Fedora 26 is coming: Here's what you need to know

No last-minute delays in the final release date this time -- here's what the new release will bring.
Written by J.A. Watson, Contributor

This is the first time I can remember in quite a while that a Fedora final release date has not been postponed at least once during the release candidate phase.

Take a look at the Fedora 26 Release Schedule, and you can see that the alpha release was delayed three times, and beta was delayed twice more. But once it passed beta, everything proceeded smoothly to the final release date -- tomorrow!


Fedora 26 Workstation (Gnome Desktop)

Image: J.A. Watson

Fedora is very careful about its releases -- there are clearly defined release criteria, and any blocker bugs found during the development cycle must be fixed before the release can be made.

So the fact that this release went so smoothly during the final stages is probably a good sign for the quality and stability of this release. I think that it also shows the quality of the Fedora development team, so congratulations to them on this latest release.

The foundation of any new Linux release is the kernel itself. For this Fedora release, the kernel is 4.11.8, which is pretty much the latest possible -- 4.12 was just released a week or so ago, far too late to make it into this Fedora release. I have no doubt, though, that the kernel will be updated to 4.12 very soon after the release because Fedora does not have the strict "stay with the kernel version at release" policy that some other distributions have.

Of course, there are plenty of other changes and updates in this release -- the release notes will detail them all, but until then here are a few highlights that I have noticed:

  • Administrators: openSSL 1.1.0, DNF 2.0
  • Programmers: GCC 7, python 3.6, ruby 2.4
  • Desktops: LXQt spin added, all updated to latest versions (see below for details)

Fedora 26 Details

The standard Fedora Workstation distribution desktop is Gnome 3.24.2, which is a latest stable release available. (Gnome uses even-numbered releases for stable distribution and odd-numbered releases for development. The next stable release, 3.26, is due in September.)

I have never really warmed to the Gnome 3 desktop. I don't actually dislike it, in the way that I do Ubuntu's Unity desktop, but I have just never really got comfortable with it. Fortunately, there are a lot of Fedora 'spins', which have other desktops, all of which have been updated to the latest releases:

  • KDE (5.10)
  • Xfce (4.12)
  • Cinnamon (3.4.2)
  • MATE (1.18)
  • SoaS (Sugar on a Stick)
  • LXDE
  • LXQt (0.11)

The last one in that list, LXQt, caught my eye because it is new in this release. I am always looking for a good, fast, lightweight desktop that I can use on my older hardware, so I have been looking at LXQt on several other distributions. So I have installed that spin on my Samsung N150 Plus:


Fedora 26 LXQt Spin

Image: J.A. Watson

The LXQt desktop is lightweight and very fast, so it is particularly suited to older/slower systems, those with limited resources, or for people who just want a desktop GUI which provides simple functionality without loads of fancy decorations and options.

In addition to the pre-configured Fedora spins listed above, there are even more desktop packages included in the repositories, which you can easily install yourself, such as enlightenment (0.21), Lumina (1.2), and i3 (4.13).

Since i3 is by far my preferred desktop on the N150 Plus, I installed it on the Fedora LXQt spin on that system. After installing it I simply logged out, and when the login screen came up, I could choose between LXQt and i3 in the Session bar at the top of the login screen.


Fedora 26 i3 Desktop

Image: J.A. Watson

Remember that Fedora has a strict FOSS-only policy, similar to Debian GNU/Linux. That means a number of applications, packages, and even entire desktops which are included in other popular distributions will not be in Fedora 26: things like Adobe Flash, various audio and video codecs, proprietary kernel drivers for hardware such as display adapters and wireless networking adapters, and more. You can find more details about this on the Fedora Forbidden Items list.

It is frequently possible to get around these restrictions, either by using alternative FOSS packages in the Fedora distribution itself (for example, nouveau for Nvidia graphics, openjdk rather than Oracle java, etc), or by installing packages from the RPM Fusion repository.

Look for the Fedora 26 release announcement on 11 July in the Fedora Magazine or of course on DistroWatch.

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