In the wake of Ubuntu's 9.10 release, many distributions were forgotten. But one distribution, in particular, keeps getting better and better under the radar. That distribution? Fedora. Just this week Fedora 12 was released, brining some serious improvements not only to the cutting edge distribution, but to Linux in general.
Upon installation you might not immediately notice the improvements. They are there and eventually these improvements will impress you. So instead of you having to wade through the distribution to witness these improvements, I will highlight those that will have certain impact on the user...whether directly or indirectly.
You might be wondering why I am starting with a feature that isn't used by everyone. The main reason is because this is the update that might excite users (at least mobile users) the most. With the latest release not only has bluetooth support matured, but tethering support has become almost foolproof! So now that laptop can tether to your cell via usb. But the improvements don't end there. One of the issues, prior to 12, that plagued Linux bluetooth users was battery drain. Now bluetooth services are run "on demand" so that thirty seconds after the last bluetooth device was used, the service is suspended.
Network manager improvements
Another large step forward is with the Network Manager. Although this is the best of the best Linux network management tools, it still had room for improvement. What has been improved is:
Out of the box tablet support
This will come to the surprise of anyone that has had to get tablet support working with Linux. Fedora 12 will work without having to muck around with xorg.conf! Tablet pressure sensitivity, handwriting recognition, and many more features will work, out of the box! This is big news for anyone who wants to use a tablet PC with Linux.
For those of you who grow more and more frustrated with the constant barrage of updates with a Fedora distribution, you will be happy to know that Fedora has made some serious improvements. First RPM now uses XZ compression (instead of gzip), so packages are smaller. Also, the Presto plugin is now enabled by default. Presto uses RPM deltas which only use files that have changed. Between XZ and deltas file downloads are considerably smaller and updating is noticeably faster.
One thing to keep in mind is that Fedora is a cutting edge distribution, so bug reporting should be a task most Fedora users follow through with. Fedora 12 makes this task very simple. When an application crashes data is automatically collected (without the user having to run back traces and such). With the help of the new Abrt tool, reporting bugs is about as simple as possible. The user doesn't even have to go to Bugzilla to report a bug!
There have been a number of improvements for graphics with Fedora 12. One of the more important updates is the experimental drivers that give 3D support for graphics cards without the use of proprietary drivers.
Another exciting addition is the GFS2 Fedora 12 Samba allows you to have multiple instances of smbd across different nodes of a cluster. With this you can export a gfs2 filesystem through one or more nodes in the cluster. Clustered Samba will provide high-availablity of the Samba service.
This is just a taste of what Fedora 12 is brining to the Linux table. There is a veritable plethora of new features available with Fedora 12. For a complete list, take a look at this Wiki page for an all encompassing look at the feature list.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.