Red Hat's Fedora released today

Fedora 9 will be made available for download today, and the operating system continues the trend of making Linux a more inviting proposition for newcomers.

Alongside the more sweeping changes, Fedora 9 takes the new KDE 4 desktop environment for a spin, which not only brings some added glitz but also supports Vista-style widgets and reduces memory consumption, meaning even older machines can benefit from a bit of glamour.

Under the hood, Fedora 9 brings improved support for Bluetooth, mobile broadband adaptors and virtual operating systems. It also supports ext4, for those looking to tinker with Linux's next generation file-system, and ships with Firefox 3 Beta 5 as standard.

Alongside these improvements, the PackageKit software will root out the necessary open-source software on the net when you try to open a file not currently supported on your machine, though opening proprietary formats will require you do the work yourself.

As with the recent Ubuntu release, the team has clearly decided installation is a barrier to newcomers and moved to simplify the entire process. The interface can handle NTFS formatted disks, and should make the entire process of partitioning, encrypting and resizing drives much easier. While it may not be as immediately user friendly as the Wubi installer released with Ubuntu, it's clearly a further step in the right direction.

Fedora 9 also allows you to carry a persistent version of the operating system around on a 1GB or greater USB stick, which maintains all your updates and saved files, meaning you need never leave home without your operating system again.

Fedora 9 is due to be released at some point today, keep checking the site for updates.