The Fedora Project has released the latest version of its leading edge Linux distribution, adding support for Samba 4 which provides full open-source Active Directory capabilities, plus a new installer and offline system update capabilities.
Available as a free download, Fedora 18 is significant as its development is sponsored by Red Hat and is used to debut many features that will be supported in later builds of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
Key among Fedora 18's new features is Samba 4, the latest version of the open-source project that provides compatibility with Windows file and print services for Linux systems.
With Samba 4, full compatibility with Microsoft's Active Directory protocols is provided, enabling Fedora to integrate better into a Windows-based network and even serve as an Active Directory Domain Controller.
Fedora 18 can also now be updated while offline, allowing for a more stable update of critical system components. This functionality is currently tied in with the Gnome desktop environment, but can be made available for alternative desktop shells as it is based on the PackageKit and system APIs, according to the Fedora team.
Other improvements include an overhauled user interface for Fedora's installation software, Anaconda. This is designed to make installation easier for inexperienced users, offering them concise explanations about options, while advanced users and administrators still have access to more complex options.
Fedora also boasts updated cloud capabilities, including the Folsom release of the OpenStack cloud framework, Eucalyptus, a platform for on-premise infrastructure-as-a-service (Iaas) clouds, and version 3.1 of the oVirt tool for managing virtual machines.
Robyn Bergeron, Fedora project leader, hailed the new capabilities in Fedora 18 as a significant achievement, and said the Fedora Project community has a release to be proud of.
"From multiple desktops and cloud platforms, to numerous new features simplifying administration, to our brand-new installation experience, Fedora 18 reflects our passion for delivering the future, first," he said.
Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.