Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fedora 17 new features

Not long after discussing the new features that will be part of the latest Kubuntu release, I wanted to take a quick look at another very popular distro upcoming release. Fedora 17, codenamed "beefy miracle", should go live some time early may 2012 and it incorporates a number of interesting features that should build on the fantastic foundations and heavy improvements brought by Fedora 16.

The complete list of new features, as is the case with every release, is published by the Fedora project itself. Along with explanations for each feature/component, there is information on the progress of that particular portion of the project. All of that information and more can be found HERE. If you are not interested in that level of detail, here's a short summary:

  • GNOME 3.4 and KDE SC 4.8: Fedora 17 will rebase to the latest from the two most popular desktop managers in Linux. Both of them bring significant improvements/enhancements, so in both cases it is already interesting to try Fedora 17 just to enjoy the latest from each.

  • Firewalld: firewalld will become the default firewall solution. The services iptables, iptables-ipv6 and ebtables will be replaced by firewalld, which should help simplify firewall management.

  • GIMP 2.8: Fedora 17 will incorporate the very latest from the best open source image manipulation program. There are plenty of nice things coming with this release, but probably the one most people is after is the single window mode.

  • GNOME Shell for everyone: GNOME Shell will no longer require graphics acceleration in Fedora 17. This is obviously great news for those whose hardware couldn't quite keep up with the original GNOME Shell requirements.

  • EXT4 enhancements: BTRFS may be close to becoming the default file system in Fedora, but EXT4 is not being left behind. Fedora 17 will support EXT4 file systems larger than 16TB.

  • NetworkManager Hotspots improvement: Will provide a smoother Internet Connection Sharing/Hotspot feature that actually works consistently and reliably.

  • Single password quality checking: Fedora will have a single point where the system password quality limits are configured, thus reducing complexity and increasing efficiency.

  • Enhanced KDE Plasma Integration: Users will be able to install Plasma widgets (plasmoids) written in scripting languages through "Add widgets… / Download new widgets…" and automatically get the required Fedora packages for those widgets to actually work installed. This gives users convenient access to upstream's huge widget library without manually having to install dependencies such as plasma-scriptengine-*. It looks like Fedora will be the first distribution to offer this convenient Plasma feature, developed by Fedora.

  • Move all to /usr: Fedora is again trying to reduce complexity with this move. While symbolic links will be maintained to ensure backward compatibility, RPM package content will no longer be split in many different system folders, but unified under /usr. This change will have many benefits, such as increased compatibility with other UNIX/Linux systems, a simpler and cleaner system layout, no confusion about tools install locations, no $PATH fiddling, etc.

    Moreover, this change gets things ready for the adoption of BTRFS and its ability to capture system snapshots at any point. In addition, along with some changes to systemd (which inherits more processes, this time from SysV), this change should also help reduce boot times.

  • Memory and Power management: Benefits in these two areas will land in Fedora 17. Thanks to tuned, more flexibility and capability around power profiles will be added. Memory optimisation is clearly benefitial to all users.

And the list goes on and on... Developers will get (as is usually the case in Fedora) updates to many different programming languages and compilers, while system admins will surely enjoy the extensive list of new features, updates and improvements around servers and virtualization.

Very much looking forward to Fedora 17!


  1. Come on guys make fedora as easy as linux mint.
    Then keep the "ego" for being advance users.

  2. I tried 17's Alpha as well on a never Dell Inspiron laptop, and I had to revert back to -FC16 since it was was too unreliable for my needs.
    I'm now downloading the Nightly Beta ( Fedora-17-Nightly-20120423.09-x86_64-Live-desktop ) and give it another try tomorrow. :)

  3. Looking forward to the release. Currently have F16 setup with nvidia graphics and its working flawlessly. I hope the upgrade goes smoothly.

  4. I don't call fedora a power user distro mainly because it's configured for you out of the box, if you're a power user you're better of with slackware, debian 6, arch linux, and gentoo. Fedora is a nice distro but the length between each distro is disgusting.. 6 months is not enough time to get stuff done, Red hat enterprise linux though is a nice corporate distro and server distro. I'm thinking of using it instead of my standard gentoo or freebsd setup.