Fedora Core 8: Enter the Werewolf
Version 8 of the Fedora Core Linux distribution (Codename "Werewolf") is now available for downloading.
Fedora Core 8 has a whole bunch of new features for users. PulseAudio is now installed and enabled by default. PulseAudio is an advanced sound server compatible with nearly all existing Linux sound systems. PulseAudio allows for hot-switching audio outputs, individual volume controls for each audio stream, (this is useful for an individual setting of the ring tone for VoIP, for example) separate networked audio, and more. CodecBuddy solves the common problem of integrating codecs encumbered by patents: although Fedora does without contentious codecs, it will point you to resources that supply them. The distribution sets up printers automatically and has at least simple driver support.
The Online Desktop package, which user can install via the package manager is more experimental: it establishes an Internet connection and gives users access to web-based applications and social networks. Version 0.7 of Network Manager simplifies access to wireless networks. Use of Bluetooth is also simpler thanks to the graphical tools Gnokii and the Gnome Phone Manager; this should take the headaches out of synchronizing mobiles.
Security-wise the new distribution introduces several changes: the integrated firewall is easier to configure thanks to the graphical System-config-firewall tool. "PolicyKit" gives users the ability to assign privileges for applications. Virt-Manager gives administrators the ability to run multiple authentication servers securely using SSL/TLS encryption and x509 certificates.
The tickless kernel feature saves power, as do more efficient power management, an improved suspend function and various other enhancements in this area. Powertop sees Fedora Core 8 add a software that identifies power hogs.
FC8 also has new eye candy: besides a revamped look, the distribution now includes Compiz 3D effects for Gnome and KDE. You can enable 3D via "Preferences/Desktop Effects". Fans of the Compiz-Beryl reunion will be pleased to hear that FC8 also offers Compiz Fusion effect downloads in its repository.
Custom Spins are Fedora spinoffs that cater to users with specific needs: the Live Fedora Games Spin DVD includes various 3D shooters such as Nexuiz and Quake 3 for gamers, but also includes classic games such as Freeciv or Nethack. Two other spins target developers (with IDEs and build tools) and electronics tinkerers. More changes are detailed by the Wiki for the new release. The distribution is available for downloading here.
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