Red Hat and project contributors have released alpha code for Fedora 10, the next version of the community-sponsored, free and open-source Linux distribution that will include enhancements to the audio, security and wireless-connection features of the operating system.

Red Hat explained new features of the Fedora 10 alpha release in a blog entry. The test release can also be downloaded from the Fedora site.

Fedora is a Red Hat- and community-supported Linux OS that serves as the source code for Red Hat's Enterprise Linux (RHEL), as well as other Linux distributions.

The Fedora team plans to release final code for Fedora 10 in November. The company released the previous version, Fedora 9, back in May.

Enhancements to Fedora 10 that developers can test-drive in the alpha release include the addition of timer-based scheduling for the PulseAudio stack of the OS, which serves audio from multiple sources on the server to multiple client destinations simultaneously, said Paul Frields, Fedora project leader, via email.

Timer-based scheduling "is a techno-geeky way to say, 'flexible, glitch-free audio," he said. "The redesigned PulseAudio automatically adjusts the way it feeds audio data, to accommodate system load and ensure the audio data is always ready when needed."

This is in contrast to the older version of PulseAudio, which used "interrupt-based scheduling," which Frields described as a "somewhat one-size-fits-all design that was not nearly as flexible." In the old system, "the way audio data flowed could be affected to a much greater degree by particular hardware devices or audio software applications," he said.

Fedora 10 also will feature a new security-auditing and intrusion-detection system called SecTool that includes both text and graphical front ends, according to the blog post.

The framework "allows the administrator of a system to use either a command line or a graphical interface to select any of a number of different tests that detect misconfigurations or anomalies on a given system," Frields said.

SecTool also will let network administrators set configurable groups for adjusting test runs, and allow for the easy creation of new tests in "any of a number of scripting languages, such as the bash shell, Python or Perl, making it completely extensible," Frields said.

The Fedora team has built into the OS easy setup for an ad-hoc Wi-Fi network as part of the NetworkManager feature.

Network administrators can set up an ad-hoc wireless network on any machine with a network connection and a spare wireless card, according to the blog post. If the machine has primary network connection - whether it's wired, 3G or a second wireless card - administrators can set up routing so that devices connected to the ad-hoc Wi-Fi network can share the connection to the outside network.