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Re: FC4 good new tech, bad legacy support

Matthew Saltzman wrote:

On Thu, 30 Jun 2005, Les Mikesell wrote:

On Thu, 2005-06-30 at 15:27, Richard Kelsch wrote:

I still stand by my claim that FC4 fails
the intentions of the project.  Nevertheless, I know it will be fixed
eventually, perhaps FC5.

But you could bet that it would not be fixed if it wasn't released in
its current state so people could fix it.   That's the point of the
fedora releases - it is supposed to meet the usability intentions
by the *end* of a release, when the effort shifts to a new batch
of code and the updates to this one stop.  Since there are 3 prior
releases you can get a pretty good idea how this works by looking
back at the updates that made the other versions usable.

I've been using Linux since Red Hat Linux 3.0.3, and I can remember threads with exactly this theme and the same points of view represented for every major component upgrade including:

- a.out-format object files to ELF object files.
- kernel 1.something to kernel 2.0, to kernel 2.2, to kernel 2.4, to
  kernel 2.6
- gcc 2.95 to gcc 2.96-redhat-special to gcc 3.x
- libc5 to glibc
- linux threads to pthreads

and now

- gcc 3.x to gcc 4.0

Every time, Red Hat Linux--and now Fedora--was out front in moving to the new technology. Every time, many things broke in early releases. Every time, people bitched and moaned and predicted the end of Red Hat, the end of Linux, or the end of the world. Every time, the broken stuff got fixed within a few months at most. And the Linux world is better off in the long run for every one of these changes.

It would be nice to be able to make changes incrementally, but it's not always possible. Kernels, compilers, and libraries affect almost every critical component in the system. When you convert, you have to convert everything. That's why these changes are made on major release boundaries. (In the old days, RHL had major and minor releases to mark just such extensive infrastructure changes.) When these kinds of changes occur, those of us willing to endure some "leading-edge windburn" will live with the issues and get them fixed. Those who can't afford to, can chalk the early versions of these releases up to a "failure of robustness" if they like, as long as they realize that this is how progress gets made.

Well spoken, and understood. Nevertheless, wouldn't a bit of better warning on some those "it's not always possible" situations where it can affect a major portion of usability be inserted in the release notes? One must consider that the release notes need to contain more info than what an expert C programmer can gleam from them. If Fedora is truly a test bed, then the test field must consider more than C programmers. Usage as servers (running various server software types), graphic workstations, video and sound editing workstations, programming workstations (more than just C), HTPC's, SANs, etc. must be taken into consideration when such broad leaps are planned. Nobody is saying to not take those leaps, but at least explain in proportionally greater detail why the leap was taken and the possible side effects as a result of it. Even if those explanations merely refer the user to other online articles explaining the change is more than what was said concerning the gcc change, at least in the release notes.

Richard's problem is likely that he's trying to build a Perl module that needs to integrate with a Perl built with gcc4. He's well and truly stuck because the module won't build with gcc4 and it won't load if it isn't built with gcc4. My recommendation for Richard is to sit out FC4, at least for now. When the Perl module he needs gets updated so that it builds with gcc4 (and it will, perhaps even soon), he can migrate if he chooses.

Way ahead of you, nevertheless, my laptop, which has different uses to me, runs FC4 quite happily. My desktop workstation must remain FC3 and it is.

(Richard's other problem is that I can never follow the attributions in his e-mails, because quoted material isn't clearly indented or set off with any visual marker like the '>' you see in most posts, but that's another story...)

Curious, I use Mozilla Thunderbird for my email client. All email seems formatted quite accurately with all attributions, quotations and indentations from my and other emails quite accurately shown. Perhaps your email client requires updating? Hmmm... even viewing the archives list via web looks correct as well. Nevertheless, it may be an HTML issue. I have set Thunderbird to make sure emails to this group are plain text only from now on.


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