Fedora's way forward

Paul F. Johnson paul at all-the-johnsons.co.uk
Tue Mar 28 10:34:55 UTC 2006


> Let me start with some good things.  I thought Fedora was in
> desperately bad shape in the FC3/FC4 period, 

FC3 wasn't *that* bad IMHO. FC4 was a bit on the disappointing side.

> First, a relatively minor issue that is nevertheless quite annoying.
> It's the Fedora distribution art

This, and fonts, are the two areas where just about every Linux distro
falls behind Mac and Windows boxes as both companies invested a massive
amount to get professional font and graphics people to generate the
graphics for them and unfortunately, it seems eye candy is everything.

> I know at least one fairly influential kernel developer who threw out
> Red Hat/Fedora in disgust over this.  When he asked me straight up how
> I could defend what he bluntly called 'corporate cowardice', I didn't
> feel like I had a good answer.  And I still don't.  In return for all
> the free development work they get, it does seem to me that it's part
> of Red Hat's job to shoulder risks like these -- and that Red Hat
> hasn't held up its end.
> AVI.  Quicktime.  ASF.  MPEG.  DVD playback.  Flash.  Java. These are
> *not optional* in 2006, any more than the ability to read Microsoft
> Word files in a word processor is optional; if we try to treat them
> that way, consumers will blow Linux off.  

Eric, I couldn't agree with you more. While I can accept the DVD
playback argument over CSS, I can't over the others especially as there
is a GNU Flash package in development, libQuicktime has been around for
yonks and from what I can see from the licence, there shouldn't be a
problem shipping a Java plugin with FC. There is even a "clean" mp3
module out there. I enjoy Linux as I don't have to play "hunt the
driver" as I do when installing a Windows box (which I have to do as
part of my job), however, it's a pain in the backside having to go to
freshrpms or livna to grab Xine/mplayer/xmms-mp3 or having to mess
around to get the Java plugin to work.

> 1. We can end-run the patent restrictions on the technology (say,
> by developing outside the U.S. and distributing through overseas sites
> that are wink-wink-nudge-nudge unconnected with Fedora/Red hat).

I think that's been suggested, I'm almost certain it was on the test
list (or on here) to have Mono included

> 3. We can buy the rights to the technologies we want as a straight
> commercial transaction from the patent-holder.

It looks like this is what happened (more or less) with Mono.

> If solving the multimedia problem takes having Red Hat sell a
> plugins-and-drivers disk for each spin of FC, full of proprietary crap
> that it negotiated rights for, that sucks -- but better that than
> never getting any traction on the desktop because we got too caught up
> in our own idealism to meet actual consumer needs.

It would be very much the same way as Linspire works.


(who had the pleasure of sitting to a meal with Eric at the 2004 ACCU
conference with Jutta, Niko, Allan and someone else who's name escapes
me for the moment)
"Logic, my dear Zoe, is merely the ability to be wrong with authority" -
Dr Who

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