Fedora 13 – Ready to roll

Automatic driver installations, better mobile broadband and the end of PowerPC support can be expected from Fedora 13.

Fedora 13 - Ready to roll

Fedora Linux, the community release of Red Hat, is putting the final touches to its latest release, Fedora 13. Codenamed “Goddard”, Fedora 13 has a number of features that will please end users as well as systems administrators. Fedora 13 also ends the relationship with PowerPC processors and now backs the KVM virtualisation system.

Desktop users

For desktop users there are a number of key additions in Fedora 13. Chief among these are the automatic print driver installations. Although there have long been print drivers available for Linux for a wide range of hardware, it has typically been difficult for inexperienced users to install these. Fedora 13 will now automatically offer to install appropriate drivers when a new printer is plugged in.

Fedora 13 also includes a number of desktop enhancements, including the Shotwell photo manager, Deja-dup backup software, the Pino Twitter/Identi.ca client and the Simple Scan scanning application.

For mobile users the NetworkManager has been given a new boost to make it easier for users to set-up mobile broadband connections. The improved NetworkManager is an all-in-one application for managing all manner of connections, including Wi-Fi, 3G and Bluetooth ones.

iPod and iPhone users will also be able to enjoy better synchronisation on Fedora 13. Most of the newer models of the iPod, iPod Touch and iPhone are now supported by the default photo and music software included in Fedora 13.

On the display side Fedora includes the free Nouveau driver for NVidia cards which includes experimental 3D graphics support.

PowerPC

In a move that will frustrate some users, Fedora 13 will not include support for PowerPC processors. Fedora is one of the last major versions of Linux to drop support for the PowerPC platform. OpenSuse dropped PowerPC support last year and Ubuntu discontinued its official PowerPC support in 2007.

The move away from PowerPC was inevitable once Apple announced its decision to move away from the PowerPC platform almost five years ago. Linux on PowerPC was popular when Apple was still shipping PowerPC machines but it has now become marginal. Sony’s recent decision to remove Linux support from its PS3 just added to the demise of Linux on PowerPC.

Another technology being read its final rights is Xen, the virtualisation software. Fedora has over its past few releases increasingly favoured KVM for virtualisation over Xen. Now with Red Hat announcing that it was dropping Xen support in favour of KVM it is clear that Fedora is unlikely to be pushing Xen much further than it has. Fedora is backed by Red Hat and is the proving ground for many of the technologies that ultimately end up in the commercial release of Red Hat.

Fedora 13 is scheduled for release on May 25.

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