Linux

Fedora 18 finally to be released with game-changing features

Fedora 18 is finally here (as of Jan. 15). Jack Wallen takes a look at some of the included features and draws the conclusion that the wait for Spherical Cow might well make up for the delay.

The drama surrounding the release of Fedora 18 has been well documented. It's been one setback after another. Be it an inability to come to a conclusion on a package or just broken packages. But that all ends Tuesday (January 15, 2013) with the release of "Spherical Cow".

What's really interesting about this is that, thanks to a number of issues, Fedora had nearly worked its way into a perpetual state of irrelevancy. With Ubuntu making incredible headway in user-friendliness and acceptance, a "cutting edge" distribution like Fedora, who couldn't even manage a proper release, was bound to fade away, like so much Caldera.

But then Fedora 18 finds a release date and prepares itself to show up to that party with some features that could easily bring it back to prominence. At this stage in the game, when Linux has become so user-friendly and powerful, what kind of features could a "sand box" Linux distribution offer? Let's take a look at some of the features that might open the eyes of many a skeptic.

Active Directory

Out of the box, Fedora 18 will be able to join a Windows Active Directory. You read that correctly -- out of the box, it should be easy for any user to add a Fedora 18 machine to an Active Directory Domain and then log into that domain with their credentials. This is a feature that has been necessary for a long, long time. I would like to think other distributions would pick up on this, but major kudos to Fedora for finally having the smarts to make this a reality for users.

Avahi

This isn't really new. Other distributions use this feature that allows the desktop to use MDNS shared printers and other MDNS devices. With Fedora 18, this will be enabled by default. Joining Avahi and the ability to join an Active Directory, you can see that Fedora 18 will make the migration to a business environment incredibly easy.

Eucalyptus

Fedora 18 brings a cloud computing software platform to light. For use as a private Infrastructure (as Service clouds), Eucalyptus uses existing infrastructure to create scalable and secure AWS-compatible cloud resources for compute, network and storage.

Mate

For those who want to steer clear of GNOME 3, and aren't fans of KDE, you have a choice. With Fedora 18, the addition of the Mate desktop, Fedora users can enjoy a more traditional desktop metaphor. Mate is a fork of GNOME 2 and should keep those displeased with GNOME 3 happy for a long, long time.

NetworkManager Hotspots

If you have a need to share your network connection out to other users, this new feature should make that process far easier. Thought it does have some limitations (one major one being that the kernel does not work reliably in WPA/WPA2 Ad-Hoc mode, leading to supposedly secure networks being created as insecure ones), this feature should evolve fairly quickly into a must-have for a large number of users.

Secure Boot

That's right, Fedora 18 shouldn't have any problem working with that dreadful Windows 8 secure boot.

Storage Management

Spherical Cow will offer a set of tools to make it easier to manage Storage Area Networks (SAN) and Network Attached Storage (NAS).

Team Driver

Network Team Driver allows you to bond multiple network interface cards together. These bonded NICs will act as one and can handle such features as:

  • load balancing for LACP
  • separate per-port link monitoring setup
  • port priorities and stickiness
  • IPv6 Neighbor Solicitation/Neighbor Advertisement link monitoring

Yes, Fedora 18 has been a long time in the making. And many (including myself) had already written it off. But when you finally step back and understand the release of the product was mostly precipitated by need, and you see some of the features that will come along with this release, you quickly understand the release was worth the wait.

I, for one, certainly plan on giving Fedora 18 a go -- even if only to see how easily the release can be added to an Active Directory Domain. That feature alone is worth the price of admission.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

14 comments
ruel24
ruel24

Come one... You're kidding right? What do you base that on? Distrowatch rankings? Fedora is and has been one of the most widely used distros out there. Yes, Ubuntu has overshadowed it, but when it's the testing grounds for the most widely used enterprise Linux distro, it has a bright future. Ubuntu's time at the top isn't anything new. Red Hat once claimed that crown, followed by Mandrake. Every dog has its day and, now, Ubuntu has shot itself in the foot and lost favor. Fedrora continually just chugged along with plenty of users and a vibrant communtiy.

xmechanic
xmechanic

Downloading now to try out on one of my development boxes. Have always liked Fedora and the fact that they're offering a usable desktop (Mate), makes it even more appealing! :)

jugband
jugband

Cannot get the LiveCD to load on HP 630 laptop. Ubuntu 12.1 did fine. Error is in-kernel X.509 cert (-129) and modsign cert key not valid. looks like bug 861322 over in RH bugzilla, which was fixed a while back. ??? Not a good sign.

eldergabriel
eldergabriel

Thanks for writing this. I've been running the beta for about a month now. Just ran the updates for the official release.

todd_dsm
todd_dsm

1 Reason: LDAP. It's a key protocol that none of us can live without and it requires that authentication programs be compiled against OpenSSL. Debian based systems compile against the GnuTLS libraries. Howard Chu (Chief Architect, OpenLDAP) noted, "GnuTLS considered harmful" and why. http://goo.gl/jq9da You can join AD with Debian systems but you should be aware of the inherent risks. When you've vetted both veins of Linux (redhat and debian), the differences ultimately come down to this problem. Debian holds the philosophical believe that all software included in its distro should be of a certain nature, licence-wise. And, in principal, I agree. But Redhat holds a more pragmatic view. OpenSSL has been around forever. It's everywhere and unavoidable. Generally, when you login to a secure site, their secure certificate was issued with OpenSSL technology, as they have been since the late 90's. So Redhat leans heavily on OpenSSL and compiles all auth-mechanisms against it. Test both systems side-by-side (redhat and debian), as I have, and realize that everything else will work out as you had envisioned it - everything, but the deal-breaker will be this 1 point. It's so frustrating. For that reason alone, Fedora is now, and shall always be: King.

george
george

As a user who got "burned" first by KDE and now Gnome going haywire with their UI's I am glad to see another alternative desktop. I will give MATE a try and see how it compares to XFCE.

WarrenRobertson
WarrenRobertson

Burning the DVD right now. Hopefully be back in a couple of minutes. I am and will stay a fan!

Jonathan.G.Shilling
Jonathan.G.Shilling

In regards to Active Directory, SuSE and OpenSuSE have had that feature for a few years, so one would have to ask when will Fedora become cutting-edge again? Until Fedora can catch up to the other distributions, it still runs the risk of becoming a foot-note in the history of Linux.

Dyalect
Dyalect

shudders. this term should be banned from the IT lexicon. unless something actually changes the game. linux is nice, but has a long way to go before it is accepted by the masses. mint is a nice start.

itguru64
itguru64

The notion that the testing ground for the most successful distro on the planet will ever be irrelevant is just silly. Fedora is used to try out new features before they migrate to Red Hat Enterprise - with a $1billion dollar in revenues to back it Fedora will always be relevant.

aissacf
aissacf

You say "Out of the box, Fedora 18 will be able to join a Windows Active Directory.(...) I would like to think other distributions would pick up on this, but major kudos to Fedora for finally having the smarts to make this a reality for users" You should really thank Samba devs at Samba.org for this, it??s they who added this feature to Samba, and Fedora devs only choose to package Samba 4.0 w F18.... Sheesh.... FC

ahanse
ahanse

Agree AD will be an interesting and worth a try but will it be a game changer? Please revisit this in 1-2 years to see.

version7x
version7x

Samba 4 does provide full AD server replacement, but the client functionality is using SSSD by default. Basically one stop shopping for authentication... AD/kerberos/ldap/etc. It does install the basic samba packages, but I believe the implementation isn't samba 4 specific. But, agreed, thowing out some AD servers is awesome... GO SAMBA!

pgit
pgit

I agree, massive thanks to the samba team! Jack should definitely have mentioned the difference is Samba 4. THAT has been a long time in the making, sheesh, "fedora" was still "red hat" when the first samba 4 packages started showing up in testing, wasn't it? In any event, I remember trying proto-samba 4 as far back as 2005 with Mandriva 10.2 Credit where credit is due. The biggest story of all here is definitely making the jump to samba 4 as the default. Way to go fedora team! :D