Fedora 22 released almost on time

Wayland as a Login Session

Installation using the entire disk on a laptop with a traditional HDD takes about 10 minutes. Users have a choice of login sessions: Gnome, Gnome Classic, or the new default Gnome Wayland [5]. If the system does not support Wayland, Gnome automatically falls back to XWayland. Both Wayland and the XWayland fallback rely on the Libinput [6] library for detecting and integrating input devices.

The first reboot prompts you to choose a location; you can then set up WLAN, as required and enter a password. Fedora then moves on to the privacy settings. Location services and automatic bug reporting are enabled out of the box, but they can be switched off with just two mouse clicks. Fedora then offers to set up additional online accounts, including Facebook, Google, Windows Live, and ownCloud. If you skip this step, such accounts can be added later in the settings.

The system runs stably with Wayland, too, but in the lab I experienced a reproducible system crash. The route planner in the maps app (Figure 8) caused a restart of the graphical environment after entering the start point and destination. The system remained stable during the same procedure in a conventional X session. Wayland is the designated replacement for the X.org server and the default in Fedora 23, but they still have half a year to iron out the wrinkles.

Figure 8: The maps app shows that Wayland is not yet quite working as it should. A Wayland session crashed when displaying the route.

The latest systemd 219 does not appear to be problematic. Typing

journalctl -xb

to query the boot log in a terminal as a simple user shows the log, just as the makers intended. Unlike Debian, Fedora has done its homework and opened up systemd functions to normal users; root privileges are not needed for each action. Switching to standby mode (suspend to RAM) by closing the laptop's lid and waking up again worked smoothly and quickly on the test device.

Server and Cloud

The editions for server and cloud were also treated to new developments. The server edition now includes a new server role [7], which installs an environment for PostgreSQL, and RoleKit packages a server role, thus supporting one-click installation. To this end, RoleKit provides a stable D-Bus interface to ensure the automatic and dialog-controlled configuration of the components after the install. Each release of Fedora Server should be followed by additional roles.

While partitioning, the server edition now uses XFS as the default filesystem to ensure better scaling and higher storage capacities. However, the installation routine alternatively offers you a choice of ext4 or other filesystems.

Fedora Cloud includes the latest versions of RpmOstree and rpm-ostree tool [8] and ties these in more closely with Red Hat's Project Atomic (see the "Atomic Host" box for more). It is now possible to create separate Docker containers for Atomic Hosts [9] with an individual set of packages from Fedora Cloud using rpm-ostree. To this end, Fedora Cloud adopts the atomic command set for the command line. You can thus control the containers on an Atomic Host in Fedora Cloud and update them atomically.

Atomic Host

Project Atomic aims to provide a host system for container applications that is as lightweight as possible. The name refers to how the hosts are updated – atomically. In other words, you can update each component individually by installing an updated system in a completely different directory. rpm-ostree, which takes a new approach when managing the systems, makes this possible.

Conclusions

Fedora 22 consolidates the results from the changes made to Fedora 21 in the Fedora.next project and, with Gnome 3.16, offers the next revamp of the standard desktop. Gnome developer Christian Schaller describes the concept for this change in his blog [10] as the path from "bleeding edge" to "leading edge."

The division into three core competencies makes Fedora Workstation seem more stable than before the division. At that time, Fedora primarily seemed to be the development and experimentation environment for Red Hat Enterprise Linux; stability clearly took second place. A tangible shift of paradigms is starting to take effect with the aim of opening up Fedora as a distribution for new user groups.

However, the installer Anaconda does not match this positive outlook. Anything other than installing on the entire disk is likely to puzzle inexperienced users – this unnecessarily restricts the target user group. Beyond this, Fedora 22 continues to promote the introduction of Wayland. In Fedora 23, which is coming in six months, the new display server is intended as the default. With Gnome 3.16, it is apparent that keyboard control is increasingly becoming the focus of developers, whereas mouse control does not appear quite as smooth.

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