On this Super Tuesday here in the United States, Red Hat has this morning released the first and only alpha release for Fedora 9. This ninth Fedora release, which has been codenamed Sulphur, will ship in April and go head-to-head against Ubuntu 8.04 LTS "Hardy Heron", but what features can one expect in this forthcoming release? Among the features being worked on are encrypted file-system support, updating the KDE spin to KDE 4.0, PackageKit integration, and switching to upstart initialization. In this article, we are taking a brief look at Fedora 9 Alpha and the features planned for Fedora 9.
EXT4 has been a work in progress for some time now, and further EXT4 work is landing in the Linux 2.6.25 kernel. Fedora 9 will integrate support for the EXT4 file-system and will be integrated into Red Hat's Anaconda installer for new installations or converting an EXT3 file-system to EXT4. On the file-system side in Fedora 9 is also encrypted file-system support. Fedora Sulphur will allow for encryption of hot-pluggable devices, SWAP, and root partitions. Ubuntu 7.10 had added install-time encryption support to their alternate CD installer, and in Fedora 9 Anaconda will be support for setting up encrypted partitions at install-time. On a side note, Anaconda has also picked up support for resizing partitions and logical volumes at install-time. Anaconda will even be able to resize NTFS partitions.
Speeding up the X startup and shutdown process in Fedora 9 is a number of X.Org changes. Among the changes planned are removing some unneeded sleep delays, improving the efficiency of the module loader, improving the speed of DDC probing, and a file descriptor cache for libpciaccess. Also new in the startup and shutdown process of Fedora will be the upstart daemon, which will replace System-V init. Upstart was originally developed for Ubuntu.
On the X side, Fedora 9 also hopes to ship with X Server 1.5. However, if X Server 1.5 is ready to ship in time for Fedora 9 Sulphur that will be a miracle itself. The maintenance release for X Server 1.4.0 was scheduled to be released in early November, but four months later X Server 1.4.1 still hasn't been released. In early December was an X Server 1.4.1 pre-release, but there are still bugs withstanding that are blocking the v1.4.1 release. X Server 1.5.0 had some interesting features planned, but has already lost its "input hotness." X Server 1.5.0 was originally planned for release in March, and while no official announcement has come down, we would not expect the release for a few more months (The Degrading Quality of X.Org Releases?).