The availability of the Fedora 11 Beta release was announced earlier today. The beta will be the first real glimpse at the incredibly large number of major changes which will be shipped in Fedora 11. The Fedora Wiki hosts the official status page for F11 features.
Some of the inclusions are quite interesting:
- 20 Second Startup – The idea is to make it to the login screen in 20 seconds and speedup logging in [to GNOME]. While I think increase in speed is nice, honestly this is probably the least important issue when gauging Linux performance. Even with the speed up, additional services and applications will undoubtedly increase start up after the installation is complete.
- Automatic Font and MIME Installer – A MIME type basically allows applications to know what to do with certain types of files. So ideally a media player application can determine it needs a codec to play a specific type of audio or video. The idea is a little simpler but similar for font installation. While this already does exist in some applications, this deserves a great deal of attention since one of the major difficulties in Linux on the desktop is finding the right plugins or codecs for media. While I can see this in GNOME, I’m not sure if KDE will have the same support. … This reminds me of when MS Office 2000 introduced an installer that would only install certain components when “first used” or Windows Media Player downloading codecs from the internet.
- EXT4 File System as Default – Linux has long used the EXT2 as the default FS and later EXT3 which added some features but was backwards compatible. The move to EXT4 is a bit more major as it really is a new FS and for the most part is not backwards compatible with EXT3. While I’m sure that this version will add some added benefits in several uses, there has been some internet debate as to the suitability of EXT4 on the desktop. Unfortunately this is something I will not be able to test until I know all the operating systems on my machine can properly read/write EXT4.
- Nouveau Driver as Default for Nvidia Video Cards – There are multiple drivers for Nvidia depending on 2D vs. 3D, open source vs. proprietary and modern vs. legacy, etc. The Nouveau driver is an attempt to support full 3D acceleration in an open source driver. Currently Fedora ships with a 2D only driver for Nvidia known as just ‘nv‘ and most users just download the proprietary driver. My last attempt with Nouveau went terrible, I hope it will make some difference with 2D (the nv was very poor), but based on the status page 3D support is a long ways off.
- DeltaRPM Support – When a Fedora package needed an update regardless of what changed, the whole package needed to be downloaded. Presto is a feature added to YUM that allows downloading only the “delta” (the change). This has been available for some time, but this would be the first time the infrastructure looks like it will be ready. I think this is a really important feature since not everyone has a 6Mbit connection and those who do don’t look forward to a gigabyte of updates. … Binary patching has been available in Windows for almost a decade, I think it really needs to be standard in Linux as well.
There are many other features which are planned to be included in Fedora 11. Most of all them are basic major software revision changes (GNOME, GCC, Python, XFCE, etc.). However if you plan on trying the Beta, I highly recommend looking over all the features and thoroughly testing the ones that you really care about. While new features typically come with many potential issues, there is always room for improvement with proper testing and usage.