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Fedora 18 Linux Rolls Spherical Cow Beta

From the 'Good Things Come to Those Who Wait' files:

Fedora 18 was originally scheduled to have its first beta release on October 2nd. Things fedorachange, bugs are found and now at long last Fedora 18 Beta is now available.

There is a lot to like about Fedora 18 aka the Spherical Cow and I've been eagerly looking forward to this releasesince mid-August when the feature list first came out.

Among the key items that I was excited about then and still am now are the inclusion of ownCloud (it's a must have open source cloud sync/storage utlity), MATE (Does anyone like Shell? Seriously? Really Anyone? Bueller??). Unfortunately Cinnamon is not a core feature for Fedora 18, though if you're like me, you'll likely find yourself searching it out in a repo and installing it anyways.

On the virtualization side, Fedora 18 will be the proving ground for technologies that Red Hat is already pushing for production. One of those features is Virt Live Snapshots, which is already in the RHEV 3.1 beta. With that feature, KVM users can easily take a live snapshot of a running VM.

The oVirt engine 3.1 is also landing in Fedora 18, which is another core component for the RHEV 3.1 release.

Then of course there is OpenStack Folson, which again is something Red Hat is already previewing for Enterprise customers.

I've also been very excited since at least June for the new Initial User Experiencewhich was supposed to be in Fedora 18, which also includes an improved Anaconda graphical installer. My experience with Anaconda, goes way back to when I first used it with Caldera Linux (eeww SCO, I know!!) , but a whole lot has changed since then.

Anaconda isn't the only installer getting a boost by the Cow. There is also a new facility for doing offline updates via PackageKit and systemd that looks really interesting (no it's not kSplice Oracle!)

"By "offline" OS updates we mean package installations and updates that are run with the system booted into a special system update mode, in order to avoid problems related to conflicts of libraries and services that are currently running with those on disk," The Fedora wikiexplains. "Updates will be downloaded in the background, and the user will be informed about available updates only once they are actually ready to be installed. "

The list of featuresfor Fedora 18 overall is truly impressive and represents the leadership role that Red Hat funded developers have across the open source landscape.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.