The Fedora project rolled out the beta version of Fedora 16 today and invites testers to take it for a spin. Current known bugs are listed in the Fedora wiki, and beta testers are encouraged to provide feedback to help fine tune the operating system before Fedora 16 rolls out in November.
In an email announcement, release engineer Dennis Gilmore says that Fedora 16 users can expect the GRUB2 bootloader, which automatically recognizes other operating systems and supports LVM2 and LUKS partitions. Gilmore says that only x86 systems with a BIOS uses GRUB2 by default but work continues to make GRUB2 the default for other architectures and systems, too. Systemd services management was added in Fedora 15, and Gilmore says better integration of Systemd via conversion to native systemd services from legacy init scripts in many software components means faster boot times for desktop users.
On the desktop, Fedora 16 users will see KDE Software Compilation 4.7 and GNOME 3.1 development release. HAL (hardware abstraction layer) has been completely removed, which means faster system bootup. And SELinux includes a new pre-built policy that will only rebuild policy if any customizations have been made. “A sample test run shows 4 times speedup on installing the package from 48 Seconds to 12 Seconds and max memory usage from 38M to 6M,” Gilmore explains.
A “cloud-ready” version of GlusterFS, HekaFS (formerly called CloudFS), has been added. Fedora 16 also features expanded virtual network support, new virtual machine lock manager, and improved ability to browse guest file systems, according to Gilmore. For developers, Fedora 16 offers updated Ada, Haskell, and Perl environments, a new Python plugin for GCC, and new and improved APIs.
Fedora 16 is codenamed “Verne,” but supporters haven't given up on a “Beefy Miracle” win for Fedora 17. (Even vegetarians like me can agree that Beefy Miracle is more memorable and easier to visualize as an animated mascot.)
See the release notes for addition information, the official release schedule, and to report bugs: http://docs.fedoraproject.org