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If you’re curious about what might be included in the next version of Fedora - Fedora 9 Sulphur, due out in late April 2008 - today’s Beta release gives a good glimpse into what’s ahead. The Beta release signals the feature freeze for the next release, meaning that all major features that we plan to include have to either be complete or in a testable state. It’s aimed at our developers and early adopters, but everyone in the community is given the opportunity to give feedback to improve our latest and greatest cycles. Testing of the Fedora 9 Beta release is really simple because with live media images, you don’t need to install anything.

Some highlights included in the Beta release:

  • GNOME 2.22, with new features like a helpful world time clock, better file system performance, security improvements, power management at the login screen, the ability to dynamically configure displays, better Bluetooth integration, improved podcast support, and many other enhancements
  • Totem has, among other improvements, better text subtitles support, a YouTube search plugin and a MythTV plugin
  • KDE 4, which includes a brand new desktop and panel with many new concepts, integrated desktop search, and a brand new visual style called Oxygen - all integrated by Fedora’s KDE special interest group
  • Firefox 3 Beta 5 Browser
  • Improvements for managing network devices
  • A free software flash browser plugin that is enabled by default
  • Consolidated dictionary support for consistent results and lower memory usage
  • Anaconda installer improvements, including encrypted partitions with easy resizing support for ext2, ext3, and NTFS partitions in the installer
  • Live image improvements
  • freeIPA, to help make managing auditing, identity and policy easier
  • Virtualization

For more information on enhancements, see the Beta release notes. To download the Beta, visit here.

Where does it go from here? Next, we take all of the feedback reported from the Beta and make enhancements and tweaks in time for the upcoming development and translation freezes and the planned April 22 Release Candidate 1. The final Fedora 9 release is scheduled for April 29.

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