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Red Hat changes Fedora course--again

Red Hat has once again updated its constant effort to create a free Linux version that's best suited to the company's own goals and the workings of the open-source movement.

Red Hat programmer Bill Nottingham last week announced new features for Fedora 7, including a unification of the Red Hat-controlled Core components and the ancillary Extras. The move reverses the Extras direction, which Red Hat hoped in 2005 would lighten its programming load.

"Starting with Fedora 7, there is no more Core, and no more Extras; there is only Fedora. One single repository, built in the community on open-source tools, assembled into whatever spins the Fedora community desires," Nottingham said in a mailing list posting.

A test version of Fedora 7 is due January 23, with the final product expected April 26.

Among expected Fedora Core 7 features:

• "Rock-solid" wireless networking

• Addition of a LiveCD version so people can try Linux by booting off a CD

• Fast switching among different users

• Consolidation of multiple dictionaries for spell-checking

• Functioning IEEE 1394 "Firewire" support

• Support for encrypted file systems

• Changes so the ticking of Linux's internal clock won't wake the system up from power-saving modes

• Faster start-up and shutdown

Separately, Red Hat said Monday that more than 1 million people have downloaded the most recent version, Fedora Core 6. The company's next paid version, called Red Hat Enterprise Linux and due February 28, is updated less frequently and includes long-term support.