What Fedora makes sucking for me - or why I am NOT Fedora

Robert Scheck robert at fedoraproject.org
Tue Dec 9 00:25:40 UTC 2008

Good evening everybody,

I've unluckily several points and issues, I'm trying to get solved for even
for a longer time now (depending on the point on my list), but nobody in
and around the Fedora Project seems or don't want to care about that. I am
also annoyed, that I have to write such an e-mail, but the following really
is, what Fedora makes sucking for me.

Ah, and now first of all to the guys who will surely answer "use Ubuntu",
"choose another distribution", "you're sucking as well" or similar: Go, run
and die in a fire - immediately! I know, that this e-mail will make me the
bogeyman for many of you, but that hopefully and luckily moves out Thorsten
for a short time of his usual position while taking the seat myself... ;-)

Well, we had the intrusion into the servers of the Fedora Project. That is
now nearly 4 months ago. I remember to the words of our dear Fedora Project
leader, who made us believing with the sentence "We will continue to keep
the Fedora community notified of any updates." - but nothing happend after
that. We all are still waiting for final report about the intrusion into
the servers of the Fedora Project! Yes, we can: Open Source, but unluckily
no Open Communication! Even the communication during the intrusion time was
worse, e-mails to the Infrastructure team and to our Fedora Project leader
got not really answered (or just when reasking and bugging) when asking for
the issue and details even when it was mostly clear, that we're no longer
really men about ourself - the intrusion.

Our German translation is only quantitative, not qualitative. And the worse
thing is, the team leader of the German translation team finds the current
position and its current status okay. That's wrong and never should happen.
If a German person is not able to understand the context of a translated
sentence, the phrase should not be commited. Many people are even not re-
reading the tsentence whether it has any meaning after the translation. But
our team leader says, quantitative translation is okay. Ugly grammar and
spelling issues are another thing; seems too much to re-read or to use a
spellchecker before commiting - our teamleader says, that everything must
fast go to upstream...great! I now know lots of German speaking people (in
their mother tongue), which use Fedora only in English - including myself -
to avoid the must of reading that horrible German. Surely, we can fix that,
but if always people are working against, that does not help. Unluckily,
language translations don't make it that often into Fedora updates during
the lifetime of a Fedora release. So mostly, a broken translation is kept
there for the whole release. But it's okay to be only quantitative and not
qualitative, our team leader of the German translation project prays.

Oh, we've the Live CD for a long time now. Did anybody use that medium on a
slower, older computer? Surely not. Otherwise you would have noticed, that
the Live CD is very slow there. The USB stick/variant may be fast, but the
CD which we're now promoting at our download page better and more that the
installation DVD, is IMHO not a good store sign as it is just slow. It even
has not a localisation - folks, not the whole world is speaking english,
just there is America on the worldmap! I know people from fairs, which are
really frusted by their first try with a Live CD as it was just English.
Yes, we maybe can create a spin, but these ones, we cannot offer on the FTP
and HTTP mirrors, because Fedora is already too big. On the other hand, the
issue of a non-US keyboard layout when trying to generate a localized
version of the Live medium is still not fixed. There were some tries to
solve that on LinuxTag 2008, but as far as I know, afterwards nobody again
cared about and it went down. Remembering, that promoting our so cool Live
CDs does not help in areas where the Internet is slow and old, I'm doing
hereby, too. I don't want to remember, that the Fedora 8 Live media even
killed crypted swap partitions...really a nice feature. By the way, does it
do that still?

Yeah, Anaconda got a bigger rewrite for Fedora 10 and took care of the old
and often claimed issue, that the user needs to know the URL of a mirror in
order to install Fedora via netinstall. But now, the screen got completely
ripped out or is (if it really still exists, which I don't believe) too
good hidden somewhere. Instead of that, somebody - that must have been an
American - made the "repo=" option for the command line prompt if somebody
wants to specify a local mirror. Urgs! At that point, no non-US keyboard
layout is loaded! I now have to type something like "repoßhttpö--my.local-
mirror-fedora-something-" or so on my non-US keyboard. Folks, the worldmap
not only has American people with a US keyboard layout out there, even if
some people think so. Even the "repo=xxx" is worse documented, but yes, who
cares? Just me as it seems somehow...

In order to support the RPM Fusion (former Livna) project, I tried to
install the mirrormanager serverlist on a RHEL 4 with python 2.3 and having
suexec in httpd enabled - and poorly failed. Mirrormanager is worse up to
not documented at all and only focussed to RHEL 5+. So for a not really
mirrormanager specific person it is nearly impossible to run mirrormanager
serverlist in a secured/hardend environment out of the box without taking
much action. Luckily I got support for several python 2.3 specific issues
by a mirror admin and by the webteam leader - unluckily not so much help by
the developer of mirrormanager who caused the stuff...I'm still getting a
zombie process after a request by the *.wsgi which is surely no feature.

Pushing packages into Fedora still takes ages in form of days or weeks. And
this unluckily and especially also for security updates. The reason for
this seems to be Bodhi, as the updates are usually happening very fast on
EPEL which hasn't Bodhi. For EPEL it normally just takes hours, for Fedora
mostly multiple days up to a week. I know, what I'm talking about here, I
am co-maintaining phpMyAdmin which has more holes that a swiss cheese; the
EPEL people know very well, what I'm talking about, too. I also had a lot
of other security updates for other packages during 2008 and EPEL is always
faster there, why Fedora is so slow? There must be a real reason, why we do
not get rid of this for a long time now...and I would like to see this same
good or even well in Fedora as in EPEL - or do we have to kill bodhi first?

Hmmm, the "Merge Reviews" that somewhere have been declared as blockers
for Fedora 7 (!) are still not done. It AFAIK was said somewhen, that not
reviewed packages are getting removed from Fedora. This did not happen for
anything, yet. The "Merge Reviews" are sometimes also blocked by Red Hat
employees for very base/core packages by just refusing the Fedora Packaging
guidelines, because it's the packager of the package. This can't be case!
The Red Hat people have to follow the Fedora packaging guidelines and rules
same as the Fedora folks - without any exception! If you would like to know
which packages and people I'm talking about, have a look to Bugzilla and
search for the bug reports I'm watching via Cc - there are lots of examples
out there...without wanting to blame somebody special here on the list. But
this has to be solved, the reviews need to be done, and the Red Hat people
sitting on some base/core packages, must follow the Fedora rules same and
without any refusing as they currently do. BTW, why is nobody controlling
the success of the "Merge Reviews"? Shouldn't somebody watch this and tell
us all the progress inside of e.g. the weekly Fedora newsletter or so?

Oh, did I mention, that RPM 4.6, our dear big change in RPM at Fedora for
years now is still buggy and so? When reading the article about a review of
Fedora 10 by pro-linux.de (http://www.pro-linux.de/berichte/fedora10.html),
I had to notice, that our dear rpm.org developers still did not get rid of
the "hanging rpm" now must be solved by killing the RPM processes, removing
the /var/lib/rpm/__* and rebuilding the rpmdb. Putting the (now cheap) oil
into the fire would be a solution: rpm5.org solved the above mentioned very
annoying issue already years ago. But yes I know, some yum developing and
supporting individuals don't like the rpm5.org project by other individuals
even not honoring their work, but even not backporting the fixes, developed
there to solve old problems. I don't know of any "feature" in rpm.org, that
is not already in rpm5.org; why do we put double efforts with so much delay
in rpm.org when rpm5.org already has done the work? And before I know hear
some derogatives about rpm5.org people: You're always getting the echo for
what you did, but unluckily you often do not always remember to what you
did or say before - and that AFAIK applies to all rpm5.org people related
personal issues. And if we are now RPM; are there advantages of having some
kinds of an APT API?

PackageKit, another broken software which is in a pre-bleeding edge state I
would say. PackageKit is resizing windows during installation or updating
of packages; it's resizing and thus hopping the window if I e.g. select a
package or if I click around inside of the application. That's something,
which proves, that there is no usability for end users yet. That's IMHO
more worse than alpha - but we're shipping it with releases, yay. And the
related GNOME tray utility is also slow and usually is behind the current
action...that's packagekitd, yes? One of these utilities also often blocks
the usage of yum with saying, that another application currently holds the
lock. Why are we locking something when not performing a writing action on
the RPM database? That seems to be mis-engineered very well. Independent of
that, PackageKit is somehow slow, has issues that it doesn't understand
always where it is or whether an action is already completed. Oh and it
kills my Firefox nicely during package updating, well-well done. Some more
experiences about the broken-ness are mentioned in the review of Fedora 10
on pro-linux.de (http://www.pro-linux.de/berichte/fedora10.html). Why do we
ship such software? Only because we're bleeding edge and want to beat the
guys of Ubuntu?

When talking about PackageKit, DBUS is another issue. The recent DBUS pkg
update broke PackageKit stuff - thanks to our cool QA. And clever as we
are, we did not revoke the update and we also did not push a fixed package
really immediately out after to solve this. I know, that many of the
desktop people actually love DBUS, but it is horrible stuff, which can
break down much things with lacking QA like in this case. Did you desktop
people ever think about, that DBUS is not the perfect choice for a server
system and Fedora is some kind of preview of RHEL? Yes, Fedora is not the
playground of Red Hat, but on the other hand, Fedora is - why else is Red
Hat putting efforts into Fedora if they wouldn't benefit? I really can only
hope here, that Red Hat removes much of the DBUS breakage and dumbness for
the next RHEL release and that less DBUS linked packages are making it into

And as we're cool, we need a daemon for everything: packagekitd, dbusd, hal
daemon, mcstransd, setroubleshootd, yum-updatesd - yay. And nearly every of
this daemons is written in the memory consuming python and has nice memory
leaks or other breakdown bugs. mcstransd is still slower for me (even after
the speedup somebody of the SELinux guys did) as previous implementation
without the daemon. But yes, we need daemons; restorecond would now be just
another example. I think, there's much more which can be solved without a
daemon and at least without memory-wasting worse written python. I'm aware,
that python is the Red Hat internal defacto default and that scripting is
much more faster rather coding low-level C. But lets waste ressources as
e.g. kerneloops daemon does which always consumes a bit of CPU and thus not
increases the consuming of energy in a positive way. But hey, let's create
another daemon to monitor where we're wasting and leaking memory...

Plymouth is nice - sometimes. Why did we put so much effort into that? It
does not work with many graphic cards and it doesn't make things really
faster for me. You also forgot to put a message somewhere, that hitting ESC
can abort that thing and showing the regular messages instead. But this is
what is "usability" called, when putting such an information not onto the
screen. Maybe plymouth is faster as previous stuff, possible. But compared
with the work of Arjan van de Ven, Linux developer at Intel and author of
PowerTOP, it's still slow. He's booting up an Asus EeePC within 5 seconds;
with plymouth it anyway takes a multiple of that for me. But yes, plymouth
looks nice to end users and we like to waste time for that.

When already being on booting: Does somebody remember to the Ubuntu stuff
we really needed some releases ago? I'm talking about upstart, the event
driven/based init system we've been hot to. And now? We're using the compat
mode and that's it. Everything else uses just the same compatibility mode
and AFAIK nothing in Fedora uses the "advantages" of upstart. But yes, we
are bleeding edge with that. Did it make sense? No. But we wanted it. Okay.
Why the hell did we need a event driven/based init system so much, if we
still are not using any features of it and replacing the old init skeleton
by the new things? I thought, we're bleeding edge? Looks like we only need
to have the latest sharp razor, but we're never using it for cutting. Is
upstream of upstart still alive? And is there any forward development some
where in the world?

Fedora EMEA e.V. also seems to be a mostly dead tree. Of course we have
founded the association as legal vehicle. But it would be nice to see where
my money, my membership fee, the 128 Euro per year are spent to. I now
could assume, that the money is just collected and nothing happens or some
guys of the board are buying and eating ice cream with, but I really hope
that's not true. Fedora EMEA e.V. really needs to communicate a bit more to
its members what they're doing and how the money is handled. Organisation
is lacking much transparency and about their activities. AFAIK, a mailing
list for the members of Fedora EMEA e.V. was created, I think it never was
used yet. 128 Euro per year is IMHO too much for the current level of what
seems to happen with the money. And for that money I could support the Free
Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) with multiple membership fees per year.
And sorry, just one cool bathrobe isn't a good reason for spending 128 Euro
away per year. Without enough transparency and communication, it's like
throwing the money out of the window of my room.

If you're reading this, you've hopefully read all I wrote above. The main
issue is, that all of the issues are known (if you try to tell me something
else you're either blind and deaf-mute or you don't care about Fedora that
much) - to their leader/owner and to others inside of the Fedora Project.
But nobody really follows, is having a look to these issues and problems or
even takes care of it...why? I think, this should be the job of the Fedora
Project leader, shouldn't it? I don't want to blame neither Paul nor Max in
this e-mail, I think everybody of us needs to be more sensitive to issues
around the Fedora Project and needs to take more care before developing or
forking something. And things exist, we don't need to re-invent always the
wheel just because it's cool and bleeding edge. More work to get patches to
upstream and so would avoid some of the pseudo-forks on Fedora Hosted as
well. We definately need Open Communication, not only Open Source. But as
it seems, even Fedora Talk didn't help that until now. So maybe the "f" of
Free spech got lost somewhere in the latest slogan redesign?

Oh...I'm really sorry now, that I used the phrase "bleeding edge" together
with "Fedora" and that I called "Fedora" as "bleeding edge". I already got
dispraised multiple times by individuals (eg. as part of the Fedora website
team), that I think, Fedora is bleeding edge. If you've really read all of
my irony, frustration, comments and suggestions above, you should have to
agree with me, that Fedora is "bleeding edge". Fedora is far away from
stable, it's a sharp razor with many edges where somebody can be easily cut
with - and that's why we mostly like it.

My points above are what Fedora makes sucking for me - or why I am NOT
Fedora! At least I'm thinking that. Maybe you're thinking about my e-mail
before replying. I would also like to hear comments (even private ones) by
the affected parts of the Fedora Project. Thanks for taking the time.


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