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Re: fedora versus fedora test

On Thu, 9 Oct 2003 David Grudek anixter com wrote:

>"Considering the fact that every single package in rawhide is
>currently maintained by Red Hat employees, and we are diligently
>working every day to improve the Fedora Core release and fix as
>many bugs as possible, I'm not sure exactly how "Redhat just lost
>there ownership of the project" as you state above.  While we 
>have opened up the project to the community, the infrastructure 
>is not yet in place to allow external developers to maintain or 
>contribute packages, and so for all intents and purposes, Fedora 
>Core 1, is very much a distribution developed by Red Hat not much 
>differently than Red Hat Linux 9, or Red Hat Linux 8.0, 7.x, etc."
>Currently they are all maintained by Redhat but since they plan
>on turning it over to the public more, that will be a harder
>task to watch what all these guys are doing to every package
>that comes out.

That is not really true at all.  Allowing external developers to 
get involved is not the same thing as "turning it over to the 
public".  I've indicated that this is not going to be a 
freeforall where external developers do whatever they want to 
whatever package(s) they want and stuff them into the 
distribution.  That is not in any way what the Fedora Core 
distribution will be comprised of.  Red Hat _employees_ currently 
maintain all packages in the distribution, and will continue to 
do so for the forseeable future.  Once the infrastructure is 
developed to allow externally maintained packages to be.. well, 
maintained, then certain packages in the core distribution may be 
offered up for grabs.

That doesn't in any way mean $JOE_RANDOM_DEVELOPER will be 
allowed to take random packages and maintain them with zero care 
towards quality control or established packaging and maintenance 

It will very much be a meritocracy as described on the Fedora
website, which means a developer or potential developer needs to
show competance and skill in maintaining packages, and follow
packaging guidelines and whatnot, being aware of project
deadlines, and actually fixing bugs, etc. in the packages they've
volunteered to maintain.  If someone can't meet the requirements
to maintain a package properly, they wont likely be maintaining 
packages in the project.

You're reading "Red Hat permits others to get involved" and 
misinterpreting it as "Red Hat hands over the project to others 
and lets them do whatever they want", and this is very much not 
what is happening at all.

>Considering the fact that they are not even willing to support
>it any more for even the 30 day installation shows their loss of

You don't appear to have any idea what "ownership" means.

>They keep close ties on the project so they have all testing on
>the packages for their commercial line.  I don't believe that it
>will be as stable as the OLD REDHAT because they will be letting
>so many people touch it and too many people be involved that it
>will be more likely to have bugs.

Again, you mistakenly beleive that this will be a freeforall that 
any random people can jump in and take over packages and 
regardless of skill they'll be accepted with open arms and 
allowed to do whatever they like.  This is very much not the 
case, as I've indicated above several times.

>When Redhat was in full control they knew every change that

Red Hat _is_ in full control.  Once the infrastructure is put 
into place, people will have an opportunity to contribute to the 
project based on their skills, and based on meritocracy.  The 
project is divided into several components as discussed on the 
website.  Fedora Core is the base operating system, of which Red 
Hat employees currently maintain, and will continue to maintain 
for the forseeable future, at least the large core critical parts 
of the OS.  If someone doesn't want to maintain a package any 
more, and an external developer shows competance, and is willing 
to take the package on, as long as the project believes the 
person is competant enough to do the job, they may be allowed to 
maintain the package.  They'll be expected to follow project 
guidelines of course, and if they screw up or go off wildly doing 
random things with disregard to the project goals or something, 
they probably wont be maintaining things for very long.

It's not a free for all.

>With so many cooks in the kitchen you will never know everything
>that was changed always leaving some mess around.

There wont be "so many cooks in the kitchen".  Red Hat ultimately 
will decide what goes into the operating system, and others will 
be allowed to contribute to that.  It's not a case of random 
developers deciding they're going to do this or that, and Red Hat 
having zero say, and Fedora effectively being hijacked by some 
crazy people on an insane package crapification rampage.  This is 
a controlled project, which is very open to suggestion and 
discussion, but Red Hat, as claimed on the website will retain 
editorial control, and ultimately makes the final decisions about 
things.  That is required in order to keep the project sane, and 
not have it wandering off in random directions.

>They want to develop and let users use it for only the benefit
>of adding fully tested products to their enterprise edition.

I'm one of "they".  Red Hat Enterprise Linux is already built on 
top of Red Hat Linux, and it has been all along.  Red Hat 
Enterprise Linux will continue to be built on top of the Red Hat 
community operating system releases.  Only now, the community OS 
release is now made a public project, in order to open up the 
internal processes of communication more widely to the community 
in order to improve the Fedora project by incorporating ideas 
from the community, and to allow others to get involved if they 
feel like doing so.  Those who want to get involved, can get 
involved simply by making suggestions and coming up with ideas, 
and discussing them on the development lists, or they can do 
actual development and submit patches and enhancements if they 
like.  If someone wants to maintain a package or packages, and 
can demonstrate compentancy for doing such, and for following 
project packaging and development guidelines, they may have the 
opportunity to do so.  This is a possiblity both for the core OS 
(which was previously Red Hat Linux), and also for the addon 
repository(s) Fedora Extras, Fedora Alternatives, etc.

Our goal is to take the same concept that has made open source 
software work well, and extend that to the distribution as a 
whole.  Looking at GNOME as an example.  The GNOME project is 
maintained by GNOME developers, and it has a steering commitee 
which guides the development, etc.  GNOME is developed by many 
many people, and it is a high quality open source project with 
lots of high quality applications.  That project's code gets 
incorporated into Red Hat OS products, and most of it is 
developed by the community, by skilled developers.

The same concept can be applied to an entire operating system 
distribution, and that is what we are trying to do here.  Red Hat 
currently fills the role of "steering commitee" above, and 
currently also as "developer community" since there are not any 
external developers currently maintaining packages in the 
distribution core yet due to the infrastructure not being in 
place yet.  Once that infrastructure is in place, then as people 
show interest, and also skill to contribute to parts of 
development, and volunteer to do so, we hope to add their skills 
to the project and let the project grow.

And just like the GNOME project's efforts get included in the
community based OS, as well as the enterprise based OS, the
community's efforts on Fedora Core will be used in future
enterprise products as well.  Why wouldn't they?  ;o)

The general idea here is that with proper controls and project
leadership, and a direct set of project goals, a community of
external developers so inclined to contribute to the project can
do so, and can help shape the OS.  The results of that will be
the community Fedora Core release of the OS, and the community
maintained Extras and Alternatives addon bits.

>If they really wanted to merge with a group to make stable and
>more advanced version of Linux that everyone could enjoy, why
>not merge with a group more similar to Debian.

People who want to use or contribute to Debian and their
developmental model are of course free to do so.  The Debian
project and it's development model however doesn't meet the goals
of the Fedora Project any more than the Fedora Project meets the 
goals and development model of Debian.

>They have a good and stable release but are lacking on the ease
>of use that someone like Redhat has.  This would be a better and
>more positive move forward for the Linux community.

There are many ways to contribute in a positive and useful manner 
to the community.  Red Hat has been doing so for years now, and 
with the new Fedora Project direction, hopes to increase this 
even more.

>They already have tons of developers that are working together
>on a common goal. So far the project might be the same as Redhat
>9 but the future is what I am referring to.  Like I said before
>TOO many cooks in the kitchen will lead to a big mess.

Using your own example, the Debian project has numerous 
developers, and they also have project goals and guidelines, and 
rules and regulations, as well as project leaders.  The Debian 
project seems to have done well for itself, and has proven that a 
successful Linux distribution can be developed and maintained by 
the community.  Do they have too many cooks in their kitchen?  Or 
are they an example rather that shows that a community of 
competant developers are able to contribute collectively to a 
common project with common goals and produce something very 
useful as a result?  

There is no reason why the Red Hat Fedora Project can't open up 
development of the base operating system formerly known as "Red 
Hat Linux" and create a successful project using similar 
principles but different project goals, and provide our own set 
of guidelines and rules in which the project is ran - to be 
influenced of course by those interested in contributing as well.

The only cooks that are in the kitchen currently, are Red Hat
employees in this case, and some of the fedora.us people whom
we've joined forces with, so your analogy holds no water I'm
afraid.  You're criticizing a project without fully understanding
it at all, using broken analogies that don't apply to how the
project will be ran, nor the goals of the project.

Feel free to be skeptical all you like, but because you don't 
understand something doesn't mean it can't or wont be successful 
on it's own merits.  I suggest you read every single web page on 
the http://fedora.redhat.com website, and then ask specific 
questions on the list to clarify any misunderstandings, 
misconceptions, or questions you may have.

This is about positive change, harnessing the open source 
methodologies that brought us things like the Linux kernel, 
XFree86, GNOME, and many other highly successful projects, and 
using some of these methodologies in the creation of an entire 
operating system.  However, we're not cloning existing efforts 
out there such as Debian, Gentoo, or other projects.  Those 
projects and others have very definitive goals of their own, and 
those goals differ from our projects goals significantly in some 
ways, while we also share some goals as well.

Mike A. Harris     ftp://people.redhat.com/mharris
OS Systems Engineer - XFree86 maintainer - Red Hat

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