24 January 2011

Fedora: from bleeding edge to bleeding contributors

At the end of this week will take place the biggest event of the year for Fedora, the North American FUDCon, a place for great expectations with events, talks, discussions and such, is the place from where you expect a "strategy" to come but where in reality we'll see a lot of bating around the bush with the main issue: we are going the wrong way and we are losing contributors - some reduce their work drastically, some step back quietly, some say goodbye with a tear in their eye, some wave their hands from the Debian side, some go away in flames, some are shown the door - all they have some thing in common: they don't contribute any more.

As many other problems, this is a design problem, and I am not talking here about graphic design or interaction design, I talk about a higher level design, one that is perhaps the Board's competence: is the definition of the Fedora purpose and is implemented with policies, peer pressure, the power of example and so on. The problem is: Fedora used to be a distro aimed at advanced users, the ones that are likely, and we want, to contribute back and now is changing into a distro aimed at the Girl Scouts of America. A huge identity crisis, we are tying to become the second Ubuntu and this is not good.

hackers vs. girl scouts

I used to be in Fedora's target audience, now:
  • as an User I don't have the apps (or the app versions) I need for my day to day work, being pushed towards 3-rd party repos and I get bad defaults - this is a big problem, the purpose of a distro is to offer a collection of packages and default options. Also, the way forward is departing from my needs: I use my computer to do stuff, not to watch stuff, if I needed a phone UI, I have used a phone, not a PC.
  • as a Contributor the itch to scratch is vanishing - I do not care about the Girl Scouts, so there is no incentive for me to contribute to a distro targeted at them, I want to contribute to a distro that makes my life better, is targeted at me and solves my problems.
  • as an Ambassador I am embarrassed: Fedora 14 was the lowest so far from this point of view, if I talked about the new features bragging for the single end-user talking point "JPEG pictures are loading faster", I would have been laughed out of the room. So I gathered people for beers, with no talks about features.
That much for "freedom, friends, features, first"...

Do not get me wrong, I am not arguing for making Fedora hard to use or to make it hostile for Girl Scouts (heck! in the local community I am usually considered the public figure for our equivalent of Girl Scouts, so the complaints above coming from me should mean something), I argue for returning Fedora to the target it used to have maybe a couple of years ago, when it was a much better place to contribute. So, please, give our distro back!
give our distro back

I am sure many would like to frame this as a "Red Hat versus Community" problem, which is not the case: Red Had is big enough of a company to not have a consistent policy towards Fedora, leaving enough place to maneuver for interest groups (up to middle management) to play their politics and power games, with people naturally siding with the next-cubicle guy because they have to live together, with people who value their job security and like their workplace and there are also people who do not like the situation but fear to talk in public (and not only a few of them) as there are people who talk in public but not very loud. So loud can be someone like me, who has nothing to lose - I believe we are not yet as low as our green friends who kick out from the community voices out of the "party line".


  1. As a brand new Fedora user (ex Ubuntu) I'd just like to ask: do I count as a girl scout ? :))

  2. Uh, no, you look like a possible contributor... we literally are trying to cater to actual Girl Scouts of America, using them as targets for, for example, the website design.

  3. I don't really get the point. Sure, the new features of fc14 weren't overwhelming in any way. But can you tell a concrete fact which describes the problem you have?

  4. contributors leaving, features not happening, flames instead of doing actual work, projects stuck in bureaucracy.

  5. Nicu, look at the gender of the hackers in your picture.

    'The way things were' wasn't exactly perfect either. Maybe if you were a male geek it was, but maybe not since it's pretty lonely without women I think.

  6. It wasn't perfect but it was certainly better than the way we go now. I don't care about the gender but about the quality of the code, I am not in the FOSS to hook-up with women and I think it would be wrong to lower the community to "include women" instead to grow them to be members of the community by their merits.

  7. Thanks Nicu. You expressed well a few points to which I for one really agree.

  8. This looks to me to be a growing trend afflicting an ever larger number of FLOSS/GNU/Linux communities.
    First there was Ubuntu who said: Screw those community members who complain about infection with Mono, about the community-brand hijacking that was UbuntuOne, and about unfair copyright assignment to Canonical.
    We all thought the problem was isolated to Ubuntu/Canonical and left the community in disgust.
    Now it's the Gnome Foundation saying: "Here's the awesome Gnome Shell, it rocks, man!! What's that? You want to keep your Gnome2, you'll have to fork it, sorry. Oh and by the way, Tomboy ships by default, you'll have to uninstall it manually."
    Fedora politicking is only the latest in this trend, I expect more of this to affect other communities as well.

  9. While I think you exaggerate a bit, I also think Fedora is turning the bad way, just as gnome does at the same time :(. But I have to disagree with F14, yes there weren't many features that would excite girl scouts, but I consider it one of the best Fedoras (alongside with F12). And taking into account F13 which had many exciting features but which I had to skip because it was broken for me in too many ways, I really prefer if we are not first just for the sake of being first...

  10. I am talking at an official level: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Fedora_14_Talking_Points

    With F13 I was effectively laughed out of the room, as we were in the scandal about simple users having the right to install packages.

  11. Well, nicu, you have to make your mind ;-) Either you like geeky features like systemd, memory debugging tools, or Python 2.7 or girl scouts features like webcam working out of box, one-click application install or jiggly windows ;-)

    Either way, if it were just me I would be very much happy if entire list of say F16 features was filled with things like improved boot time, less memory consumption of desktop apps, better responsiveness, fix 100+ long standing bugs in prominent desktop applications, instead of things like new this and new that.

  12. systemd was NOT a feature, we didn't have it working, it was just a preview, python 2.7 is just a transitional step and EC2 is server stuff for an OS we recommend against using on servers.

  13. You have point here, especially with the server stuff :-) I wonder how systemd got into F14 talking points when it was postponed for F15...

  14. Systemd was first intended for F14, it was decided is not ready, backed-out, but since the features list was so short and the feature had some work on it done... it was listed as a preview.

  15. Mairin, I work on Fedora last 5 years and I don't see growing number of women between contributors. But I see contributors leaving because they weren't happy with current way.

  16. Nicu, what should have been on the feature list for Fedora 14? For starters, which programs are you now forced to get from 3rd-party repos?

    Also, wag of the finger for the boys-are-hackers/girls-are-girl-scouts opposition in your photos.

  17. Fedora should have a better defined target!

    Ubuntu aims for an easy-to-use Linux desktop distribution. This goes for the beginner Linux users. Advanced users can use it too but they customize the system for their needs.

    What does Fedora aim for??
    I have browsed the entire Fedora Project website for some information... There's nothing!

  18. My two cents in this discussion.
    I'm a Fedora user for several years (started with Fedora core 3), and I think the more usable the distro becomes, the best it is for its adoption.
    I fail to see in which way this is linked to the loss in contributor, but I think there must be a way to combine a better usability with the greed for new features.

  19. Contributors will come and go. It is a natural flow. There is absolutely no way to keep everyone happy all the time. Focus will change as stimuli change.

    I think there is nothing wrong with targeting the Girl Scouts. If you think trying to draw in female contributors and developers is not a worthwhile and beneficial goal, then you are willing to give up the potential of half of the planet. Targeting females might not have immediate, measurable results... and may be more long term in nature... but it is definitely reasonable and positive.

    One thing Fedora did a while back was put some effort into expanding international participation. That was definitely a success. I wonder how many thought that was a bad idea at the time and could have offered up a picture of mostly white North American hackers in contrast to some non-hacker looking group from some random country half-way around the globe?

    I must admit, I'm not that familiar with your particular complaint and am just reacting to it without much background... so if I'm off base, forgive me.

    I can say that there was a lot new stuff in Fedora 14. Much of it came from upstream... which is just fine.

    Fedora 15 has the major change of GNOME 3. Regardless of how good GNOME 3 is, just the amount of difference it offers is going to be a major disrupter. I'm not a GNOME user myself... except for the time period between the initial release of KDE 4.0 and 4.1.0. :) And then Fedora 15 will also have systemd... and hopefully SPICE support in virt-manager / virt-viewer. Red Hat and Fedora contribute so much that when there is a tiny lull in bullet points for desktop users in the release notes, some people freak out with withdrawal. The next release is not going to be lacking for Fedora contributed change.

  20. @Anonymous: the target used to be "people that are likely to contribute back"

    @Stéphane: contributors leave saying they are unhappy with the state and direction of Fedora

    @Scott: Contributors go, but not as many are coming. Is OK for a distribution to target the newbies (represented metaphorically by Girl Scouts), but there is already a distro doing that: Ubuntu. We change the distro, it becomes less interesting to work on it any more so the number of contributors is dropping.

    The numbers of contributors from Europe is very important, but many times they are ignored and the policy is made with North American goals and thinking at the NA audience.

    Yes, F15 will have GNOME 3 with GNOME Shell... is most likely to become a disaster.

  21. @mmaslano

    ORLY? Have you seen the female registrations for FUDcon Tempe??? Highest female attendance ever. I am actually able to have a roommmate for once!

  22. The point is that there is a lot of new stuff coming in Fedora 15 so it isn't any less of a developer / innovator distro than in the past. So THERE. :P~~~~

    Fedora has NOT stopped being the innovator distribution just because it also wants to make it easier to use for new users.

    With all of the change coming in the next release or two of Ubuntu, expect some amount of migration of their contributors to Fedora. :)

    But seriously... if there are those who aren't happy with the direction(s) Fedora is moving in... feel free to start a remix distro and take it in your own directions. No, no... really.

  23. IMO, while F14 lacked big features it was the most reliable release of Fedora yet on my hardware. Suspend/resume, dual monitor, 3d accel and bluetooth all "just worked" gloriously for the first time ever. So that should mean something even though it's not as sexy as saying we now have feature X.

  24. nicu,
    I'm pretty sure I've seen contributors leave in a huff from fc1 onward. I've seen the same thing happen with brick and mortar volunteer based communities from churches to sporting event orgs to senior citizen support programs...to girl scout troupes.

    Without commenting on your specific criticisms of were the project is right now, I don't think just pointing to an outflow of contributors is a warning sign of overall lack of competence. That line of argument simply not convincing to me. I've seen too many other orgs go through cycles of retrenchment and renewal to believe the problem is at the scale you suggest.

    Ply me with enough beers and you might even get me to agree with you that the new direction marginalizes my personal interests and decreases my own non-altruist motivations for contributing. But I'll also tell you I'm okay with my interests being marginalized as long as there are newer people coming in and doing the work necessary to push in the direction less aligned with my own personal interests. Can you demonstrate that as older contributors leave that the project is not back-filling with new contributors?


  25. I thought the 'not girl scouts' thing meant that the point was, doing stuff you want to do, not washing windows for little old ladies. It's not about gender per se.

    I'm female and not an advanced user let alone hacker, but I get the point - you can't be all things to all people and the stuff that suits new users can often be antagonistic to the needs of the more advanced user.

  26. Ahem... with all this whining, maybe no one noticed that those 'low' 'green' folks are busy hacking away this week. Happy openSUSE HackWeek VI!


  27. @Helen: you got it right. we look like trying to change our niche.

    @Jef: pretty much all contributors i know from the real life are unhappy with the state and direction of Fedora. Is a threshold, you are ok with your own interests being marginalized until a point, then it becomes too painful.

    @Scott: developers are complaining about new policies making their lives harder. Remixes are not the answer as long as they are treated as second-class citizens.

  28. @nicu "we look like trying to change our niche."

    I've another point of view... Being a "niche" forever is not healthy for the project in the long term.
    The challenge of a modern distro like Fedora is to keep expanding, while maintaining the distro's objectives :
    - innovation.
    - sustaining upstream projects.

  29. @Stéphane and Nicu: Well, at the time I joined Fedora it was more like a distro run by linux enthusiasts for linux enthusiasts, now we seem to shift to conquer-the-world goal. I have to admit I liked the olden times more, the atmosphere was more friendly, things weren't being twisted in favour of girl scouts, upgrades actually consisted of adding, not removing features, etc.

    Now I feel like I'll lose most of the good with Gnome Shell. I mean Gnome 2.x was a perfect desktop for me, I liked the progressive style of updates and ever since KDE4 I have feared that the same thing will happen to Gnome. And now I see something even worse happening and I don't have a good enough alternative :-(

    I mean, I didn't joined linux (both as a user and a contributor) because I wanted an OS that would treat me as computer analphabet, I could have stayed with the other major OS if I wanted that.

    So in the end, I don't like us comparing to Ubuntu, I wish we were compared with more traditional, community driven distros like Debian. I don't want Fedora to become another Windo?s.

  30. @Martin
    "Now I feel like I'll lose most of the good with Gnome Shell. I mean Gnome 2.x was a perfect desktop for me, I liked the progressive style of updates and ever since KDE4 I have feared that the same thing will happen to Gnome. And now I see something even worse happening and I don't have a good enough alternative :-("

    This is an issue with the upstream project Gnome, not with Fedora. The Gnome 2.x style UI will remain as a fallback AFAIK. Moreover, we will always have the possibility to improve the Gnome Shell with plugins in order to bend it to our needs.
    As a user I don't know if it will be able to replace my actual Gnome2+Compiz setup, but I'm pretty confident about the underlying technology. I believe the technology itself is more important than the way it's used with the Gnome Shell (which, I'm pretty sure, will be improved by users with the time).

  31. Is an issue with Fedora when it will become the default and the recommendation if Fedora. The old style will be still there but buggy, incomplete and unmaintained.

    And let's not hide behind our fingers... GNOME Shell may be developed as an upstream project but its design come mostly from people paid by Red Hat, in the same team with those making (with major transparency problems) the Fedora desktop policy.

  32. I think you're being hyperbolic. Not necessarily intentionally but nevertheless. Forgetting bullet points (since another has already nicely addressed that) F14 was a nice incremental release which included a good amount of groundwork for G3. Keep in mind that Fedora always attempted keep in sync with upstream
    (especially with gnome tech) but to do this you have to cede some freedom to the upstream. G3 will default to GS of your drivers are capable but if not you get the standard panel with some gnome 3 tech behind it. Most likely you'll see the panel environment kept for many years if for no other reason than the support contracts Red Hat and Suse have with their customers (this includes bug fixes).
    As for GS itself it simply isn't ready. Performance hasn't improved with my nvidia blob for about a year(srsly I'm using an 8series card with the blob and my Intel Netbook runs GS more smoothly so it clearly is something with GS and the blob but that needs to be addressed). Also creating the GS infrastructure has taken so long, understandably, that actual polish and features built on top of the foundation aren't ready. Ive read the design docs and agree with much of it but the implementation is not quite right, not to mention that the extensions interface isn't finalized even conceptually(come on, document the hooks into the shell so we can override what we want - currently its a mess and the development still don't know how, or what, to expose). Despite this G3 is worth pursuing since the current desktop just isn't as efficient as it could be. They correctly took some cues from appliance like devices and are trying to splice together some hybrid. If you read the docs stand back and squint you can see the silhouette. If you really don't like the way the shell works get on Robert mailing list/irc and ask them to fix the extension interface. Once that happens the community can fairly easily create a gnome panel work alike (minus some Applet functionality). Then you would have a fully accelerated desktop that works similarly to the current one.
    Btw I agree that trying to ubuntuize Fed is dumb but that doesn't really seem to be the case. The problems you've mentioned are almost completely Gnome specific and I already mentioned how the relationship between the 2 works. You've been fairly vague about exactly what has changed in fedora and I'd be interested to hear what you have to say.
    Apologies if there are some typos/grammar ishs since I'm trying to type.this on q smartphone:)

  33. omg. And things are getting just worse... just look at this «proposal» (AFAICT, not discussed yet on Fedora Devel, just anaconda devel@redhat).

    "the Fedora project use the full anaconda installer environment as default Fedora install method."

    Reasons? "some serious concerns about the stability and overall user experience in promoting live media as the primary installation method of Fedora"

    What "serious concerns"?

    "Live environment is confusing to novice users who don't understand what's going on"

    IMHO, if a user can't understand what's going on, it's hardly to believe they could do something with *any* OS.

    Another piece of cake:

    "Having to download both the ISO and a client to put the image on a USB stick is a lot to download and hard to figure out for novice users"

    ORLY? A DVD-ISO bigger than 4GB is better than a ~15 MB app + ~680MB ISO? In which world?

    "Dangerous option for long-term use because persistence is still not reliable..."

    For which twisted mind the live USB should be recommended for "reliable persistence"?

    And for sure, it end "marketing" like this:

    "It would bring several compelling advantages:

    Anaconda-installed Bootable USB media are going to be more reliable and pose less risk to user data and thus less risk to the impact of outreach efforts such as the Girl Scouts program we recently engaged in."

    I have no words to say except this is what you get from ponies rided by monos.

    Quotes from here: http://goo.gl/zmy3f

  34. @Anonymous: GNOME Shell working as an appliance is a big part of the problem, I gave it two chances so far and every time it failed on me due to a high decrease in productivity. Going with the Shell, we stop addressing the people who use their PC to create useful stuff and go towards people who use their PC to consume stuff. And it can't be fixed since its very own concept is wrong.

  35. Can I post a comment? Thank you.

    I started the adventure with FC4, running away from buggy Windows. Oh, boy, it was a nightmare (switching to Fedora Core 4). Whatever setting I needed, I must have done it from CLI. Then, I learned to love the CLI. Then I learned that everything IS in CLI. Few settings happen to make through the GUI. These were the days of sweat and joy. However, I learned what PC is and how to use it (but really, not in Microsoft way).
    Today, I still like the CLI. A lot of things can be made through GUI, but I prefer the clicking sound of keys instead the clonking sound of the mouse. I don't see the GUI as dominant way of doing things. I see it as alternative. But, what really bothers me is a bulk of default GUI interfaces. I don't see the straight line how to install some applications without GUI. And if I do so with new apps, I find myself in exactly the same dilemma as a new user - oh my god, how will I find the right peace of text which will make me see through the fog.

    What I suggest here is: CLI is just fine, GUI too. Yet, I want to choose between them for each application. If I choose the GUI, well everything is in front of my eyes, just press F1 and I will find all the help I need (or maybe not!). If I choose CLI, I want to read it, I want to take excerpt and store it some place where I can easily find it later. And that's exactly what I need - an application (GUI or CLI) which can extract pieces of man files, store it in meaningful way so I can add notes, comments and examples - my own experience of the particular application CLI.

    I don't see anything wrong in Girl Scouts joining Fedora. I was a "Girl Scout" when I was switching from Windows. Now I am not. What Fedora miss is a strategy hot to convert Girl Scouts into educated PC users, offering them a way to evolve from typical F1-addict into an open-minded PC user. That way, everybody will have some benefit - the users, the community and the Fedora project itself.

  36. @Predrag: the problem is, instead of trying to convert (and grow) them, what we do is to lower ourselves and give up on trying to teach.

  37. @tzkmx Hey, you might want to actually read my proposal and discussion around it before copy/pasting portions and adding your peanut gallery outrage. Seriously. Who are you helping by raging into space?

  38. @Nicu
    GS is taking SOME hints from appliances but its still well suited to creation but it still has some serious problems (such as no way to easily see all running apps) but I think these will be addressed after the release.
    Also you haven't explained your particular contentions with fedora vs. Gnome.

  39. if there are such big problems, then it should not be included now in Fedora and by any means made the default. Have it as the default when is ready. (note: I am a rabid GNOME 2.x user and refuse so far to do to an alternative like Xfce or KDE).

  40. I was also a rabid gnome 2.x user. I'm now going on a few months with xfce. It's wonderful, especially if you like minimal compositing. I follow the gnome debates since it's still an important piece of software and I think gnome shell and this "girl scout" focus could turn out to be a devastating mistake.

  41. In its current state, setting Gnome Shell as a default for any distro would be a huge mistake.

    I explained this in the past to people: I find it absolutely incredible that an environment has to change your entire desktop when you just try to do some basic things like searching/starting an application. A window should never change its size or position, unless the user specifies it (just think of TV/streams in a corner of the monitor, voice and video chats, guides that need to be read step by step, tail-ing a log file or some system resources etc).

    Once you get into that activities menu, you lose your desktop: you windows, YOUR TEXT, your focus...

    Gnome needs a mentained, classic alternative to the shell. Until then, 3.0 shouldn't be set as default.

  42. @Nicu
    So you want fedora to NOT use upstream by default? That is one of its hallmarks along with cutting edge tech. Moving away from that would really change.the character of fedora in a nonimagined way.
    If you are a power user, as you say you are, then you can easily change the default to the panel. If you aren't then GS should be good for you.
    I actually agree that GS isn't ready yet but it seems that they are going through with it and as a user of Gnome, and GS, I'd like to help them to make the best environment possible.
    Once again it seems like your main problem is with gnome not fedora.

  43. It almost seems like the Ubuntu vs Fedora battling is causing Fedora to become more LIKE Ubuntu. Is it trying to beat Ubuntu at it's own game?

    Each have been and are leaders in their respective categories.

    Ubuntu focuses on the end-user, or as Apple focuses it, the "experience". If the "experience" lacks, then the distro on a whole suffers. To this end, they have a strong single leader who is able to make the tough decisions, and to set the direction and focus like most community distributions cannot.

    Fedora has been a more old-school hacker develop/tweak/push-the-envelop distro that has put out awesome advances. The technology Fedora pushes to boundaries with eventually trickle down to other distributions to benefit from. It has helped the upstream projects being a platform to try, test and receive feedback from.

    It is sad to see this "ying-yang" relationship get tipped one way or the other. Especially now when openSUSE is trying to get their footing and will likely not be able to provide a counter-balance force for a little while longer.

    What may be "good" for the distro is not necessarily good for the larger community. I've always viewed Red Hat and Fedora following the "high road" towards open source, but if the focus is more on the fickle consumer audience then that's sad.

  44. The Shell problem is a very design one, not implementation or performance, it can't be patched, is like someone designing a squared wheel... you can't fix it, have to scratch and do a round one again.

  45. I agree with you. Thank you for vocalizing this opinion!

  46. The sky is falling! The sky is falling!!!

    But, seriously. I can't believe you waste so much energy decrying something that hasn't even really seen the light of day, yet (GNOME Shell). Do you know how much work it is to create new software? Do you remember how long it took GNOME 2.0 to mature into what it is today? The way to make good software isn't to add every conceivable feature before you've stabilized the core system. It just doesn't work that way.

    And you claim that the power users are being left out while at the same time whining about having to get something (as yet, unnamed) from a 3rd party repository. (Or imagine, gasp, from source!) And people whine about features being removed? What??? Is Fedora stripping out functionality from Bash!?? Are they killing XFCE? KDE?

  47. Yes, I remember GNOME 2.0, I was using it, there were pains from the removed features but it had a good direction. GNOME Shell has seen the light of the day since a year ago, when it was included as a technology preview in Fedora, that's the spirit of FOSS "release early, release often" and get early feedback to improve the software in due time, only the people from RHDT who practically drive GNOME 3 do not listen to any feedback.

    I am using Firefox 4 from remy and Xfce 4.8 from cwickert, somme other apps direcly from Koji and so on, at times is a mess.

  48. If you're using Xfce, why do you care what GNOME 3 does? As a "power user," is it a problem for you to use different repositories? Do you not see the irony??

    When GNOME 2.0 came out, it was much less of a change in the UI, but people were still doing the same thing you're doing. They were making a big fuss about how GNOME is becoming toy for noobs and how the developers didn't respect their core user base, because they were rejecting their feedback and removing feature x and configuration option y. Sorry, you're not original.

    So, who is Red Hat's customer base? Girl scouts? I don't think so. What incentive would they have to push GNOME in the direction you are claiming they are?

    This all seems like one big straw man attack...

    And, I'm not saying that it won't be a bumpy ride in F15 with GNOME 3, systemd, etc. But, that is normal with big changes, and come on, you're a power user, right?

  49. I test Xfce to see what's the future path then GNOME will become unusable for me... in F15 I will have to chose, either GNOME switched back to the panel or Xfce. No, I see no irony.

    I don't care about being original, I want to use my computer at its full power and want to be able to do my work with it.

    And I don't think is Red Hat pushing GNOME is some direction, is just a few idiots (yes, from multiple interactions with them I am sure they are so and I am not afraid of saying so) who came to control the Desktop development.

    Don't mind some bumps, I usually move my main desktop to the next Fedora release around Beta, so I am used with bugs and such, but cannot cope with a flawed design.

  50. This is the "a lot of KDE 3 users really hate KDE 4" being applied to GNOME. I've been a KDE user since 0.x and remember happily compiling KDE 1.0 from source.

    The GNOME developers have decided to go a direction you aren't happy with... and you certainly aren't the only one. Fedora dropped KDE 3.x when 4.0.0 came out... and a significant portion of Fedora KDE users weren't happy. The main problem there though, at least for me was that KDE 4.0.0 was too darn buggy and bordering on unusable for every day work. As a result I switched to GNOME. I wasn't really happy with GNOME but at least it worked. :) Then I watched each release of KDE 4.0.x come out and I tried them. I could tell they were making progress. Then 4.1.0 came out and I found that to be good enough to switch back. Ever since then the KDE developers have been making rapid progress with each release getting better. Now we are at 4.5.5 and 4.6.0 will be in Fedora 15. How many releases? I'm not sure... but I think they came out with 5 or 6 third number releases for each second number release... ie 4.5.0, 4.5.1, 4.5.2, 4.5.3, 4.5.4, and now 4.5.5. One thing I love about Fedora is that they have followed KDE's development and upgraded it several times each Fedora release lifecycle.

    So, GNOME 3 is a huge change from GNOME 2. Let's consider how much of a change it is... in contrast to KDE. KDE 4 was different than KDE 3 but it still had many of the same elements... so I'll give it an arbitrary grade of a 5 on the 1-10 change scale. GNOME 2 to GNOME 3 (aka GNOME Shell) is probably a 9.something. While there are still some things that are the same, the number of things that are different is great.

    To me, as a result of the vast change... GNOME 3 / GNOME Shell, no matter how good and stable it is (unlike KDE 4.0.0)... has a big chasm of disruption that I think a significant number of users will have trouble crossing over. There are going to be a lot of unhappy people. I'm sure there will also be a lot of happy people as well. Those are the folks who have probably already tried GNOME Shell some in its pre-release state and liked it... those who are better at accepting disruption. And of course completely new users might prefer GNOME 3 over GNOME 2 if they don't have any previous experience with either... or vice versa.

    Should Fedora face the challenge and ship GNOME 3? I think so. Fedora is the distro where it is more important to make change happen than it is to keep everyone happy. That's just the way it is and Red Hat Linux was that way before Fedora was even born. After all Fedora dropped KDE 3.x and shipped KDE 4.0.0 as default one release (Fedora 9?) and the world didn't end for Fedora KDE users. Many of us probably switched away until updated releases made us feel comfortable enough to switch back... but switch back I did. I'm sure there are still those who were KDE 3.x users who have refused to go to KDE 4.x even after it became pleasurable to use... but that is to be expected.

    There isn't much you can do about GNOME 3. The developers get to decide. If a significant chunk of the GNOME community abandons them because they can't take the vast change... then either they'll have to swing it back some to make those folks happy... or they'll have to just continue on and hope for a new crop of users. We'll just have to see what happens. But it is their decision to make... and we won't really know how it pans out until AFTER. :)

    Keep your chin up.

    Of course I do want to point out that this is in stark contrast to your belief that Fedora is wanting to pander to newbies and be another Ubuntu... unless of course that is what you think GNOME 3 is?!? I've played with the Gnome Shell pre-releases some and it seems more aimed at advanced users to me.

  51. I'd been a contributor since the early days of Red Hat, but this was the final straw for me:


    Comments from the two most pertinent developers concerned made me realise it was over for Fedora:

    "I don't particularly care how UNIX has always worked." ~ Richard Hughes, PackageKit author.

    "There's nothing to discuss here. Your problem is that pretending asking for root authentication for *local* users in *active* sessions... when installing *trusted* software adds security is... well.. only a sign of dogma, snakeoil and ignorance when it comes to providing a secure system." ~ David Zeuthen, PolicyKit author.

    Zeuthen forgot to mention that Fedora's servers had been hacked ... twice, so this "trusted software" might not always be as "trusted" as people think.

    And what was the cause of this obsession with elevated privileges, that made these two developers defend their decisions so belligerently? Root passwords. Yes, that's right: typing a root password is Difficult®, Bad®, likely to scare people to death, and makes small, furry animals spontaneously explode. They have photos.

    So for the sake of the ex-Windows whiners who have the combined mental acuity of a lemon, passwords are denounced as Evil®, and shall be purged. That pesky "security" thing is just a PITA. Who needs that? Not ex-Windows users, that's for sure.

    When high profile distro staff display such contempt for security and traditional values, you know it's time to switch off the lights and leave.

    Fedora isn't a distro for hackers. It's not a distro for Girl Scouts either. It's not a distro for anyone. In fact it's not a GNU/Linux distro at all, it's the bastard son of Windows.

    Then they wonder why they're haemorrhaging contributors!

    Seriously, distros like Fedora and Ubuntu really make me wonder why anyone would switch to them from Windows, only to end up with the same shit security (Fedora) or the same shit obsession with proprietary software (Ubuntu), or in both cases the same "dumbed-down" shit designed for mental retards.

    I mean really, what's the point? Anyone obsessed with that fluff should just stick to Windows and quit whining. Don't drag your dumbed-down and insecure paradigms from Windows and infect GNU/Linux with them. No really, don't do that - just stay away, and I'll rejoice at GNU/Linux's supposed 1% market share for the rest of my very happy life, safe in the knowledge that it hasn't been perverted into the bastard son of Windows by a bunch of ex-Windows whiners.

    I ditched Windows to get AWAY from that bullshit, and now ... what? It's followed me over to GNU/Linux, in the name of "popularity" and "ease of use" and "simplicity".

    How "popular" will Ubuntu or Fedora be the day they make it so "easy" that it becomes riddled with viruses, or becomes so closed that it's impossible to maintain, bloated as hell, and plagued by mysterious and unsolvable bugs (a la Windows)?

    Well, look on the bright side, at least that'll make all the crayon-chewing ex-Windows droolers feel right at home.

    For those who still remember all the reasons they DON'T use Windows, do yourself a favour, and switch to a REAL GNU/Linux distro, like Debian or Gentoo.

  52. Nicu,

    About the 'green' friends, I have no doubts it was a crucification.

    Time will show them that the person who triggered that situation and his group of lackeys should actually be the ones being thrown away... ;)

    Just let them have enough rope, and they will end up hangging themselves!

    Neither Fedora or openSUSE know what 'community linux' is... it's just a frontend to hidden agendas, interest games and eventually ultimate doom...

    "You reap what you sow"... they will eventually learn that the hard way ;)


  53. wow Nelson, you don't paint a nice picture about SUSE at all... i knew a few people involved with it and i am sure there are good parts too

  54. So the whole rant is because you don't like Gnome Shell 3? You realize that "hackers" aren't likely using Gnome in the first place.

    And by the way, try not to contradict yourself in your own post?

    As many other problems, this is a design problem, and I am not talking here about graphic design

    Uh, no, you look like a possible contributor... we literally are trying to cater to actual Girl Scouts of America, using them as targets for, for example, the website design.


  55. @Khaytsus: i fail to see your point, maybe you want to re-formulate the comment above so it contains some arguments.