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Fedora 19 alpha offers a peek at what's coming

New 3D printing tools are among the additions in this latest preview release.

It's been about three months since the release of Fedora 18 "Spherical Cow," but this week afforded the first glimpse at the next version of the popular Linux distribution.

Arriving just a week behind schedule, the alpha version of Fedora 19, code-named "Schrödinger's Cat," comes packed with several new features as well as an assortment of updated packages.

It's not intended for production use, of course. Rather, the alpha software is available purely for testing purposes. Still, if you want to take it for a whirl to see what's coming in the final release due in July, it's now available as a free download. Here are some of the highlights of what you'll find.

1. Classic desktop options

Included among the desktop environments available in the Fedora 19 alpha are GNOME 3.8, KDE Plasma Workspaces 4.10, and MATE 1.6. One result is that those who prefer the classic GNOME 2-style experience will have multiple options, including both MATE and GNOME 3.8's "classic mode." Though there was speculation early this year that Cinnamon might be offered by default in Fedora 19, this alpha release offers no evidence that that will be the case.

2. Multiple niche flavors

In addition to the main Fedora 19 OS, there are also a number of what the project calls "spins" with hand-picked application sets or customizations tailored for specific interests. Examples include a Design Suite Spin, a Robotics Spin, and a Security Spin. Other available desktop environments include Xfce, Sugar on a Stick, and LXDE.

3. 3D printing support

Also evident in this alpha release is an effort to bring 3D printing tools to Fedora and make the OS a competitive choice for users of 3D printers such as RepRap without requiring that they download binary blobs or run Python code from Git. OpenSCAD, Skeinforge, SFACT, Printrun, and RepetierHost are among the new tools included for this purpose.

4. Developer tools

Last but not least, targeting developers and programming enthusiasts, Fedora 19 includes tools such as Developer's Assistant, OpenShift Origin, Node.js, Scratch, and Ruby 2.0.


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