Paul Frields is new to Red Hat, but he's not new to the Fedora Linux community. Frields became the Fedora project leader and a Red Hat employee at the beginning of February.
Previously Frields was a U.S. government employee and a contributor to the Fedora community for more than four years.
Frields takes over at a pivotal time for Fedora as it gears up for its next major release, Fedora 9. A feature freeze is currently set for March 4, and Frields is already ready to chat about where Fedora is heading.
"I'd say we have a more involved feature process now, a deeper commitment to making sure that features that people are interested in are tracked as they move forward," Frields told InternetNews.com.
"At a certain point we know which features will appear in a release -- in this case Fedora 9 -- so we're not scrambling toward the end of a development cycle to add in that one more little bit that, in turn, breaks other bits," he said.
Frields added that what Fedora ends up with is a distribution with fewer surprises for users, so users will see new features that work well and integrate with the rest of the distribution.
Among the new features set to debut in Fedora 9 is FreeIPA, which is the identity, policy and auditing technology originally planned for Fedora 8.
FreeIPA is a tool for system administrators to install, set up and administer centralized identity management and authentication. On the enterprise side, Red Hat has already disclosed that a Red Hat Enterprise IPA product is in development.
The new Fedora version will also likely mark the first inclusion of Gvfs, which is a new userspace virtual file system. Frields noted that Gvfs will probably make it easier for developers to support new devices they might want to expose in the filesystem.
In addition, Fedora 9 will include the new KDE 4 Linux desktop GUI as an option.
Frields was particularly enthusiastic about the new Virtual Manager Policy Kit, which will allow regular users to do more with virtualization, he explained.
"Up until now you needed root access to do interesting things with virtualization, and we're trying to eliminate that," Frields said. "This creates some interesting possibilities in a user environment."
Though Fedora is its own Linux distribution project, it does have a relationship with Red Hat's commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) effort. Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens once referred to Fedora as an "alpha" for RHEL.
"We haven't seen influence yet from RHEL in Fedora 9 -- it's going to occur at some point because there will be a RHEL 6," Frields said.
"Right not things are full steam ahead, and we'll see how the land looks a few months from now," he added.
This article was first published on InternetNews.com.