Twice a year, the Fedora Project releases a distribution that combines recent innovations in free software with the polish, usability and stability for which our community has become so widely known. The Fedora 10 release in November 2008 has garnered a number of glowing reviews from users and press, who call it "fast, stable and definitely worth the upgrade" and "seasoned and solid."

At the end of May 2009, the next release of this groundbreaking distribution, Fedora 11 - codename "Leonidas" - will be available, with a feature list that dwarfs any previous release. This release will include innovations such as:

  • Further improvements to the boot process that include NVidia, ATI, and Intel video adapters, using the revolutionary kernel mode setting feature in an effort to cut boot time and provide pleasing visuals.
  • Additional enhancements to the PackageKit cross-distribution package manager that support on-demand font and file support, extending the free desktop into a level of support that compares favorably to any proprietary systems.
  • New virtualization features such as a new management console with enhanced mouse support on the display and larger screen real estate, integration of SELinux for guest virtual machines, access to PCI bus devices from guests, and authentication for VNC remote access.
  • Support for cross-compiling Windows applications directly on Fedora using the MinGW environment.

Before each final release, Fedora produces a set of test phases that involve a growing community to find and squash bugs and issues, so the distribution will be as polished as possible. Our Alpha release from February, for instance, is meant only for a small audience of developers and community members, and is used to simply ensure that a minimum number of quality targets are being met. Nevertheless, the Fedora 11 Alpha release has already generated over 40,000 downloads in just over a month!

But today’s Beta release is meant for a much wider audience. Anyone can download the Beta as an installation medium or a Live image to try it on their system. The larger open source community, beyond just developers and Fedora contributors, can download, test, and report issues, which should substantially improve the final release. Fedora even provides convenient Live images that testers can write to either CD/DVD, or to a USB key. Windows users can also make Live USB keys using the easy LiveUSB Creator application.

Fedora seeks to create more and better opportunities for collaboration. Our upstream-friendly policy ensures that when we find issues and solutions, they are shared equally with other open source communities. Our project hosting facilities offer the ability to create open source projects with any of a number of source code management systems. And our user base, participation and membership keep rising as we’ve made it easier for people to become part of the global open source movement.

Do you want to see the future of Linux? It’s here today. Download Fedora 11 Beta and take it for a spin.

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