The cutting-edge Linux distribution, Fedora, has a new beta release. While many people think of Fedora as first and foremost as a desktop, it comes in three different editions: Fedora Server, Fedora Workstation, and Fedora Atomic Host (a container platform).
The Fedora Project is Red Hat's community-driven, open-source Linux. Fedora is also essentially Red Hat Enterprise Linux's (RHEL) test bed. What you see in Fedora now is what you'll see in RHEL a few years down the road.
As per usual, their common foundation has been updated with minor bug fixes and package tweaks. Fedora 29 runs on top of the not-yet-released Linux 4.19 kernel. Other updated programs include Python 3.7, Perl 5.28. glibc 2.28, Golang 1.11, and MySQL 8.
On the Workstation, GNOME 3.30 is now the default desktop. GNOME 3.30 is reputed to have better performance. It also comes with a new Podcasts app and automatically updates Flatpaks, Red Hat's containerized applications, in Software Center.
What's new about this release is "modularity" across all the Fedora versions. With modularity, you can run multiple versions of the same program with parallel installation done through containers. With this, you can use tried-and-true versions of software in production while simultaneously trying out the latest versions.
According to Matthew Miller, the Fedora Project Leader, "Software lifecycles are a large challenge in managing modern systems. Some applications need to move quickly so that you can get the latest features, while others require a slower cycle to increase stability. The traditional Linux distribution approach forces you to make this decision based on operating system version. By bringing modularity to all Fedora editions, users can have access to enhanced flexibility for a set of use cases across current and future Fedora releases."
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Why would you do this? Miller explained, "Developers can have multiple versions of their important libraries and frameworks available, making it easier to develop and test both development and stable branches of their applications. When the next version of Fedora is released, system administrators using a module which spans both releases can keep running their business critical applications without having to worry about major changes in the database software."
Historically, Fedora has been popular with developers. Indeed, Linus Torvalds has used it for developing Linux. Modularity makes Fedora more useful than ever for programmers.
This version of Fedora is also more ARM friendly than before. It's designed to make Fedora a home for both ARM and IoT.
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It does this with enhanced ZRAM support for swap on ARMv7 and aarch64. This improves Fedora's performance and stability on ARM Single Board Computers, like the Raspberry Pi.
Want to see it for yourself? The Fedora 29 Beta is ready for you to download and take it for a spin. Before running it, check out the Fedora 29 common bugs list, and remember this is a beta. There will be bugs.