Fedora, the Linux-based operating system backed by Red Hat, has released version 12 with a view to improving the multimedia and graphics experience on the desktop.
Fedora 12 integrates the Empathy unified communications client that combines instant messaging, video, and audio.
Empathy is a multi-protocol IM client and supports AIM, Yahoo, Google Talk, Jabber, Live (MSN). Desktop sharing is also a feature.
Improvements in Web cam and video support in Fedora 12 enables Empathy to perform video conferencing in addition to IM.
In addition to unified communications, Fedora 12 has improved support for Bluetooth audio devices.
NetworkManager now has more support for mobile broadband and simplifies Bluetooth phone “tethering” to use a mobile broadband connection for a notebook or netbook.
Other enhancements are IPv6 for next-generation networking; better support for network connections; and a redesigned interface that is easier to understand.
Fedora’s software management tool PackageKit has also received some attention with a refined user interface, speed improvements, support for installing packages directly from a Web browser. PackageKit supports GNOME and KDE.
Another direction aimed at improving the desktop user experience is better tablet support in Fedora 12.
There is an updated version of Inkscape (a vector drawing app) with support for pen presets and Gimp's brush dynamics tool allows control of the velocity and pressure of tablet pens.
Handwriting recognition has been integrated and the Xournal package allows the annotation and highlighting (and signing) of PDF documents.
The Fedora desktop has been given a new “clearer” navigation bar, a new desktop background theme, and special folder icons.
At the lower level of the operating system, Fedora 12 now supports the ext4 file system for the boot loader (GRUB), and Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) is enabled by default on systems with NVIDIA, ATI and Intel video cards for a faster graphical boot.
For systems administrators using Samba, GFS2 Clustered Samba has been added and improvements in high-availability clustering is designed to make sharing data across machines easier and more reliable.
Virtualisation software and development tool have also been improved in Fedora 12.
The Fedora Project is online at: Fedoraproject.org.