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

As Jeff noted in his email after I started composing this, this is
very rambling.  I've attempted to reply to every point in this mail
that I feel I'm qualified to. Maybe we could split this out into major

On Mon, Dec 8, 2008 at 7:25 PM, Robert Scheck <robert fedoraproject org> wrote:
> 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.

I'll reply where I feel I'm qualified here.

> 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... ;-)

Nah, this sort of feedback is extremely valuable, and I'm really happy
that you took the time to write it.  Without honest, frank feedback
about where we're going wrong, there's nothing that we can do to

> 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.

I have no firsthand knowledge of this beyond what anybody else does.
However, there is likely still an investigation ongoing into what
happened. As such, it would be inappropriate to share information
about it until law enforcement is complete with their work (which they
are not known to be fast about), and the lawyers say what's OK to
share without spoiling any possible litigation.

> 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.

Unfortunately, I am one of those people that only speaks American
English. However, if I were German and being forced to read phrases
that I didn't understand because they were translated poorly, I'd
attempt to correct the translation. If the local leader feels this is
OK, I would take the matter to FLSCo, and attempt to assume the leader
role yourself (if you have the time and desire to do so).  If you
don't have the time, find someone else who shares your views, and work
with them.

> 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's are as slow as the reader, which is agonizingly slow on any
computer, not really restricted to older ones.  Obviously newer
computers would probably have faster drives, more RAM, etc, and I've
found various LiveCD's acceptable on newer hardware. I unfortunately
don't have anything to test on that would be considered "older
hardware" - I did before I moved to a tiny apartment, but that stuff
had to stay behind :)

> 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,

I agree that this is unfortunate, and also note that Ubuntu does a
better job than we do in this area, with a menu to select the language
when booting the Live CD. Maybe something that could be worked on.  If
you have experience, feel free to pitch in! I've not engaged in a
comparison between the Ubuntu Live CD and ours, however I'm assuming
that they sacrifice a lot of functionality on the Live CD in order to
have room for the various languages. Everything is a trade-off,

> 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

What can be offered is a torrent, not ideal but better than nothing.

> 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

In what way does it not help?

> 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?

I'm not familiar with that.

> 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...

I certainly don't think that, even though I'm an American.  This
really falls into the area of usability and QA.  Most of our QA
contributors are in the US, and I didn't have as much time as I would
have liked this time around due to $DAYJOB constraints.  However, my
local mirror is set up in MirrorManager, such that it gets delivered
to me first in mirrorlists, so I likely wouldn't have noticed this
anyway, unfortuantely.
> 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 was designed for use in Fedora Infrastructure, which
happens to run on RHEL5.  No one ever claimed that it was possible to
run it on RHEL4, however efforts were made to get it working for you.

> 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

If I recall, you were attempting to make it do things that it was not
ever designed or purported to be able to do.

> 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.

Note that the author of MM (Matt Domsch), while I don't like to speak
for him, is not a python guru, just a "normal" python programmer.  You
received help from python gurus.  Also, MM was our first TurboGears
app in infrastructure, and there are surely bugs with it. Matt
graciously accepts patches.

> 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

Package pushes continue to b e a manual process. However, the last
package that I pushed took less than 24 hours.

> 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?

No need to kill bodhi, simply implement a signing server in a secure fashion.

> 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?

This sounds like a perfect opportunity for you to assume a leadership
role within the community (the second one so far in this mail!).
Fedora is a culture of contribution, if you notice problems such as
this, then it is entirely within your power to fix it. You need to
find a likeminded group of folks, and proceed to implement a solution.

> Oh, did I mention, that RPM 4.6, our dear big change in RPM at Fedora for

I can't really comment on this.
> PackageKit, another broken software which is in a pre-bleeding edge state I

Again, I can't really comment on this except for the last part.  We
are not wanting to "beat" Ubuntu to anything - there's not an arms
race here or anything like that.  We are simply normally the first to

> 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

Unfortunately I don't think that I can tell from bodhi what the
initial request for this particular update was, testing or stable.  I
suspect stable, since it was a security update, and it was pushed
within 2 hours of the update being submitted.  Therefore, there was no
opportunity for QA. However, QA is an area where we are desperately
lacking resources. Help is welcome there.

> And as we're cool, we need a daemon for everything: packagekitd, dbusd, hal
> daemon, mcstransd, setroubleshootd, yum-updatesd - yay. And nearly every of

You are free to turn them off if you find that you don't need them.
How else would you suggest we implement these services?

> 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

Please file a bug about that and see where it goes.

> 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

Ubuntu also simply uses the compatibility mode.  Some features of
upstart to enable us to make more use of it did not make it into 0.5,
so we're continuing in compatibility mode.  Casey Dahlin could shed
more light on this.

> 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

Interesting, I thought that it was going well.  Perhaps you should ask
FAmSCo to enlighten us here?

> 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.

There are several issues noted above where *you* could be the
leader/owner if you wanted to be, and I would encourage that, and will
help in any way that I can.

> 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

I really don't think that the FPL could possibly personally oversee
each and every thing that goes on in Fedora, his job is to make sure
overall things are going in the right direction.  However, I expect
Paul to respond to this once he's had a chance to digest it (note that
this response has taken me over an hour to write).

> 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?

Communication is an area where any distributed organization could
undoubtedly do better. Fedora is no exception. This was recently
mentioned in the election townhalls, for instance.

> 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

I think that Fedora is "the best of what works today", and that
involves being on the leading edge of advancement in the FOSS
community. Does this mean that a little blood is necessarily shed from
time to time?  Absolutely.  However, it also doesn't mean Fedora is
hemorrhaging :)

> the affected parts of the Fedora Project. Thanks for taking the time.

I'd like to thank you for taking the time to write this!

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