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Fedora 12 boasts enhanced performance, improved reporting, better graphics

Vincent Danen introduces the new Fedora 12 release, highlighting the most significant performance enhancements and new features.

Today, Fedora 12 was released (November 17, 2009). This is perhaps one of the most significant Fedora releases to date, for a few reasons. A lot of performance enhancements under the hood make this a much more tightly optimized release for x86 (32bit) systems. The 32bit support is now compiled for i686 and enhancements have been made to handle Intel's Atom processor, the same processor that powers the majority of netbooks currently available, which will make Fedora even more attractive on that platform.

Downloading updates

One complaint that many have had with Fedora in the past is the sheer volume of updates that are provided during a Fedora lifecycle. Almost every other day there are updates for security, bug fixes, and enhancements. Fedora 12 takes away some of this pain with a few changes:

  • RPM packages are using XZ for compression, instead of gzip, which allows for smaller RPM packages. Smaller packages = smaller downloads = faster downloads.
  • The presto plugin for yum that was optional in Fedora 11 is now enabled by default in Fedora 12. So when you do download a large number of updates, the amount you're downloading will be considerably smaller because presto uses RPM deltas; the deltas only contain files that have changed, and not the entire archive. Typically this results in about 60-80% bandwidth savings, but with RPM now using XZ, it could result in even more (compared to a non-presto enabled Fedora 11, for example).

Virtualization

KVM has been overhauled quite a bit and boasts a lot of improvements to performance, security, and resource handling. New tools are available to permit accessing guest disk images from the host system directly.

Bluetooth support

Improvements in this area will be welcome news to laptop users who use Bluetooth occasionally but are conscious of their battery usage as well. Bluetooth services are now run on-demand and 30 seconds after the last device was used, are stopped. This prevents the use of resources and battery power when Bluetooth is not in use, without sacrificing the ability to have it there when you need it.

Bug reporting

One of my favourite new features of Fedora 12 is Abrt. Abrt is a tool that helps people report bugs and provide a lot of information that the average person would be hard-pressed to provide on their own. For instance, if Abrt notices an application has crashed, it collects detailed information about the crash (such as a backtrace and other relevant system information), and it will assist the user in reporting it to Bugzilla, without them ever having to go to Bugzilla themselves, or by reporting via email.

This is incredibly useful as it will help developers track down bugs and correct them faster, which benefits the entire open source community. Similarly, the SELinux AVC monitoring tool also has the ability to now report SELinux policy violations to Red Hat's Bugzilla as well, which will help to create more comprehensive SELinux policies to ship with future Fedora releases.

Graphics

On the graphical side, Fedora 12 sports GNOME Shell as a preview. You need desktop effects enabled (requiring accelerated 3D graphics), but Fedora 12 also has available experimental 3D support for certain graphics cards that you would have had to use proprietary drivers for in the past.

These are, of course, just a sampling of a large set of major new features in Fedora 12. I'm quite excited about this release as I've not been by previous releases, and I think it's due to the extensive reporting tools more than anything else. With the ease of bug reports to be made, and SELinux violations that can result in subsequent policy tweaks, this will lay a firm foundation for even stronger releases in the future. A full list of major new Fedora 12 features can be found on the Fedora wiki, and I think you'll find there is something for everyone there, whether you use Fedora for a home desktop, a workstation, or a server.

About

Vincent Danen works on the Red Hat Security Response Team and lives in Canada. He has been writing about and developing on Linux for over 10 years and is a veteran Mac user.

13 comments
Miyamoto Musashi
Miyamoto Musashi

I have been on the Fedora bandwagon since FC5. Fedora has come a very long way since even FC9. I have been using the very stable F11 platform and enjoy 3d graphic effects with my ATI processor, that worked "out of the box"! No more tweaking and waiting for the ATI proprietary driver! I am one of those few techno-geeks that truly enjoy living on the leading edge, if not the bleeding edge of new releases. However, I did not jump to the F12 alpha and beta testing releases as I had with the F10 and F11 releases. The biggest reason was that F11 has been so stable for me, and I tweak the core quite a bit! As of now, I have not heard the negative drivel that came with previous versions of Fedora. With that, I am pleased and am looking forward to upgrading... When I make the time to play with it, uninterrupted. I'll post a follow up once I have F12 installed and have played with it a little bit.

vdanen
vdanen

CentOS is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, not Fedora, so CentOS 5 (current version) won't inherit this stuff -- but 5.4 did inherit a bunch of virtualization stuff that came from Enterprise Linux. Future versions, perhaps, but not current ones.

abacrotto
abacrotto

Hi everyone. I have installed FC12 in my desktop Semprom@1600 MHz (2048 MB RAM) and it works perfectly. Even thought I upgraded from FC11 from Internet. The computer downloaded all the files online and then, in a long process, it installed the new OS. In fact I had to resize my partitions, because I did not have enough room in my /boot folder. Well. Everything is working fine right now, except for my webcam. It just starts when FC boots. The green led stays on the whole FC session until I turn the computer off. Do you know why it happens ? Is there a way to avoid that behaviour ? Thanks a lot from Argentina. Ariel.

Miyamoto Musashi
Miyamoto Musashi

Okay, I know it has been a while. I have installed F12. I usually don't perform an upgrade. I have a Logical Volume Group partition scheme that allows me to wipe the previous version of Fedora and install the new version without destroying my home volume group. That being said, the install went pretty much flawlessly. I completed a few tweaks and F12 is running beautifully. There have been no issues, except the new bug reporting tool, which comes up every time something crashes, or terminates in an unusual way SMB works, VNC works, Network Manager works, Firefox works, Evolution works. Compiz-fusion works. So far everything works. F12 appears to be just as stable as F11 was. It's great to be up on F12!

pgit
pgit

I'll bookmark this thread as open and post back if I have anything to report. I intend to install fc12 tomorrow on a testing unit. This release couldn't have come at a better time for me. Just last weekend I pulled my head up out of the distribution I have been using almost exclusively for years, when the latest release regressed my wireless connection back to the stone age. (and they admitted they shipped this bug!) I decided to see what the other folks have been up to, and I am quite impressed so far. suse 11.2 appears to be phenomenal project, though I only ran it as a live CD and didn't really get to wring it out much. But I was surprised everything worked out of the box with a live CD, a 64 bit live CD.. impressive. =D I'd messed about a bit with fc11, but at the time didn't have much motivation to do so. Now I'm going to be looking at fc12 with an eye toward using fedora as my main OS. Time will tell.

Miyamoto Musashi
Miyamoto Musashi

CentOS, Fedora and RHEL are all Red Hat products. Technically, CentOS is Red Hat's "free" production REHL Workstation product, without the technical support and minor updates. Fedora is the "leading/bleeding" edge testing platform for the open source community that supports Red Hat. From here, Red Hat will incorporate new and stable applications or enhancements into their RHEL flagship products. So, CentOS is a free, very stable platform that does not receive all of the benefits and newness of Fedora. It's biggest draw is for companies that have a little of the technical expertise to support it. If you want the powerhouse, you would be looking at REHL. If you want the latest and greatest toys that are coming out, look at Fedora or Fedora Rawhide (which is Fedora's bleeding edge OS). As some of the updates in Rawhide have a potential to be extremely unstable, I only recommend Rawhide to those people who are seeking to actively develop and participate in the alpha and beta testing of the latest and greatest things coming to Fedora. Recommendations: For users that are just getting into Linux, Look at CentOS. It's stable and for the most part just works, without the frills and thrills of the leading edge OS's. If you are a little more adventurous, look into Fedora, Suse, Debian, or any of the other leading edge distros of linux. Each has their benefits and issues. I started with Fedora and have liked what I have seen so far, so I'm firmly in the Fedora camp, however, I do dabble with Debian and Suse on occasion.

pgit
pgit

I didn't have time to try to get the installer running. This week looks kinda slow, maybe I'll get fedora to install for once.

wolsonjr
wolsonjr

I went from fc10 to fc11.. or tried to. fc10 was fine. fc11 would not install/upgrade in any shape or fashion and took 10 with it. I wonder if 12 has overcome that.

Miyamoto Musashi
Miyamoto Musashi

Remember that this version of Fedora requires at least 512 MB of memory for the GUI. If you are not going to run the GUI, anything down to about 32 MB should work just fine. I first tried to install it on a VirtualBox virtual machine with only 256 MB. It puked all over itself and said there was not enough memory. If you have problems customizing F12 on installation, try to run a non-customized install, then go back in after Gnome is up and run Administration -> Add/Remove Software (or yum/yumex) to customize the rest of the installation. Please keep in mind that I kept all of my Gnome desktop settings when I loaded F12 as I use a custom partitioning scheme. If you are interested, I have a 500GB drive and the partitioning scheme that I use is (thanks to Sam Clemson): . sda0,0 . /boot (100 MB) - ext4 format .sda0,1(LVM) . LogVol00 - / (75.66 GB) - ext4 format . LogVol01 - /usr/local (40 GB) - ext4 format . LogVol02 - /opt (40 GB) - ext4 format . LogVol03 - swap - (10 GB) - swap format . LogVol04 - /home - (The rest of the drive or 300 GB) - ext4 format In this aspect, when I "upgrade" Fedora, all I do is an install/overwrite and use the same partitioning scheme. I reassign and format LogVol00-LogVol03 and just reassign LogVol04. That way all of my home directory stuff is intact and all I am doing is installing a now Fedora OS. Simpler. :-) Good luck and let us know how it goes for you.

pgit
pgit

And I have tried it on a few machines, but only one is really a "standard," it's a Dell w/P4. The others are kind of 'black box' types, though you're still looking at basic intel motherboard, ati or nvidia video cards, realtek networking etc. I do have another shot at it pending in the lab here, perhaps today. I will give the live CD a shot.

Miyamoto Musashi
Miyamoto Musashi

Hmmm... Are the boxes that you tried to install F11 on "standard" machines from, say, IBM, Dell, or HP? If so, F11/F12 should install just fine. Where is it failing? Anaconda (the hardware recognition installation routine)? Installing the OS/software itself? That could be a telling piece. Anyhow, on the the title of this post... The LiveCD probably won't help much. It's not actually installing anything, it's just using the most common drivers that are available. It's worth a troubleshooting shot though. :-) Good luck!

pgit
pgit

Have a data recovery to do then it's fedora 12 time. I had a lot of problems getting fc11 to install myself. I tried it a number of ways on a number of machines, then I randomly hit a complete set of hardware it liked. It installed as you'd expect an OS to, and worked beautifully. I assumed it was hardware issues with the install routine, not the OS which if I could have just gotten it to install would have run fine I suspect. Like you said I hope they've ironed that out. EDIT: and the first answer is... no. Same thing with the installer just not completing to load. I'm going to see about live CD next chance I get.

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