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Fedora gets nips and tucks with 14 release

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The Fedora Project, the open source community that creates the Linux variant that eventually becomes Red Hat's commercial-grade Enterprise Linux distro, has kicked out the "Laughlin" Fedora 14 release. Jared Smith, who took over as Fedora Project Leader in June, has one notch on his belt now.

You can see the release notes for Fedora 14 here and you can check out El Reg's review of the beta of the Laughlin release back in September here. You can get the Fedora 14 code and look at the new community site at fedoraproject.org.

Fedora 14 is based on the Linux 2.6.35 kernel. Perhaps the most important change with Fedora 14 is that it is now concurrently available out on Amazon's EC2 compute cloud on launch day.

Until now, Fedora 8 was the most current release of Red hat's development Linux available out on EC2. While the company wants end users to buy RHEL licenses, Red Hat is smart enough to know that it is better for potential customers to use a freebie Fedora license on EC2 and get in the pattern to perhaps one day pay for commercial RHEL releases than to go to Ubuntu or some other operating system and never get into the RHEL pattern at all.

Fedora 14 also includes a nifty tool called virt-v2v that converts guests running on the embedded Xen hypervisor in Fedora releases to migrate them to the KVM hypervisor that Red Hat much prefers. The community has also created something called the Virtualization Preview Repository for all the bleedingest and edgiest virtualization-related parts of the Red Hat stack so you techies and nerds can hurt yourself on them and thereby improve the Fedora and ultimately the RHEL product.

Fedora also includes Spice framework for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployment of virtualized servers down to thin or at least crufty old clients.

Fedora 14 includes updates to Python 2.7, Erlang R14, and the Rakudo Star implementation of Perl 6, and also bundles in support for the D programming language. (You didn't think we'd just stop at C++ and C#, did you?)

The NetBeans IDE is updated to the 6.9 release, which Fedora says is a significant update. The Fedora 14 stack includes an update to the Apache 2.2.16 Web server, the new ipmiutil systems management tool, and a tech preview of the Gnome shell environment. (The Gnome 3.0 interface is, of course, delayed.)

Fedora 14 includes special package sets aimed at amateur radio enthusiasts (yes, they are still listening), circuit designers, embedded systems developers, musicians, and scientists.

Fedora 14 runs on 32-bit or 64-bit processors from Intel or Advanced Micro Devices and also works on Cyrix or VIA Technologies clones. It doesn't take very much oomph to run it--a 400 MHz Pentium Pro with 512 MB of memory and 10 GB of disk is the recommended minimum configuration for a graphical Linux setup. Try that with Windows 7.

What everyone is really waiting for in the enterprise its Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, which is supposed to be launched before the end of the year. It's not that Red Hat needs to launch RHEL 6 to get upgrade money, because a support contract with Red Hat lets customers use whatever releases and versions are currently supported; but customers are eager to see the new version, and how Red Hat will price and package it compared to RHEL 5.

Expect Fedora 15, which has not had its nickname or its feature set bestowed upon it yet, in about six months. ®

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