Fedora 26 beta finally rolls out

Red Hat and community developers took their own sweet time, but the next version of Fedora is finally on the runway and ready to fly.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Fedora, Red Hat's community Linux distribution, has been delayed several times, but it's finally on its way for a July 11 release date. The Fedora 26 beta is now ready for adventurous users to download.

Fedora, which is the testing ground for Red Hat Enterprise Linux's (RHEL), has three distinct editions: Fedora 25 Workstation, Fedora 26 Server, and Fedora 26 Atomic Host.

These are all built on a foundation of the 4.12.0 Linux kernel. Users who watch Linux like a hawk knows 4.12.0 is still a release candidate. The latest stable kernel is 4.11.6.

So, what is Fedora up to here? What Fedora has always been doing: Riding the bleeding, leading edge of Linux. While this version of Fedora already appears stable as a beta, always keep in mind that if you use a new version of Fedora, you're running the latest Linux and open-source software. Anytime, you're running code that fresh, there's a chance that something will go wrong.

For example, if you try to upgrade directly from Fedora 25 to 26, odds are you had trouble. This will show up first as errors or even a crash. Afterward, you'll get RPM database errors.

That's because of a libdb bug. Fedora uses this database to track its software packages. Fedora's developers explained: "There's a rather subtle and tricky bug in libdb (the database that RPM uses) which has been causing problems with upgrades from Fedora 24/25 to Fedora 26. The developers have made a few attempts to fix this ... but it turns out that updating ... along with other packages can possibly result in a crash at the very end of the process, which in turn causes a (as it happens, minor and fully recoverable) problem in the RPM database."

You can fix this bug by hand using one of the following two methods:

#sudo rpm --rebuilddb


# sudo rm -f /var/lib/rpm/__db*

# sudo rpm --rebuilddb

Like I said, when you're running Fedora, you're running on the cutting edge, and sometimes you'll get cut. This is just an example.

That aside, the beta looks good.

For the desktop, Matthew Miller, Fedora Project Leader, wrote: "The desktop experience for developers and general users is not neglected in Fedora 26 Beta, with Fedora 26 Workstation Beta featuring the GNOME 3.24 desktop environment and offering many of the latest developer and desktop tools to improve ease-of-use, drive modern application development and enhance the overall user experience. A key update is a series of improvements to Builder, [an Integrated Development Environment (IDE)] which now provides expanded support for a variety of application build systems, including Flatpak, CMake, Meson, and Rust, as well as integration with Valgrind for project profiling."

Christian Schaller, Red Hat senior software manager, added in a blog post that Fedora will incorporate the Nvidia binary driver for faster graphics performance. This is a work in progress and is unlikely to be ready to prime time in Fedora 26.

If you're running a small number of servers, Schaller also announced that Fleet Commander, a tool to allow you to manage Fedora and RHEL desktops centrally, will be available. This provides you with a graphical browser based user-interface to servers and desktops running Cockpit. While it's not as powerful as Red Hat's Ansible DevOps program.

I can't recommend Fedora 26 to everyone at this point. But, in a few weeks, when it's had the last of its bug stomped out, I think any Linux user would enjoy trying out the new Fedora.

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