Linux Just Got Better With The Fedora 16 Beta Distribution

Danny Stieben 13-10-2011

fedora linuxLinux distributions have been improving by leaps and bounds, and those improvements are becoming visible in the latest beta releases. Fedora, one of the flagship distributions carrying GNOME 3 GNOME 3 Beta - Welcome To Your New Linux Desktop Read More , is no different and should have plenty of new features to make your mouth water.


As Fedora 16 is currently in beta, it still has plenty of bugs. However, the feature freeze date occurred before the beta release, so in terms of features you shouldn’t see much if anything changes anymore.

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If you want to test out Fedora 16 Beta while reading this article, you can download the default and any other available spins from here.


The first new feature you may (or may not) notice is that Fedora finally uses GRUB 2 as the bootloader. While one might think that GRUB 2 was already in widespread use before this change, you perhaps don’t realize that GRUB 2, for the most part, was only implemented in any Debian-based distributions. Go outside of the Debian world and it’s a whole different story.

However, considering that GRUB 2 is actually close to a stable release, the people over at Fedora decided it was time to get back to the upstream standard. GRUB 2 brings with it loads of improvements, more options, and overall better booting.


A Newer Kernel

The Linux kernel included in Fedora 16 is also updated. In case you don’t know, the kernel is the very core of the system. Without the kernel, Linux wouldn’t be Linux. Not only are the basic workings located here but also all of the drivers. Even though Fedora 15 made the jump from the 2.6.38 series to 3.0/”2.6.40″, Fedora 16 uses the absolute latest kernel from the 3.1 series. This means that even more bug fixes and hardware support is included, resulting in a better experience.

The Gnome Desktop

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Once you finally get logged in, you’ll start to see some more visible changes. Not only is the wallpaper new, but the entire GNOME desktop is being bumped up to version 3.2. After GNOME 3’s debut with Fedora 15 Fedora 15 - Bringing You The Latest In Linux It's another great day in the world of Linux. Fedora 15 was finally released yesterday, and this new release brings a massive amount of changes compared to Fedora 14. In fact, there's so many changes... Read More , it’s nice to see these updates come out to start smoothing out the rough edges and add features that users felt were missing.

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The major change to the desktop itself in this iteration is the inclusion of an updated menu when you click on your name in the top right corner, as well as “Online Accounts“, which basically adds better intergration to things like Empathy, the instant messenger program. Currently you’re only allowed to add Google accounts, and it fails at doing so, but this should be fixed when the final version comes out.

fedora linux

The default “Awaita” theme has also received some updates to include slightly different shades of blue and other minute adjustments.

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Fedora has also included a new virtual keyboard known as Eekboard. This keyboard is very easy to use and requires no changes in the settings or installation. This is the first time I’ve seen a working virtual keyboard readily available to use.

fedora distribution

Additionally, AMD graphics card users will be happy to know that with the open source Radeon drivers, I do not have any problems with GNOME 3 whatsoever. There are no graphical glitches to be seen, and the speed is actually very impressive (I’m using a Radeon HD 6950, but still). I have not yet tried to use the proprietary Catalyst drivers to see if they behave together.

There are also many changes present in the other supported desktop environments, KDE, XFCE, and LXDE. However, GNOME 3 is the default and will be all that I will cover. If you would like to see KDE, XFCE, or LXDE in action in this Fedora 16 Beta, you can also download those spins by going to the download page.


Even More Changes!

As always, there are plenty of other behind-the-scenes changes that you will more than likely not notice, except for a slight performance increase. At the end of the day it shouldn’t be very interesting to a lot of people, but if you do want to check it out, you can click here.


fedora linux

So far, I’d definitely recommend that you try out Fedora 16 when it is released as stable on November 8th. This latest version builds on all the changes made in Fedora 15, and I’m happy with the results. From here on out, the beta will be worked on to fix all bugs until it is eventually ready to be released. Once that happens, everyone can enjoy the bug-free goodness that comes in this release.

What is your favorite feature in Fedora 16? What would you like to see in future releases? Let us know in the comments!

Related topics: Fedora, Linux Distro.

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  1. ??????????????????
    February 12, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    RE:Linux Just Got Better With The Fedora 16 Beta Distribution ????? Sunflower ????????

  2. MJCB
    October 26, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Does Fedora 16 address the DVD problem?

  3. David Dreggors
    October 18, 2011 at 4:38 am

    I like Fedora, but that is me. I have tried Ubuntu a few times, I ran Mint for a while too. I just prefer the rpm base distros and yum makes it very nice to work with rpms. I am a Linux admin so I tend to stick with Redhat or Redhat clones since that is what I usually support in production environments. You may want a more user friendly distro like Mint though... not that Fedora is *not* user friendly. Mint just seems to appeal more to the new users.

  4. zuser
    October 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Installed the 64 bit KDE live cd on my older amd system and it wonderful.
    Invida driver installed and booted on 1st try also. Highly recommend everyone give it a try.

    • Danny Stieben
      October 17, 2011 at 8:11 pm

      Are you talking about Fedora 16? If so, I'm surprised nVidia already supports F16's updated graphics stack. AMD is hopefully supporting it by the end of the month.

      But yes, 64-bit KDE is quite a joy to use as well. :)

  5. Thomas Gellhaus
    October 14, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Joseph, I have been a big fan of Linux Mint since release 8 and I still love them. I tried Fedora 15 last spring and was pleasantly surprised. I'm looking forward to testing the new release of 16, just waiting for it to hit RC; but Mint 12 will most likely be my long-term system once that is released - it sounds as though the Mint team plan to try and support both Gnome 2 and 3 as much as they can, at least until next spring's edition.

    Thanks to Danny Stieben for this well-done preview of Fedora 16.

    • Danny Stieben
      October 17, 2011 at 8:09 pm

      Thank you Thomas! :) I'm pretty sure that if Fedora 15 pleasantly surprised you, then F16 will surprise you even more as it has been working very well on all the systems that I have it installed.

  6. Joseph
    October 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    uuuhhmmmmmmm . . . . . is this better than Linux Mint, from what I read supposedly Linux Mint was the best from all of the other releases out there . . . . . then I read this article . . . . . what to choose what to choose !?!

    • Danny Stieben
      October 17, 2011 at 8:08 pm

      It is all about personal preference, really. Linux Mint is probably the closest thing you can get to a Windows-like experience on the GNOME side of things, while Fedora/GNOME 3 is much different. Plus there's KDE as an option, so it was is up to what you prefer. All are well supported :)

    • Constipated
      October 20, 2011 at 8:18 pm

      Linux Mint and Fedora are different in many ways.

      First of all, you will find very innovative changes in Fedora, which also means several new issues hard to solve, including but not limited to usability issues. Linux Mint on the other hand relies on stabler end.

      Linux Mint's philosophy is usability, Fedora cares more about incorporating newer things, and tries to stay on the safe side when it comes to proprietary stuff. This means that even to install multimedia codecs and flash player, you will have to spend a lot of time in Fedora while Linux Mint ships with codecs installed out of the box and installing other proprietary stuff is very easy,

      If you are a beginner, Fedora will set you back in many ways, while Linux Mint is sort of a breeze.

      For Haters: This is coming from a person who prefers Fedora over Linux Mint any day and closely follows their developments. Just because I spend my time and energy configuring Fedora for my needs and do not mind making a lot of changes to the default install does not mean everyone has to.

  7. Suhel
    October 14, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Ubuntu 11.10 had its final release yesterday I wonder why no one on MUO covered that story

    • Danny Stieben
      October 17, 2011 at 8:06 pm

      The writer who claimed the topic was scheduled to post about it a date later or so. It has since been published, so you should be able to read it.

  8. Anonymous
    October 13, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    A Fedora beta review on Ubuntu 11.10s release date? Blasphemy! XD Just kidding!

    • Miggs
      October 14, 2011 at 6:45 am

      Odd isn't it? No news about Ubuntu on these sites. 

      • Anonymous
        October 14, 2011 at 1:53 pm

        Give 'em time. Maybe they are putting it through its paces and then they'll write a good review about it. ;)

        A beta is not the same as a final release.

        • Danny Stieben
          October 17, 2011 at 8:06 pm

          Well, I seem to have a knack for timing! It just so happened that my article was scheduled for the Ubuntu release date. By now though we do have an article for Ubuntu 11.10 Final.

  9. Miggs
    October 13, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I started to really hate GNU / Linux distros that require an installation every 6 month or so.

    • Dhruv
      October 13, 2011 at 6:05 pm

      Yeah, I switched to rolling distros a couple months ago and as the fall linux season starts, I'm really loving not having that need/urge to upgrade. 

      • Miggs
        October 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm

        What distro? I actually like a lot Debian's maturity and stability but it's so conservative. I'm still waiting for Gnome 3.0 in testing.

        However, at my age I couldn't afford to spend my time using a bleeding distribution like Arch. I don't want to configure and repair things that much. 

        • Suhel
          October 14, 2011 at 6:44 am

          why not try the LTS version of distros. you install one LTS every 3 years :)

        • Miggs
          October 14, 2011 at 6:49 am

          For the same reason I'm not using Debian stable. It gets too old. Don't get me wrong. I like the new stuff but I also require a stable distribution.

        • Suhel
          October 14, 2011 at 6:56 am

          Usually the 6 months version get stable with each release, apart from stability and bugs fixing there is not much change so unless and until you have a major issue you can keep yourself from installing new distros. Anyways it all depends on how you see it, atleast we can appreciate the hard work these developers put up in delivering us  a FREE alternate to the costly OS's  :)

        • Danny Stieben
          October 17, 2011 at 8:04 pm

          I think openSUSE's "Tumbleweed" repository may be just what you're looking for. Stability on the OS end, latest on the software end.

        • Gblack
          November 9, 2011 at 5:46 am

          just go debian stable and backport software u need

        • Shark
          October 14, 2011 at 5:51 pm

          I am using ArchLinux for 4 months now and you have to configure system only once. It is very stable and i have never experience any crash. Take a day or two for configuration and then you will never (theretically) have to reconfigure the system. Even better - time spend for installing every 6 months is much bigger, let's say 3 years, than to configure the system once. 

    • Anonymous
      October 22, 2011 at 10:21 pm

      I'm sure you realize, but I just want to make it clear in case anyone considering Linux doesn't get confused, but you're not "required" to "upgrade" or otherwise install a new version of Linux.

      That being said, although I have been a Red Hat/Fedora fan for a very long time, I'm using Ubuntu "Netbook Edition" quite a bit lately, and I'm liking it more and more.  Installing the latest release was almost entirely painless, I just told it to install the new release, I had to select to temporarily disable a repository, download took a while (but so would downloading an .iso/.torrent), and then after several minutes of replacing files, I had to do a restart, and I was done.  

      IMHO, I think that beats burning a DVD or putting the image on a thumb drive.  I find old Fedora release DVD's everywhere when I'm looking for something else.

      I've been a KDE person for many years (over a decade), even if it is bloatware (yes, it is), and I know I can, and do, continue using KDE in Fedora.  However, I DO NOT like Gnome 3.  Ubuntu's Unity isn't much better...but IMHO, it's still better.  Since I do use Ubuntu on a netbook, I don't use KDE (Kubuntu, and no, I'm not interested in trying Lubuntu or Fedora with LXDE as the default windows manager, nothing wrong with LXDE, just not my preference).

      I will install Fedora 16 on my laptop (my main computer these days), because I just "have" to see what the "new and improved" version of Fedora is like, and reviews are never good enough.

      • Gblack
        November 9, 2011 at 5:50 am

        i used to use ubuntu netbook edition back in 10.04, then they introduced unity in 10.10 for the remix version, then cya later ubuntu