Fedora 17 was released a little over a week ago, and as the Fedora project leader put it, there are an unusually large amount of new features in this release. There’s a great mix of new stuff for everyone, from developers to everyday web-browsing users. You can get this hot new release, code named “Beefy Miracle”, by going to the download page.
Please note that if you go to the homepage, you’ll see that Fedora is now recommending the 64-bit version over the 32-bit version for all users. But 32-bit is still available for those who want or need it.
What’s So Beefy?
What makes this release such a “Beefy Miracle”? Well it’s quite “beefy” in that it packs a lot of new features, updated software, and general improvements across the board. I have to admit there are a lot of changes that are behind-the-scenes and aren’t visually apparent to most regular users, but a good amount of people who use Fedora aren’t regular users. In any case, it’s a win-win situation for anyone who is remotely interested in Fedora.
A large portion of the changes in Fedora 17 are backbone changes or updates as well as improved developer tools. Fedora 17 ships with the Linux kernel version of 3.3.4, but this will regularly get updated to the latest and greatest throughout the release’s lifespan. Users of the OpenStack software (which is a major tool that can be used to create public and private clouds) will rejoice that it has been updated to the latest version codenamed “Essex”.
Fedora 17 also introduces support for JBoss Application Server 7, a tool used as a Java application service. The Fedora Project has also taken the first steps toward a “unified file system” where multiple similar folders (such as /usr/bin and /usr/sbin) are merged into one folder, which simply aims to make the file system more sane.
Fedora 17 has upgraded to Gnome 3.4, which offers many bug fixes, an improved application search experience, smooth scrolling, and application menus (which are accessible by clicking on the application name in the top left of the shell). The updated Gnome desktop environment also offers a refreshed Epiphany browser, now simply called “Web”. This is great for anyone who simply wants a browser that works without using extensions and the like. It doesn’t come preinstalled in Fedora, but it’s a few clicks away by installing the epiphany package. KDE has also been upgraded to the latest 4.8 version.
2+ Desktops, 1 Computer?
Last but not least, Fedora 17 adds support for automatic multiseat. Although this feature wasn’t quite as publicized, I found this to be one of the most interesting things about this release (even though I probably won’t be able to use it myself).
Automatic multiseat is a term that simply describes this – currently with any Linux distribution you can have as many users as you’d like logged into a console (locally and remotely). Each user can do whatever they please at the exact same time as everyone else who’s logged in. Now apply that scenario to full graphical desktop environments. Automatic multiseat allows multiple graphical sessions to exist on the same system so long as the additional hardware is plugged in (monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc.).
This now means that multiple people can log into their desktops without any issues while only working on one physical system. As today’s system specs are more than capable of handling this, you can save time, electricity, heat, space, and money by having multiple people work with one system.
In the end, is it worth it to upgrade to the Beefy Miracle? Absolutely! Is it worth it to try it out if you’re not a Fedora user? As long as you’re not an absolute beginner, yes! This release packs plenty of nice improvements, and it runs quite stable and fast. So fast in fact, someone’s been able to reduce Fedora 17’s boot time to just 2.5 seconds!
What’s your opinion of Fedora? What do you like or dislike about it (whether from a technical point or an ideological point)? Do you like the direction Fedora as a distribution is going? Let us know in the comments!