The Fedora Project has released the first and only beta for their next Linux distro, fully embracing the GNOME desktop that rival Ubuntu will shuffle away from later this month.
The beta for Fedora 15, announced on Tuesday and codenamed Lovelock, becomes the first major Linux distro to include GNOME 3, which was released earlier this month. Fedora 15 will jettison GNOME 2.
GNOME 3 is a major departure from the existing interface: it cleans up the interface and makes it easier to find and fire up applications through juicy new icons.
Fedora Project board member Dennis Gilmore told the Fedora mailing list Tuesday: "After many years of a largely unchanged Gnome 2.x experience, GNOME 3 brings a fresh look and feel with GNOME Shell."
Possibly Fedora's closest desktop Linux competitor is Ubuntu, and that disto has also cleaned up its interface and made applications easier to find and use with the forthcoming version 11.04. Ubuntu, however, is dumping GNOME for its own interface, called Unity. The Unity interface also provides 3D and multi-touch, gesture-based support when working with applications.
Users of Ubuntu 11.04, due next week, will still get the GNOME shell, but it'll be available as a secondary boot option based on a user's own personal choice and whether their PC can deliver the necessary hardware acceleration that Unity needs.
Other changes in the Fedora 15 beta, meanwhile, include faster boot times and the ability to change your firewall settings without needing to restart the firewall.
Also, there's the OpenOffice fork LibreOffice. LibreOffice was created as a fork in September 2010 with the creation of The Document Foundation in opposition to Oracle's then ongoing refusal to release OpenOffice.org back to community control.
The general release of Fedora 15 is scheduled for May 15. You can see a full list of features here.
The Document Foundation has said that it's business as usual, in spite of Oracle's announcement last Friday that it's releasing OpenOffice back to the community. The group, however, has indicated it's willing to take Oracle and OpenOffice along with it back into the fold.
Charles H. Schulz, a former OpenOffice.org contributor speaking on behalf of the Document Foundation's steering committee, said in a statement that the Foundation and LibreOffice already represent a future path of development for the OpenOffice community and code base. "The development of TDF community and LibreOffice is going forward as planned, and we are always willing to include new members and partners," Schulz said. ®