Fedora 18 finally arrives

Fedora 18 finally arrives

Summary: It took its own sweet time, but the latest version of Red Hat's community Linux distribution, Fedora 18, is finally here and ready for you to use.

After months of delay, Fedora 18 is out and ready for you.

Well, that took long enough! Still, after months of delays, Red Hat's community Linux distribution, Fedora 18 is finally available to download.

Fedora 18, aka the oddly named Spherical Cow, should have shipped on November 6th. Seven delays later, it's finally came out on January 15th. So what was the problem? According to Robyn Bergeron, Red Hat's Fedora Project Leader the real time-killer was the major rewrite of Fedora's Anaconda, its software installation and update program. Bergeron said that this "was a one-time aberration." In the future, Fedora should stick closer to its six-month release cycle.

Hands on with Fedora 18 (Gallery)

The new Anaconda is designed to make installing Fedora a much smoother and faster experience. It also, Fedora states, "supports installation from local and remote sources such as CDs and DVDs, images stored on a hard drive, NFS, HTTP, and FTP. Installation can be scripted with kickstart to provide a fully unattended installation that can be duplicated on scores of machines. It can also be run over VNC on headless machines. A variety of advanced storage devices including LVM, RAID, iSCSI, and multipath are supported from the partitioning program. anaconda provides advanced debugging features such as remote logging, access to the python interactive debugger, and remote saving of exception dumps."

All that done, Fedora still has bugs if you try to install it on PCs locked down with Windows 8's UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) Secure Boot. In particular, UEFI boot won't work with USB sticks made with the liveusb-creator. You may, however, be successful with install Fedora in native UEFI mode from a USB media by using either dd or livecd-iso-to-disk to create it. As always, the easiest way to install Linux on a Secure Boot system is to deactivate Secure Boot.

Once done what will you find? For starters, Fedora gives you far more choices in desktop interfaces. GNOME is still the default desktop. Unfortunately, GNOME 3.6 is now the version being shipped. This edition include the new, and as far as I'm concerned, defective Nautilus file manager. I agree with Clement Lefebvre, founder of Mint Linux that "Nautilus 3.6 is a catastrophe. It removes features we consider requirements."

Fortunately, Fedora doesn't leave us stuck with GNOME 3.6. It also includes Nemo, the fully-featured Nautilus fork, MATE, the GNOME 2.x-style fork; and, my personal favorite desktop, Cinnamon. To install these, though, you first have to install another interface first and then install an alternative desktop. KDE and Xfce are still available as ready to run from installation desktop options.

Most of the important changes in Fedora, however, are for system administrators rather than desktop users. The biggest improvements, from where I sit, are the following.

System Storage Manager (SSM).

This is an easy-to-use command-line interface tool that presents a unified view of storage management tools. Devices, storage pools, volumes, and snapshots can now be managed with one tool, with the same syntax for managing all of your storage. In addition, Fedora now includes StorageManagement, a collection of tools and libraries for managing storage area networks (SAN) and network attached storage (NAS).

Offline system update.

This does exactly what it says. It enables you to update critical system components offline. For now, this functionality is only integrated into GNOME. Fedora's developers expect that, since it's based on non-GNOME specific software such as PackageKit, that others will quickly adopt it.

Samba 4.

Samba has long been Linux's ace in the hole for providing file- and print-sharing services to Windows and other operating systems. Now, with Samba 4, this open-source server program now supports Active Directory (AD).

Cloud support.

The new Fedora includes support for both Eucalyptus, the private Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) clouds and the Folsom release of OpenStack.

Virtualization management.

As always, Fedora supports KVM for virtual machines, but on top of KVM this new Fedora also supports the latest version of oVirt. Ovirt is designed to be a data center ready virtualization management program.

Put it all together and you get, as always with Fedora, a distribution pointing the way to serious Linux server work and the future of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) in particular. I haven't looked at Fedora 18 enough yet to say I'd recommend it as a desktop. I already know enough about it to recommend it to anyone who wants to do serious data-center and server Linux work.

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Topics: Linux, Cloud, Data Centers, Open Source, Operating Systems, Servers, Virtualization, PCs

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  • I'm going to take this as a major victory

    "As always, the easiest way to install Linux on a Secure Boot system is to deactivate Secure Boot."

    Wow. SJVN just admitted that many of his past articles were total lies.
    • Only you are the beacon of truth.

      You are the wind beneath my wings.
      Hardrock Davidson
      • Correction for you

        Only you are the beacon of truth.
        You are the wind between my cheeks.
        Alan Smithie
  • Awesome!!!!!!!

    I've been waiting for Fedora 18 for....

    ....I'm just kidding, nobody cares.
    • Not quite

      College students might care, a handful of businesses (small handful) that don't have good IT support might care, not many others though.
      • Sarcasm: In other words...

        ...nobody that matters cares, presumably because people that matter don't run Linux on the desktop.

        Good to know.
        John L. Ries
        • about fedora 18

          To this finish they use chapeau Linux because the work. options return to chapeau 1st. To continue the apple comparison, instead of have your team suppose your new maps feature is great, then unleash and acquire your users telling you you have a load of bugs, why not incorporate a feature into a work os, let thousands of users attempt it out and feed back before conveyance it into your enterprise product?
          there are a lots of new features are upcoming but shurely fedorawill be a usefull os. lts see what is upcmng packages.
          papa blogger
    • Since I run Fedora 17

      I care. As frequently noted of late, "nobody cares" is almost always untrue and usually a lie (a deliberate attempt to deceive).
      John L. Ries
  • What is the usage percentage

    Does the development cost justify the usage percentage? Just curious...
    • I have no idea about the usage percentage

      But still a lot of people use it. I don't use Linux, but in the university where I used to work many students from system engineering used Fedora Linux, there were even some thesis projects related to it. And we're talking about an university in the middle of nowhere in Mexico, so I guess in other places there must be more users.

      About the development cost I don't know either, but I don't care; I guess if they're still doing it is because it's profitable...
      • Define - Lot of People"

        Do you mean 2 people, that could be a lot of people, or is your definition of "a lot" 100, 1000, 10,000, more?
        • Best jump straight to Fedora's published figures there...


          Sure it's not exactly the behemoth of free to use operating systems... Especially comparable to say iOS 6 which surpassed 200 million users in just a couple of months, but yes in the Linux world it is a big player... And an influential one. This is where development cost comes in. A lot of Fedora, as with other distros is community effort, though of course it is pay rolled by redhat.

          For those that don't know, redhat is the elephant in the Linux room, particularly when it comes to kernel code and funding. Red hat's business is the enterprise. They make an open source os, so naturally others redistribute this os freely and legally by rebuilding their code, so they need to provide excellent guarantees and services to tempt customers from free alternatives.

          To this end they use fedora Linux as the test bed. Features come to fedora first. To continue the apple comparison, rather than have your team think your new maps feature is excellent, then release and get your users telling you you've got a load of bugs, why not incorporate a feature into a test bed os, let thousands of users try it out and feed back before bringing it into your enterprise product?

          Look at the revenue of redhat inc, their expenditure on R&d as a percentage and assess fedora as Advertising of the brand, user feedback, research and a development asset and the answer soon becomes a resounding yes, it is worth it.
    • @Owlll1net, ask Red Hat, Inc.

      Red Hat, Inc., is a U.S.-based, multi-national open-source software business with annual revenues in excess of $1 billion U.S. and is the sponsor of Fedora. You have heard of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, no?
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • They make money from Services...

        I know Red Hat make money from Enterprise Linux services/support/storage/virtualization or whatever... I was just interested in the numbers if any was available for Fedora...
        • Fedora is free software

          On a number of levels, including $$$. Consider Fedora as a gift to the Fedora community and anyone else that wants to use it. Stop looking for Fedora numbers, you're wasting your time.

          P.S. Red Hat is also free software and the source code is available to anyone and everyone. However, access to RHEL binaries requires either a subscription (read $$$) or one must compile the source code thenselves. Most users wanting Red Hat Enterprise Linux for free either use CentOS or Scientific Linux which are both derived from RHEL source code.
          Rabid Howler Monkey
          • Not quite.

            Call up Red Hat, and they'll happily send you a trial CD/DVD with all the binaries for free. The only time RHEL costs money is when you want the benefits of the subscription. That said, if you really just want free, it is probably better just to get CentOS. The evaluations really are only useful when you actually want to evaluate if the RHEL subscription is worth it.
          • RE: if you really just want free, it is probably better just to get CentOS

            You're selling Scientific Linux short. Why?
            Rabid Howler Monkey
          • CentOS or Scientific Linux

            CentOS is heavily used in web hosting companies, especially the ones running cPanel/WHM and it is a very good combination.

            Here are the latest trends for CentOS:


            I did not see any there for Scientific Linux, a Linux release put together by Fermilab, CERN, and various other labs and universities around the world ready tuned for experimenters.
          • Did you look at the graph you listed?

            The graph looks to be saying CentOS is drooping in binary compatible.

            Where is the graph in binary compatible between Cent OS and Scientific Linux
            with Red Hat?
    • Fedora is Red Hat's Community Distribution

      Fedora can be considered Red Hat's "testing grounds" for Red Hat Enterprise Linux; Fedora 18 and 19 will form the base of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 which will come out later this year.