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Re: Issues with the Live CD requirement for separate /boot

On Tue, Jun 09, 2009 at 07:24:06PM -0700, Adam Williamson wrote:
> On Tue, 2009-06-09 at 21:15 -0400, Scott Robbins wrote:
> > > Ideally it would be best to direct people to the appropriate bit of the
> > > release notes:
> > > 
> > > http://docs.fedoraproject.org/release-notes/f11/en-US/sect-Release_Notes-File_Systems.html
> > > 
> > 
> > They'll miss it.  Even if they get that far through the release notes,
> > it has to boldly state--you CAN'T INSTALL THE LIVE CD ON ONE PARTITION. 
> Yes, as I said, it's not a very good note.

It's not a bad note, it's just that again, the sort of folks who are
having issues aren't the folks who will grasp what it actually means.

I don't know if you've scanned the forums tonight, but it seems the most
common scenario is the one I've mentioned, the distro hopper who has set
aside a partition for Fedora.  Some people, of course, have bandwidth
limits as well, another reason to go for the live CD rather the DVD. 
> > Fedora, like many others, has begun aiming very strongly at the sort of
> > person who is willing to sacrifice control for convenience.  ArchLinux,
> > the BSDs, Gentoo....the sort of people who do take time to read docs
> > before upgrading tend to go for that sort of distribution.  
> > 
> That's not really an accurate characterization, I don't think. I'd say
> more that Fedora is working on _developing the tools_ that make
> designing a click and click and you're done distro possible, but Fedora
> is not that distro. (RHEL is, on the desktop side.)

You've made an eloquent explanation of that before (and I have referred
people on the forums to it), but I'm not sure it's inaccurate.  Like it
or not, many of the more technically oriented folks have left Fedora for
other distributions.  I base this on many conversations on the forums
and with friends in the field.  If my job weren't RH/Fedora/CentOS
centric, I suspect I might have gone too.  

I want to reiterate, this isn't a criticism of the way it's going.
Linux is far more popular than the BSDs and Ubuntu is far more popular
than ArchLinux.  Yet, the increasing ties to a GUI, things like denying
root login by default, (judging from the forums, I'm not sure that's a
bad idea) :), various nudges into accepting the defaults, making it
slightly more difficult with each release to put together a more geeky,
if you'll forgive the word, distro--this is causing people to leave.  

However, like (again a general impression, I have NO numbers to back
this up) Ubuntu, for every person that leaves, 5 more, who have gotten
fed up with MS/Apple try it.  People who are dissatisfied with Ubuntu
try it.  

If you look at the project page and the Is Fedora for me section, I
think the general impression is that yes, it's for everyone.  

However, as you write....
> I disagree. Mandriva truly is a click-and-click-and-you're-done
> distribution, but most of its users are now accustomed to reading the
> release notes and errata for each release, because we made a concerted
> effort over a couple of years to use these documents as canonical
> sources, make sure everything was covered in them (and not split up
> across multiple itty bitty sources with varying official status), and
> link to them all the time.
So that's something to consider, but then, the release notes will have
to be clearer.  That seems ungrateful, knowing how you and others (I've
already mentioned Rahul, but if I start trying to name everyone, I'll
leave too many out) labor over them, but if the project page is going to
imply it's for everyone, then they have to be written in a more obvious

Not being really familiar with Mandriva, I don't know how well this
worked, or if your forums, like Fedora's, were swamped with each new
release with "I'm running into X, Y, and Z."  My thought is to try and
nip that in the bud.  

> > The days of a one line reply to such a complaint on the forums of, RTFM,
> > have, for better or worse,  become a thing of the past.  
> That's really not what I was talking about. 

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you were.  If it came out that
way, and rereading it, I see how it easily could have, I most humbly
apologize.  Hopefully you realize how I (and many others) appreciate
your efforts. 

View it as an engineering
> challenge, if you like. You don't duplicate code all over the place and
> spread it around disparate places, you group it all neatly into one
> library and use that library everywhere. Ditto with release-relevant
> information: come up with a coherent story on where it should be, train
> all the relevant people to contribute to those sources, and refer to
> those sources consistently.

An excellent point, and valid.  One problem, for me, again speaking
selfishly.... I only have so much time in the day.  Many times, I don't
feel the official documentation is adequate, and again, to save myself
time, I'll post something, either on my own home pages or the
forums--often, my own home pages, simply because it's easier to remember
a link to that than to find a forum post again and again. 

So, let's say I disagree with the clarity of the document we have
mentioned, about the file systems.  I want to put, be careful if you
download the live CD, etc., etc.  I edit the notes.  Someone disagrees
and changes it back.  (Something similar happened with the thing about
ctl+alt+backspace with X.)  Now, I've wasted time, whether I'm right or
wrong.  I also have the guilt of having wasted the time of whoever
changed it. 

If I feel strongly, then, more time is spent arguing the point with the

So for me, personally, that's an issue.  I'm not employed by RH, Fedora,
or CentOS.  It's going to be quicker for me to to post it on my pages or
the fora.  This is not necessarily a good thing, but it's not a good
thing for everyone to automatically assume *my* documentation is the
best, either.  :)

However, I do have experience in writing for beginners, and have the
additional motivation that if I'm out sick, and our Windows Admin, who
teaches mixed martial arts as a hobby and has arms the size of my legs,
finds it unclear, I'm going to hear about it--fear's a powerful
motivator.  :)

Your answer is actually the best, but so far, I've seen too many gaps
(for the beginner) in the official documentation, and the one time I
tried to fill in the gaps, it was changed back.  

One major problem though, that will always be with us, is that 
even in the instance you mention, Mandriva, you say the "users gradually
learned."  But what about the distro hoppers, such as the type I
mention, who are just trying it out of curiosity and aren't going to go
through pages of release notes?  

That's why I made the suggestion of having the live CD issue mentioned
in the download section--because that's about the only place where the
person most likely to be affected by it has a chance of looking. 

Thanks for listening, and as always, for your input. 

Most sincerely,

Scott Robbins
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