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Red Hat Software Businesses Software Linux

Fedora Holds Summit To Map Its Future 92

Posted by kdawson
from the hats-in-the-air dept.
lisah writes "Last month members of the Fedora community met for a three-day summit (wiki here) designed to chart a course for future version releases as well as to plan other Fedora projects. Team members say they want to leverage the enthusiasm of a community that has demonstrated a willingness to develop Fedora Extras (add-on features to the Core package) and support Fedora Legacy (past releases). Red Hat's community development manager, Greg DeKoenigsberg, said, 'Community contributors have proven conclusively over the past 18 months that they can build packages every bit as well as Red Hat engineers — better, in some cases.' In addition to creating several proposals that will be introduced the the community for input and feedback, the summit also gave rise to the newly-created position of Fedora Infrastructure Leader." Linux.com and Slashdot are both owned by OSTG.
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Fedora Holds Summit To Map Its Future

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  • First Post! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Continuing to release a free version is the smartest thing RedHat could do, as it made its foray into the recurring revenue stream provided by enterprise support and maintenance contracts.

    Fedora Linux is actually better than RHEL, because you can patch it easily (RHEL is a pain in the ass to patch), it contains more packages, and its community support (especially academia) is as high as it has ever been.
    • by stry_cat (558859)

      Fedora Linux is actually better than RHEL, because you can patch it easily (RHEL is a pain in the ass to patch), it contains more packages, and its community support (especially academia) is as high as it has ever been.

      Sorry but I call BS.

      I use Fedora at home and RHEL at work. Fedora continues to be slow and unstable (that's FC5, I haven't upgraded to 6 yet). It's no longer a bad as it was (but it isn't as stable as the old RH9) and I suspect there will be massive improvement in the next version as

  • by slapys (993739) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @05:59PM (#17305838)
    Fedora was the first Linux operating system I ever used. This applies to the majority of my Linux-using friends as well. Perhaps this is because people already know the name of Red Hat, and discover Fedora as a result. In any case, the quality of Fedora is significant because it determines the first impression of Linux on many people. Even though I have switched distributions, it it possible that I may have stopped using Linux if I had come to the conclusion that Fedora was of too poor quality to use on a daily basis.
    • by qortra (591818) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @06:06PM (#17305950)
      This applies to the majority of my Linux-using friends as well. Perhaps this is because people already know the name of Red Hat

      I think this was definitely the norm about 3 years ago when it was created. Certainly, before that, Red Hat had incredible name recognition, and as it result, most new Linux users tended to get Red Hat (sometimes even get retail copies at the time).

      However, I would claim that Ubuntu has now usurped Red Hat's (and Fedora's) position as the most recognized distribution among Linux newbies. Certainly Distro Watch [distrowatch.com] agrees with me. Not that DW is conclusive evidence, but it tends to be a good indicator.

      I do agree with you though; Fedora is important, even if it is not quite as popular as Ubuntu among newbies.
      • by scotch (102596)
        Not that DW is conclusive evidence, but it tends to be a good indicator.

        Do you have any evidence that it tends to be a good indicator?

        • Surely the number of hits on the Fedora site is an indication - its too high to be a refresh script ;-)
      • I would like to point out that there is also another group of Linux users, not sure what you call them because they are not newbies but they also haven't used Linux in several years. Most of the guys I work with fall into this category, they have used Linux in the past (as in Red Hat 6 and 7) and have been out of the Linux loop for years.

        Why is this interesting? Well because when they come to me (resident Linux user) because they "want to get back into Linux" they immediately ask/talk about Red Hat. I
    • I started out on RH 5, but I will never forgive RH for dumping support after RH9. By the time Fedora was announced, I was already using SuSE. I am now in the midst of switching to Ubuntu; not really because of the recent Microsoft deal so much as because the package management system doesn't appear to function any longer, at least for me.
      • by jamstar7 (694492)
        We just retired a server this morning that was running RH9. Never gave us a bit of problems til the hardware died. We pulled the backups we needed off the drive and installed a 'more modern' distro - Ubuntu Edgy. So far, so good.

        I loved RH in the day, ran Fedora Core up til a couple weeks ago, when I switched to Edgy amd64. Some stuff is a bit different, but all in all, I still like it.

        I'll always have a soft spot in my head for FC, though...

        • by Skewray (896393)
          I still have a partition with RH7. At some point someone broke the scsi tape driver so it wouldn't read my old backup tapes. Don't throw out those old install cd's!
          • by McNihil (612243)
            re-backup those old backups and then re-backup any dvd backups older than a couple of years. Migrate to new media so that you have a way to read things easy. this is preemptive workload BUT it will save your butt.
          • by mark_osmd (812581)
            ... put in a bug report on the tape driver?
            • by Skewray (896393)
              I did, to Novell. But since I am switching to Ubuntu, I am not being very responsive to their requests for testing at the moment. I really just need to start rewriting the tapes, which isn't very difficult, given that I have two tape drives.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``Even though I have switched distributions, it it possible that I may have stopped using Linux if I had come to the conclusion that Fedora was of too poor quality to use on a daily basis.''

      Many people did this in the bad old Red Hat days, and I think it's still common today. I try to make people understand that there isn't one Linux; rather, there are many distributions, and each should be considered a separate OS. At least, I don't think you can reasonably consider LOAF and Mandriva the same OS...
    • by juancnuno (946732)
      I will always have a soft spot for Fedora because of this. First Linux distro I was able to use as my primary OS. First one where everything just worked.
    • Packages are often way behind the software releases - by months or sometimes years. The SPEC files aren't always validated carefully - I've had to do all kinds of manipulations to get RPMs from the official trees to installed due to typos in the dependencies. At the moment, I'm having huge problems with some packages using one Python API and other packages using another, somehow resulting in X barfing and the kernel not being installed correctly, neither of which depends on Python to install.

      Fedora Core is

      • by jmorris42 (1458) *
        > If things broke, I could recompile from source. But now?

        Now you can still recompile from source. Admittedly the documentation isn't as good as it should be, but rpmbuild isn't rocket science and if you cut your teeth on SLS/MCC you should be able to figure out a .spec, tar.gz and some .diff files about as easy as "./configure ; make install".
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jd (1658)
          I cut my teeth on those and have the fillings to prove it. :) Seriously, I've mucked with .spec files and written a few. The documentation isn't so much poor as virtually non-existant and you'll get far more information from grabbing good, working pre-existing ones. If you want anything compiled with the -march=pentium4 flag (may or may not be a Good Thing, depending on program) or to use optional libraries that need to be compiled in if present, then this is the way to do it. It's slower and more tedious t
    • by kUdtiHaEX (779738)
      First Linux OS on my computer was RedHat 6.x. I was impressed with it because it was something diffrent. And when RH switched to 'commercial roads' i was very dissapointed with Fedora, especially Core 1 and 2. It was very buggy so i have switched to other distributions because of too poor quality. Fedora Core 6 is great system, just like SUSE or uBuntu. I just hope that Fedora team will continue with development.
    • by asuffield (111848)

      In any case, the quality of Fedora is significant because it determines the first impression of Linux on many people. Even though I have switched distributions, it it possible that I may have stopped using Linux if I had come to the conclusion that Fedora was of too poor quality to use on a daily basis.

      If your life is significantly affected by the actions of stupid people, you're screwed already. If it isn't, you aren't going to care about this. While you might possibly be able to justify calling this point

  • Good ideas (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @06:02PM (#17305888) Homepage Journal

    Makes sense that they plan their future. Pre-arranged funerals can ease the burdon on the survivors.

    Oh wait, this isn't about BSD?
  • by Vexler (127353) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @06:05PM (#17305940) Journal
    Apparently one of the results of this summit is the dropping of all support for past versions of Fedora Core prior to FC4, as a note on fedoralegacy.org said this past week.

    I agree that we can't support all the versions in perpetuity, but I thought it would have been more helpful if they had included some reason other than "sorry, we just can't do it anymore". Did it not fit into the big picture of their support? What about future security fixes? etc. etc. As it was, it was very abrupt.
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by qortra (591818)
      Fedora has never been considered a system that was appropriate for deployment. I always viewed it as kind of a Debian Unstable or Testing (if you will) to Red Hat's RHEL (which is similar in function to Debian Stable). If I had authority in the Fedora Community, I wouldn't vote for legacy support either. Fedora's claim to fame has always been its ability to quickly adopt bleeding-edge software. It was terribly concerned with stability (or even security).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kelson (129150) *

      I agree that we can't support all the versions in perpetuity, but I thought it would have been more helpful if they had included some reason other than "sorry, we just can't do it anymore". Did it not fit into the big picture of their support? What about future security fixes? etc. etc. As it was, it was very abrupt.

      It's been hashed out on the mailing list [redhat.com]. The upshot is this: Fedora Legacy depended heavily on volunteers. While there has been demand for them to release updates, there have never been eno

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Nighttime (231023)
      From Internet News [internetnews.com]

      Typically a Fedora Core release comes out every six or seven months. Red Hat's flagship offering, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), by contrast, comes out every 18 to 24 months. Under the new lifecycle plan a Fedora Core release would have 13 months of support.

      "Anything beyond this really seems to be corner cases that would really be better served by something like CentOS for free, RHEL for rock solid support, or Oracle for crackmonkies," Keating wrote. "What does this mean for the "Legacy"
    • by pnot (96038)
      As I understand it, the Fedora Legacy Project was originially an independent effort which got adopted by the official Fedora project. I get the impression it's suffered from a shortage of manpower since its inception -- perhaps because many or most Fedora users are the type who would rather keep upgrading to the latest release than maintain an old one, or perhaps because there are just too many releases to maintain on a purely volunteer basis. So I suspect that "sorry, we just can't do it any more" really i
      • Ah well, looks like it's time to slap Ubuntu 6.06 LTS onto those old Fedora Core servers...

        why?

        theres plenty of good old redhat (6.2!) and fedora servers quietly humming away in the background doing their jobs quite nicely where i work ( and previous gigs too ).

        sure, these are mainly internal systems that are used for in house stuf, but beyond the niceties of packaged installs of apps/utils, a adistro doesnt die just because 'official' support for them drops off over time.

        my policy for fedora servers is eve
        • by pnot (96038)
          >> Ah well, looks like it's time to slap Ubuntu 6.06 LTS onto those old Fedora Core servers...

          > why?

          Lack of security updates. I am a strong advocate for "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" -- but a system with unpatched vulnerabilities definitely qualifies as broke, and I don't have the time to track said vulnerabilities and patch them by hand.
          • but you do have time to slap on ubuntu? :)

            see, the way i see it, if you have time to migrate to another distro, you have time to migrate to the newer release of the same distro, but with less pain.

            i just make sure i find time every 12-18 months. same flavour distro, newer packages.

            ( i never could fully appreciate the debian ( hence ubuntu..) habit of smashing packages down to the smallest possible components so your apt-install has to grab a bazillion packages to get anything useful going, but each to their
            • by uglyduckling (103926) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @07:37PM (#17307096) Homepage
              see, the way i see it, if you have time to migrate to another distro, you have time to migrate to the newer release of the same distro, but with less pain
              The LTS bit of Ubuntu LTS means 'long term support' (sorry if you knew this). Presumably the parent's point is that he can switch to Ubuntu once and have 5 years guaranteed support for the server version, wheras upgrading to the newer Fedora/RH offering gives no certainty as to how long support will last. It's not always non-trivial to upgrade to a newer release, so if he/she is going to do it then they should do it once and stick with the distro for a few years.
  • by Intron (870560) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @06:09PM (#17305984)
    All of the planning described in the article seemed to be oriented on how to best support developers. I didn't see anything about end user goals.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``All of the planning described in the article seemed to be oriented on how to best support developers. I didn't see anything about end user goals.''

      Well, developers are important enough. Also, with open source software, the line between developers and users is very thin.
      • by eln (21727) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @06:50PM (#17306494) Homepage
        Also, with open source software, the line between developers and users is very thin.

        Not really. The developers are the guys who write the code, and the users are the ones who bitch about it. Same as any other piece of software.
        • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @06:59PM (#17306606) Homepage Journal
          ``Not really. The developers are the guys who write the code, and the users are the ones who bitch about it. Same as any other piece of software.''

          While that's true to an extent, there are two things that make open source software different from the norm:

          1. Many developers write the software for their own use (rather than for money)
          2. Users can and do change the software to better suit them

          This is what blurs the line between developers and users. Of course, both of these are also reasons why developers can and do ignore users' requests, and get away with it.
        • Not really. The developers wonder why Linux isn't making any progress as a desktop OS, and users know why Linux isn't making any progress as a desktop OS. Slightly different in this case.
    • by smoker2 (750216) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @06:53PM (#17306512) Homepage Journal
      Fedora is all about developers because it is all about development

      It has never set out to be a user oriented system. It only exists to push the envelope. If you choose to use it in any of its incarnations, you have to accept that. Otherwise, install RHEL or Ubuntu.

      And no, that wasn't meant as a flame, it's the truth. Is Ubuntu based on Debian unstable, is RHEL based on FC6 ?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by schwaang (667808)
      I think Red Hat is still working out how to allow real community involvement while still keeping control. And they seem to be making progress. If they get the balance right, maybe they'll end up with more people on their boards who will take users' needs into consideration more naturally.

      Transparency needed to come first, and that's way better now. Fedora's governance was non-obvious, with a different Leader of the Week handing down Red Hat fiats. Now they seem to be consciously trying to expose more of
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I tried contributing to Extras this year. I gave up due to the paperwork. Wading through pages and pages of the Website, and following the instructions got me exactly nowhere. No response. No approval. Nothing.

    Only later did I find out that I had to jump through some more hoops.

    What would be helpful is a more streamlined, and MUCH better documented system.

    Given the other packages which conspicously lack Fedora support, I suspect that I'm not alone.

    I do hope this changes, as Fedora is my preferred distro. Bu
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gdek (202709)
      Yep. Which is why it's pretty much Number One on the hitlist for the new Fedora Infrastructure chief.
  • by namityadav (989838) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @06:15PM (#17306048)
    I think the first objective for all the Open Source teams should be to stop duplication. A lot of our resources are wasted in getting features ported from other applications and (Even worse) redoing features on different applications (Because of underlying differences). I know that one of the strengths of Open Source is to have "choices", but some of these choices are just plain silly. I am not asking for these choices to go away completely. But there should be at least some sort of coherence between different alternatives (They already have some coherence, thanks to the Kernel .. but we need to see a lot more of the same in more higher level applications too)

    Imagine how much more work could be done to a package manager if every distro was using the same. Imagine how good OpenOffice and KOffice could have been if there were not 200 other Open Source alternatives. I am glad to hear about efforts to unify KDE and Gnome. We need to focus on something similar for a lot of other applications too. And this should be one of the top most priorities for Redhat, Novell, Ubuntu/Debian teams.
    • by Kelson (129150) *

      A lot of our resources are wasted in getting features ported from other applications and (Even worse) redoing features on different applications (Because of underlying differences).

      OK, which project would we have been better off without? Can you be sure that Project A would have come up with the feature they were copying from Project B? Or that Project B would have been as successful without learning from Project C's mistakes? If the people from Project B had been working on Project A instead, would th

      • What is nice with firefox is that they have limited user choice from the start by excellent packaging and limiting of features. Open source can be successful either on a a pure technical basis (like MRTG for example) or by the combination of marketing, technical merit and packaging like firefox.
        • by asuffield (111848)
          Firefox has not succeeded based on technical merit, it's succeeded based on being the only damn thing out there, unless you use KDE or proprietary software. On Windows, it's been driven by marketing (largely by Google).

          If it was a choice based on technical merit, we wouldn't be going with the memory-leaking hog.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      I disagree. Having alternatives is healthy. Not only because of choice, but also because the competition between them provides incentives to improve them, and because if something happens to one, there's always another to fall back on.

      The amount of duplication within the open source world is actually pretty limited, I would say just about enough to provide the benefits I pointed out earlier, and to cater to the many niches there are (e.g. some people want full-featured systems, others want simple ones, yet
      • by droopycom (470921)
        [quote]
        ``Imagine how much more work could be done to a package manager if every distro was using the same.''

        I don't think package managers are or should be so complicated that they'd greatly benefit from everyone hacking the same one. At any rate, the diversity allowed me to choose the vastly superior apt-get when most people were using rpm (I know there are working wrappers for rpm that resolve dependencies nowadays, but back in the day, there weren't). I'm glad about that.
        [/quote]

        Actually, a good question
    • by eelcoh (775552)
      If there'd be one package manager, there would be somebody who had an idea how to make a better one. And then you'd have two package managers. And if this package manager is better than the previous one, there will be a distro that will use it. And if it really makes a difference, more and more people will start using that distro. That is how open source gets better and better every day. The choice steers the evolution. It's that simple.
    • by l2718 (514756)

      Imagine how good Microsoft Word and WordPerfect would be if there were not 200 other alternative. How good Minix and Xenix would be if there were no other x86 Unix-like operating systems ... Competition is good. People contribute code and ideas to the project they care about, not to the program they are supposed to be using. If there were only two options the people who really cared about the other alternatives wouldn't suddenly switch camp -- they would simply go site on the sideline, to everybody's lo

    • by Junta (36770) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @07:08PM (#17306742)
      Forks/duplications of efforts can have negative repercussions, but they are not without reason. A fork reflects a difference of opinion on how to proceed. Duplication of work occurs on similar goals, but one of two things happen. Either the reason behind the fork was not really popular or not sufficiently different to pursuade userbase and the fork dies, or the cause for the work was justified and the fork lives on or overtakes the original.

      Can probably point out tons and tons of failed forks (I believe mplayer has had a few unsuccessful forking attempts). They happen all the time.

      A shining example of a 'fork' like endeavor coexisting with the original is Debian and Ubuntu. Ubuntu has a set of technical and marketing goals that didn't mesh perfectly with Debian. Ubuntu was justified and the community has greatly accepted it. Meanwhile Debian has not really lost much in its userbase (most Ubuntu users come from RPM based distros rather than Debian) because the concepts Debian hold as important still matter.

      And sometimes fork reflect the need to meaningfully continue a project that has for all intents and purposes lost touch. Xorg is a fork of XFree86 that has effectively killed off the original. They still twitch, but they've even taking down their ultimately embarassingly list of distros that still supported them (generally by not having updated yet rather than a concious future decision). The breaking point was a licensing technicality, but it's clear that XFree86 had technical problems as well in adopting new graphical features.

      Hell, linux itself is spiritually (not technically) a fork of minix. The basic point is simple, projects by and large once established tend not to do revolutionary new things as the people at the head are heading basically where they meant to go. Forking is a logical way for revolutionary change to happen and the userbase decides the fate of the original and new.
    • How much would projects benefit from having more programmers? What if having more programmers bogged down development?
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You are, of course, assuming that the people who duplicate work are programming for others and not themselves. And that would be wrong. Programmers don't volunteer their efforts as a result of some arbitrary higher calling -- they do it because it benefits them in some way. This is not a bad thing; it is a very good thing. This is why all the good things in the world exist.

      They may value the learning experience or the skills they develop. They may value the recognition. They may value the experience of bein
    • by petrus4 (213815)
      Whenever I see someone expressing this perspective, I make very sure to feel grateful that it is only held by a fairly small minority.

      Imagine how much more work could be done to a package manager if every distro was using the same. Imagine how good OpenOffice and KOffice could have been if there were not 200 other Open Source alternatives.

      You're probably not consciously aware of it, but the only reason why you think like this is because Microsoft introduced and then encouraged/enforced a monoculture, during
  • How come there isn't more combination of CentOS (RHEL) and Fedora (RH)? If Red Hat leverages the same core team to do both their enterprise and "generic" OS versions, how can disparate gratis versions keep up?
    • "How come there isn't more combination of CentOS (RHEL) and Fedora (RH)? If Red Hat leverages the same core team to do both their enterprise and "generic" OS versions, how can disparate gratis versions keep up?"

      I guess I don't see why this would be Red Hat's problem to solve. If somebody's copying my paper during a test, they don't really have a right to complain that "you were erasing and rewriting your answers way too often; it was impossible to keep up".
  • Redhat disappeared so fast from the map, hardly any of this year's user base has even heard of it, let alone Fedora. Every 4 years the entire user base turns over. Old distributions disappear, everyone learns on a new distribution, and software over 4 years old doesn't work anymore. The hot distribution chronology seems to be:

    1996-1997: Slackware
    1997-1999: Debian
    1999-2001: Redhat
    2001-2002: Fedora
    2003-2004: Suse
    2004-2006: Ubuntu

    • by zogger (617870)
      you left out three biggees (and many mid levels), gentoo, knoppix and mandrake in that list, if you are going by enthusiastic posts on the intartubes over the past several years.
    • by BokLM (550487) *
      What about Mandrake/Mandriva ?

      I don't agree with your list of the hot distribution ...

      Actually I think nobody will agree on what distribution is or was the hot distribution, so this list is quite pointless.
  • Ok, here is my wishlist.

    1. Include Suns JVM. Get rid of the GCJ stuff. I believe the JVM is GPL2 now, so it should be easy to do now.

    2. Easy video driver support. This has improved, but it would be great if it was like SuSE. I have an Nvidia card and I can get it to work, but at the end of the day another update comes out and it appears to break all over again. At the worst case, please have an official way to get it installed and then support it in your updates.

    3. Audio/Video Playback - Make it eas
    • by Kelson (129150) *

      1. Include Suns JVM.

      Could happen. As you said, it's finally been released under an open-source license. Not sure about patent status, though.

      2. Nvidia drivers
      3. play DVD's MP3
      4. Flash

      Not going to happen. Fedora has a policy of including only open-source, Free with a capital F software that is not encumbered by patents. NVidia drivers and Flash aren't open source. DVD and MP3 playback are covered by patents.

      5. Update the ISO's every so often

      There's a group called Fedora Unity [fedoraunity.org] that does this.

      • thanks for the link about the updated ISO's

        However, as far as non free software, Fedora could provide a much easier way to get that software and then work on not breaking it with an update.

        How many people try Fedora out for a client and don't want to load Flash, MP3 and DVD support?

        Again, this is just a wish list, but the video driver issue is a real pain.
  • Just wait and see... Everyone who got burned by RHEL will know and understand what I'm talking about...

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