A Look Through Fedora 16 Alpha
Fedora 16 Alpha was released earlier this week while the final release is not due until early November. If you have not yet tried out this latest Fedora development release, in this Phoronix article is a brief look through the Red Hat sponsored Linux distribution.
As the default desktop, Fedora 16 will be using GNOME 3.2. Right now an early development snapshot of GNOME 3.2 (the GNOME 3.1 series) is being used. It is more polished and stable than GNOME 3.0, plus there are other improvements to this desktop environment. GNOME 3.2 will be officially released in September. For those not fond of the GNOME desktop, there is also KDE Software Compilation 4.7, Xfce 4.8, and the Sugar 0.94 environments.
The GNOME Shell for version 3.2 is not radically different, but still nicer than early versions of Ubuntu's Unity desktop (granted, Unity in Ubuntu 11.10 is also becoming more friendly and polished). Fortunately, Fedora is always shipping with the latest open-source graphics drivers and other core components, so the GNOME Shell should work relatively well on Radeon / Nouveau / Intel. If installing the proprietary NVIDIA driver, the GNOME Shell continues to work fine while the AMD Catalyst 11.9 binary blob when released next month will finally fix-up the GNOME Shell problems.
There is also NetworkManager 0.9 (Fedora 15 was shipping with a pre-release for GNOME3 compliance) and the usual set of GNOME components. As a complaint with upstream NetworkManager, wireless networks are still being sorted in alphabetical order rather than by signal strength.
Mozilla Firefox remains the default web-browser in Fedora. Within the alpha snapshot it's running Firefox 5.0, but for the final release of Fedora 16 will likely be Firefox 6 or 7 with later versions to come down via their updates repository that is more liberal than Ubuntu and other non-rollers.