It's been almost two months since Fedora 9 Alpha was released, which we subsequently previewed. Now with the release of Fedora 9 just being 35 days out, Red Hat has pushed out the beta release of Fedora 9 (codenamed Sulphur) with many more features implemented and ready to be tested. We have taken the time to explore the features of Fedora 9 and the progress that has been made.
The Fedora developers are almost complete on cutting down the number of dictionaries that ship and are being used inside of Fedora. Previous to Fedora 9 there were separate dictionaries inside OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, and Aspell. The dictionary that Fedora is turning to is Hunspell. Nearing completion but still further noticeable work left is on integrating the EXT4 file-system and adding support into the Red Hat Anaconda installer for encrypted file-system support (Encrypted Filesystem Benchmarks). Fedora 9's Anaconda also supports resizing already established disk partitions at install-time. The migration from SysVinit to Upstart initialization is at 99% completed for the Fedora 9 Beta.
Fedora developers have completed work on Bluetooth enhancements in Fedora 9. Among these Bluetooth enhancements are being able to send files to a mobile phone or PDA over Bluetooth, receiving files from remote Bluetooth devices, browsing files on a remote device, and PIM (Personal Information Management) synchronization with your Bluetooth device.
On the X side of things, Fedora developers have been working on speeding up the time that it takes X.Org to startup and shutdown. In this forthcoming release, the RandR (Resize and Rotate) extension is going to be utilized more appropriately. The improvements being done in this area are to make GTK+ RandR-aware, making the window manager aware of different display setups, and an XRandR GUI (along with eventual RandR 1.2 support for Red Hat's system-config-display). RandR 1.2 can also be controlled through the command-line with xrandr.
X Server 1.4.1 still hasn't yet been released for X.Org 7.3, but Red Hat's Adam Jackson is doing a splendid job with the X.Org 7.4 release management and seeing that the final version will be ready to ship with Fedora 9. X.Org 7.4 / X Server 1.5 contains new input hot-plugging capabilities, the porting of drivers to using the new PCI setup infrastructure (pciaccess), DRI2, and the start of kernel-based mode-setting. The only X.Org video driver that looks like it will be ready to ship with kernel-based mode-setting for Fedora 9 is the xf86-video-intel driver.