Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Fedora Project Developer Proposes Layered, More Agile Design to Distribution 74

Karrde712 writes "Fedora Cloud Architect Matthew Miller announced a proposal on a plan to redesign the way that the Fedora Project builds its GNU/Linux distribution. Fedora has often been described as a 'bag of bits,' with thousands of packages and only minimal integration. Miller's proposal for 'Fedora.Next' describes reorganizing the packages and upstream projects that comprise Fedora into a series of 'rings,' each level of which would have its own set of release and packaging requirements. The lowest levels of the distribution may be renamed to 'Fedora Core.' Much discussion is ongoing on the Fedora Devel mailing list. If any Slashdot readers have good advice to add to the discussion, it would be most useful to respond to the ongoing thread there." A full presentation on the plan will be given at the Flock conference next month, and draft slides have been uploaded. A few more details about the discussion are below the fold.

Karrde712 continues, Discussion on the list has questioned whether this is meant to be a return to the old "Fedora Core" and "Fedora Extras" model of Fedora's early life, to which Miller responded: 'I'm aware of this concern — I was there too, you know. As I was talking about the idea with people, it kept being hard to not accidentally say "core". Finally, as I was talking to Seth Vidal, he said, in his characteristic way, "Look, here's the thing. You should just call it Fedora Core. If you don't, people are going to be grumbling in the back corner and saying that it's really Core, and the conversation becomes about a conspiracy about the name. Just call it Fedora Core, and then have the conversation about the important point, which is how it's different."'

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Fedora Project Developer Proposes Layered, More Agile Design to Distribution

Comments Filter:
  • by Joining Yet Again ( 2992179 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @05:20AM (#44359263)

    I pretty much left the software development world when all this "Agile" bullshit became popular.

    Over the past decade there has been an explosion of methodologies and metrics to coincide with a stagnation in fundamental developments in engineering. Contrary to what the young'uns think, there is very little that's appeared on the software scene that wasn't already there - and written more efficiently - either on the desktop in the '90s, or on the mainframe/cloud in the two decades prior. But what we do have is a whole pile of paperwork, of admin, of things to remember about how you're supposed to be doing things, of new ways to make creativity just that little bit harder.

    So there is an *explosion* on all the new platforms of very similar software products, all developed the same way.

    Stop it. Find out what works in your organisation, and evolve incrementally. Don't look to claims of revolutionary buzzwords.

    • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @05:32AM (#44359295)

      and get off your lawn?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You said everything I was thinking. It's a shame that reality seems to equal flamebait according to slashdot readers these days.

    • by breun ( 691628 )

      Find out what works in your organisation, and evolve incrementally.

      Hm, sounds like agile to me.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Find out what works in your organisation, and evolve incrementally.

        Hm, sounds like agile to me.

        Indeed. The problem has always been with the name. It should be called Common Sense Development. Again, he's right, this is not new, just the ol' good spiral method.

        • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

          Find out what works in your organisation, and evolve incrementally.

          Hm, sounds like agile to me.

          Indeed. The problem has always been with the name. It should be called Common Sense Development. Again, he's right, this is not new, just the ol' good spiral method.

          and the big house agile is just... well it's a new name for waterfall development where you never see the supposed architecht. same old shit with weekly or even by hour progress report writing.

    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      Agile is one of the most pro-programmer, pro-creativity methodologies around.

      As for nothing new being invented, just to pick one, mobility and a mobile workforce. In the 1990s people could carry papers and a PDA but information from the mobile workforce flowed back often days later.

      • But will it be able to provide the complete, integrated experience to empower our talent to enhance our enterprise value?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ClassicASP ( 1791116 )
      True that. Seen this routine a bunch of times in various ways, and in the end its really about developers making money. You can just keep it simple and go with what works (as you can see from my handle, I'm old-school). But I've met many less-experienced and less-knowledgable business owners who were totally sold on complex methodologies by their developers, and as time progressed they ended up with something thats very bulky and complicated that required a big learning curve to get past in order for any ne
    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
      I also love how people use "Agile" as an excuse for horrible design. You don't let programmers design the system, you still have a proper architect who designs, but you have the programmers make modular code that is easy to re-factor.

      Like what anonymous said further down, "Common Sense Development". Make your code modular, work one module at a time, preferably create tests for each module, when requirements change, re-factor. Welcome to Agile, the same crap that has been told for good programming practice
      • Except that Agile comes with it's own terminology and rituals. Like a religion in some ways. It also comes with a large industry of consultants and coaches and participants and advocates.

        Most companies out there don't use any specific methodology, they just have a mishmash of lots of things. There absolutely is not a binary choice of agile versus waterfall.

    • If you knew anything about Matt, you'd know describing him as a 'businessman' is pretty absurd.

      http://mattdm.org/ [mattdm.org]

  • by Stonefish ( 210962 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @05:41AM (#44359325)

    If you're concerned about packaging you're in marketing not software development, why not just spend hours talking about the colour of the box and be done with it. This is one of the reasons why debian is making inroads into the enterprise space. Less colour and more bang. Once many years ago I thought that Debian wasn't for business use and only redhat was a contender in this space and I fought hard to standardize on this supported model. Since then the packaging quality of debian has demonstrated its robustness and redhat has been focusing on other things.

    • by msclrhd ( 1211086 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @06:00AM (#44359369)

      Packaging in this sense is referring to grouping the built binaries and other files into a set of installable files that you can install (i.e. the rpm files in Fedora, deb files in Debian and msi files on Windows). These take care of specifying the dependencies and upgrades.

      The discussion in TFA is how to group those packages so they are more manageable. For example, a core layer is critical for running the OS (containing the kernel and other essential software), like the projects built in the Linux From Scratch manual.

      This then allows those groups to update and release independently of each other. These updates ensure that the packages in the group work well together. That is, you usually need to make sure that gcc, binutils and glibc all work well and update together so they would be in a group together.

      • If you though that I didn't understand what "packaging" was you're a clod. The discussion about if sets of packages can be aligned in rings whether multidimensional or not is "marketing" in the purest sense, they aren't and will never be rings, its an attractive term that you're familiar with that they are using to sell the concept. This is a top down approach to solving what could be and arguably should be a bottom up methodology. In essence its about control or more specifically a small group's vision of

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          TIL: Sensible presentation of complex data is 'marketing'.

          I should hire some marketers to help me with my big data sets.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There are packaging projects that are about meaningful software development: Guix and the original nixos.org have substantial improvements over the current deployments methods and systems like fedora's rpm or even debian's deb.
      The thing is, by providing better packaging and deployment, you speed the adoption of newer and better software. Debian is the best example of the price cumbersome system impose. Developers just refuse targeting it since it's too involving so Debian is forced to rely on it's own packa

    • by tibit ( 1762298 )

      Idiot moderators, this should have been moderated funny! Stonefish, if you're serious, you're in deep trouble.

  • by mitcheli ( 894743 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @05:49AM (#44359345)
    Seems to me that when I'm working on a build with security in mind, I start with a bare build that is the barest of essentials to boot the system and use the hardware. From then, we add on the packages we need to get just what we need. And as we layer those packages on, we focus on the hardening of the individual services. As time has gone on, in a virtualized environment, it's very easy to build "default" systems that fill certain roles and are sized for different resource levels. It would seem to me that these standardized baselines would serve well for an installation model. Fedora does that to some extent (loosely) but that could be built upon more I would think. So if I want a firewall, I could get a bare boned installation with enhanced iptables rules and hardening provisions commonly used. Or if I want a web server, perhaps a slightly less bareboned installation with the needed scripting tools (PHP, Perl, etc?), etc... It seems the biggest questions I've dealt with when building new systems is, role, size, and whether or not it's for development. Outside of that, the builds are rather typical.
    • The reason I use Fedora is just that. You can install a bare bones system, and add the capability you need. That way I only need to take the "bit" I need from the "bag". Yes, that means thinking about what you need to install, instead of spraying features out until you hope you covered your needs. That was one of the problems which lead to unsecured systems, people installing features they weren't even aware existed. If they didn't know about it, they didn't configure it and take security into account. I li
  • by aglider ( 2435074 ) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @06:19AM (#44359421) Homepage
    In order to get Linux growing is a similar thing.
    A "ring0" with a very basic system on top of which all other distros are based.
    This would avoid everyone re-inventing the warm water multiple times, while distros would focus on the other rings.
    More or less the same as is seen in FreeBSD with the "GIU"derivatives.
    A controlled ring0 would focus on keeping the system up and running at the very best with a centralized repo for everyone.
    But you may say i am a dreamer ...
    • So what you're saying is that we should reinvent Debian?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Oh, you mean the linux standard base? http://www.linuxfoundation.org/collaborate/workgroups/lsb
      It's been tried, and only a few people pay attention to it.

    • by tibit ( 1762298 )

      The deal is that this "ring0" can be done in multiple ways. For example, what is the first process to start: init or launchd? Is selinux finally going to be the default, with support for all services in this ring0, and core stuff in the next ring as well? And so on. See, it's not so easy when you actually get to doing it. Talk is cheap.

    • This would avoid everyone re-inventing the warm water multiple times, while distros would focus on the other rings

      It wouldn't be Linux if people weren't reinventing (or at least reimplementing) things. In a way that is almost the point of it.

    • It depends in what you are meaning for " a very basic system on top of which all other distros are based." Why the same basic system has to be the same for a student, for a group, for a school or a goverment server? This is more marketing . It reminds me the time, after a gazillion bugs/error or hardware misconfiguration you used ti fullfil a w95 setup. Whoa!!!! and then what? You have the very basic system...doing nothing. Cmon men, just fire up a network installation disc, grab the packages you need and
  • What makes this AGILE?
    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      It allows small working groups to focus on their areas of interest without broader impact and thus parts of Fedora can evolve semi-independently of one another. Level 0 will be top down but Level 2 may be very agile where all the stakeholders and just meet and come to a quick agreement.

  • Sounds to me like they're talking about Debian, the way it's integrated and layered.

    As a Debian fan who's often asked to administer RH boxes, this would be a welcome change.

  • Let me rephrase what's going on: Matt Miller is unhappy about the state of Fedora, but he can't really articulate exactly what he's unhappy about and how exactly would he have an imaginary uber-developer fix the issue. When you get rid of buzzwords and marketing speak, there's no substance left. How sad.

  • If you really want to make Fedora better get rid of gnome3.
  • So they're basically "reinventing" how BSD does things? They even blatantly copied an OpenBSD image for this presentation...

    (Compare slide 13 [mattdm.org] from the presentation with OpenBSD 4.9 [openbsd.org] art)

    In all seriousness though, it's a pretty good plan. Everyone knows that BSD means real engineering while Linux is "just a hobby, won't be big and professional"

  • Back in the day (circa 2001, so RH 7 thru 7.3) before RH adopted YUM and the entire distrubtion fit on 1 CD, I was constantly frustrated by the unexplainable need of RH to make packages depend on completely unrelated stuff. I swear you couldn't install a 10kB console text editor without installing 50MB of dependencies. What possible reason could a console editor require libjpg? Things like that were common. IIRC, before YUM you had to type in every single package name x 20 or so packages (with exact vers

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.