Red Hat's winning Fedora 10 Linux arrives

What's the difference between a cutting-edge and a bleeding-edge product? A cutting-edge product is the newest of the new and it works. A bleeding-edge product is the newest of the new and it 'sort of' works. You'll end up making a bloody mess of yourself with most bleeding-edge programs. Fedora 10, however, is a true cutting-edge Linux distribution.

Paul Frields, Red Hat's Fedora project leader, told me that this 'decade' release of Fedora was the best ever without any significant bugs. Yeah. I've heard that before.

You know what though? Based on my early work with Fedora 10, Frields is right. This is one clean, mean cutting-edge Linux distribution.

It starts with the boot-up with the new Plymouth graphical boot system. This speeds up the boot process by taking advantage of a new kernel mode setting feature. Right now, it shows off to its best advantage with PCs using ATI cards, but Frields promises that it will soon be expanded to support a broader range of media cards. In the meantime, you'll still see the fastest boot-ups this side of the embedded Linux SplashTop start-ups.

Another feature which has me giving Fedora 10 a firm thumbs-up is the new Network Manager connection sharing. Ever been stuck in a conference room with no Wi-Fi, only one Ethernet connection, and five people who need to get on the net? I have. It's not pretty. With the new NetworkManager, you can share your Fedora broadband connection with others over Wi-Fi. It's not as good as a dedicated Wi-Fi access point, but how many of us carry those around in our laptop bags?

I also really like the newest version of PackageKit. This is a meta-package manger. It runs on top of other Linux package managers to make installing software even easier. What really impressed me was that PackageKit now automatically recognizes when you run into a media codec that your media player doesn't know how to play. PackageKit then looks for the appropriate codec and, if you approve, installs it. You don't need to know where the codec is, you don't need to fiddle with the details, PackageKit does it all for you. I like this.

Better still, Frields tells me that PackageKit's developers are going to improve its desktop awareness. So, for example, if you install a new device, PackageKit will soon be able to find, download, and install the device's drivers. Since darn few devices come with Linux drivers ready to go, this will be a real help to users who aren't familiar with all the ins and outs of working with Linux device drivers.

What's the best thing of all though about these, and many more new features I'll tell you about later, is that they all work smoothly and seamlessly together. Fedora 10 is what a cutting edge Linux distribution should be. You don't have to take my word for it. You can download this free community Linux distribution today from the Fedora download site.

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