Fedora is a Red Hat sponsored Linux distribution, and it is usually the first distribution to include new features and technology. The upcoming Fedora 15 is no exception and the first alpha version of Fedora 15 is now available for testing.

Fedora 15 comes with the new and overhauled GNOME 3 desktop environment, the first major update of GNOME for several years. You can also select the latest versions of KDE or Xfce desktop environments (see below).

The startup is now based on Lennart Poettering’s systemd, which is claimed to speed boot-time, as well as providing on-demand loading and unloading of services.

For Fedora users with their heads in the cloud, one of the more interesting additions is BoxGrinder. It is “an easy to use command line tool to create appliances (virtual images) from simple plaintext application files.” BoxGrinder is available for platforms including KVM, Xen, VMware, and EC2, says Fedora.

Here is a list of what’s new in Fedora 15 Alpha:

GNOME 3

GNOME 3 is the next major version of the GNOME desktop. After many years of a largely unchanged GNOME 2.x experience, GNOME 3 brings a fresh look and feel with GNOME Shell. There are also many changes under the surfaces, like the move from CORBA-based technologies such as GConf, Bonobo and at-spi to dbus-based successors.

Since the requirements of GNOME Shell on the graphics system may not be met by certain hardware / driver combinations, GNOME 3 also support a ‘fallback mode’ in which we run gnome-panel, metacity and notification-daemon instead of GNOME Shell. Note that this mode is not a ‘Classic GNOME’ mode; the panel configuration will be adjusted to be similar to the shell.

The fallback will be handled automatically by gnome-session, which will detect insufficient graphics capabilities and run a different session.

LibreOffice

LibreOfficeLibreOffice is an office productivity suite that will replace OpenOffice. It will be completely open source and driven solely by the community supporting it. It has a word processor, presentation creator, spreadsheet creator, database creator, formula editor, and drawing editor.

systemd

Fedora 15 has replaced Upstart with systemd. systemd uses services files located in /lib/systemd/system for services, and /etc/systemd/system for configuration. A dozen desktop daemons [list them] have been initially converted to use systemd service files and small number of programs have been patched to take advantage of it. systemd is compatible with legacy SysV init scripts and rest of the migration will happen incrementally over time.

Dynamic Firewall

Fedora 15 adds support for the optional firewall daemon, that provides a dynamic firewall management with a D-Bus interface.

DNSSEC for workstations

NetworkManager now uses the BIND nameserver as a DNSSEC resolver. All received DNS responses are proved to be correct. If particular domain is signed and failed to validate then resolver returns SERFVAIL instead of invalidated response, which means something is wrong.

KDE 4.6

This release uses KDE 4.6 by default as the KDE Desktop environment. KDE 4.6 offers new features such as it will be HAL-free (featuring udisks/upower Solid and Power Management backends), systemd password agent, improved bluetooth support using bluedevil bluetooth framework. Also in the works is kde-integration to libreoffice and switching the default phonon backend to gstreamer.

BoxGrinder

BoxGrinder is an easy to use command line tool to create appliances (virtual images) for various platforms (KVM, Xen, VMware, EC2) from simple plaintext application files.

Ecryptfs in Authconfig

Fedora 15 brings in improved support for eCryptfs, a stacked cryptographic filesystem for Linux. Starting from Fedora 15, authconfig can be used to automatically mount a private encrypted part of the home directory when a user logs in.

Indic Typing Booster

Indic Typing Booster is a predictive input method for ibus and scim. It suggests complete words based on partial input, which can then simply be selected from a list, and boost one’s typing speed for more enjoyable input.

LZMA for Live Images

By using LZMA for the live images it will allow for more packages to be shipped on the live image, allow the space constrained images to be better and for the smaller images faster to download.

LessFS

LessFS is a data deduplication project. The aim is to reduce disk usage where filesystem blocks are identical by only storing 1 block and using pointers to the original block for copies. This method of storage is becoming popular in Enterprise solutions for reducing disk backups and minimising virtual machine storage in particular.

Xfce 4.8

Xfce 4.8 has a number of improvements and new features including the Xfce menu will support menu merging, allowing graphical menu editors like alacarte to work in Xfce, the task list windows can now be filtered by monitor and improved multi-head support. Also Thunar has been ported from thunar-vfs to gvfs, PolicyKit support in xfce4-session, multilib enhancements for xfce4-panel plugins and the run dialog now runs with the users full session environment.

Tryton

Tryton is a three-tiers high-level general purpose application platform under the license GPL-3 written in Python and using PostgreSQL as database engine. It is the core base of a complete business solution providing modularity, scalability and security.

RPM 4.9

RPM has been updated to 4.9 with improvements like a pluggable dependency generator, built-in filtering of generated dependencies, additional package ordering hinting mechanism, performance improvements, and many bug fixes all over the place.

Sugar 0.92

Provide the latest Sugar Learning Environment (0.92), including an enhanced activity set to provide an stable demo environment for Sugar as well as an environment for developers.

New Package Suite Groups

The Graphics suite group has been renamed to the Design group and the Robotics SIG has created the Robotics Package Suite which is a collection of software that provides an out-of-the-box usable robotic simulation environment featuring a linear demo to introduce new users.

If everything goes according to plan, Fedora 15 will be shipped on Norway’s national day, May 17 😉

(via TechWorld)