The major components in Fedora Core 3 include (with version numbers):
Linux kernel: version 2.6.8 — This reflects a major upgrade over the 2.4.22 kernel included in Fedora Core 1 and a more stable kernel than the 2.6.5 kernel included with Fedora Core 2. (See Chapter 27 for information about the Linux 2.6 kernel.)
GNOME (desktop environment): version 2.8
KDE (desktop environment): version 3.3
X Window System (X.org graphical windowing system): version 6.8
GCC (GNU C language compilation system): version 3.4.2
Apache (Web server): version 2.0.52
Samba (Windows SMB file/printer sharing): version 3.0.8
CUPS (print services): version 1.1.21
Sendmail (mail transport agent): version 8.13.1
vsFTPd (secure FTP server): version 2.0.1
INN (Usenet news server): version 2.3.5
MySQL (database server): version 3.23.58
BIND (Domain name system server): version 9.2.4
If you want the latest features in Linux when looking at different Linux distributions, compare the version numbers shown above. Version numbers and names that Linux distributors such as Mandrake, SUSE, and Red Hat associate with their releases can be arbitrary. By comparing versions of the kernel, KDE and GNOME desktops, and GNU compiler they are using, you can tell which distribution actually has the latest features.
As Fedora continues to consolidate its distribution, some popular packages have been dropped from Fedora Core since the previous version of Fedora. In particular, many packages for developing Java applications were dropped from the current release of Fedora. Others that were in Fedora Core 2 that are not in Fedora Core 3 include the following:
chromium — Arcade-style shooting game
commons* — Set of packages for developing JAVA components under the Apache Jakarta Commons project (http://jakarta.apache.org/commons)
gqview — Image viewer
gtkam — GTK-based front end for managing digital photos from gPhoto
kernel-source — Kernel source code (this was once included with the Fedora installation binary packages, but has now been moved to a kernel*.src.rpm package in the SRPMS directory)
licq — ICQ chat utility
magicdev — Contains process for monitoring CD drives, and optionally mounting the medium (replaced with GNOME volume manager)
modutils — Contains module administration utilities (repackaged into the module-init- tools package)
quanta — HTML editor for KDE
See Appendix B for information on other packages no longer included in Fedora.
Just because a package has been dropped from Fedora doesn't mean that you can’t still get and use the package. In fact, in this book I tell you how to find and install packages like wine that have been dropped from previous versions of Fedora and Red Hat Linux.
The following paragraphs describe many of the major features in Fedora Core 3.
The Linux 2.6 kernel represents a major rewrite and reorganization of the Linux kernel included with the Fedora 1 release (2.4.22). The 2.6 kernel could result in better performance from your Linux desktop, support for additional devices, and a kernel that can scale efficiently from hand-held devices to PCs to enterprise servers. Chapter 27 contains a more complete description of 2.6 kernel features.
The ALSA sound system replaces the OSS sound system used in Fedora Core 1 and previous versions of Red Hat Linux. See Chapter 8 for information on features in the ALSA sound system.
Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux), added in Fedora Core 2 and enhanced in Fedora Core 3, represents a new model for managing the security of your Linux system. When SELinux is enabled, a set of policies is used to define the permissions that users and processes have to manipulate different components of the operating system.
SELinux is turned on by default, with the targeted policy enabled. The targeted policy provides a contained, useful set of rules that are used to protect the system from infiltration through a common set of daemon processes. So, for example, if someone were to infiltrate the computers Web server (httpd daemon), potential damage could be limited to a small set of files and processes on the system. A strict policy set (which is included by not enabled by default), provides a broader range of SELinux policies that can be useful for someone configuring their own secure system using SELinux.
To work with SELinux, a useful set of graphical tools called setools-gui has been added to Fedora Core 3. Those tools include seaudit (an audit log analysis tool) and seuserx (a system user manager for managing roles in SELinux). See Chapter 28 for further information on SELinux.
Red Hat has renamed and continued to enhance its growing arsenal of graphical administrative tools. Since dropping the linuxconf and bypassing the Webmin graphical administrative interfaces, Red Hat has been steadily developing and adding its own administrative tools to its Fedora and Red Hat Linux distributions. As a result, a systems administrator can often skip running shell commands and editing plain-text configuration files to set up servers, manage system resources, or add users.
The following list provides an overview of GUI administration tools and what each is used to configure:
system-config-bind — Domain Name System server
system-config-boot — Change boot loader settings
system-config-date — System time and date
system-config-display — Configure the X display, monitor and video card
system-config-httpd — Apache Web server
system-config-keyboard — Keyboard selection
system-config-kickstart — Kickstart files for unattended Fedora Core installations
system-config-language — Languages for Fedora
system-config-mouse — A mouse
system-config-netboot — Diskless environments and network installs
system-config-network — Network interfaces
system-config-nfs — Network File System shared directories
system-config-packages — Fedora software packages
system-config-printer — Printers
system-config-printer-gui — Printers (GUI)
system-config-printer-tui — Printers (text-based)
system-config-rootpassword — Change your root password
system-config-samba — Samba Windows file and printer sharing
system-config-securitylevel — Iptables firewalls
system-config-services — System services
system-config-soundcard — Sound card
system-config-users — User accounts
system-logviewer — System log file viewer
You can launch the tools associated with the previous packages either from the main desktop menu or from a Terminal window. In most cases, the name of the command you run to launch the window is the same name as the package it comes in.
Because of licensing issues, the XFree86 X server has been replaced by the X server from X.Org. Because most of the look-and-feel of the desktop is provided by the GNOME or KDE environment you choose (or other window manager you use with X), the new X server itself should not have much impact on how you use your desktop.
KDE and GNOME are desktop environments that provide a framework for running and developing graphical applications and offer a full range of preferences to allow users to tailor the exact desktop look-and-feel. The new GNOME version 2.8, in particular, has many look- and-feel changes over the version delivered with earlier Red Hat Linux systems. For example, the Nautilus window has been streamlined, and double-clicking the title bar does a maximize behavior instead of a window scroll. Refer to Chapter 3 for descriptions of how the new GNOME behaves differently (and how to change back to some of the previous GNOME defaults, if you are so inclined).
Unlike previous releases of Fedora and Red Hat Linux, you have to work a bit to get the KDE desktop. If you choose to install Fedora Core as a Personal Desktop or Workstation system, you get the GNOME desktop by default. You must specifically ask to install additional packages to get KDE. By default, it is only included in an Everything install.
Fedora Core 3 offers new versions of the GNOME (2.8) and KDE (3.3) desktop environments. You can read about X, GNOME, and KDE in Chapter 3.
By far, most of the enhancements to Fedora Core over previous versions of Red Hat Linux have come in existing packages. For a complete list of software packages in Fedora Core 3, refer to Appendix B. There are also dozens of new packages added to Fedora Core 3, however. Here are some examples:
bzflag — A 3D multiplayer tank battle game you can play against other on a network
dasher — Text-entry interface made for those who cannot operate a keyboard
diskcheck — Utility to monitor space available on your hard drive
evolution-connector — Contains important enhancement to Evolution e-mail client to allow it to connect with Microsoft Exchange Servers
exim — Popular mail transport agent (like sendmail or postfix)
firefox — Leading-edge Web browser from the Mozilla project
gnome-keyring-manager — Contains tools for managing password and other secret information stored on your keyring
gnome-nettool — Contains the graphical Network Tools window for monitoring network interfaces
gnome-volume-manager — Contains tools for monitoring and mounting removable media
HelixPlayer — Contains the Helix Player applications for playing a variety of audio and video content
kdeedu — Educational, entertaining applications for the KDE desktop
openswan — Virtual private network software, baed on the FreeS/WAN project
thunderbird — New e-mail client from the Mozilla project
tree — Contains the tree utility, to recursively display the contents of directory in a tree format (this is a port of the DOS tree utility)
ttcp — Contains the ttcp tool for testing the performance of TCP and UDP protocols
usbview — Contains the usbview tool for displaying information about device connected to your USB bus
vino — A VNC server for GNOME