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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
That’s right, Fedora 18 shouldn’t have any problem working with that dreadful Windows 8 secure boot.
Spherical Cow will offer a set of tools to make it easier to manage Storage Area Networks (SAN) and Network Attached Storage (NAS).
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
Can Spherical Cow keep Fedora from irrelevancy?
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.