Over the next week we plan to post a series of blogs that explore ten examples from around our community, of people making a difference to free software through their work in Fedora. These are just ten of the many reasons you’ll want to fire up Fedora 10 and take it for a spin on your system. We’ll dive into some of the cool features that have been developed in this release, as well as some of the advances that have spread throughout the Fedora community. We’ll show off the collaboration that happens between volunteer contributors and Red Hat’s engineering staff to advance free software. And you’ll see why Fedora leads the pack in providing the future first.
#1. Speeding Up the Boot Process
For quite some time, Fedora has been using the rhgb (Red Hat graphical boot) subsystem to provide a graphical progress screen for booting. Starting rhgb takes quite a bit of time, memory and disk activity. It requires numerous graphical user interface pieces to load just a few messages and a progress bar and slows down booting significantly. Needless to say, this situation didn’t sit will with some of the engineers from Red Hat’s Desktop team.
Kernel hacker Kristian Høgsberg had developed a demo during the Fedora 7 time frame to show how a new graphical boot might work. Inspired X hacker Adam Jackson decided to take this code to the next level and develop a way to smooth out the boot experience with faster times and less display flashing. Jackson worked with kernel developer Dave Airlie on the kernel’s new mode setting capability to make it possible to smoothly crossfade the display from the boot progress screen to user login. Fedora 10 features the results of this collaboration between Fedora kernel and desktop contributors. The outcome– Plymouth, a customizable, graphical boot loader that substantially cuts down on boot time.
The full beauty of the loader in its initial Fedora 10 release will be best appreciated by people with recent ATI video cards, but Plymouth is being actively improved to extend the experience for even more users. It’s a significant step along the road to a truly speedy boot process from power-on to user login. You can read more about Plymouth’s development in this interview with Jackson and fellow desktop engineer Ray Strode.
#2. Finding a Theme
The Fedora Artwork team has been one of the crowning jewels of every Fedora release. This partnership of dedicated, talented artists and designers has made Fedora users and fans eager for each release’s eye-pleasing look. From the genetic composition of freedom to flights of fancy through the wild blue yonder, each new Fedora brings a welcome surprise to the eyes and another way of thinking about what makes Fedora special.
This time around, the Artwork team had a sizable collection of excellent candidate themes to choose from. The styles ran the gamut from steampunk gears to neon lights. In an open process, the Artwork team members contributed their ideas for symbolizing the new release and then spent time turning them into artistic executions and submitted them for consideration. The choice was difficult but ultimately the one that won the day was "Solar," showing off the awesome power and energy of the community through the metaphor of a brilliant blue sun.
As with all Fedora Artwork projects, the Solar theme in Fedora 10 was created using entirely free components. From the source image components to the tools used to create the graphics, everything that went into creating this riveting new theme can be modified and redistributed by anyone. By the way, artists or designers interested in promoting free culture and providing beautiful art for the masses are always welcome on the Artwork team. We think you’ll love the results of our community process whenever you fire up Fedora 10.