Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fedora 15 is Released

After two weeks of delays, finally the final version of Fedora 15 is now officially released. It has a lot of new features that might interest you, for developer, end users, or system administrator. Here are the highlight of Fedora 15 taken from the announcement:

==== For desktop users ====

A universe of new features for end users:

* GNOME 3 desktop environment -- GNOME 3 is the next generation of
GNOME with a brand new user interface. It provides a completely new
and modern desktop that has been designed for today's users and
technologies. Fedora 15 is the first major distribution to include
GNOME 3 by default. GNOME 3 is being developed with extensive
upstream participation from Red Hat developers and Fedora volunteers,
and GNOME 3 is tightly integrated in Fedora 15. GNOME Shell, the new
user interface of GNOME 3, is polished, robust and extensible, and
several GNOME Shell extensions and the GNOME tweak tool are available
in the Fedora software repository.

* Btrfs filesystem -- Btrfs, the next generation filesystem is being
developed with upstream participation of Red Hat developers, Oracle
and many others. Btrfs is now available as a menu item in the
installer (only for non-live images. live images support just Ext4)
and does not require passing a special option to the installer as in
the previous releases. Btrfs availability has moved up a notch as a
incremental step towards the goal of Btrfs as the default filesystem
in the next release of Fedora. The btrfsck program for performing
filesystem checks is under active development upstream with
participation from Fedora but the one included in this release is
still limited and hence users are highly recommended to maintain
backups when using this filesystem (backups are a good idea anyway!).

* Indic typing booster -- Indic typing booster is a predictive input
method for the ibus platform. It suggests complete words based on
partial input, and users can simply select a word from the suggestion
list and improve their typing speed and accuracy.

* Better crash reporting -- ABRT, a crash reporting tool in Fedora,
can now perform a part of crash processing remotely, on a Fedora
Project server. Remote coredump retracing avoids users having to
download a large amount of debug information and leads to better
quality reports. The retrace server can generate good backtraces with
a much higher success rate than local retracing.

* Redesigned SELinux troubleshooter -- SELinux troubleshooter is a
graphical tool that watches and analyses log files and automatically
provides solutions to common issues. In this release, this tool has
been redesigned to be simpler but provide more solutions at the same
time.

* Higher compression in live images -- Live images in this release
use XZ compression instead of gzip as in older releases, making them
smaller (about 10%) to download or providing more space for
applications to be made available by default. Thanks to Bruno Wolff
III, Fedora community volunteer, for integrating this functionality in
Fedora Live CD tools.

* Better power management -- Fedora 15 includes a redesigned and
better version of powertop and newer versions of tuned and pm-utils
for better power management. The tuned package contains a daemon that
tunes system settings dynamically to balance between power consumption
and performance. It also performs various kernel tunings according to
selected profile. The new version of tuned brings several bug fixes,
improvements and profiles updates for better efficiency.

* LibreOffice productivity suite -- LibreOffice is a community-driven
and developed free and open source personal productivity suite which
is a project of the not-for-profit organization, The Document
Foundation. It is a fork of OpenOffice.org with a diverse community
of contributors including developers from Red Hat, Novell and many
volunteers. OpenOffice.org has been replaced with LibreOffice in this
release.

* Firefox 4 web browser -- A new major version of this popular browser
from the Mozilla non-profit foundation is part of this release.
Firefox 4 features JavaScript execution speeds up to six times faster
than the previous version, new capabilities such as Firefox Sync,
native support for the patent unencumbered WebM multimedia format,
HTML5 technologies and a completely revised user interface.

* KDE plasma workspaces 4.6 and Xfce 4.8 desktop environments --
Fedora 15 includes new major versions of these alternative desktop
environments. Fedora also provides dedicated KDE Plasma Workspaces
and Xfce installable live images that include these desktop
environments by default.

* Sugar .92 learning platform -- Sugar is a desktop environment
originally designed for the OLPC project which has now evolved into a
learning platform developed by the non-profit Sugar Labs foundation.
This version provides major usability improvements for the first login
screen and the control panel, as well as new features such as support
for 3G networks.

==== For developers ====

For developers there are all sorts of additional goodies:

* Robotics Suite -- Fedora 15 now includes the Robotics Suite, a
collection of packages that provides a usable out-of-the-box robotics
development and simulation environment. This ever-growing suite
features up-to-date robotics frameworks, simulation environments,
utility libraries, and device support, and consolidates them into an
easy-to-install package group. Refer to
https://rmattes.blogspot.com/2011/05/fedora-15-robotics-s... for
more details.

* GCC 4.6 -- GCC 4.6 is the system default compiler in Fedora 15 and
all the relevant packages have been rebuilt in Fedora 15 using it.
Developers can realize compiled code improvements and use the newly
added features, such as improved C++0x support, support for the Go
language, REAL*16 support in Fortran and many other improvements.

* GDB 7.3 -- This new GDB release 7.3 together with Archer and Fedora
extensions improves the debugging experience on Fedora by making the
debugger more powerful. The majority of these features were written by
Red Hat engineers, thus benefiting all gdb users. New features for the
Fedora 15 release include support for breakpoints at SystemTap markers
(probes), support for using labels in the program's source, OpenCL
language debugging support, thread debugging of core dumps and Python
scripting improvements. Numerous important packages within Fedora are
pre-built with SystemTap static markers, and these can now be used as
the target for breakpoints in gdb.

* Programming language updates -- Python 3.2: The system Python 3
stack has been upgraded to 3.2 (the system Python 2 stack remains at
2.7), bringing in hundreds of fixes and tweaks; for a list of changes
refer to https://docs.python.org/dev/whatsnew/3.2.html. OCaml 3.12:
OCaml 3.12 is a major revision of the OCaml programming language, the
camlp4 macro language, libraries, and CDuce for XML processing. Rails
3.0.5: Rails 3 is a large update to the Ruby on Rails web framework.
It brings many new features such as a polished routing API, new
activemailer and activerecord APIs, and many more new enhancements.

* Maven 3 -- Maven 3.0 offers better stability and performance
compared to previous versions and a lot of work under the hood to
simplify writing Maven plugins and further improve performance by
building projects in parallel. Refer to
https://maven.apache.org/docs/3.0/release-notes.html for more
information. Fedora still provides maven2 package to support
backward compatibility where needed.

==== For system administrators ====

And don't think we forgot the system administrators:

* systemd system and session manager -- systemd is a system and
session manager for Linux, compatible with SysV and LSB init scripts.
systemd provides aggressive parallelization capabilities, uses socket
and D-Bus activation for starting services, offers on-demand starting
of daemons, keeps track of processes using Linux cgroups, supports
snapshotting and restoring of the system state, maintains mount and
automount points and implements a powerful transactional
dependency-based service control logic. It can work as a drop-in
replacement for sysvinit. A related change is /var/run and /var/lock
are mounted from tmpfs and results in a simpler, more faster and
robust boot-up scheme and aligns to the default configuration of
several other distributions.

* Dynamic firewall -- Dynamic firewall makes it possible to change
firewall settings without the need to restart the firewall and makes
persistent connections possible. This is for example very useful for
services, that need to add additional firewall rules including
virtualization (libvirtd) and VPN(openvpn). With the static firewall
model these rules are lost if the firewall gets modified or restarted.
The firewall daemon (firewalld) holds the current configuration
internally and is able to modify the firewall without the need to
recreate the complete firewall configuration; it is also able to
restore the configuration in a service restart and reload case.
Another use case for the dynamic firewall mode is printer discovery.
For this the discovery program will be started locally that sends out
a broadcast message. It will most likely get an answer from an unknown
address (the new printer). This answer will be filtered by the
firewall, because the answer is not related to the broadcast and the
port of the program that was sending out the message is dynamic and
therefore a fixed rule can not be created for this. It also has a
D-BUS interface to allow clients or services to request firewall
changes. firewall-cmd (part of firewalld package) is a very simple
yet powerful user space alternative to the iptables command: for
instance, firewall-cmd --enable --service=samba --timeout=10 opens
the appropriate ports for Samba for only ten seconds. Since the
current implementation is a proof of concept, in this release, it is
available in the Fedora software repository but not installed by
default. The plan is to make it the default firewall solution in the
next release.

* BoxGrinder appliance creator -- BoxGrinder is a set of free and
open source tools used for building appliances (images/virtual
machines) for various platforms (KVM, Xen, VMware, EC2). BoxGrinder
creates appliances from simple plain text appliance definition files.

* Spice integration in Virt Manager -- With Fedora 15, virt-manager
has been updated to support Spice, the complete open source solution
for interaction with virtualized desktops. It is now possible to
create a virtual machine with Spice support without touching the
command line, easily taking advantage of all the Spice enhancements
directly from virt-manager. Spice provides better performance and
additional functionality (such as copy/paste between guest and host)
compared to using VNC. Thanks to the spice-gtk library, a new client
can be developed in Python or C, or with gobject-introspection
bindings.

* Consistent network device naming -- Servers often have multiple
Ethernet ports, either embedded on the motherboard, or on add-in PCI
cards. Linux has traditionally named these ports ethX, but there has
been no correlation of the ethX names to the chassis labels - the ethX
names are non-deterministic. Starting in Fedora 15, Ethernet ports
will have a new naming scheme corresponding to physical locations,
rather than ethX. By changing the naming convention, system
administrators will no longer have to guess at the ethX to physical
port mapping, or invoke workarounds on each system to rename them into
some "sane" order. This feature is enabled on all physical systems
that expose network port naming information in SMBIOS 2.6 or later.

* Setuid removal -- Fedora 15 removes setuid in several applications
and instead specifically assigns the capabilities required by each
application to improve security by reducing the impact of any
potential vulnerabilities in these applications.

* Improved support for encrypted home directory -- Fedora 15 brings
in improved support for eCryptfs, a stacked cryptographic filesystem
for Linux. Starting from Fedora 15, authconfig can be used to
automatically mount a private encrypted part of the home directory
when a user logs in.

* RPM 4.9.0 package manager -- RPM 4.9.0 brings a number of immediate
benefits to Fedora including the pluggable dependency generator,
built-in filtering of generated dependencies, additional package
ordering hinting mechanism, performance improvements and many
bugfixes. More details at https://rpm.org/wiki/Releases/4.9.0,

* Tryton ERP system -- Tryton is a three-tier general-purpose
application platform and basis for an ERP (Enterprise Resource
Planning) system. Currently, the main modules available for Tryton
cover accounting, invoicing, sale management, purchase management,
analytic accounting and inventory management