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Fedora (Linux) is Destroying it self
- From: Michael Nielsen <mike thetroubleshooters dk>
- To: fedora-devel-list redhat com
- Subject: Fedora (Linux) is Destroying it self
- Date: Mon, 11 May 2009 15:56:00 +0200
I've been told this is the right place to place this debate starter.
Not to demean the fine work that has been done in maintaining fedora,
however the distribution is slowly killing itself, being destroyed by
contradicting philosophies. Many of the problems have been directly
copied from the Windows world.
The main problems are.
1. Removal of features - the user interfaces are being dumbed down, like
recently I've searched for the ability to remove the "Raise on Click"
feature that is default for Gnome MetaCity, there does not appear to be
any such feature anymore / argument being to simplify how it works..
Fine, create a simple view and an advanced view for the configuration
tools, so that people who are clueless about any other way than the
official Redmond way, can avoid being confronted with an alternative.
2. The network interfaces are being bound to the user interface, such
that if your X fails for some reason, or you are running on a text
console, you are unable to open the wireless configuration, at least
it's not obvious how you do it, without X running. The configuration for
the network interfaces are so tightly bound to the user interface, such
that if there is no user interface there are no network interfaces.
3. Mounts are also embedded into the user interface, rather than in the
unix mount system, which means that the shares are not accessible for
non-gui programs, for instance, I like to script most thing I do often,
however, there is no way for scripts to get a hold of a drive that is
mounted through the gui mount system (kde and gnome).
4. Everything is thrown in huge collective directories, such as
/usr/bin, /usr/lib etc, and it is a huge mess, just like windows with
it's system32 directory, which is also a huge mess. really the
/usr/bin,/bin/sbin, /lib etc, has very specific purposes, and should
represent a core operating system, that is capable of being used as
repair, with no major applications present. However even Open office is
stored in these directories.
5. More and more services are bound up in the userinterface, such as the
pulse audio, which is started by the GUI, this means if you use 2 user
environments, which I often do for testing, where I have X:0 and X:1
running, the GUIs will conflict, because you cannot run two instances of
pulseaudio. In addition pulse audio is crap, I have yet to see any
installation actually work without crackling, and chopping like crazy. I
like the concept that is the basis of pulse audio, but it just does not
6. NetworkManager which appears to be installed default, does not work
with shared drives, because, the NetworkManager is shut down before the
network drives are detached, and you need to modify the NetworkManager
to start properly, before you mount the network drives. I've gotten used
to explicit uninstalling the NetworkManager, because it just doesn't
It is a lengthy discussion to describe what i mean.
However, if I take a sample application like firefox, it presents a
reasonable proxy for what I mean.
currently default installation of firefox on my machine installs firefox
in these following places.
All of which are related to the firefox installation. If something goes
wrong, it's a real pain to clean it up, or even to detect what went
wrong. The original concept for unix was to install an application such
as firefox in either, /opt or /usr/local/. Such that the entire
application was contained within a single installation directory, and
then to use the PATH and LD_LIBRARY_PATH to allow the execution of the
The standard approach with /opt or /usr/local installation also makes it
triviel to have multiple installations, and configurations operating in
paralellel, by simply creating.
/opt/mozilla/firefox -> /opt/mozilla/firefox-3.0.7
A user can then easily conifgure their account to use either version of
the application, without installation problems.
Additionally using that installation method, also means that if someone
wants to use a newer version of an application, they can download the
source, and trivially install it in parallel to the package managed
application, by using the --prefix option, and the installation can
easily be removed, by simple rm -rf /opt/mozilla/firefox-3.0.7.
With the current installation, it is nearly impossible, or at least very
difficult to find out if the package manager has cleaned up properly, or
if there is something left behind - something which is identicial to the
problem on windows.
A UNIX based system is intended to have everything accessible through
standard accesses, such as the file system, and the network, however,
the current trend in moving away from having the system control things
(which I can see is easier), breaks with the ability of scripting.
If this tendency keeps going, Linux is going to become a useless
mismatch of junk, that no one can really use for anything but a toy.
In my opinion, the trend has been visible for about a decade, but it has
really gone downhill from about rethat 7/8.. though in Fedora 8,
everything worked fine on most machines that I installed on, apart from
some obscure drivers, however, since Fedora 8, i've yet to have a system
where the audio works properly, and with Fedora 10, the kernel Ooopses
so often it's not funny, on quite a few of my machines, to such a degree
that I'm recommending that people do not upgrade past Fedora 8, and I'm
considering dropping the Fedora line of Linux, because it is becoming
just too messy, and clumsy.
The divergence between the "GUI" focused approach, and the "Server"
approach is not good for Linux, as it means there will be a fork, which
will be incompatible. There really isn't a good reason for this split.
I am wondering is anyone else concerned about, what in my opinion, is
the copying of the mistakes that Microsoft made with windows, to the
IMO it is really badly time to do a "back-to-basics" approach, and to
clean up the system.
I'm really curious as to the reasoning for moving everything from the
standard configuration mechanisms to the gui layer, breaking
compatibility with scripting, and other standard UNIX featuers.. I'm
also curious as to the reasoning for throwing everything in one huge
mess in the /usr/bin, /bin, /sbin, etc.. As all that is achieved is to
make it hard to strip the system back to a minimal setup.
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