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Re: Reasons to preseve X on tty7

--- On Wed, 10/29/08, Dax Kelson <dkelson gurulabs com> wrote:

> From: Dax Kelson <dkelson gurulabs com>
> Subject: Reasons to preseve X on tty7
> To: "Development discussions related to Fedora" <fedora-devel-list redhat com>
> Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2008, 1:36 AM
> I would argue strongly that this change should not be made
> for the
> following reasons (in no particular order):
> * The default behavior of X on tty7 has been in place since
> the
> beginning (almost a decade and a half).
> * Long standing behaviors and defaults should not be
> changed unless
> there is a VERY good reason with a significant upside.
> Developers should
> tread respectfully in such hallowed places.
> * This specific Linux behavior is well documented in
> hundreds of
> thousand of publications ranging from college text books,
> HOWTOs, Linux
> books sold in retail stores, blogs, forums, guides, and
> training
> manuals. Making a change invalidates all that published
> knowledge.
> * Fedora (and presumably RHEL6) now behaves differently
> from all the
> major distributions. The axiom about those who ignore
> history are bound
> to repeat holds here. UNIX "distros" did the same
> thing, introducing
> frivolous incompatibilities. This fractures the user
> community, creating
> separate pockets of knowledge and experience for each
> system.
> * The "exception to the rule" (such as this one)
> dramatically increases
> the costs of cross-distribution support. It turns 300-page
> books into
> 1000-page books. Similarly one must remember and commit to
> memory all
> the "exceptions" and swap them in and out of your
> mental working set as
> needed.
> * Fedora is now inconsistent with itself in regards to
> where X is
> running depending on if you booted to runlevel 3 and used
> startx or if
> you booted to runlevel 5. When your uptime is 3 weeks, how
> do you
> remember which method you used to start the GUI?
> * Having tty1 be the user's "primary console"
> (as mentioned in BZ
> 465547) is not a worthy goal as desktop (GUI only) users
> should not and
> do not care what tty X is on.
> * Experienced users will try CONTROL-ALT-F1 and nothing
> will happen, the
> first thing that comes to mind is "something is
> broke". 
> * With the current rawhide behavior, what happens when you
> combine this
> with fast user switching? The first user's desktop is
> on tty1, and then
> is the second desktop is on tty7, and the third on tty8? I
> tried to test
> this in my lab but I suspect video driver problems (radeon)
> because my
> test machine would lock up.
> * Having the X server start on tty7 *from the very
> beginning* would get
> one less "flicker" without making an incompatible
> change.
> I support progress, but I hate to see two steps forward and
> one back. I
> understand change is natural but the change should be well
> reasoned with
> implications considered and weighed.
> To put my comments in "context" and to show that
> I'm not just a nutter
> with an uniformed opinion, and in a way of introduction,
> here's a bit
> about myself. I've used (typically in production) every
> single version
> of Red Hat and/or Fedora ever created (go Mother's
> Day!). I started an
> ISP and grew it to 10,000 users using (initially) Red Hat
> 4.2 (not
> RHEL), and I was the first person/customer of Red Hat to
> earn an RHCE
> (Feb 1999). I have minor patches in many different projects
> and several
> hundred bugs in bugzilla.redhat.com. I was the official
> maintainer for a few years around the turn of the century
> creating GNOME
> RPMs for several distributions for each new GNOME release.
> For the past 9 years I have made a living writing Linux
> courseware for
> multiple Linux distributions and teaching Linux training
> classes along
> with the rest of the dozen full time instructors at Guru
> Labs, a company
> I founded with a college friend of mine. I've sold tens
> of thousands of
> Linux training books. Unfortunately, I don't have the
> time to
> participate on the lists as much as I would like too.
> However, because
> of my daily work I get to observe the low level changes and
> development
> process of many different Linux distributions giving me a
> broad
> perspective.
> Our coureware features extensive labs which have thousands
> of lab steps
> that exercise virtually all the major software components
> and features
> thereof. As we update/validate our courseware to work on
> the latest
> Linux distribution versions, our courseware ends up acting
> like a giant
> regression test. We end up patching and/or filing many many
> bug reports
> in many bug trackers.
> Uneeded and frivolous incompatibilities between Linux
> distros are
> particularly annoying to me on many levels. One practical
> reason is the
> bloat it causes in our courseware. The LSB is fine for
> developers who
> want to run binaries across multiple distributions, but
> Linux Sys Admins
> deserve something akin to the LSB that provides greater
> consistency at
> the Sys Admin level by removing squashing these frivolous
> incompatibilities. This is something that has been brewing
> in the back
> of my mind and I (using Guru Labs funding/resources and
> other interested
> parties) might tackle at some point.
> Dax Kelson
> Guru Labs

While I respect your opinions and experience I do think that the reasoning for this behavior change is good enough. I remember the first time I was told how to switch to tty1 some 7-8 years ago. Immediately after switching to tty1 my curiosity boosted up and I tried all the combinations ctrl+alt+F2 through ctrl+alt+F12. I am sure many of us went through a similar experience. 

If someone tries one of these combinations (s)he *will* try the other combinations. There are not too many of them. It won't take too long until the user will end up where (s)he wanted. And if people still think that this change will bring an utter catastrophe we might as well put a warning message (just for F10 and maybe for F11) at tty7 saying that X is not here anymore and is moved to tty1. Won't this solve all the problems?



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