As you can see in the FESCo meeting minutes from 2010-06-08, three new features have been approved for Fedora 14.
More content in live images
LZMA/Xz is a relatively new and better method for compression and Fedora has increasingly been taking advantage of it. Fedora switched over from gzip to using LZMA for the RPM payload back in Fedora 12. Fedora 14 will combined the previous feature with the next step of better compression in the live image itself. The smaller size enables us to store more content in the same size. Bruno Wolff III, a community contributor took over from me as the games spin maintainer after the Fedora 10 release and has been very actively working on forming a good gaming community in Fedora and also improving livecd-creator to work with larger images. Games are often the biggest size packages we have in the Fedora repository and switching to using LZMA in livecd-creator is of obvious benefit not just to the games spin but all live images we include as part of a Fedora release including half a dozen Fedora spins and many remixes and custom images that end up getting generated via livecd-tools. This is expected to reduce the image sizes by 10%. Quite a handy win if we get all the pieces ready in time. We could include more packages in the live images and since newer versions of software often tend to be bigger, this is a very welcome improvement.
Much faster porn picture browsing
Fedora is replacing the old and stagnant libjpeg library with libjpeg-turbo library by default. It contains numerous performance related enhancements and is at least twice faster in JPEG compression/decompression than original libjpeg on platforms with MMX/SSE instruction set. It has same API/ABI like original libjpeg and also runs on non-SSE platforms where is around 25% faster. Adam Tkac, from Red Hat is leading the fork effort as part of his involvement in the TigerVNC. As you might recall, Fedora switched over to using TigerVNC for Fedora 11 and this is a logical next step. Instead of multiple software components bundling patched versions of a library, Fedora will have a better maintained and faster equivalent. The spells W-I-N to me. libjpeg-turbo is currently in the Fedora package review queue and looking for a reviewer. Hopefully someone volunteers to do that and we will see it in Rawhide soon.
Multi-path device support including bootup
If you have installed Fedora 13, you certainly noticed a new screen for selecting storage devices. Anaconda, the Fedora installer has been revamping the storage handling for the last several releases and Fedora 14 will add another tab if you select “Specialized Storage Devices”. Multi-path is really an enterprise feature that adds some redundancy and useful if you have large storage and don’t want to have a single point of failure if your switch or cable connection goes down. Additionally, Fedora will have support for booting from a multi-path device as well. Peter Jones from Red Hat is leading this effort.
This is just the beginning as FESCo will have weekly meetings throughout the development cycle until the feature freeze currently scheduled for July 9th 2010. Fedora has a open and transparent process for proposing and approval of features and the policy is detailed here. The technical aspects of Fedora is led by the Fedora Engineering Steering Committee aka FESCo. FESCo is a community elected body and gathers on a weekly basis to discuss several technical issues and approval of features that are part of a new release is one of the recurrent agendas. We can expect to see many more features proposed and approved before the feature freeze. I am excited and curious to know how the final feature list will look like.