The Red Hat-sponsored Fedora Linux project has released version 8.0 of its operating system with a host of new features aimed at raising the bar over open-source rival Ubuntu.
Based on version 2.6.23 of the Linux kernel, Fedora 8.0 includes the recently released Gnome 2.20 desktop environment and the new Nodoka theme created for this release.
The desktop user experience is certainly a focus of the 8.0 release with the Online Desktop application aiming to unify the many online services, and Compiz Fusion, the compositing and 3D effects window manager, is installed by default.
Fedora's art team has created 'Infinity' for a new look and feel with the release.
While Fedora is Gnome centric, KDE 3.5.7 is available on the regular DVD and KDE 4.0 beta is available in the online repository.
For audio control, PulseAudio is now installed and enabled by default.
PulseAudio is a new sound server compatible with most Linux sound systems and allows for 'hot-switching' of audio outputs, individual volume controls for each audio stream, and networked audio.
Improved suspend and resume will improve the user experience on notebook computers, as will improved power management, and Bluetooth devices and tools have better graphical and system integration.
Wireless network management should also be easier in Fedora 8.0 with the inclusion of NetworkManager 0.7, which has been rewritten.
Ubuntu may be receiving the lion's share of publicity in the consumer Linux space, but the Fedora 8.0 release demonstrates an ongoing high level of development activity and strong user following.
Fedora's virtualisation capability also gets a boost with the introduction of secure remote management for Xen, KVM, and QEMU.
For development, the free and open-source Java environment IcedTea, derived from OpenJDK, is installed by default.
A new version of the open-source Eclipse, version 3.3 'Europa', development environment is also integrated into the desktop.
For security, Fedora 8.0 adds a new graphical firewall configuration tool, Kiosk functionality via SELinux, and support for SHA256 and SHA512 in glibc.
In keeping with Ubuntu's six-month release cycle, Fedora 9.0 is slated for final release on 1 May 2008.
The Fedora Linux project is online at www.fedoraproject.org.