The Fedora Project just finished getting Fedora 8 out the door within the past few months, but it's already giving the world a look at Fedora 9 -- by posting an alpha version of the Linux operating system for developers.
The CMP Channel Test Center decided to take a look at this alpha software in Microsoft's Hyper-V environment (which itself is in beta), to see what happened.
The results are promising -- in Hyper-V running on Windows Server 2008 , Fedora 9 actually installed in about half an hour with 12 Gb of virtual hard drive space and 256 Mb of memory in a server running a single processor, an Opteron dual-core CPU. We encountered some minor aggravation in connecting to the network in a Fedora 9 VM, but that was resolved by changing the virtual drive setting from "network adapter" to "legacy network adapter" in Hyper-V. The GUI in Fedora 9 is, essentially, unchanged from Fedora 8 and it maintains the same look and feel it has for some time.
Stand-out features in the alpha include; support for Bluetooth file sharing, Phone Manager (to send and receive messages through your mobile phone), Firefox 3 Beta 2, IP telephony/video conferencing, and a Bit Torrent client. There are also preference settings for a variety of removable devices, such as cameras, PDAs, printers, and scanners.
New in Fedora 9 is disk resizing during install (including NTFS), an enhanced clock applet, KDE 4.0 builds, and PackageKit. There are also plans to add a pre-upgrade tool that would let users of the current Fedora version continue to use their system while it analyzes and downloads all the packages they need to update to the next release. When it finishes, it offers to reboot the system and begin the upgrade.
Of particular note is the support of encrypted file systems, including all partitions and hot pluggable devices. This is important for many notebook and government users, especially in environments where encryption is mandatory.
For the most part, all the applications included in the Fedora 9 alpha package launched without incident. (Testing did show that neither Fedora 9 nor Hyper-V issued a warning when the VM reached its memory limit. It just rebooted.)
Once Fedora 9 and Hyper-V both reach general release, a second look at how they work and play together will likely be worth the time.