Fedora 17 Debuts as Linux 3.5 Release Cycle Begins
It has been another busy week on the Linux Planet with a major distribution release and the beginning of a new kernel release cycle.
1) Fedora 17
The first Fedora release of 2012 hit general availability last week and it's a distribution that the community has been 'relishing' for some time. Nicknamed the 'Beefy Miracle' the Fedora 17 release is loaded with both desktop, server and cloud facing condiments.
On the desktop side is the latest GNOME 3.4 release which is now the default across a wider range of hardware than the previous Fedora 16 release. With Fedora 16, there was a GNOME Fallback mode that enable a more classic GNOME desktop for those that wanted it (or didn't have the right hardware).
Robyn Bergeron told InternetNews.com that that fallback mode isn't completely and entirely eliminated, there are a few video configurations for which it will still occur.
The other big user facing change is the change to the /usr directory. Fedora is now consolidating multiple directories that all likely always should have been /usr into one directory.
"It's mostly about reducing complexity, in a number of areas - from things as simple as having a cleaner overall filesystem layout, to making packaging easier for someone who is packaging software for multiple distributions," Bergeron said. "There are also benefits from a power-user or enterprise perspective -- you can do snapshotting of the OS, or share it between multiple hosts."
On the server side, Fedora 17 sports the oVirt project which is essentially the open source community version of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization. As part of Fedora, oVirt will serve as a worthy option and alternative to VMware.
From a cloud perspective, Fedora 17 is loaded up with the latest OpenStack Essex release including the Quantum networking project. OpenStack has appeared in Fedora before, but this is the first time that it's in a Red Hat sponsored effort since Red Hat officially became a member of the OpenStack Foundation.
"At the heat of a thousand hot dog cookers, the seventeenth release of Fedora shall be forged by contributors the world over, and it will be known as: Beefy Miracle. The mustard shall indicate progress."
2) Fedora 18 Secure Boot
With the general availability of Fedora 17, work has now commenced on Fedora 18. The release cycle for Fedora 18, nicknamed the Spherical Cow, coincides with the release time frame for Microsoft's Windows 8.
As opposed to previous releases of Windows, Microsoft this time around is imposing its' will on hardware vendors with a new Secure UEFI boot system. With Secure UEFI a signed digital key will be required in order for an operating system to boot. It's a problem that could potentially make it impossible for Linux users to boot Linux on new hardware.
Fedora has one possible solution It involves paying VeriSign for a key that Microsoft will then use with hardware vendors. Fedora developer Matthew Garret provides all the gory detail in a blog post.
"In all probability, this is the approach we'll take. Our first stage bootloader will be signed with a Microsoft key."
3) Linux 3.5 Release Cycle Starts
Linus Torvalds kicked off the latest kernel release cycle late Saturday night with the first release candidate for the Linux 3.5 kernel. The release comes just two short weeks after Linux 3.4 was officially released.
At this early stage the bulk of the kernel is driver updates, though Torvalds noted there is more too.
"Depending on what your interest is, you might be excited about the CoDel packet scheduler, or about the GPU driver updates, or the new scsi targets," Torvalds wrote in his release announcement. "There is something in here for pretty much anybody."