The KMS, Plymouth Experience In Fedora 10
Fedora generally lives on the bleeding-edge of free software packages -- especially when it comes to the Linux kernel and X.Org -- and with yesterday's release of Fedora 10 Cambridge this is no different. Fedora 9 was the first of the major distributions to integrate any level of kernel mode-setting support (A Preview of Kernel-based Mode-Setting) and this support has been well-extended in this latest Red Hat release.
Fedora 10 includes a kernel mode-setting driver for ATI Radeon graphics cards (primarily the R500 series) and there are other KMS improvements too. In the general Linux ecosystem though, kernel mode-setting has yet to enter the mainline Linux kernel and it will not do so until at least Linux 2.6.29. As we shared early on, the Fedora 10 release marks Red Hat replacing RHGB with Plymouth, which is a boot splash system designed around kernel mode-setting to provide a flicker-free and clean boot experience.
Last month we provided a closer look at Plymouth at both the technology end as well as what the end-user has to enjoy while their Red Hat / Fedora system boots. Plymouth ships with a number of different graphical plug-ins that provide different effects while the system is booting. Developers can also create their own plug-ins through the Plymouth API. Red Hat engineers continue working on Plymouth and the most recent version is 0.7, which ships with Fedora 10 final.
If you haven't yet installed Fedora 10 or lack KMS-capable hardware/drivers, below is a video of how Plymouth 0.7 with the default Fedora plug-in looks in the final release of Cambridge.
Another KMS-driven project being worked on by Red Hat engineers is Wayland, which is a mini display server and integrated compositing manager. However, the Wayland project is still very young and likely won't play a role in Fedora for a while.
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