January 16, 2013, 10:32 AM — After numerous delays along the way, the final version of Fedora Linux 18 "Spherical Cow" made its long-awaited debut on Tuesday.
Late last year I wrote about a few of the interesting features that had appeared in the beta version of the software, but now this finished release brings quite a bit more to the table.
As the free, community version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Fedora is nothing if not a leading-edge distribution, and it tends to offer a sneak preview of what's to come in RHEL and beyond. Currently in the No. 4 spot for page-hit rankings on DistroWatch, it's particularly well-known for its business-focused features.
Ready for a quick tour? Here are a few of the more notable new features in this release.
1. The MATE desktop
The introduction of a mobile-style paradigm in the world of Linux desktops has been just as controversial as it has in Windows 8, causing no end of debate over the merits of modern contenders such as Ubuntu's Unity and GNOME 3.
The enduring popularity of GNOME 2 has been striking in contrast, and we've already seen numerous examples of efforts to preserve the classic desktop. Now, Fedora is offering a like-minded option in the form of MATE.
"This desktop is perfect for users who have been running GNOME Classic or other window managers like Xfce as an alternative to GNOME 3," the Fedora team notes in the software's release announcement.
Users of Fedora 18 actually have many desktops to choose from, including also Xfce 4.10, KDE Plasma Workspaces 4.9, Cinnamon, and GNOME 3.6.