The latest iteration of the Fedora Linux distribution is now available to download in beta form, Red Hat announced on Tuesday.
The beta version of Fedora 14 is being released for last-minute bug fixes ahead of the final version's launch later in 2010, according to a post on the FedoraProject.org website by Dennis Gilmore, release engineer at Red Hat.
"Mark your calendars, and get ready to break out and have some fun: Fedora 14 will launch in early November," wrote Gilmore. "November is, oh, so far away? Never fear — Beta is here."
Codenamed 'Laughlin' after Nobel Laureate and physicist Robert Laughlin, the platform touts a number of new and improved features that see virtualisation, performance and system administration benefits placed at the core of the release.
Gilmore wrote that Fedora 14 will nearly halve the amount of time it takes to load and save JPEG images thanks to the libjpeg-turbo feature. It also features the Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments (Spice), which allows accelerated 2D graphics, encryption, and audio playback and recording in a virtual environment.
Fedora 14 is based on Linux Kernel 2.6.35, which introduces graphics stack improvements and the ability to spread incoming network loads across CPUs.
Other improvements to the Red Hat-sponsored Linux distribution include functionality for the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI), the addition of Serial-Over-Lan (SOL) and Identity LED management, and the enablement of remote and powered-off management of servers.
The operating system's debugging tools have also been given a revamp to include new commands that make it easier to track down and fix excessive memory usage within programs and libraries.
The beta release is designed to uncover any remaining bugs in the system; only updates for critical bugs will be pushed out ahead of the final release.
Fedora receives a milestone release roughly every six months. The last, Fedora 13, came in May 2010. Key improvements included kernel updates and improved virtualisation tools that support stable PCI addresses for virtual hardware components such as graphics cards, storage adapters and network interfaces.