I haven’t been following the progress of Fedora 9 very closely (possibly because it took me until last month to finally upgrade my home PC to Fedora 8), but as the release date of
April 29 May 13 approaches, I thought I’d take a look at the release notes for an overview of what’s new. Of course there’s the usual upgrades to the various desktop environments, including, finally, KDE4, but something that surprised me was the inclusion of Firefox 3 beta 5.
Admittedly, Linux distributions often include non-final software by necessity. Many open-source projects spend years in the 0.x state not because they don’t work well, but because the authors don’t feel that it’s complete yet. (Often, a project will take their checklist and build feature 1, stabilize it, add feature 2, stabilize that, etc. so that you get a program that’s a stable subset of the target. Off the top of my head, FreeRADIUS was quite stable long before it hit 1.0, and Clam AntiVirus has been quite usable despite the fact that its latest version is 0.93.)
Lately, though, there’s been a tendency toward sticking with the latest stable release, at least for projects that have reached that magical 1.0 number. Sometimes they go even further. Only a year and a half ago, Fedora planned to skip Firefox 2 and wait for version 3. (Clearly, they expected Firefox 3 would be out sooner!) So it was a surprise to see that this time, Fedora has decided to jump on the new version before it’s finished.