Fedora 19 (codenamed "Schrödinger's Cat") is officially out this week, and it's looking to be more than just another latest-and-greatest iteration of a popular open source, Linux-based operating system. From 3D printing tools to better support for virtualization and storage, this latest version of Fedora, the Linux distribution sponsored by Red Hat (RHT), offers a lot that other leading Linux distributions currently don't. Here's a look at some of the highlights.

For starters, the new release benefits from a comprehensive slew of 3D printing software, such as the Skeinforge and OpenSCAD applications. Of course, you'll also need 3D printing hardware, not to mention a fair amount of expertise in this emerging technology, before you can start churning out your favorite customized car parts, dishware or what have you. Still, the attention Fedora is giving to 3D printing makes it stand out among Linux distributions, many of which can run the same tools as Fedora but among which Fedora alone has chosen to make 3D printing a marquee feature.

Fans of MATE, an increasingly popular desktop environment that independent developers forked from GNOME when the latter discontinued the GNOME 2.x series, will also be pleased with Fedora 19, which includes support for the MATE interface. That should help attract users to Fedora who dislike competing desktop environments, especially Canonical's Unity.

Another notable feature, particularly for server users, is support for live virtual storage migration. This functionality, equivalent to VMware Storage vMotion, will allow users to migrate virtual machines and their storage from one Fedora system to another with no downtime. That's a key feature for helping open source virtualization compete with proprietary alternatives.

Server users might also appreciate the introduction of packages for NFStest, a suite for testing the open source NFS network file system. While NFS isn't quite the same thing as Ceph or GlusterFS, storage systems designed specifically for Big Data, it is one of the most popular network storage infrastructures. Easily accessible testing tools for NFS certainly won't hurt Fedora's appeal among administrators designing large storage networks.

One potential disappointment to certain Fedora fans—for now, at least—is that Pidora, a "remix" of Fedora tailored to the Raspberry Pi ARM-based computer, is still based on Fedora 18. But that hardly makes it ancient, and users interested in installing Fedora on low-cost Raspberry Pi machines don't have too much to complain about.

Fedora 19, which was officially released on July 2, is available now for download.