Fedora 7: The Linux Knight in Shining Armor?
Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 17 January 2007. Page 2 of 2. Add A Comment

One of the areas where Fedora has been criticized in the past is the slow boot and shutdown process. Developers hope to address this issue by reducing the number of processes on start-up and optimizing the processes that need to be started. One of the major features added to the Linux 2.6.20 kernel is support for the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM). This virtualization support offers a new level of possibilities when using a processor with Intel or AMD's virtualization technology. Some of our initial thoughts on KVM as well as performance figures compared to Xen and QEMU can be found in this article. In Fedora 7, KVM should be integrated with libvirt, virt-manager, as well as other tools through QEMU with KVM kernel support.

Contrary to some distributions that bundle proprietary codecs, Fedora continues to believe completely in software being FREE. However, for those desktop users wanting to use proprietary codecs, Fedora 7 should be offering a few improvements in this area. The Fedora Codec Buddy will alert the user to legal places where the codecs can be acquired as well as educating them on the alternatives.

Fedora Core 6 had received a great deal of enhancements when it comes to RPM package support with the ability to tap into independent yum repositories through the Anaconda installer as well as the yum update applet. Fedora 7 is scheduled to experience a makeover when it comes to RPM and yum enhancements in order to noticeably decrease the time it takes to process repositories.

Rolled out last year from the Ubuntu camp was their replacement for init: Upstart. For Fedora 7, upstart, launchd, and initng are being investigated as possible replacements for the init framework. On top of the usual array of performance improvements that make their way into Fedora releases, libata will replace the old IDE stack for parallel ATA support.

Other details include Fedora 7 shipping with the Eclipse SDK 3.2.x branch, reducing the number of dictionaries in Fedora with various applications, fixing unnecessary wakeups, tickless Linux kernel, encrypted filesystem support, switch sysklogd to syslog-ng, Fedora Directory Server, Fedora Update System rewrite, and improved fast user switching. Another connectivity improvement in this release will be improved Firewire support. This improved IEEE-1394 support is coming via rewriting the Firewire stack for the Linux kernel.

Outside of the tentative features mentioned on the Fedora Project Wiki, among the packages that should be available through the Fedora 7 repository will include the Linux 2.6.20 kernel, Mozilla Firefox 2.0, GNOME 2.18, KDE 3.5.6/3.5.7, and X.Org 7.2. For the desktop effects that have been made so popular in Fedora Core 6, Compiz will continue to be used over Beryl.

Coming out roughly the same time as Fedora 7 is Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn. This latest Mark Shuttleworth incarnation has likewise received a great deal of attention but in the wrong respect -- including binary drivers. In order to benefit from Composite and desktop effects, Feisty Fawn will be including both ATI and NVIDIA closed-source display drivers. Some of the other features for this release include a recoverable X subsystem from otherwise fatal errors, roaming between networks, and easy codec installation. Certainly this April will be an interesting time as Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn and Fedora 7 battle it out.

With Fedora 7 being scheduled to come out only six months after the final release of Fedora Core 6, these goals and tentative features are certainly ambitious. The most notable additions on the table for Fedora 7 are an overhaul for the Fedora design with the end to Core and Extras, extensive wireless network improvements, and over two dozen noteworthy improvements. If all of these features can be delivered in time, will Fedora 7 shine through as Linux's knight in shining armor?

If you are interested in our Fedora Core 6 Zod review, see here. We welcome your thoughts on Fedora 7 at the Phoronix Forums.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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