The Fedora Project has announced availability of Fedora 13, the latest version of its free open source operating system distribution. Fedora 13 includes a variety of features and improvements, including:
- Simpler installation and device access. The user interface of Anaconda, the Fedora installer, has changed to handle storage devices and partitioning in an easier and more streamlined manner, with helpful hints in the right places. Once installed, Fedora automatically offers driver installation when the user plugs in a printer. Software applications for instant or scheduled data backups, photo management, and scanning make it easier for users to load, edit, share, and secure their content. Color management offers creative users the ability to produce more color-accurate art and photos, from loading to display to printing.
- Accelerated 3D graphics using free drivers. In previous releases, Fedora introduced free and open source 3D drivers for Intel and ATI video cards. In Fedora 13, a variety of Nvidia graphics cards can now be 3D enabled to support free software games and an enhanced desktop experience. New DisplayPort connectors are now supported on ATI and Nvidia cards as well. These free drivers are expected to be enhanced over the course of Fedora 13 and beyond, and become part of the platform for the next-generation free desktop including GNOME 3.
- Virtualization enhancements. Fedora is one of the leading contributors of key technologies like Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), libvirt and virt-manager. Fedora 13 adds support for stable PCI addresses, enabling virtual guests to retain PCI addresses' space on a host machine and expanding opportunities for large-scale automation of virtualization. New shared network interface technology enables virtual machines to use the same physical network interface cards as the host operating system. Fedora 13 also features improvements in performance for KVM networking and large multi-processor systems. These features offer technologists the opportunity to experience virtualization innovations before they are seen in later releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
- Enhanced software development and debugging. Fedora 13 includes new support that allows developers working with mixed libraries (Python and C/C++) in Fedora to get more complete information when debugging with gdb, making rapid application development even easier. The SystemTap utility adds support for static probes, giving programmers expanded capabilities to improve and optimize their code. And with new support for userspace processes, developers can instrument code written in high level languages such as Python, database applications, and more.
- Expanded Btrfs features. Fedora continues to be a key contributor to Btrfs development, and adds support for filesystem snapshots in Fedora 13. Plugin support for snapshots allows administrators to experiment with software updates and more easily revert the system as needed. As in previous releases, advanced users can enable experimental Btrfs support in the installation process to try out this next-generation file system.
"Fedora continues to help advance free and open source software and content," said Paul Frields, Fedora Project Leader at Red Hat. "This release comes just six months after the release of Fedora 12, and it incorporates technologies built by free software developers around the globe. The Fedora Project reciprocates by contributing everything built in Fedora back to the open source community."