A recently shipped kernel update for Fedora 8 and Fedora 9 broke the wireless support for many users. While an update is already on the way, this shows how difficult it is to provide bleeding edge packages.
One of the greatest features of Fedora is that almost all packages are bleeding edge. And one of the worst bugs in Fedora is that almost all packages are bleeding edge.
This was proven again some days ago, when a kernel update was shipped for security reasons: besides the security patch there were a set of not tested patches included in the new version as well in the new kernel. And that broke encrypted wireless for quite some people.
As described in bug 453390 the bug is well known and updates are already available. But many people might not find that bug report in Bugzilla and will only wonder what happened. In case of myself the wireless network sometimes works (1 out of 10) and I was already wondering if my hardware broke somehow until I discovered the above linked bug report. However, if you run into that bug, just update to the newest kernel in testing and re-try accessing the encrypted wireless network.
However, this shows that having a bleeding edge system can bring up yet unknown problems. Some might think that this could have be avoided by using only strongly tested software versions. But first that takes time, and second, again you need testers. The reason that other distributions can ship such stable packages is in fact that for example Fedora has a large amount of users who are willing to use recent package versions – and test them by using them.
But another way to avoid stupid and silly bugs like this one can be caught by automated tests. Unfortunately, currently Linux seems to lack such wide spread automated testing system.