19 April 2011

Speaking about Fedora

When I got the invitation to talk about Fedora at a local FOSS conference, which kind of speech I am supposed to deliver?

  • honest: it used to be a great distro, but some idiots are running it down the drain;
  • half-hearted: ignore the present and talk about how it was 0.5-1 years ago;
  • coward: use the pretense of a busy schedule decline participation,
  • small scale: focus entirely on the local community (Romanian) and our struggle to survive and not say a word about the international project.


  1. descent: i don't like the current state of fedora, so i shouldn't be giving a talk about it on a conference that they invited me to promote it.

  2. I guess I would call it the "Big Picture" option, speak on the "Fedora Concept" how community could or perhaps should work. The idea of community is a grand one, perhaps so grand that it has no option but to fail for some. Sayings like "You can't please everyone all the time" and "Take the good leave the other behind" come to mind.

  3. How about the issues you are finding, the growing pins it is going through, and where you would like to see the distro go? Don't give up, you've got a lot to contribute.

  4. Nicu,

    There's no easy answer, but a good thing would be to attend and speak about the things that are positive. I doubt Fedora as project hasn't got anything positive at all, focus on that.

    I'm sure you will find the point to promote that makes your presence worthy. For the stuff you don't like or agree, leave it behind. Life's too short to be focusing always on the wrong stuff.

    Best of luck for it, I know you will do the right thing having in mind your audience (Romanians).

    A long time ago your people defended Europe by holding the eastern lines against the mongols and others. Stand strong and hold your lines, if you don't want to honor Fedora, then do it for your people.


  5. Nico, nico, nico...

    I say be honest as you see it. I completely disagree with what you perceive to be reality regarding your assessment of the state of affairs of Fedora... but that's ok. I'm not going to waste my finger strength typing a longest argument that you would surely disagree with anyway. :)

    In any event, I still encourage you to hang in there.

    TYL, Scott Dowdle

  6. s/Nico, nico, nico.../Nicu, nicu, nicu.../g

  7. Be HONEST speak up what is on your mind and let everybody know what you hate/love about the current Fedora. If you wont point out what you think is wrong they would assume everything is fine.

  8. Fedora or in my case Ubuntu is a journey not a destination
    The best way to contribute after a while is doing to the upstream projects : Firebird , Php.net , rails,django , node ...
    Or i found that debian needs a lot of help , also there are other projects rather than only linux : freebsd , haikuos , reactos that need help or designers like
    It's not only a single project with big egos there is a full ecosystem that we can contribute So i guess you can make comparisions between projects : Fedora vs Debian , LibreOffice vs Openoffice(Oracle)/ Microsoft ....

    Also there projects that need your ability with graphics
    I for example need to make a cool css theme for new Firebird website http://www.firebirdtest.com/ if you have any hints i will make the changes

    Also there is xonotic where you can contribute and

  9. @mariuz: contributing in a FOSS project is about "scratching the itch", you contribute to the projects you are using.

    and at that conference i was invited in my quality of a Fedora contributor/representative/known person.

  10. I would mention this BS from the Fedora Download page:

    "Export Regulations - By clicking on and downloading Fedora, you agree to comply with the following terms and conditions:

    Fedora software and technical information is subject to the U.S. Export Administration Regulations and other U.S. and foreign law, and may not be exported or re-exported to certain countries (currently Cuba, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria) or to persons or entities prohibited from receiving U.S. exports (including those (a) on the Bureau of Industry and Security Denied Parties List or Entity List, (b) on the Office of Foreign Assets Control list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, and (c) involved with missile technology or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons). You may not download Fedora software or technical information if you are located in one of these countries, or otherwise affected by these restrictions. You may not provide Fedora software or technical information to individuals or entities located in one of these countries or otherwise affected by these restrictions. You are also responsible for compliance with foreign law requirements applicable to the import and use of Fedora software and technical information."

    Now why would Fedora post such a screamingly ludicrous statement on a supposedly FOSS project website? It seems highly contrary to the spirit of 'open and free', and I have seen nothing comparable on any other Linux distro server hosted in USA.

    The only reason I can imagine is that it forms part of a campaign of preemptive obeisance by Fedora/RH to curry political favour with the US-Pentagovernment for future contract considerations.

    If that is true, it indicates a subtle subversion of the project into complicity in the [doomed and deeply criminal] US-Imperialist project for world domination [a.k.a. PNAC].

    Does everyone who contributes code or downloads the distro agree with such an aim?

    Personally speaking, I could not be more opposed and will never agree to have my intelligence insulted by a pack of war-criminals who hysterically attempt to force perverse US laws down the world's throat under the pretense that a public-domain OS is actually some kind of WMD equivalent to the launch-codes for their precious f*cking nukes.

  11. @ nicu,

    I note my comment posted earlier today has now been deleted - would you mind informing me what your objection to it was?

    Sincerely, etc.

  12. Buna Nicu,

    Ar fi bine sa o iei mai incet un pic cu valurile pe care le faci in legatura cu Gnome 3 in comunitatea Fedora. Sunt utilizator/admin Linux din 2000 si am folosit mai multe distributii, dar am ramas fan Fedora si nu pot sa spun decat ca lucrurile s-au imbunatatit in ultimul timp extrem de mult din toate punctele de vedere. Am instalat Fedora 15 Beta si Gnome 3 nu arata chiar atat de diferit, desi sunt cateva lucruri care nu ma multumesc, dar e un pas inainte spre curatirea si standardizarea mediului de desktop, ceea ce lipseste atat de mult pe Linux. Este unul din motivele pentru care Linux nu prinde la public. Ce s-a intampla in urma cu cativa ani cu KDE nu se intampla si cu Gnome si asta o vei putea vedea cand vei pune mana pe versiunea 15 stabila. Nu sunt de acord cu MODUL in care RedHat si-a spus cuvantul in acest release si se putea ajunge la aceleasi rezultate prin alte modalitati mai elegante si diplomate. Linux e pe drumul bun. Am incredere in acest lucru. Salveaza-ti energia pentru urmatorul release din toamna in care RedHat va sta de-o parte si va lasa comunitatea sa contribuie asa cum a facut-o atatia ani la randul.

    Mai mult calm si intelepciune! Cheers!

  13. @UNF: it was marked as spam by Blogger... corrected it

  14. @Bogdan: si eu sint utilizator si admin de Linux tot cam de atunci si contribuitor la Fedora de vreo 5 ani... vad dinauntru si am toate motivele sa cred ca F16 la toamna nu va fi mai bun decit F15 acum... o sa mai corecteze niste bug-uri si o sa mai finiseze putin, dar atitudinea NU o sa se imbunatateasca... chiar dimpotriva. nu se va imbunatati decit ca urmare a unei revolte a contribuitorilor.

  15. OK, thanks nicu, that's appreciated, presumably it just appeared to me to have been posted instantly [Curses upon ye, Flogger!]

  16. Hi Nicu, I'm sad you feel so bad about gnome 3, I'm one of the designers who worked on it and I'm a volunteer as you. I'm reading only rants in your blog without not even a sign of constructive criticism, just sarcastic and pretty offensive stuff. I feel it's unfair since I never seen you discussing with us about the design on irc (everything as been done in the open) or on the mailing lists and I haven't seen any bug from you. A lot of hard work as been put in gnome 3 by a lot of great people so even if you don't like the result I think this needs respect.
    I can understand that Shell may not be for anyone, but the fallback experience is pretty much a gtk3 gnome 2 and with gnome-tweak-tool you can enable all the missing features (desktop icons for example). Why all this hate?

  17. @Lapo: have a read at this, according to Matthias "are not about moving the fallback mode closer to 2.x, but about moving the fallback mode closer to 3" and this pretty much matches my experience with trying GNOME 3 in F15 Alpha.

    Any attempt of talking about it on placed like the fedora desktop list or any other fedora list were shut down with arrogance, on the verge of "my way or the highway" and this happened for all the g3 development cycle. As for IRC, I am not in the same time zone with the US-based GNOME developers and the channel is not hosted on freenode anyway, where the other channels are.

    Honestly, I don't care about the amount of effort put on the development as long as it is headed, in my opinion, the wrong way. I am sure a lot of engineering effort was also put in developing the latest versions of Windows, OS X or Unity, but I don't care about that either, since I have no intention of using them... hell, a lot of effort was put also on developing rootkits, viruses or spamming software, should I have respect for that?

    Of course I have strong feelings for it when I see my favorite desktop (which I use primarily for over 8 years) is turning into something I am unable to use without excruciating pains. Seriously, you make me considering even a return to Windows as my primary desktop, something I really do NOT want.

  18. Morning, Nicu.

    I'd say go ahead and do the talk. Focus on the good things, to be sure, and yet do not be afraid to mention both the recent push-back from the community, and the reasons for it. For quoting material, you are more than welcome to freely quote my postings in the forums so long as you don't pull them out of context.

    You've given a lot to the community over the years, and I'm quite sad to see how close that is to becoming a thing of past tense. The attitude surrounding Gnome 3/Gnome shell certainly isn't optimal, and honestly, the way the art team was treated early on was reprehensible at best, but these things can and will pass ... as well they should.

    Cheer up, Nicu. You're not a lone voice in the darkness. There's a lot of us out here that see both the magic ... and the warts. I guess the hard job is to encourage the former, and try to minimize the later.


  19. I thought GNOME 3 fallback mode was KDE4?

  20. @nicu

    As I stated before I'm sad about the way you feel about it, but as you said, the direction is wrong, in your opinion.
    If your opinion would have been expressed in the right places (gnome community comunication channels) there would have been a possibility for you to change what you don't like.
    If I can't hear your voice do you think you can get mad at me for not listening to you?
    I don't think the parallel between the work of hundreds of people in what they believe and virusses or rootkits is very nice even.

  21. @Lapo: i am not mad at you particularly (don't know you enough), but i have really big issues with people like John McCann.

    Are you sure there are not people at Microsoft or Apple who believe in what they do? Or people working on FOSS only for their paycheck? Surely there are both of those categories.

    For myself I voiced my opinion on the new GNOME design on this blog and the mailing lists where i am subscribed for over a year... at some point even made a screencast when requested by someone involved with the design to show my workflow and the way it is affected.

    But also heard any complaints about the design being called "stop energy" and dismissed without consideration, so why bother?

  22. You should voice your opinions upstream directly, I just happen to read your blog while looking for feedback for gnome 3.
    Anyway I can't see anything usefull here, but rage.
    What you heard is just not true, constructive criticism is always taken into account.
    I don't care about paychecks I'd like to see more companies investing on gnome (and linux/oss in general), I don't know what happen with you and Jon (which I personally respect and admire as a designer and as a person for the amount of work he did for the release, which is huge, really), but all your rants against gnome 3 don't help anyone. Which point do you want to demostrate? Do you think insulting a whole development community may work in any way?
    I don't think so.
    For all the passion you put into this I think you care a lot about gnome and fedora and I feel it's a pity that you use all this energy to rant istead of making gnome 3 better.

  23. And for over a year I saw constructive criticism ignored, decisions made unilaterally and shows of arrogance. Now the only chance I see for GNOME is a massive fail, followed my a major redesign, for a totally different GNOME 4, with GNOME 3 forgotten like everyone forgot Microsoft Bob.

  24. @Lapo: how about a #@%@#% focus follows mouse setting and normal shutdown menu that includes: shutdown, restart, suspend and hibernate just like in GNOME2? I haven't seen at least one(!!!) developer/artist/UI or UX (the new hipster term) expert asking users for their opinion on something major. I've seen only crap that sounded like I (or we) know better than you. And let's be honest, this makes GNOME3 a desktop environment designed for "idiots". Power users have needs too, you know and their needs have been constantly ignored.

    Sure, people are free to build whatever they want and I appreciate their effort, but this doesn't mean that I also need to like their product. And GNOME3 sucks for me and others as well.

  25. @Cristian: because their (totally wrong in my opinion) design premise is to target mobile devices, not desktops. this is why it is flawed from the roots and can't be saved, bar another total redesign.

  26. "All in all, this is probably a great desktop for a Tablet or a mobile phone, but it makes a mockery of my hi resolution, multi monitor set up." - tracyanne commented here

    Gnome 3 is like the camera on a phone: more and more megapixels, bigger and bigger resolutions, but still crap compared to the real thing.