Fedora 17 Beta Review

The Beta version of Fedora 17, codenamed “The Beefy Miracle” was released a few days ago. Many of the popular applications have been upgraded to their latest (and in some cases, pre-release versions).

Fedora 17 comes with the newest  versions of the popular Desktop Environments, Gnome Desktop and KDE Plasma Desktop, (3.4 and 4.8 respectively). They come with many improvements that enhances the user experience.

Improvements for the Gnome Desktop  App Menus, A virtualization application called “Boxes ” and some little fixes in the user interface.
KDE 4.8 also has a slew of improvements like adaptive power management, an Instant Messenger suite called KDE-Telepathy,  kwin optimizations and a rewritten version of “Dolphin”, the file manager, among many others.

The default applications remain more or less the same, Firefox, Shotwell, Evolution, etc are still the default browser, picture manager and email client respectively.

The next major version of GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, 2.8, is available in the repositories (and the install DVD), which brings the much touted “Single Window Mode” , Layer Sets, On-canvas Editing support, among hundreds of new features. There are also, several technical improvements very relevant to the User.
Fedora now uses the Unified structure of organizing the file system. It means, that several directories like “/bin”, “/lib” and “/sbin” have been moved to “/usr/bin” etc. respectively.
Firewalld and Systemd are the new default firewall and init systems of Fedora .
Fedora 17 uses the Linux Kernel version 3.3, which has better ext4(volumes above 16 Tb allowed now) and btrfs support.

Power Management has also gone through a lot of improvement, and it shows.

The Desktop version, apparently, has “Multitouch” support now. ( http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/Multitouch_support )

 For Developers, the new toolchain is based on the recently released GCC-4.7. Newer versions of Ruby(1.93), D, Erlang, PHP and Java(7) are supported. The next version of the popular IDE, Eclipse, codenamed Juno is also available.
The Cloud Computing and Virtualization stacks have seen a major overhaul and comes with many new software important for enterprise users.

 Screenshots Tour (Default- Gnome Desktop)

Overall, this beta of Fedora 17 feels unusually stable and is feature rich and fast (unexpectedly, on older hardware) . The name “The Beefy Miracle”, is not an misnomer in any way.