February 2, 2007

First test of Fedora 7 released

Author: Lisa Hoover

The Fedora team has announced that the first test spin of Fedora 7 is available for download via BitTorrent or from Fedora Project mirrors. Fedora 7, also available on live CD, mixes both Core (the complete operating system) and Extras (add-ons that complement the OS) into one package in anticipation of the merger between the two for Fedora 7's final release. Aside from the newly abbreviated name, the release also departs from Fedora Core 6 in that it no longer ships with the entire Core collection as an ISO set, because the team is planning to produce targeted spins for specific uses.

A preliminary desktop spin featuring a Web browser, email client, office suite, and music player is already available, and other targeted sets will follow in future test releases. Although the details of future spins are slated to be discussed at this weekend's FUDcon, release engineer Jesse Keating says it's likely the next will be a server set that includes a wide selection of server options, some GUI configuration tools, and a basic desktop. The Fedora community has also expressed a strong interest in a spin that focuses on the KDE desktop environment and its related applications, so the team is working on that package manifest as well.

"We are making the tools used to create these spins freely available (open source) and easy to use, so that folks can do spins of their own for specific needs, like say a spin of Fedora focusing on the Eclipse software set for a handout at a conference," says Keating. "There are lots of options [and] opportunities out there. I've only thought of a few. I'm very interested in seeing what our user base chooses to create on their own."

Fedora 7 marks the first time that Core and Extras will be merged into one release, and Keating acknowledges that it has been a tricky process. "The merger is by no means complete, but thankfully the tools we are using to compose the distribution don't require all packages live in the same place," he says. "Pungi, the software I wrote to do composes, gathers packages from regular yum repositories, and these repositories can exist anywhere. This allows us to move forward with combined composes even before the packages and buildsystems are merged."

There are two more test releases scheduled before Fedora 7 is slated for general availability on April 26. Though the team has remained on schedule to this point, there is still plenty of work to be done. Keating says some features of Fedora 7 are well under development while others have yet to get off the ground. The team's goal is to have them all testable by the release of Test 2 later this month with the understanding that whatever is not ready for testing at that point will be removed from the package and shelved for the time being.

"My main goal ... is to oversee the buildsystem and source control merger, developing tools and glue to make this happen, as well as integrating my release compose tool with the new merged infrastructure," says Keating. "Various other development teams have their own goals, from the installer, to the desktop, to the kernel, etc.

"The merger is still the biggest issue on our plates, but that is mostly administrative and infrastructure work, while development continues to move on, regardless of where the packages sit."


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