Comment about ESR leaving Fedora

Eric S. Raymond announced at the fedora devel list that he will leave the distribution as a user, turning to Ubuntu. While some of his points are understandable there is a thing or two where he is plain wrong fact wise.

One of ESR’s reasons are proprietary codecs – it is well known that he supports such stuff on Linux machines. In this regard Fedora is not the best choice since these are forbidden and will never be integrated. Alternative repositories are not really a solution since they have to be configured manually and are mostly managed by individuals or small groups. There are ambitions to integrate a new proprietary codec help wizard into Fedora 7, but that might not be enough if you have ESR’s point of view.

His opinion about RPM/Yum is also a bit rough and not taking recent efforts into account:

Allowing RPM development to drift and stagnate — then adding
another layer of complexity, bugs, and wretched performance with yum.

The stagnation of RPM came to an end, there is the new RPM development process now. Also, the “second layer of complexity” has to be there because RPM manages the packages themselves while yum manages the software and the repositories. It is the same on dpkg/apt platforms. Ok, yum is a bit slow, but on the other hand it has some very impressing features comparable systems don’t have.

But there is one thing I do not agree with at all – and I actually don’t understand:

Effectively abandoning the struggle for desktop market share.

That is plain wrong. Fedora does a lot to improve the desktop and the desktop experience, and integrates new tools and possibilities all the time. Here is a (not complete) set of examples with explanation:
AIGLX – Everyone knows it, there is only to say that Xgl is not the way to got atm because it brakes with compatibility and is more like a technical experiment and a outlook to future ways of making a X server.
NetworkManager – The NetworkManager was created to get an easy and automatic interface to deal with different, changing networks. It does everything for you, starting with key management up to automatically changing networks when you change your place or plug/unplug something. Most Linux laptop users most likely use this program.
X.Org configuration – Look at a xorg.conf file of a FC6 installation, and you will be surprised. Fedora does a lot of work to improve the automatic configuration of the X system. This work was integrated into X.Org v7.2, but Fedora will try to even backport some of the new RandR bits into X.Org 7.2 for FC 7.

These are important improvements especially targeted at desktop users, and no one else. The other distributions picked up these developments eventually.

Well, I guess ESR puts more weight into proprietary codecs and easy accessibility of them then into desktop experience besides codecs.


5 thoughts on “Comment about ESR leaving Fedora”

  1. what surprises me it’s that kind of “noobie” approach to the problem …. his reported assertion are like the ones I hear “on the street” and not the one of the professionals.

    mumble, mumble …

  2. Liquidat:
    Says this SUSE guy, Fedora is a fine distro with a solid culture behind it. When someone in their community makes a mistake, generally they acknowledge the error and try to correct it. They are very clear and open about their objectives for Fedora. And, they are inclusive. So when Eric leaves Fedora with a “Goodbye, Fedora” announcement, it smells a lot more like someone trying to keep his public persona afloat than someone trying to affect change. Maybe I’m wrong, but publicly announcing one’s switch to Ubuntu just seems so slashdigg-ready, you know?

  3. @Ted: yes, you’re right, I had a similar thought, also because I haven’t heard anything from ESR lately.
    But, who cares, he is not *that* important anymore 😀

  4. It’s just so odd, Ubuntu takes as much a hardline stance against commercial codecs as Fedora.

    Anyways I still use Ubuntu myself though. I prefer apt-get and don’t use Fedora but I don’t understand his argument..

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