Beyond dogfood

August 29th, 2010 | by | fedora, freesoftware

Aug
29

I don’t usually like to do a me-too post, but mizmo is right on again with her thoughts on jcm’s post. I raised a similar question at a town hall meeting earlier this year – basically, asking if Fedora is really suitable for day-to-day use as a primary desktop. My personal situation is much like some of those who answered, that it works for me but that I would find it difficult to recommend. There was one part of someone’s answer which particular rang true for me, which just happened be to be mizmo’s (how convenient!):

“It makes me really sad to have so many friends and family members who are highly technical and opt not to use Fedora. I know many Fedora contributors whose families use Windows, OS X, or other distros. I feel very strongly this is a problem.”

This is absolutely key. Fedora has to have a role, and I think to often the “<x> isn’t stable” and “stuff is breaking” arguments get batted away with “This isn’t RHEL/CentOS”. Without being strongly usable for something, fewer people will be tempted to use it.

So I would like to make my technical feature plea, along similar lines to the comments about updates. Right now, Fedora revs extremely often, and isn’t supported for long. Yet, the major version upgrade story is really pretty sorry – even with preupgrade. It’s not straightforward to upgrade to a new version and quite often packages will break.

If we’re keeping up this pace, I think it should be much more incumbent on Fedora as a whole to make major version upgrades clean and easy. Packagers should be testing this constantly. I saw figures recently about versions of Fedora being pulled by yum updates, and it didn’t look pretty reading. If Fedora is about being “First” we have to bring users with us.

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2 Responses to “Beyond dogfood”

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  1. DDD says:

    Meh… Ironically, the biggest problem IMO is not what is missing, but what hasn’t been ripped out of Fedora’s default install.

    Look at an iPad. Far fewer features, yet so much easier for non-technical people to use. After all, the App store was yum/apt on Linux first.

    Fewer features of course equals a lot easier to ensure that it stays working… Maybe we need a spin of Fedora that has OpenOffice and Firefox. AND NOTHING ELSE IN ANY MENU!!!

  2. I don’t think that the situation “works for me but that I would find it difficult to recommend” is specific to Fedora. I find it difficult to recommend ANY distribution of Linux, not just Fedora. The reason is that I want to avoid being a free support contact. When a question arises with Windows, the computer newbie can ask practically anyone. But Linux questions can be directed only to me.

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