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Constantine unites!

The big day is here — Fedora 12 is released, uniting freedom, technology, and community. You can download the all-natural goodness at http://get.fedoraproject.org and read some of the highlights of the release. The official announcement text is here, and on the wiki as well.

I’m a big fan of the new Abrt tool which can produce and file detailed information for developers in a Bugzilla bug with just a few clicks, and also the improvements to the SELinux Troubleshooter, which do essentially the same thing. Thanks to Fedora’s strong stance on freedom, this release features some of the best free video drivers yet. On all three of my home machines that use NVidia and ATI cards, kernel mode setting, the enhanced graphical boot display, and on-the-fly display setting work like gangbusters — no more proprietary drivers causing problems we can’t debug or fix. (Thanks Nouveau and Radeon guys.)

The latest GNOME and KDE sparkle, Bluetooth tethering and audio are no-brainers, mobile broadband is dead-simple, PulseAudio happily converses and integrates with everything including your PlayStation3 and probably even your kitchen sink, PackageKit can install missing commands at the shell… Oh, and did I mention the virtualization features? It’s sheer heaven for sysadmins and techie types who love to try different distros; just install them in Fedora’s built-in KVM and go to town!

And of course there’s plenty for developers, including the latest Eclipse and NetBeans IDEs, and an updated SystemTap that helps trace and locate opportunities to optimize code. And of course you can get compilers and tools galore, and all the frameworks, libraries, and modules you need to build powerful applications in any language you prefer, including cross-compiler support for building Windows executables on Fedora.

Fedora 12 also features a nice helping of fit and finish on the Desktop, with fresh theming, easier to navigate panels and menus, tooltips that give you useful information while intelligently staying out of your way, and more useful notifications that are also reduced in frequency to keep the most important information in front of you at all times.

In short, it’s our best release ever, and you should download it and give it a try today!

If I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’.

Some important statistics from the first week of Fedora 11 release:

  • Over 140 Terabytes of Fedora 11 shipped via BitTorrent.
  • Approximately 200,000 direct downloads from unique IP addresses. (Incidentally, there were over 600,000 requests but some IP addresses requested more than one download.)
  • Over 1,000,000 1,200,000 visits to our web and wiki site in just seven days.

Note that our expert Fedora Infrastructure team made all this traffic almost unnoticeable to people, instead of crushing our servers to their knees. Hopefully Mike McGrath and some of the other team members will post a little bit about how they pull all this off. (Hint, hint!) I know that we use memcached, and that MirrorManager, maintained by Matt Domsch, figures heavily into our ability to get people to the closest Fedora bits when they request a download.

It never ceases to amaze me that our releases don’t seem to cause meltdowns like they used to. I think the Infrastructure team secretly yearns for release days to be more exciting, but it’s ironic that their own success makes that less likely. ;-)

This. Is. ALPHA!

[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.

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