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Re: f8 desktop livecd


Sorry for the lag,

On Fri, 2007-07-27 at 12:04 -0400, Colin Walters wrote:
> Some people may not know that in Fedora 7, there was a difference
> between the DVD and the Live CD.  What happened is (as far as I
> understand it) David Zeuthen took a look at things, and exercised a
> bit of editorial control by using the kickstart file - ship
> NetworkManager enabled by default, for example.  This is exactly what
> Fedora as a desktop needs; a place for people who care about the
> experience as a desktop to do those quick fixes that may be hard to
> change in the Fedora base.

Right. In fact, the Fedora Core 6 live cd had an even more narrow focus:
only desktop users. I mean, just take a look at the delta between the F6
and F7 live CD:


Notable differences

 - FC6 live CD was not installable; F7 live cd was

 - FC6 live CD included more, uh, apps with a desktop focus that
   were not in the F7 live CD (due to lack of disc space)
   - Beagle, F-Spot, Inkscape, VPN tools (vpnc, openvpn)

 - FC6 live CD omitted lots of things I don't think belongs in
   a default desktop install. Notably F7 live CD includes many
   of these things

   - things like autofs, all of system-config-*

I was told at the time that "people except these things in a Fedora
install". And I think that's the problem: that the target group of the
F7 live cd is assumed to be any Fedora user instead of catering to
desktop/laptop users. See below for more discussion.

Some explicit goals from the FC6 live CD were carried over though

 - Universal Local support; e.g. abandon the "what languages do you
   need?" question during install. This includes

   - Include enough fonts to have near 100% coverage of all the web
     pages in the world (http://wikipedia.org/ is a good test)

   - Include all input methods; in fact, thanks to Warren Togami and
     others this was refined in F7 live cd to only start the Input
     Method applet if the locale needs it (e.g. avoid starting it
     in e.g. en_US and da_DK)

and in addition the F7 live cd is now installable which was a very big

> So this mail is just to say that this project exists (and I know a lot
> of people didn't know about the difference), and will move forward.  For
> Fedora 8, it would make sense to more prominently distinguish this
> version as the Desktop version.

Right, I agree. The first thing that the Fedora project needs to address
is making it easy for users to figure out what to download. Right now
it's very confusing; just have a look at 


Instead, what we want is something like this


that actually guides people in downloading the right version. It could
look like this

 Fedora Desktop 
   The perfect distribution tailored for both novice and seasoned
   desktop/laptop users. Featuring a network-less single-CD dead-simple
   install with a tasteful set of defaults chosen for you, you can
   always configure the system to your liking post-install.   

 Fedora KDE
   (put something here)

 Fedora Universe
   Want to install a headless server or to an exotic system? Want to
   hand-tune the packages getting installed? Want to harness the power
   of scripting and fine-tuning system configuration? Want to do a
   network install? The Fedora Server is for you. It features both
   networked installs and updates. Perfect for the picky experts.

So we tell everyone to use "Fedora Desktop" instead. What's missing here
is the upgrade story and our current story is "use anaconda to upgrade"
which I think is pretty lame. We're asking people to go to d.fp.org
(which already sucks) and make them download an ISO.

Clearly, technical problems aside, we simply *need* to have the package
updater UI say "Hey, you're running Fedora N and Fedora N+1 is out.
Press here to upgrade". How we solve that from a technical point of
view, I don't care, but I _know_ it's technical feasible. Here's two

 - "Just" fix yum, rpm and the way we do packaging / QA to actually
   make updating a live Fedora from version N to N+1 work. At least
   concede "it's a bug if it doesn't work" instead of saying "oh,
   that may not work; the official way is to use anaconda".

 - Compute what RPM's are needed; download those. Provide a simple
   boot image that takes these RPM's and updates the base system.
   Poke grub.conf to boot into this. Ask user to reboot to complete
   the upgrade. System reboots into update image that simply updates
   the system. No user interaction. When update is complete, system
   reboots. Done.

I have a lot of thoughts about technical details and what set of
packages should (and shouldn't) go on the Fedora Desktop Live CD. For
example, I mean, a desktop system clearly don't need junk like
system-config-keyboard or system-config-language since we don't care
about the console. People who care about that stuff can install it
later. So the main problem here is (lack of) *direction* and
*messaging*. It's a social problem. 

In other words, the Fedora Project (thus, the board), need to say "OK,
we're actually doing a targeted Fedora Desktop product and people not
using it for desktop/laptop can use the old 'Fedora Universe' way of
doing things.". Until I see such leadership coming from the board I'm
not sure it's worth messing around with kickstart files at all?

We, the people working on the Fedora Desktop, have this great chance to
actually do a really good desktop distro.  But as long as people expect
"Fedora Live Media" to work in e.g. server use cases (as I argue they
may do today, mainly due to bad messaging), it's just a waste of time
IMNSHO. We need direction and razor sharp focus. We need the backing of
the Fedora project and board to recognize that we're going to target
*only* desktop users with the live media. We need to communicate that
"Fedora Live Media" is *the* way to install the Desktop or KDE flavors
of Fedora.

It's about direction and messaging. Fix that and we can do good stuff.


ps. Sorry if this mails came across as a rant.

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