Fedora 20 Beta Brings the Heisenbug to Linux

The new beta release of Red Hat's community Linux distribution adds networking and virtualization capabilities.


The Red Hat-sponsored Fedora Linux community distribution came out today with a beta of its next-generation Fedora 20 release, code-named the Heisenbug. Ironically, the name "Heisenbug" refers to a type of computer bug that is difficult to detect or fix—a type of flaw no programmer ever wants to have.

Fedora Project Leader Robyn Bergeron told eWEEK that the Fedora project isn't worried about the appearance of a Heisenbug in the upcoming Heisenbug Fedora Linux release.

"The truth is, we're not doing anything drastically different; we have a fabulous QA team that really sticks to our release criteria, particularly when a 'Heisenbug' situation occurs around things deemed to be possibly release-blocking," Bergeron said. "We have dedicated folks who work to reproduce, or help the reporter to reproduce or clarify their bug report."

Those dedicated QA people have helped find a few flaws so far, including ones that pushed back the original release date of the beta release. Fedora 20 was originally scheduled to debut a week ago.

"We always strive to ship on time, and it's always a bummer when we can't," Bergeron said. "But we'd rather ship quality; even delayed, that's better than getting it out the door for the sake of getting it out the door, if it's riddled with issues."

The Fedora 20 beta includes an improved Network Manager that can help enable a software-defined networking (SDN) environment. The Fedora 20 release includes the Linux 3.11.x kernel that supports the Open vSwitch (OVS) virtual switch, which is a critical part of modern SDN deployments.

"We've had support for OVS for a release or two now; this enables Neutron [formerly Quantum] from OpenStack," Bergeron said.

OpenStack Neutron is the networking module within the open-source OpenStack cloud platform.

The expanded Network Manager and OVS support in Fedora 20 should complement other new features in Fedora 20, such as Ryu, which essentially implements an OpenFlow controller, Bergeron said.

OpenFlow is an SDN protocol for managing network traffic patterns with the use of controller technology.

Fedora 20 also includes a new logical volume manager (LVM) thin-provisioning capability. LVM is a widely used tool in Linux for logical storage management. Bergeron explained that the new thin provisioning capability allows for more efficient, better performing and easier-to-administer storage snapshots in terms of a shared backing storage pool.

"This can be very useful in creating cloud image storage systems or creating snapshot/rollback infrastructure," Bergeron explained.

The beta period is expected to last nearly another month, as the current plan for Fedora 20 is to become generally available Dec. 10.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.