As we get closer to spooky Halloween here at the Fedora Project, we’re trying to scare out some lurking bugs in dark corners, to get ready for the Fedora 10 Preview Release. As you might know, we have a big line up of new features in Fedora 10, many of which were written by Fedora contributors and Red Hat engineers. Of course, as always the work we do in Fedora is in collaboration with upstream free software projects everywhere. So there’s more than a ghost of a chance that you’ll see these features appearing soon in other distributions too.

We’ve featured these already in our Fedora 10 Alpha and Fedora 10 Beta releases, and our weekly snapshots leading up to the Preview Release. Fedora’s goals include the rapid advancement of free and open source software, and we put those technologies in front of users early and often, in the best traditions of collaborative communities worldwide.
Here’s just a selection of the treats you’ll find in your bag courtesy of Fedora:

  • NetworkManager’s new connection sharing support allows you to share out Internet connections so other people can use them, with just a few mouse clicks. Red Hat software engineer Dan Williams explains more here. NetworkManager also has improved functions for handling system-wide connections and storing and editing connection information.
  • PackageKit features improved dialogs, and the first of a set of new features that will enable a wide range of desktop functionality like installing on demand. We’ve started this ball rolling in Fedora 10 with better codec support, and in Fedora 11 we hope to have support for fonts, applications, and other support that will make life easy for desktop users.
  • Printing in Fedora 10 Preview Release includes easier, friendlier dialogs for making your documents come out just the way you like them. We have improved feedback so you can see what your printer is doing. Printers show up dynamically when you run the configuration tool. And there’s proxy authentication that prompts you for information when needed.
  • Infrared controls in Fedora are better than ever, with changes that let remotes work in more applications than ever before, without pesky hand configuration and text editing of files.
  • Fedora and the Linux kernel now support more webcams than ever, thanks in large part to the work of Fedora community member (and now Red Hat engineer) Hans de Goede and the kernel maintainers. Now videoconferencing and other productivity and entertainment software can take advantage of a boatload of new hardware.
  • We’ve been working directly with the kernel and X communities to provide better startup times for Fedora that also benefit Linux users everywhere. Among other fixes, we’re using a new startup engine called Plymouth, which cuts down significantly on startup time compared to the older RHGB. Although it’s not feature complete for all video cards yet, we believe this is another example of change in which we can invest now for a larger payoff in Fedora 11 and beyond.
  • Fedora also has plenty under the hood for people looking at the latest virtualization technologies, including remote virtual installation and storage improvements. The combination of increased handling of remote storage and the ability to provision new virtual machines remotely without access to the host mean virtualization can now be even more effectively managed at lower costs of time and resources.
  • Fedora can now be used with the radically new and compelling Sugar interface from the One Laptop Per Child project, which can be installed like any other graphical desktop environment. This addition empowers not just developers of activities for OLPC, but also those who are interested in extending this imaginative new metaphor to other devices.
  • First Aid Kit, a modular and extensible framework for rescuing damaged or corrupted systems, is included on the Fedora installation image. This feature allows system owners and administrators to check systems for common problems and repair them automatically, including problems with GRUB, RAID, the X graphical environment, and RPM. And since it’s modular, community developers can contribute their own repair plugins as well.

And there’s a lot more of course. You can read the whole feature list, and see more details about each new development, on the Fedora wiki. The Fedora 10 Preview Release is expected on November 4th. Happy Halloween!

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