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With just a few days until the anticipated release of Fedora 12 we’re continuing our blog series on new features with a spotlight on desktop enhancements. We’ll just hit a few highlights on Fedora 12 desktop features in this blog, so if you’d like more in-depth information, be sure to check out this interview with Matthias Clasen. Matthias is a principal software engineer at Red Hat who works on the Desktop team and is also the upstream maintainer of GLib and GTK+.

NetworkManager was introduced in Fedora 7, and it has been polished release after release to provide greater usability, and is now designed to take advantage of other desktop improvements as well. In Fedora 12, NetworkManager provides comprehensive support for mobile broadband, and enhancements in the way Bluetooth and NetworkManager work together also deliver an improved experience for tethering to a supported Bluetooth-capable phone. If you’re always on the go, we believe that Fedora 12 will make it easier to be online using mobile broadband.

For users who want enhanced social experiences, Fedora 12 offers improved webcam support. Empathy, an instant messaging application that is part of the GNOME desktop, is also available in Fedora 12. It supports multiple IM protocols along with IRC, SIP (voice-over-IP) calling, and video chat. Empathy is built on top of a flexible communication framework called Telepathy, which makes it easier to integrate collaboration and communication features with the rest of the desktop. As Matthias explains, "One small glimpse of this is already visible with the ability to share your desktop with your chat contacts. We also hope to see rich integration with GNOME Shell in the future."

In addition to individual features, Fedora 12 includes many small improvements that when combined, deliver a more enjoyable and friendly desktop experience. Here are just a few of those finishing touches that Matthias pointed out:

  • Reduced visual noise by eliminated icons in menus and buttons
  • Updated look and positioning of tooltips
  • Improved font rendering and hinting
  • Reduced frequency and updated visual appearance of notification bubbles
  • Improved personalization of backgrounds by adding an easy way to get more backgrounds online

Can’t wait until the final release of Fedora 12? Download the Fedora 12 Beta here to try out the new desktop features today – and remember to update your system to the latest software and then reboot for best results. Interested in the entire list of improvements and innovations in Fedora 12? You’ll find the full feature list and details on the Fedora wiki.

Check out what the Fedora community is saying as the countdown to Fedora 12 continues. Follow Planet Fedora on twitter here: http://twitter.com/planetfedora.

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