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[fab] looking at our surrent state a bit



Hi All!

Well, FC 6 is out, and I thought it might be a good time to just sit
back a moment and watch at our product in contrast with other
distributions and our structure in general.

This mail might be a small (big?) rant here and there, but I hope that's
okay now and then ;-). It also missed a "Problem foo can be solved by
doing bar" -- but I can write such a document if there is interest in it.

= Well, some good things first =

 * seems people quite like FC6
 * we had no major bugs in it
 * FE6 seems to be okay as well (Extras didn't manage to push a proper
comps.xml in time -- shame on us)

= Some things that are not that well afaics =

Well, this section is a bit longer :-/ Sorry.

== Fedora Project Board ==

 * it's not that much present -- we know it exists, but that's often all.
 * seems to meet quite seldom and it's hard to see what it does or if
there even is progress somewhere
 * some Extras contributors mentioned to me that the hierarchy in the
whole project is not documented properly (does FESCo get orders from the
board? Where is the Packaging Committee located in the whole picture?
Stuff like that...).
 * why doesn't the board at least now and then meet on irc so other
interested parties can watch or comment?
 * the rpm problem is still not solved and makes a lot of people upset.

== Fedora Core ==

 I more and more get the impression that lots of Red Hat developers work
directly in a lot of upstream projects (kernel, gnome, ...) and improve
it in great ways. That a good thing as the whole
Open-Source-Software-Stack gets better that way and everyone (including
other distributions) can just use those improvements. That's a good
thing and the main reason why I'm working in Fedora-Land and not for
Ubuntu (they seem to be quite bad when it comes to be sending patches
back upstream) or OpenSuse (remember the Xgl and Compiz stuff that was
developed behind closed doors for quite some time; not to mention the
recent Novell - MS happenings).

 But on the other hand it seems to me that the progress in our
distribution specific stack (anaconda, config tools, initscripts) is
quite slow. And not only that, also the infrastructure of Fedora for the
community (new VCS, let community help in Core, ...) seems to go forward
quite slowly (e.g. nearly nothing).  Yes, there is some process and some
quite nice new features here and there, but OpenSuse and especially
Ubuntu seem to be a lot better in that area and (more important) get
much more attention in the news and within the Linux community for their
improvements.

 The Live-CD is a good example for the problems -- how long are we
working on it now without a real result? Much to long!  Boot-time
improvements are another area where Ubuntu and Opensuse got a lot better
in past. And we? Readahead improvements like
https://bugzilla.redhat.com/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=156442 linger
around without much process for ages.  73 of 850 files in readahed.early
and 441 of  3757 files in readahead.later don't even exist on FC7.
Readahead.later should run as last app in the init process, but doesn't
as there are several other initscripts that run at level 99 (some of
them are started after readahead later). There was much talk about a new
init system but nothing real came out of it (and Ubuntu got all the
credits for their upstart in between). Starting some jobs in parallel/or
while the log-in screen is shown was in the discussion and even in
testing once, but seems to have vanished again (Opensuse does something
like that these days iirc). And RHGB still starts once, ends, and a new
X is fireed of for the real session :-/. Takes some more time again.

 I also like Fedora Core due to the "Open-Source only" and "Upsteam
please" attitude. But most of the normal users only see the
disadvantages (nearly no drivers/features that are not upstream in out
packages, no ACPI-DSTD in initrd [see also
http://hughsient.livejournal.com/5889.html -- that blog entry is a good
general example IMHO], no acrobat, no jre from sun, no proprietary
drivers from ati/nvidia and not even the firmware for ipw2[12]00 ) that
behavior creates -- and at the same time we are AFAICS quite bad when if
comes to communicate the "But we are the good guys and that's the
disadvantage we have to for being the good guys" to out users (that
might give us some bonus points here and there).

 We also don't get a unique "Fedora look and feel" to the world. "Fedora
is about the rapid progress of Free and Open Source software and
content." (quote from http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Objectives ). Well,
that's true in some parts of Fedora (nearly always latest KDE, major
kernel updates, Gnome Updates to 2.x.0 to 2.x.[0-9], lot's of updates in
Extras-Land), but fail in other areas (no gutenprint in FC6 [a lot of
printers are not supported due to that], only Firefox 1.5[Ubuntu 6.10
shipped two days after FC6 and has Firefox 2.0 and gutenprint] and no
sign of a update in Core to FF 2.0, no X.org-Update to 7.1 [even after
the proprietary drivers where able to handle it; owners of G965 hardware
were left out in the cold without Support in Fedora due to this as the
driver for that popular hardware depends on/is shipped in Xorg 7.1],
sometimes users have to wait ages to get the latest Gnome (remember FC4)
because that's not updated and out schedule isn't aligned to the gnome
schedule [in other words: users of Ubuntu get the hard work from a lot
of Red-Hat-Gnome-hackers earlier then Fedora Core users --
arrggghhhhh]). I especially dislike the behavior for
 * Gnome and Firefox as a lot of users are interested to run the latest
version of those packages (sure, that's often stupid, but that's how it is)
 * X.org and gutenprint, as hardware support is crucial -- that sucks
even more as out hardware support in other areas of Fedora is quite good
as kernel and packages like sane get updates to new upstream version
regularly

 We still have no "Fedora Core steering Commitee" (see also
https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-advisory-board/2006-September/msg00079.html
) -- what core does or how decisions are made it completely in the dark
for the Community and that really sucks.

 Why don't we have a public roadmap? That might give community members
at least a chance to get interested in topics and start helping getting
them done.

== Fedora Extras ==

 * Developers from Core talk to Extras contributors more often these
days; still far from prefect, but it's getting better
 * the Fedora Directory Server is still not in Core or Extras afaik
 * we can't do anything we'd like to do; I hope we can get a bit more
support from RH in the future

== MISC ==

 * I got the impression (and LWN readers, too ["hello corbert! "]) that
Fedora Legacy is not able to do it's job properly. Maybe it's time to
just revamp the whole project?

= Closing =

That's all that came to my mind now. I'm sure I missed a lot of stuff.
Maybe I should maintain this document in the wiki and add all the stuff
there in the next month and post it again after FC7 ;)

Anyway, thx everybody for you hard work in Fedora. I like the project.
But I think we could do much better -- thus this mail.

CU
thl


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