Red Hat has officially released Fedora 11, a Linux distribution for developers that is a testbed for features for its flagship Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) product.
The new Linux distribution, named 'Leonidas', was made available for download on Tuesday. It includes OpenChange, which promises to give any email client native access to Microsoft Exchange. The technology uses an open-source version of Mapi, Microsoft's Messaging Application Programming Interface, to do this.
In addition, it provides several virtualisation improvements, including an upgraded console, a redesigned creation wizard for virtual-machine guests, and SELinux support for guests. Other new features are better support for fingerprint readers and the inclusion of the ext4 file system as default.
Fedora 11 also comes with the MinGW Windows cross compiler, which allows developers to cross-compile software for Windows while remaining in a Linux environment, according to Red Hat.
"Communities of users and developers are [now] empowered to make an impact on open-source software, to excellence in engineering, and to innovation," Max Spevack, Red Hat's community architecture team manager, told ZDNet UK.
"Significant work has continued on the boot process, and Fedora 11 should consistently boot for most users in somewhere around 20 seconds," he added.
End users will enjoy added benefits such as 'mime-type' detection and revamped volume control. The former allows for automatic detection (and installation if the user so desires) of applications that can handle unknown file-types. The latter simplifies the user's sound experience.
However, one analyst questioned whether Fedora 11's compatibility with Microsoft environments, or its improvements in sound or boot processes, will have an impact.
"Fedora is another small step for Linuxkind," said Clive Longbottom, service director at Quocirca. "It sounds really good, I'm sure it does what you want it to do and it has made improvements all round. And yet it isn't what people recognise or feel comfortable with. You can improve it all you want, but until it is a brand people demand, it will remain a techie toy."
A group of the Fedora Community's core release-engineering team members spent the release day conducting a review of Fedora's engineering and release processes, the fruits of which will begin to be seen in Fedora 12, Spevack said.
Red Hat releases a new Fedora distribution twice a year.