Monday, 15 February 2010

Fedora 13 Features Preview

fedora 13 releasedGoddard is the codename for the latest version of the bleeding edge Linux distribution, Fedora 13. Eve before the release of Fedora 12 there were new feature plans for Fedora 13. New features continue to be added to the feature plans of Fedora 13 scheduled for a planned release on May 11, 2010. The Fedora 13 feature list includes a number of features that didn't make it in time for Fedora 12. The feature list includes NFSv4 protocol by default, support for mounting NFS servers over IPv6, and yum language package plug-in. It's almost time for Fedora 13 feature freeze and we hardly expect any new last minute additions. With most accepted Fedora 13 features highlighted on Fedora Project Wiki we decided to provide a comprehensive preview of the Linux distribution.

We would be discussing on the key features in Fedora 13 that have been accepted.

Btrfs system rollback support

Since November last year there were talks on inclusion of Btrfs system rollback support in Fedora 13. The feature will allow automatic and manual disk partition backups. Compared to other Linux file-systems Btrfs is flexible, and allows support for snapshots. It automatically creates a file-system snapshot before each yum transaction. In case the RPM packages are touched causing havoc on the system or any other problem, user can simply reboot and choose an earlier Btrfs snapshot to boot. The only concern could be that Btrfs file-system is not yet stable. Currently, it is available as an install time option for Fedora Linux. The feature has been updated and is now 80% complete.

Anaconda Storage Filtering

Anaconda's storage configuration was rewritten from scratch in F11 to address several design limitations and replace outdated chunks of code. Still there are number of outstanding problem areas that remain. This page tracks the progress. The device also documents the storage device filtering design and test requirements.


Fedora like other Linux distros in general doesn't offer quality color management in key applications by default. Windows and OS X have integrated color management features in their working patterns that offer great effect. It provides an easy way to manage and assign profiles in Fedora for creative people to see the same color they just scanned. In Fedora 13 users would see the same color when the document is printed.

Gnome 2.30

Fedora 13 would include GENOME 2.30. This will ensure that Fedora ships with the current version of Genome desktop. It would stay in sync with upstream.

KDE 4.4

Fedora 13 would rebase KDE to 4.4 version. It would include new features such as PolicyKit 1 KAuth backend and improved PulseAudio integration. IN addition it would have better PulseAudio integration in Phonon and KMix and knetworkmanager. KDE remains a popular desktop environment for Fedora users as its feature rich and stable.
Easier Python Debugging

The gbd debugger had been extended to provide detailed report on the internals of the Python 2 and Python 3 runtimes. The Backtraces that involve Python can be seen bydefault revealing mixed C and Python-level information on what such processes are doing. This ability is unique to Fedora and valuable for Python developers would seek additional visibility into their CPython processes. This would be of great help for developers making it much easier to read backtraces when a library wrapped by python encounters a bug.
KDE PolicyKit One Qt

Fedora 13 will have PolicyKit One support to Qt/KDE applications and the KDE desktop. Currently Fedora uses Policy Kit One as default authentication mechanism, but KDE supports only old Policy Kit, which is already deprecated in Fedora. With Policy Kit One support Fedora KDE users/developers will be able to use its own Qt/KDE applications with nicer Qt API. The Authentication Agent dialog would match rest of desktop environment (Gnome one would be replaced). The KDE upstream would mean better adoption of Fedora in-house project.

KDE PulseAudio Integration

The popular KDE desktop will now integrate better with the default sound solution in Fedora, it will now allow the full capabilities.

There is new PulseAudio integration features available in Fedora 13

  • Phonon detects PulseAudio and no longer shows non-PulseAudio devices when PulseAudio is running.
  • PulseAudio includes a new module-device-manager which allows Phonon to manage PulseAudio devices.
  • Using the above, Phonon allows setting device priorities for the devices reachable through PulseAudio.
  • KMix now shows PulseAudio volumes, including per-application volumes, and allows moving applications between devices.
  • The traditional ALSA backend for KMix is still available, use export KMIX_PULSEAUDIO_DISABLE=1 to force its use even if PulseAudio is detected.
Those users who don't use PulseAudio are not affected by any of these changes.
KVM Stable PCI Address

The allow devices in KVM guest virtual machines to retain the same PCI address allocations as other devices are added or removed from the guest configuration. It allows the devices to be added or removed from the guest configuration. The feature would remove a significant issue with Fedora's virtualizationsupport for Windows.

Fedora 13 will rebase to NetBeans 6.8. NetBeans IDE 6.8 is the first IDE to offer complete support for the entire Java EE 6 spec and improved support for JSF 2.0/Facelets, Java Persistence 2.0, EJB 3.1 including using EJBs in web applications, RESTful web services, and GlassFish v3. It can be used to develop the latest JavaFX SDK 1.2.1, and for creating PHP web applications with the new PHP 5.3 release or with the Symfony Framework.
NetworkManager Mobile Status
ModemManager already has D-Bus methods to get the required information from various cards, but user needs to add some nm-applet icons for better cellular signal strength. They must compel nm-applet/NM listen for signal strength changes, or poll modem-manager for such changes while connected. With the feature it would be easier to use mobile broadband. Users would know know when their device has a signal and if they are roaming or not.

It's a boot method that uses very small images (iso, floppy, disk) to bootstrap a machine, which then contacts a remote server for boot information. In the long run this method might completely replace DVD downloads. The Fedora specific technology would provide additional boot options. The technology, gpxe that makes it possible can be burned to nic ROMs or BIOS.
Boost 1.41 Uplift

The new feature brings 1.41.0 of Boost to Fedora 13 along with BoostMPI. Boost would be built with CMake. The upgrade would allow bi-annual opportunistic syncing with upstream sources. The Boost development community is exploring alternate build and source code control approaches. Itincludes the use of more standard build and release management tools such as git and CMake.

The new way to build Boost allows two enhancements when compared to the current build system
  • Create some more libraries such as Boost MPI
  • Stay synchronized with the latest Boost versions more easily
Sync with upstream would keep Fedora updated.

Zarafa Outlook Sharing is a fully featured and stable groupware solution including a Outlook-like web interface. It would serve as a Microsoft Exchange replacement for Fedora. It's an Open Source Collaboration that integrates existing Linux mail server, native mobile phone support by ActiveSync compatiblity. It offers webaccess with through an Ajax interface with a look and feel like Outlook. In addition, itincludes IMAP4 and a POP3 gateway as well as an iCal/CalDAV gateway. Zarafa groupware solution would be using MAPI objects, and provide a MAPI client library as well as programming interfaces for C++, PHP and Perl. It is the first of its kind groupware and/or collaboration in the entire Fedora Collection.
Highlighted Updated Features

DSO linking, NFSv4 support by default (now 100% complete), NFS client IPv6 support, and DisplayPort support for the Nouveau driver
NFSv4 Default

This is again an update that changes the default NFS protocol to version 4. This would definitely improve the performance. In the version 4, server has state, which implies It can communicate with each NFS client. The server can issue things called delegations for files allow the v4 client to aggressively cache. It drastically cuts down on network traffic between client and server.
NFS Client IPv6

This updated feature would support mounting NFS servers over IPv6. There are many installations that already use IPV6. The new feature would provide the ability to mount via NFS over these networks. Solaris supports IPv6 for years. Linux might also support it.
Nouveau DisplayPort

Fedora 13 would offer enhanced support for DisplayPort in X and kernel drivers for NVIDIA hardware. DisplayPort offers a higher link bandwidth than dual-link DVI. Monitors can easily take advantage of this by providing higher resolutions, higher color depths, and higher refresh rates. The DisplayPort will also run at a lower voltage than DVI and LVDS, and uses lesser power. The future laptops will likely switch to embedded DisplayPort for the local panel for this reason. With this feature, Fedora users can take advantage of the the technical superiority of DisplayPort.
Yum Langpack Plugin

This yum plugin allows langpacks to be automatically installed for your native language when base packages with langpacks get installed. The plugin is expected to do the following
  • when user activates yum (eg through PackageKit) the plugin will check if langpacks are needed or available for the packages involved in the transaction
  • keep conditional lang support entries in comps for now and maybe drop them in a later release
  • package languages can be configured in .conf file
The users will get langpacks for their language installed automatically

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