When Red Hat inc. turned its general-purpose Linux distribution from a retail product to the community-supported Fedora project, the company set out to define the project by the aggressiveness of its development course.
Its no surprise, then, that Fedora Core 2 will be among the first Linux distributions built around the new 2.6 kernel. (Red Hats more staid Enterprise Linux product isnt set to adopt the new kernel until the distributions Version 4 release this fall.) eWEEK Labs tested Fedora Core 2 Test 1 on a few different systems, and we were generally impressed with the smoothness and stability of the release.
We also found that Fedoras implementation of the KDE Projects KDE 3.2 and the GNOME Projects GNOME 2.5.3 desktop environments were much improved compared with the versions of those interfaces that shipped with Fedora Core 1.
The other major new system slated for inclusion in Fedora Core 2 Test 1, released last month, is SELinux, a security architecture developed by the U.S. National Security Agency that enables administrators to set finer-grained access control policies for users than are otherwise possible in Linux.
Fedora Core 2 includes basic support for SELinux, but only some of the pieces required to set policies are in place. Well be keeping tabs on the way SELinux is implemented in Fedora, which will provide an early view of how Red Hat will handle this feature in its next enterprise release.
Fedora Core 2 is a good general-purpose distribution. Its a particularly good fit for desktop use, in large part because of the wide variety of software that comes precompiled and packaged for Fedora. Whats more, Fedoras fast development clip keeps the distribution outfitted with the latest and greatest software.
However, Fedoras speedy development pace also poses a significant challenge for the distribution, because frequent software changes often introduce application incompatibilities.
The final release of Fedora Core 2 is expected to come out next month. Chances are good that that date could slip, however, considering that the second Fedora test release date has already been pushed back about two weeks to provide more time for SELinux implementation.