Fedora 11 Offers Broad Range of Enhancements; New Community Participation Portal

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The Fedora Project, a Red Hat, Inc.-sponsored and community-supported open source collaboration project, has announced the availability of Fedora 11, the latest version of its free open source operating system. The Fedora Project, which now has almost 29,000 project members, aims to release a new complete, general-purpose, no-cost operating system approximately every six months.

Fedora 11 includes improvements in virtualization, including an upgraded interactive console, a redesigned virtual machine guest creation wizard and better security with SELinux support for guests. There are also desktop improvements such as automatic font and content handler installation using PackageKit, better fingerprint reader support, and an updated input method system for supporting international language users.

The foundational work for Fedora 11's kernel mode setting feature was completed as part of Fedora 10, which supported a small subset of ATI Radeon-based video cards. The feature is designed to shorten boot times and present a cleaner interface to users by letting the kernel do the work of initially displaying a graphical screen during the startup process. Additionally, the release supports a much broader selection of ATI cards, as well as many Intel and Nvidia cards. Similarly, the PackageKit feature for font installation builds directly on a design that premiered in Fedora 9 and was refined further in Fedora 10.

"For this release our goal has been to try and shave our boot time--from the time you power on an average machine to the time your log-in screen comes up and you can log in with your name and password - we are trying to get that under 20 seconds," Paul Frields, Fedora project leader at Red Hat, tells LinuxLine. "I don't know if we quite made it this time around but considering that we have shaved it to under 30 seconds in the last release, which was 6 months ago, we are actually doing pretty well on our roadmap. And in fact depending on how you configure your machine it is possible to get under a 20-second boot time on a standard laptop or a desktop."

Fedora 11 also includes many completely new features, such as the ext4 file system and the MinGW cross compilation system.

Introduced with this release is the beta test of Fedora Community, a portal-style project intended to streamline the interface that Fedora community members use to contribute code and interact. "The intention of the portal is to actually give our Fedora community contributors a way of interacting with each other live," says Frields.