The famous quantum-reality thought experiment Schrödinger's cat may or may not exist, but the latest version of Red Hat's community Linux Fedora 19, nicknamed Schrödinger's Cat, is alive, well, and ready to be downloaded.
Unlike its predecessor, Fedora 18, which was infamously late, Fedora 19 has arrived on time. In a statement, Fedora Project leader Robyn Bergeron said, "In this release, the Fedora Project community has absolutely demonstrated that agility matters. From high-level features for enabling cloud and virtualization infrastructure, all the way down to process-level and virtual-machine level portability, combined with the newest developer toolchains, Fedora 19 contains cutting-edge technologies that enable scalability, resilience, and flexibility that are vital in a technology world increasingly focused on rapid delivery of solutions, services, and information."
Fedora has always been known for being the cutting-edge Linux distribution. It's meant more for serious power users and developers than casual users. This release is no different.
Fedora 19 uses the 3.9.0 Linux kernel. For its desktop, Fedora 19 still uses GNOME (GNOME 3.8.3, to be exact) for its default desktop.
You also have the option of using "GNOME Classic" for a GNOME 2-style experience. It also comes with the KDE Plasma Workspaces 4.10 desktop and the GNOME 2 clone MATE 1.6 desktop environment. Of the trio, I prefer MATE myself.
There are also versions for LXDE and XFCE desktop fans.
For end users, Fedora comes with Firefox 21.0 for web browsing; LibreOffice 4.10 for its office suite; Thunderbird 17.0.6 for email and RSS feeds; and GIMP 2.8.4 for graphics. As always with Linux, you can download and install your own choice of applications. I was pleased to find that Fedora also comes with 3D printing support built in.
Fedora also now comes with new features for everyday use, such as enhancements to the Common Unix Printing System (CUPS), which now uses PDF as the standard print job format. This improves Fedora's print speed. It also now comes with a federated voice over internet protocol (VoIP), enabling Fedora users to make calls utilizing a user@domain address with other networks using the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP, aka, Jabber) networks.
This latest Fedora also comes with a wide variety of developer tools. These include the latest versions of popular languages such as PHP 5.5, Ruby 2.0.0, and a tech preview of the upcoming OpenJDK8. Fedora also comes with Developer's Assistant. This tool helps programmers set up a development environment with language-specific templates, samples, and toolchains.
Given Red Hat's support for OpenStack, it comes as no surprise that Fedora comes with OpenStack Grizzly for its infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud. Fedora also now comes with OpenShift Origin, a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) cloud infrastructure, including a variety of cartridges for developing and deploying applications.
As expected, Fedora has switched to MariaDB for its default database management systems (DBMS) from MySQL. This, in turn, hints that Red Hat will switch from Oracle's MySQL to MariaDB in its forthcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.0.
Want to give the new Fedora a try? You can download Fedora 19 now. You can run Fedora on as little as a 1GHz processor with 1GB of RAM and a 10GB hard drive. Practically speaking, I'd double the processor speed and the amount of RAM.
I also must add that Fedora really is a Linux for people who know Linux. If you want to just get your feet wet with Linux, I recommend trying Ubuntu 13.04 or Mint 15. If you're a serious Linux user, though, you're probably already downloading it.