Eric Raymond says: “Goodbye, Fedora”

Just when I wondered where Eric Raymond had been, it seems he surfaces on fedora-devel-list. Read the interesting thread, titled Goodbye, Fedora (notice the CC-lists as well).

I have a few comments about his comments…

  • Chronic governance problems? Yes, its called growing pains. And for a company to open to the wide outside world, its not the easiest thing. Trust me, I know this firsthand, these days. I think the likes of Max Spevack, Greg DeKoenigsberg, the Fedora Advisory Board, FESCO, etc. have really made Fedora happen and fixed most of his so-called “governance problems”.
  • I do think the repositories are sane. I do agree that the submission process for Extras or any package tends to be overcomplex. And I don’t like some of the Packaging guidelines (for one, if I wanted to read my Bible on Fedora, it should be a yum away, really).
  • RPM development might’ve drifted when jbj left Red Hat, but Paul Nasrat has taken over. I don’t see that as necessarily bad. And YUM has gone through leaps and bounds, its actually really nice software.
  • The struggle for the desktop market share is a fine balance. I don’t think Fedora makes it unwieldingly difficult to install proprietary codecs – in fact, on a stock FC-6 install, you just fire up your web browser, and at the bottom there’s a link to the Unofficial Fedora FAQ. Guess what that does? It tells you to enable Livna, and enjoy playing MP3s, DivXs, and so on. Not including binary drivers for the latest greatest Nvidia card? Good, because nouveau wouldn’t have been born without it.

Ubuntu does have its advantages (single CD install, usually everything works out of the box on the desktop [until they upgrade your X server and it stops :P]) but even there, multimedia support isn’t the best. Sure, its a repository away, but it still requires work. Ubuntu on x86_64? They’ll actually tell you to use the 32-bit desktop release, because I fear dpkg/apt still have multi-arch problems. And I dare argue, that their governance is no better than Fedora’s.

Fedora has advantages. Its development team is extensive. Thats one thing you have to give Red Hat – they invest in prime quality engineers, they innovate (NetworkManager, written by a one-time OpenOffice.org hacker, SELinux integration, rocking GNOME desktop, etc.). Ubuntu is smart – they watch Fedora, to make “a better Fedora than Fedora”. And they compromise (though recently, Shuttleworth has stated otherwise).

I met Eric at the very first FUDCon. He spoke on some man page utilities for about fifteen minutes, then went on to tell us why Fedora sucked. There might actually be video footage of this, or not, since it was my first time recording video to disk, as the rest of the FUDCon crew ran away from the room. Lots have changed since then, and yet, Eric’s thrown in the towel?

This time, he’s installed Edgy Eft, so its confirmed that he’s leaving Fedora-land. From the comments, I don’t think many are going to miss him. I do think, Alan Cox says it best (notice the .signature as well!). Goodbye, Eric.

Related posts:

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  3. Fedora News Updates #5
  4. Fedora News Updates #12
  5. Fedora more successful, developer-wise, than Ubuntu

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