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some closure on the xorg updates issue

re-posted here from fedora-advisory-board


I wanted to spend a minute in response to the various threads about the XOrg update that were on fedora-devel-list last week, and also as a response to some of the blogosphere articles that were generated from those threads, for example:


There are several parts to this issue:

1) The xorg update is of benefit to Fedora users who do not depend on proprietary drivers for their video cards.

2) As such, this update would be bad for users who do rely on proprietary drivers, mainly because those proprietary drivers are not updated to function properly with the new xorg code. Users who upgrade will be in a tough spot until their proprietary software vendors relese updates.

3) The Fedora Project does not support any sort of proprietary software. "Once free, always free".

4) The number of Fedora users who, due to the hardware that they own, are forced to rely on proprietary video drivers is significant enough for us to be concerned about breaking their systems.

5) This is more complicated than the case in which we release a new kernel, because in that case it is trivial for a user to boot an old, working kernel. In the case where packages are updated, the roll-back is not as trivial of a process.

6) The xorg update is not a security update.

So there is a balance to be struck -- on one side you have the desire to not make concessions to proprietary software vendors, but on the other side you have the very real problem of unnecessarily breaking the systems of users.

In short, it's a major change with only modest benefit, and a better solution is coming soon. That's an argument that resonates with me, and that has nothing to do with proprietary software, and everything to do with stability for users.

Therefore, holding off on a non-security update in order to not break users' systems, to me, is a reasonable decision to make in this situation, especially when we are focusing our efforts entirely on Fedora Core 6 at this point, which will include the most up to date Xorg software anyway.

I would further state that not all the members of the Fedora Board share this exact opinion on this issue, but there is a general consensus that holding off on this update for fc5 is the "better" decision of the two, and so the Board does stand behind that decision as a group.

In addition, this debate has shown that we have a clear need to articulate our update policy as clearly as possible, so that future decisions like this will be easier to make. The work in that regard is going on here, and I hope that Fedora community members will join in.


Max Spevack
+ http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/MaxSpevack
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