[This post was supposed to be out yesterday, but somehow I managed to brush my touchpad the wrong way and... well, the dog ate my homework. Or WordPress did. Either way, sorry about the lateness of the hour, and all that. Revised now for more contemporary enjoyment. -- Ed.]
Yes, that 300 joke isn’t getting any funnier. But it’s not getting any older either! Well OK, maybe it is, but remember that “beta” works just as well there, so you may have to endure it one more time, sorry.
Anyway, yesterday our Fedora 11 Alpha release hit the wires, and they are humming hotly even as we speak with flying bits. We’ve provided a brief set of release notes where you can see some of the major changes called out.
I often get questions from people asking, what’s the point of an Alpha anyway? Well, essentially it’s to ensure we can effectively compose a Fedora release that can be installed by most people, and once that’s done, to give our community a chance to test the current state of features from a known starting point. Testing is, in fact, our focus once an Alpha release of Fedora is out the door, and every bug you file can make a big difference in the quality of the final Fedora release.
Typically people will install Fedora 11 Alpha on a test machine, and then update to the latest Rawhide packages. You see, Rawhide, our development branch of Fedora, keeps moving after we’ve started working on an Alpha release, so some bugs might be fixed with that update. On the other hand, you might also see totally new ones. It’s very early in the development cycle, so don’t expect a Fedora 11 Alpha system to necessarily be ready for your daily non-testing use (although I do know people who essentially run on the development branch almost all the time, and my hat’s off to them).
The point is, once you have your system running, we’d love to receive bug reports from you. That helps us eradicate problems early and provide a better release by the time the Beta, Preview, and final emerge.
Interestingly, there were hardware-specific bugs in previous releases reported by numerous people that could have easilly been found, had someone taken time to test an Alpha installation or boot on their hardware. So by testing, you really can be a big help to the overall Fedora community! You can often file bug reports straight from the installer, for instance, if your network hardware is supported. You can also use our helpful wiki page to learn how to file a bug. By the way, if you find a problem on that page, you can use its discussion page to tell us what needs improvement.
Basically, it’s a great time to try out the beginnings of Fedora 11 with our Alpha release, and let us know how you fare. And when you do, you’re part of the enormous (and still growing) Fedora community.