The Red Hat-sponsored Fedora Project on June 9 announced the availability of Fedora 11, the latest version of its free open-source operating system.
Red Hat officials said the community's 11th release includes the broadest feature set to date; spotlights developments in software management and sound; improves key virtualization components; and introduces Fedora Community, a portal project now in beta.
"The Fedora 11 release showcases a feature set that shows the strength and diversity of Fedora contributors' interests in the evolution of open source," said Paul Frields, Fedora project leader at Red Hat. "We've built several of the major features on the foundations established in previous releases, showing that the open-source development model can provide a compelling mixture of steady advancement and rapid innovation."
The Fedora Project aims to release a new complete, general-purpose, no-cost operating system approximately every six months. The development cycle is purposely restricted to six months to encourage rapid innovation and collaboration between thousands of Fedora project contributors worldwide. Fedora now has almost 29,000 project members, community officials said.
According to a Fedora Team blog on Red Hat's site, Fedora 11, code-named "Leonidas," contains the broadest set of features yet for a Fedora release, including:
New fingerprint reader support that makes biometric support easy and well-integrated
Automatic font and mimetype installation that downloads support as needed for foreign-language documents and other content types
New IBus input method system that makes it easy to switch locales without having to restart a session
Improved kernel mode-setting features for more video cards, including many models of Intel, ATI and NVidia
Support for the latest file systems like ext4, with much higher device and file size limits, and faster consistency checking
Improved virtualization features such as a more flexible and interactive console, and a rewritten VM creation wizard
MinGW cross-compiler tool set for creating Windows executables using the Fedora distribution
Red Hat officials said 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, the company said.
The Fedora Community project aims to streamline the interface that Fedora community members use to contribute code and interact with the community. The portal features a dashboard that tracks contributions, conversations and updates in a simple graphical interface. The beta test of the portal focuses on software package maintainers; community members will have an opportunity to comment and improve Fedora Community as it develops throughout this year, Red Hat said.
"The Fedora Community portal project is going to provide new ways to engage our community members and improve the way they collaborate," said Frields in a statement. "The portal project uses a new Web framework, built on best-of-breed open-source components, that has the capability to provide a more real-time experience. Ultimately, we intend for this portal to become a single, simple and usable online tool our community members can customize to produce and organize their Fedora contributions."
For more information on Fedora 11 or to download it or join the Fedora Community, go to http://fedoraproject.org/.