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Re: Leaving?



Hi Hans, before you decide to leave, I think you should filter the lists
of replies so you only see what Nicolas Mailhot has said.  He sums up
what Fedora is and how a distribution by and for open-source developers
can be enhanced for end-users with cool reasoning.

As to the rest of the arguments, it really boils down to this: there are
many end users of Fedora products.  Some want to try the latest and
greatest without having to roll their own distribution, others want to
run a commodity operating system that is free, and still others have
been talked into it because they're timesharing the computer with
someone else that's more gung-ho about open source.  These are all
audiences of Fedora but none of them are the target audience.

Fedora is a project whose goal is to make a product:  The very best open
source operating system that money can't buy.

Since it is the "very best" naturally everyone is a potential satisfied
user of the OS.  However, we have never defined (or limited) our
distribution by the users we are trying to satisfy, rather we are
striving to create something that exemplifies the state of the art in
open source.  Something that (since we contribute our changes into the
upstream projects) pushes the state of the art one step beyond where it
was before.

Inherent in defining Fedora as an "open source operating system" is the
idea of evolutionary growth.  Unlike other software methodologies
(Commercial games come to mind where you buy Warcraft, Warcraft II, and
Warcraft the Last Battle[Before the Sequel]) open source sees products
grow and change in capability and character over time.  Evolutionary
growth requires two things: coding and usage (analogous to mutation and
survival of the fittest).  When a change such as the Xorg release comes
up, someone has already done most of the coding.  We can do some more if
there are out of tree open source drivers that need updating.  Then we
have to release it into the distribution so it can be run over by tons
of users who can enjoy the new drivers and find bugs that need to be
ironed out.  Releasing Xorg for FC5 is philosophically and technically
important to Fedora because it helps to improve the _quality_ of
_open-source_.

Does it hurt end-user's perception of open-source and Fedora?  Read on.

For end-users committed to or satisfied by the open source solutions,
evolutionary change means a gradual ramping up of capabilities.  Xorg
supported my video card only through VESA when FC5 released.  I have an
accelerated 2D driver now and hope to have accelerated 3D once 7.1 hits
the shelves.  All this progress without having to change distros
(including Core releases) or break my system!  For people in like
situations, the perception of open source is of gathering momentum and
the fruiting of its potential.

For end-users who need to run proprietary software, the road can be
harder.  Some pieces of software continue to run through upgrade after
upgrade with no changes.  Those programs which require a kernel module
or X.org driver have a rougher time as they have to access the internal
ABI of these in order to function.  An upgrade that changes something
internally can cause these modules to fail and there's nothing we can do
about it -- only the owner of the proprietary code can fix the issue.  A
good vendor must adopt the methodology of the upstream project they're
targetting.  ATI, Nvidia, and others follow the development of Windows
in order to make sure their drivers run when the next version of Windows
comes out.  Until they follow the development of X.org in the same
fashion, accepting and anticipating the inevitability of X.org upgrades,
they are going to leave users dangling when a distro upgrades.

Is all lost?  If you still want to run Fedora Core on machines where you
have to run proprietary drivers so you can stay with familiar tools,
keep contributing to a project that respects your work (and for at least
some of us, your thoughts as well), and have a choice of running the
latest and greatest open source on some machines and somewhat more
stable code on others, I think you should consider running something
that has been moved into maintenence mode.  Fedora Legacy works to
maintain the security of its releases without upgrading for features.
If you keep the machines where this is an issue on a Fedora Legacy
release that just trails the non-maintenance Fedora Core releases you
can still get new software on ~6 month intervals (rather than the
glacial pace of Debian stable) while enjoying a much more stable
platform for running proprietary drivers.

If this works well, you can start a project to inform end-users of this
three tiered approach: Rawhide to develop the OS.  The latest Fedora
Core for those who want to run the latest software on a stable operating
system, and slightly older Fedora Cores maintained by Fedora Legacy for
those who just want things to continue working with occasional security
enhancements.

-Toshio

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