Fedora 19 Release

This fell off my radar since I’ve been dealing with a death in the family. But I wanted to summarize the important notes that are provided regarding the latest release from Fedora that pertains to both desktop and power users. I’m still working on a full review which I’m going to modify some since most of that information was based off of the alpha and beta RC releases.

Fedora 19 can be downloaded from the typical page on their website.

Fedora 19 has several desktop environments available including the well established GNOME and KDE. However more focus is being brought to the inclusion of Cinnamon and MATE. So for those of you who are interested in the spicy goodness or retaining the pseudo-GNOME2 interfaces respectively, you can get your fix. Having spent a little time with Linux Mint 15, and assuming that this is the version that Fedora is pulling from (I haven’t been able to verify this yet), Cinnamon is definitely worth a look if you want a modern UI without sacrificing all that GNOME3 requires you to. I’ve personally never been able to get into MATE but some people prefer that type of traditional computing experience. I’m still going to stick with GNOME3 though. 🙂

Speaking of GNOME3, one notable enhancement which, frankly, should have made it in far earlier than now is the inclusion of RAR archive compression/decompression with File Roller. Now we can all open those RAR archives natively in a seamless UI experience without having to go looking for the appropriate package to do this.

There are also the visual enhancements in GNOME3 as well that were noticeable in the alpha and beta RC releases. I think the thing that really stands out for me right now is the new icon theme that’s released by default. I’ve always had this problem with how the GNOME-themed icons looked. They looked nice in the GNOME2 days but appeared to be severely neglected and just didn’t age well. I’m not sure if someone just didn’t care or didn’t have the time to work on them. Anyway, there’s been an improvement and I’m impressed. There’s still a bit of a daft feeling to them but the overall presentation is much better.

Of course there are going to be software improvements across the board and LibreOffice is no exception. Fedora 19 is rolling out with version 4.0 of the now de-facto open-source office suite. There are a swath of changes in this latest version but the one that I’m most interested in is the improved support for the import of Visio and Publisher documents and the ability to collaborate using the CMIS standard. This allows LibreOffice to integrate or interact with CMS and cloud document storage systems (Google Drive, perhaps???). All of those changes can be found at the release notes page here.

I’m still trying to parse the changes relevant to sysadmins. Unfortunately I haven’t had an opportunity to install the 19 stable release yet (I will tonight) so I can’t make any comments on any changes that were potentially made to anaconda. I’m hoping there were some. I clearly remember some ambassadors making a remark similar to “if you just read what’s on the screen, you shouldn’t have any issues.” That’s all fine and dandy but when I’m reading what’s on the screen and I’m still getting a little fuzzy as to what’s required of me, there’s a problem. Trust me when I tell you that I understand partitioning; I’ve been doing it for years. “Worked fine in dev, ops problem now” is not an acceptable excuse.

From a 30,000′ view, it looks like there have been some modifications to Active Directory integration, the inclusion of an alternative bootloader intended for minimal cloud deployments (extlinux), minor visual improvements to GRUB and a decent amount of work on the system daemons and cloud integration technologies like OpenStack and OpenShift (known as Origin in Fedora as it’s a community variant of Red Hat’s OpenShift product).

A program that was included that I’m interested to see is called Scratch. Supposedly it’s a catch-all development environment that enables RAD for interactive stories, animations and games. This looks similar to what Alice did years ago but it’s definitely geared toward a far younger audience. I’m curious to see if this would have any educational impact on teaching younger students the value of logical thought processes though software development. Or just how much fun you can have while doing it. 🙂

Of particular interest to me, being an Android/Java developer, is that Fedora 19 has the packages for the technical preview of Java 8 (through OpenJDK). There are some pretty hefty changes coming in the next version and I can build my programs against this version to see if they break or add functionality that’s specific to 8 and see if I screwed anything up. This won’t matter too much to Android development specifically but some of my desktop programs would benefit from this. Seeing as how these were integrated already, once the stable branch of 8 is released, those packages will be updated respectively and we can get them as soon as they’re available. I don’t have an ETA for the 8 stable release. I’ve seen scuttlebutt that we’re not going to see it until 2014 but who really knows.

Anyway, I’m going to download an ISO and fire it up when I get home. By the end of the weekend, I should have a pretty decent amount of fuel for the full review.

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