Release time is coming again soon: Fedora 13 will be out in beta form in around a week, and it’s difficult not to get excited about this release. Fedora 12 went extremely well, at least in my opinion, and thus far my experience with 13 is that it will not be the unlucky-for-some release. For some reason, though, there tends not to be as much buzz around Fedora releases as they really deserve.

Before I start talking about what’s new, I will just say putting the Alpha on a USB key to test it went wrong in quite a big way for me. Eventually I used ‘dd’ to get it on there, but livecd-iso-to-disk is just totally busted for me – I had all sorts of problems. I have a horrible feeling that the “does not destroy data” feature has been totally broken by the current Linux kernel support for vfat long file names. By the by.

But look what’s coming. Nouveau support – already good – is getting better, with some optional 3D acceleration you can turn on. With a good wind blowing it seems that for many people this support will be pretty good. NetworkManager – already good – is getting better, with signal strength meters for 3G users such as myself and Bluetooth DUN support. Lots of little things like this make a difference.

It doesn’t stop with the small things, though. SSSD will be turned on by default. For some people, this will mean nothing. For enterprise users of Fedora like myself, it means we can setup our laptops to authenticate against LDAP when on our corporate network and it will continue to work when we’re off the network. It seems a decent new feature to me.

There’s also automatic printer driver installation for local printers, and the supremely awesome – slightly technical features I guess, but certainly making the lives of people installing and using Fedora much easier.

And, of course, Fedora 13 comes with GNOME 2.30 as standard: probably the last release before GNOME 3. It’s the usual bouquet of small touches, and combining the improvements to Evolution, the updated and the SSSD feature I think this is probably the first Fedora release you could truly call an enterprise desktop.

What’s your favourite Fedora 13 feature coming down the pipe?