Fedora 11: Leonidas is Hardly a Spartan Linux
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Red Hat's community Linux effort, Fedora is out today with its latest release, Fedora 11. While Fedora Linux 11 is an optimized release, some might even call it a 'Spartan' release, though not for lack of new features. The Fedora 11 release is officially codenamed "Leonidas" who was known as the King of the Spartans.
Fedora 11 includes faster performance and new security, virtualization, desktop and server features. The Fedora release is a preview in some respects of features that the next version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux might contain. It's also likely the last Fedora release before Microsoft Windows 7 is officially launched later this year.
On the faster side of things, Fedora 11 aims to have a 20 second boot time, which might rival Ubuntu Linux's 25 second boot time in its recent Jaunty release. Fedora 11 also includes the new Ext4 file system which offers better performance and the ability to handle larger file sizes. New desktop features for device identification and management are also a key part of the Fedora 11 release.
Virtualization also gets a boost in Fedora 11, with new features that enterprise users might be interested in.
"The virtualization features that we have, include an improved console," Fedora Project Leader Paul Frields told InternetNews.com "That means better input support, so when a user is moving from host to guest it's less of a hassle to try and figure out where your input is being captured."
Frields added that Fedora 11 also includes something called sVirt which is SELinux (Security Enhanced) containment for virtual guests. SELinux is an access control technology that has its roots in the NSA (National Security Agency) and has been part of Fedora for years. By extending SELinux to virtual guests, Fedora is enhancing the security of its virtualization technologies.
Fedora 11 also includes what Frields described as better authentication for its virtualization manager software (virtmanager).
"That allows you to compartmentalize administrator access for virtualization guests," Frields said. "That can be important for companies that have SLAs (service level agreements) for their virtual guests."
Windows developers will also benefit from Fedora 11. Frields explained that the new release includes Window cross compiler support. As such, Fedora 11 developers can create executables for Windows on a Fedora 11 system.
Fedora Community Portal
Alongside the new operating system release, Fedora is showing off its new community portal. The hope is that the new site will help to grow both the Fedora Linux distribution as well as the number of people that contribute.
"It's all Web-based, so it will cut down on the number of software applications that a contributor will have to learn in order to communicate with the Fedora Project," Frields said. The Community will be able to connect people live in a way where we can connect people that will encourage more mentorship."
While Fedora is trying to make it easier for people to participate, its total user base is likely to continue to grow as a result of the Fedora 11 release. Frields estimated that the current total number of Fedora users is approximately 15 million. Fedora counts users based on the number of unique IP addresses that check Fedora repositories for updates.
The total number counted by Fedora includes users of multiple Fedora Linux versions. The Fedora 10 release which came out in November of 2008 has 2.4 million users.
"We expect that download numbers for Fedora 11 will be very strong," said Frields.