There's no uncertainty about this: The Fedora 20, "Heisenbug" beta release is here and is a fantastic sneak peek into the final Fedora 20 release. It's jam packed with fantastic free and open source software, lovingly configured and ready to use.
What is the Beta Release?
The beta release is the last important milestone before the release of Fedora 20. A Beta release is code-complete and bears a very strong resemblance to the third and final release. Only critical bug fixes will be pushed as updates up to the general release of Fedora 20. The final release of Fedora 20 is expected in early December.
We need your help to make Fedora 20 the best release yet, so please take some time to download and try out the beta and make sure the things that are important to you are working. If you find a bug, please report it – every bug you uncover is a chance to improve the experience for millions of Fedora users worldwide. Together, we can make Fedora 20 a rock-solid distribution. We have a culture of coordinating new features and pushing fixes upstream as much as feasible and your feedback will help improve not only Fedora but Linux and free software on the whole. (See the end of this announcement for more information on how to help.)
Since it's a beta release, some problems may still be lurking. A list of problems that we already know about can be found at the Common F20 bugs page, found at http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Common_F20_bugs.
10 Years of Fedora
The Fedora 20 release coincides nicely with the 10th anniversary of Fedora. The first Fedora release (then called Fedora Core 1) came out on November 6, 2003.
Since then, the Fedora Project has become an active and vibrant community that produces nearly a dozen "spins" that are tailor made for desktop users, hardware design, gaming, musicians, artists, and early classroom environments.
ARM as a Primary Architecture
While Fedora has supported a number of hardware architectures over the years, x86/x86_64 has been the default for the majority of Fedora users and for the Linux community in general.
ARM, however, has been making massive strides. It already dominates the mobile market, and is becoming a go-to platform for hobbyists and makers, and is showing enormous promise for the server market as well.
In keeping with Fedora's commitment to innovation, the Fedora community has been pushing to make ARM a primary architecture to satisfy the needs of users and developers targeting the ARM platform.
Maturity and Advanced Features
Sometimes it's not the big new features that make a users' experience better, it's the little enhancements or long-awaited tricky features that really help make a new release the bee's knees.
NetworkManager is getting several improvements in Fedora 20 that will be welcome additions for power users and system administrators.
Users will now be able to add, edit, delete, activate, and de-activate network connections via the nmcli command line tool, which will make life much easier for non-desktop uses of Fedora.
NetworkManager is also getting support for bonding interfaces and bridging interfaces. Bonding and bridging are used in many enterprise setups and are necessary for virtualization and fail-over scenarios.
No Default Sendmail, Syslog
Fedora 20 removes some services that many users find unnecessary, though (of course) they will remain available as installable packages for users who might need them.
The systemd journal now takes the place as the default logging solution, having been tested and able to manage persistent logging in place of syslog.
Also, Sendmail will no longer be installed by default, as most Fedora installs have no need of a Mail Transfer Agent (MTA).
Cloud and Virtualization Improvements
The Fedora 20 release continues the Fedora tradition of adopting and integrating leading edge technologies used in cloud computing. This release includes a number of features that will make working with virtualization and cloud computing much easier.
First-Class Cloud Images
The Fedora Cloud SIG has been working hard on providing images that are well-suited to running as guests in public and private clouds like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and OpenStack. If you're using public or private cloud, you should definitely test-drive the beta images today!
OS Installer Support for LVM Thin Provisioning
LVM has introduced thin provisioning technology, which provides greatly improved snapshot functionality in addition to thin provisioning capability. This change will make it possible to configure thin provisioning during OS installation.
VM Snapshot UI with virt-manager
This change will make taking VM snapshots much easier. qemu and libvirt have all the major pieces in place for performing safe VM snapshots/checkpoints, however there isn't any simple discoverable UI. This feature will track adding that UI to virt-manager, and any other virt stack bits that need to be fixed/improved. This includes adding functionality to libvirt to support deleting and rebasing to external snapshots.
Role based access control with libvirt
Libvirt role based access control will allow fine grained access control like 'user FOO can only start/stop/pause vm BAR', but for all libvirt APIs and objects.
ARM on x86 with libvirt/virt-manager
This change will fix running ARM VMs on x86 hosts using standard libvirt tools libvirt virsh, virt-manager and virt-install.
As always, Fedora 20 will include several new features and updated packages that will be of interest to all manner of developers.
ACPICA Tools Update
Fedora 20 includes an update to the ACPICA tools from the Component Architecture (ACPICA) project. This provides developers with a significant number of additional tools that have never been included in Fedora before -- for example, tools that allow one to create an ACPI table and execute the methods contained in the table in user space, instead of having to modify existing tables. The update brings Fedora up-to-date for ACPI development and exploration, and reflects the reference implementation as closely as possible.
Ruby on Rails 4.0
This update will keep Fedora up-to-date and will ensure that the current Ruby on Rails developers stay with us as they will get support for system-packaged Ruby on Rails of the latest version. Apart from that, Rails 4.0 also bring improved functionality, speed. security and better modularization.
GNU C Library 2.18
Fedora 20 includes the GNU C Library version 2.18, which brings the project up to sync with the upstream release from the GNU project, released in August. This resolves a number of bugs from upstream as well as security issues. This upgrade should be backwards compatible.
Even More Changes
Fedora prides itself on bringing cutting-edge technologies to users of open source software around the world, and this release continues that tradition. No matter what you do, Fedora 20 has the tools you need to help you get things done.
A complete list with details of each new change is available here:
Desktop Environments and Spins
Fedora 20 Alpha will have a preview of GNOME 3.10, GNOME 3.9.90. GNOME 3.10 will have a number of new applications and new features that will please GNOME-lovers in the Fedora 20 release. This release includes a new music application (gnome-music), a new maps application (gnome-maps), a revamp for the system status menu, and Zimbra support in Evolution.
There is also preliminary support in this release for running GNOME-shell as a Wayland compositor, though Wayland may not be in the default packages for the final Fedora 20 release.
KDE Plasma Workspaces 4.11
The Fedora KDE SIG has rebased to KDE 4.11 for Fedora 20. This release includes faster Nepomuk indexing, improvements to Kontact, KScreen integration in KWin, Metalink/HTTP support for KGet, and much more.
Spins are alternate versions of Fedora. In addition to various desktop environments for Fedora, spins are also available as tailored environments for various types of users via hand-picked application sets or customizations.
To see all of the Official Fedora 20 Release Spins, see the Fedora 20 Release Spins link.
Nightly composes of alternate Spins are available here: http://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/alt/nightly-composes
Note on performance
Fedora development releases use a kernel with extra debug information to help us understand and resolve issues faster; however, this can have a significant impact on performance. Refer to the kernel debug strategy for more details. You can boot with slub_debug=- or use the kernel from nodebug repository to disable the extra debug info.
Issues and Details
Heisenbug Alpha is a testing release. To report issues encountered during testing, contact the Fedora QA team via the test mailing list or in #fedora-qa on freenode.
As testing progresses, common issues are tracked at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Common_F20_bugs
For tips on reporting a bug effectively, read http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/How_to_file_a_bug_report .
There are many ways to contribute beyond bug reporting. You can help translate software and content, test and give feedback on software updates, write and edit documentation, design and do artwork, help with all sorts of promotional activities, and package free software for use by millions of Fedora users worldwide. To get started, visit http://join.fedoraproject.org today!