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The final release of Mandriva 2008, which "marks a new base system," is due in September. It will include several major enhancements, such as GNOME 2.20, KDE 3.5.7 (with KDE 4.0 as a preview), Xfce 4.4.1, kernel 2.6.22, Compiz Fusion, a new network management tool, a migration tool for Windows documents and settings, and support for Wi-Fi Protected Access/Extensible Authentication Protocol (WPA-EAP). The release announcement notes that some of these features are not yet implemented in the current beta.
This beta, for the x86-32 architecture, is available only as a three-CD Free edition -- e.g., "no non-free software or drivers" -- with a traditional installer. Future betas, according to the release announcement, "will be available in One live / install CD hybrid editions with proprietary drivers, and in x86-64 versions." See the full release notes and technical specifications for full details.
Meanwhile, the Fedora Project is looking for alpha users to kick the tires of Fedora 8 Test 1 (7.90). This is the initial test release (Rawhide) of Fedora 8, which is scheduled for release in November. This test release was delayed from last week due to "an ongoing issue with booting many Dell (and some Toshiba) systems via CD," which necessitated a kernel rebuild, according to a July 31 mailing list posting.
The release announcement says, "Included in this release is a 'Fedora' installable 'choose your own adventure' style set of ISOs and trees for i386, x86_64, and ppc(64)." Also included are live images for i686 and x86_64 of both the Fedora Desktop and the Fedora KDE desktop. See the Get Fedora page for download options.
New features planned for Fedora 8 include an optional Big Board online desktop replacement for GNOME, better Bluetooth support, a CodecBuddy media helper application, improved laptop support, a policy kit to streamline administration, improved power management, and the inclusion of TeXLive 2007.