A month behind schedule because of a security breach discovered this past summer, Fedora 10 is finally available for download from the Fedora Project website.The Fedora 10 update includes new remote server administration tools, cloud storage features, security enhancements and power-saving features.
Paul Frields, the Fedora Project's leader, said the updates in the new release were delayed while the Project rebuilt Fedora's physical infrastructure for creating software from scratch to ensure the safety of the system.
The undertaking required a couple of weeks but was "extremely effective in making [the Fedora 10 update] more secure," Frields said. Frields was pleased to report that the entire project used free, open source software.
Fedora is a Red Hat-led open source community that functions as a cauldron of new ideas that, after being tested and refined, make their way into Red Hat Enterprise Linux or are incorporated into other Linux distributions. This latest version is Fedora's 10tth in five years.Fedora 10's new features
Security enhancements aside, perhaps the most significant improvement in Fedora 10 is its simplified method of remote administration of servers and storage boxes. Fedora 10 enables systems administrators to install and provision virtual servers remotely and attach pooled storage on Logical Volume Managers to them remotely as well, Frields said. Collectively, these remote management capabilities facilitate the management of large virtualization systems with thousands of hosts in the cloud, especially when used with oVirt, Red Hat's Web-based virtualization management tool, he said.
Ironically, dsespite the recently discovered security breach that waylayed the project, Fedora 10's various enhancements include several security-related features to bolster Linux security. Fedora 10 includes a new security auditing toolkit called sectool, which provides a battery of tests to detect weaknesses in system setup as well as errors in permissions or Security Enhanced Linux, or SELinux, security access provisions, Frields said. The system is a framework and a library that enables any administrator to write additional custom tests with basic languages such as Python or C or even a shell script, he said. Fedora 10's PolicyKit also improves security and allows administrators to refine access privileges to specific users for specific purposes and conditions rather than an all-or-nothing approach.
As the Fedora Project announced in September 2008, other Fedora 10 additions include an updated PackageKit, a cross-platform front end to RPM that works with all Linux distros, and power-saving features from Intel's LessWatts initiative, such as Tickless Idle and PowerTop.
Fedora 10 also includes the Plymouth graphical boot system that, depending on hardware platform, reduces the elapsed time from startup to log-in anywhere from 10% to 30%, he said. Laptops will experience the greatest time savings, Frields said.
Finally, despite a perception that Red Hat is not committed to the desktop, Fedora 10 adds considerable new desktop functionality, he said." The notion that desktops aren't central for Fedora couldn't be further from the truth," he emphasized.Community participation to Fedora 10
The Fedora 10 improvements would not have been possible without the participation of an active Fedora volunteer community, Frields noted. Over the past six months, the ranks of the community have ballooned from 2,000 to 17,000 "account holders," after the joining process was simplified during work on Fedora 9, Frields said. Fedora welcomes participants for a variety of activities from writing code to editing wikis or designing art for websites, he said. Signup is available at the Fedora Project website.
"We've made tremendous improvements in Fedora 10," Frields said. "These additions and those coming in Fedora 11 [which is due May 28, 2009] will be important to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 [which is due in 2010]."