Fedora Core 6 was released on October 24, 2006 and scheduled to come out a half-year later is the seventh major release for the Fedora Project. However, unlike Yarrow, Tettnang, Heidelberg, Stentz, Bordeaux, and Zod, Fedora 7 is shaping up to be the most ambitious release yet. With all the work and reform going into Fedora 7 it poses the question, will Fedora 7 be Linux's knight in shining armor?
Compared to past releases, Fedora 7 is shaping up to become a major overhaul and much more than a simple release to polish the previous Core. In fact, Fedora Core is no more! Fedora Core and Fedora Extras are being dissolved and merged into one. Earlier this month Bill Nottingham had issued a statement on the fedora-devel-list that the distinction between Core and Extras would be eliminated in its entirety. This move was done due to little difference between the two sets of packages and allowing the end-user to easily spin their own custom set of packages. Merging these package repositories involves rolling out a new build system or making the best of Brew and Plague.
The current schedule for Fedora 7 places its final release on April 26, 2007. However, coming out next in two weeks on January 30 will be the first test release of Fedora 7. The development release roadmap continues in February with the second test release and then the final test release coming at the end of March. For reference, Fedora Core 6 was finally pushed out the door on October 24, 2006. At this time, no pre-release is on the roadmap for Fedora 7.
One of the major changes with Fedora 7 is the customization options currently not present with Fedora. The Fedora Project will be offering separate releases for Fedora Desktop, Fedora KDE, and Fedora Server. Fedora Desktop will be the standard set of desktop packages that one generally uses with Fedora Core, and the desktop environment will be GNOME 2.18. Fedora KDE will be similar to the Fedora Desktop release but will replace GNOME with the K Desktop Environment. Finally, with the last official Fedora 7 install spin, Fedora Server will be targeted for server administration with its set of packages. On top of these official spins it will be easier than ever for users to master their own Fedora version. Among the hopes are to easily change the default set of services, artwork/theme, sysctl settings, and runlevel. To assist with the build process, Pungi will be used for tree building.
Last December the Fedora Project had finally pushed out its first official LiveCD for Fedora Core 6. With Fedora 7, a LiveCD will also be mastered with the various desktop spins. Likewise, a LiveDVD is also planned for Fedora 7.
Last month at Phoronix we had taken our first look at Nouveau -- a FreeDesktop project aiming to provide open-source 3D display driver support for all NVIDIA graphics cards. While a lot of work has already been accomplished for this project, a lot of work is still left to be completed. Nouveau developers expect the project to be ready for primetime by this fall, but Fedora developers are hoping to integrate this open-source 3D NVIDIA driver into Fedora 7. Another display-related enhancement in Fedora 7 will be the integration of RandR 1.2.
Improved wireless support is another priority with Fedora 7. The hopes are to improve the wireless network support in Fedora 7 for ipw2100, ipw2200, ipw3945, prism54, zd1211rw, zd1201, orinoco_, bcm43xx, atmel_, and aironet drivers. Other work will also be done with NetworkManager and wpa_supplicant. Fedora developers are also working on adding a great deal of Wireless firmware to Fedora -- where it is legally possible.