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Fedora 20 Heisenbug makes ARM chips 'a primary architecture'

Linux distro fashions boards to surf low-power tsunami

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Fedora 20 has been released with expanded support for ARM-compatible processors and a guarantee of continued heavy development for the low-power chips.

The latest version of the venerable Linux distribution was announced on Tuesday, and comes with official support for ARMv7hl (hardware floating-point, little endian) devices, and promises that AArch64 support is underway.

The release also gives the recent RHEL 7 ("Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 represents the future of IT") a run for its money in desperate pronouncements about the divine importance of Linux.

"For 10 years, Fedora has not only led the way as a cutting-edge, open operating system, but the Fedora Project has also served as a paradigm for other open source communities on a global scale," the company gushed in a canned quote.

This means that it will be easier for chip-wranglers to run Fedora on ARM-based devices. The Fedora project has so far released four board-specific OS images capable of running a stable Fedora: the BeagleBone Black, Wandboard, CompuLab TrimSlice, and Calxeda EnergyCore server, and Versatile Express for Cortex-A9 and A15 emulation through QEMU virtualization.

The expanded support comes at a time of fevered interest in the low-power processor cores, as a variety of companies try to spread them beyond their traditional home of mobile devices to laptops and servers. Google is rumored to be contemplating a mass ARM server shift, and Facebook is devoting resources to allow it to test out the platform more intensively.

Other new features in Fedora 20 (code-named Heisenbug) include the inclusion of the Apache Hadoop 2.2.0 software package so users can simply yum install Hadoop to start working with the data-manipulation framework.

Though Hadoop is designed to be run on clusters of many machines, it is usable on a single box.

Fedora 20 also comes with expanded support for clouds via "First-Class Cloud Images", which are disk images tested for stable running on Amazon Web Services and OpenStack. Along with this, the release wraps in a new user interface for virt-manager for handling VM snapshotting, and other libvirt features have been opened up.

On the desktop, the most jarring change for users will be the arrival of GNOME 3.10 on the desktop which introduces a "Header bar" that collapses a window's title bar and toolbar into a single element, among other changes (detailed here).

Admins have also been given new tools in the form of improvements to NetWorkMaanager. One change that may ruffle feathers is the removal of syslog and substitution of the systemd journal, which is now the default logging tech for minimal and other installs. ®

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