 4.4 of which is now included in the distribution. Moblin desktop fans can install a preview edition of version 2.2. NetworkManager now offers the option of being controlled using a command line program and has improved support for establishing dial-up Bluetooth connections. The distribution now installs printer drivers and language packs semi-automatically where required.
The alpha version uses a pre-release version of Linux 2.6.33, but the final version is already available as an update. As reported previously, the distribution includes an experimental version of the open source Nouveau driver which provides 3D support for more recent GeForce graphics cores. Most of the distribution's Python programs use Python 2.6.4, but Python 3.1.1 can now be installed in parallel. Debugging options have been enhanced in both versions.
The beta version is scheduled for release in four weeks time and one or more release candidates should be available in late April, though these will be less widely distributed than the alpha and beta versions. Users installing one of the pre-release versions will be kept up to date with the development version, amended pretty much daily, and subsequently the final version through regular updates. It is also possible to install the current development version directly from the internet via special installation media. Users who want a foretaste of Fedora 14 can switch from the alpha to the main development tree, Fedora Rawhide, which, under the new release scheme introduced during the Fedora 13 release cycle, is already being used to prepare the alpha version of the next-but-one version of Fedora.
The main Fedora developer mailing list is currently buzzing with activity, as those involved in the project eagerly debate, across several threads, the best way of updating the software. Topics under discussion include administrative issues, such as requiring updates to first pass through an 'updates-testing' repository before they can be distributed to all users of the relevant Fedora version in the form of regular updates. There is also the issue of where new versions of applications should be accepted as updates for finished versions of Fedora and where they should wait for a forthcoming version.