1x19: Fedora Murder Trial

The whole team return (remarkably) to speak, weirdly, only about things beginning with the letter F. Bryan Lunduke, Jono Bacon, Jeremy Garcia, and Stuart Langridge present Bad Voltage, with the following "F-ing" things:

  • Fire Phone: Amazon release a phone, and we decide whether it's exciting or execrable
  • Firefox OS: the Mozilla project's phone OS, reviewed by Stuart and discussed by everybody
  • Freshmeat: the late-90s web store of software for Linux has finally closed its doors. Reminiscence, combined with some thoughts on how and why the world has moved on
  • Fedora Project Leader: Matthew Miller, the newly-appointed leader of the Fedora Linux project, speaks about the direction that distribution is planning, working with large communities, and whether his job should be decided by a Thunderdome-style trial by combat
  • err... our Fabulous community: we catch up with what's going on

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I use linux for the last 5-6 years now and i don’t know Freasmeat at all. In every wiki or forum they link to an .deb or told my to use something like synaptics. I don’t think i use “make” for more than 5 times and half of the times something went terrible wrong and i can’t use the software. :smiley:
Was kind of fun to hear you guys talking about “the old times” :wink:

I am skeptical if choosing a desktop environment and calling it a day garners you any new users or make a chunk of Linux users switch to your product. I am not sure if market share of Ubuntu has increased as a result of switch to Unity.

It is fine to choose a consisted environment for your product but I think folks in Linux community prefer personal touch over a standard environment.

Ubuntu or Fedora pushing KDE or XFCE off the cliff are only alienating their best products.

I’m sure that folks in the existing Linux community do. I am not at all sure that the seven billion other people in the world want that. And Fedora are at least conceivably going after new users, not just trying to make the product better for the existing users – we asked @mattdm about that.

Um. If KDE is “the best product” then you think that there’s a best standard environment too, right?

I am not at all sure that the seven billion other people in the world want that.

I think the acquisition of next billion other people will happen as a result of availability of an excellent catalog of software but we keep creating new distributions and desktop environments.

Most new folks who will be using Linux will not buy hardware, download ISOs, burn it on a disc and spend numerous hours getting it to work. So I think Fedora releasing 1 ISO instead of 5 has hardly been a reason for it not being able get more users.

That’s a massively important critical point, and we need that and do not have it, but it’s not enough. Otherwise everyone would still be using Windows, no? I mean, you’d be using Windows. That’s where all the software is.

@sil compared something in the show to a restaurant that serves dead stray cats and road kill. Where would that be? Do they make tacos? :smile:

Reminds me of the story of the guy that would carry a can of pavement marking paint with him to work every morning. When he would see some road kill, he would spray a circle around it. That way, on the way home, if he found some without the circle, he would know it was fresh!

I think I went in that restaurant once in Dallas. :smile:

The discussion of Freshmeat really made me chuckle. The phrase “back in the day” was continually used. I know it’s all perspective and relative to Linux history, but I couldn’t help thinking “back in the day” for me in my first exposure to the computing world was a punch card with my name on it and ascii art being printed out on a screaming dot matrix printer.

However, I do pay attention when the discussion goes to Linux history. It is very interesting for me.

Not that they served road kill (I hope), but we did have a bbq restaurant here that was called “Four Legs Up.”

It appears to me the target isn’t existing Linux users. The objective is to pull over Windows and OS X users – which I’m about to argue isn’t possible without hardware partners. Existing Linux users will pick the environment that suits their needs best.

People go where the software is, sure, but developers go where the people are.

I think the only way Linux will be in the hands of regular computer users will only happen with hardware manufacturers. Most personal computer users are not distro hoppers. They bought a computer that had Windows on it when they got it. They’re not about to dump Windows for some “nerdy” OS when Windows is working just fine for them.

You could say that Chromebooks are a good example of this. People buy them because they get the job done – not because there’s Linux on there.

You are right. I don’t think Fedora is going to gain any new users. They will end up losing some.

@mattdm wants to focus on developers but as a new part-time Android developer I find Gnome too cumbersome. Profession software are hefty they have lots of tabs, emulators running, graphic software running, etc. The whole idea of full-screen apps doesn’t sell well.

General users will not adopt Fedora until it is easy to install MS Fonts, Steam, Bumblebee, Nvidia, codecs etc. which will not be possible.

Other Fedora special group teams will keep producing Spins. They will just be kicked off official page which sucks.

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How true that is. This reminds me of the first time I installed Linux to dual-boot. I was so afraid of loosing everything. I almost didn’t go through with it. And even now, that fear is in the back of my mind when I have bought a new machine and want to dual-boot. Guess if I wasn’t so cheap, I would buy a dedicated Linux machine.

This is the nugget that is most important. Frankly, most users don’t give a crap about switching between desktop environments or big details about what the platforms do. They care about apps, and they will go where they can get their apps.

I think this is where Fedora is at a key point in their history. Yes, Ubuntu made a bold decision in its strategy, and a bunch of people left because of it, but I think in terms of the offering that Ubuntu has right now, it is much clearer, more consistent, and has a better opportunity for success. Ubuntu is more unique, Fedora…if I am being blunt…is just another distro. I see no compelling reason to use Fedora, compared to say…for example…OpenSuSE. Ubuntu is not there yet, but I think the potential in its future is greater.

@sil have always been aligned on this…distros need to make tough decisions, and that will piss some people off, but they need to make those decisions to be competitive.

Without doing something very different, it seems that most all these distros can be considered ‘also ran’. The differences between most of them seem, to me, to be very minor. So, taking a gamble, such as Ubuntu did, is what needs to be done. Maybe Fedora can differentiate itself from the pack too. Whether it will pay off, only time will tell.

People like me (ok, almost nobody is like me) don’t care much for things other than getting things done and doing so without much hassle. That’s what I look for in a distro. Install easy, use easy and… make ice cream (now that would be great).

Agreed. This is the challenge though: the general public has this view…just get on with your life and get things done, but the Open Source and Linux enthusiast base are much more opinionated in what they “need”. Hell, Ubuntu suffered for months because we moved the windows buttons from one side of the window to the other. The only people that really cared about that were enthusiasts; the general public just don’t care.

Now, Ubuntu made the difficult decision that, frankly, Ubuntu doesn’t care about being the best choice of the enthusiast…it cares about being a powerful general purpose Operating System. It took remarkable balls to do this, and was an infuriating experience. I suspect that Fedora does not want to replicate the experience, even though I think it would be good for them.

I don’t understand why these enthusiasts wouldn’t welcome a distro for the “masses”. It’s not like the distros that they favor will go away because of such. And, it would raise the awareness of Linux that others may start with such and be inspired to go on to something in line with the enthusiasts. That is what I really appreciate about the FOSS approach. If you want, you can take the kernel/source code and make a distro that exactly fits you. A big distro that us stupid people like will not prevent that at all. That I would be looked down on or ridiculed for using such a distro, well,as I look at it, don’t they have better things to do with their time and energy than paying attention to what I do?

Neither do I. It is nonetheless the case. PC Advisor (I think) did a series called “30 days with Linux” using Ubuntu and were dogpiled in the comments every time they said anything, negative or positive, by Linux people saying that they should have used a different distro. Reddit’s /r/ubuntu sees countless posts from new users of Ubuntu where the comments devolve into calls for this new user to use one of a bewildering variety of other desktop environments. Posts in praise of Unity get a similar treatment. I myself have basically arrived at the point where I’m not all that interested in being pat of such discussions and just walk away rather than embroil myself, similarly to how I feel about left-wing political discussions which have the same “eat our young” quality.

I totally agree and that is what was so infuriating about that whole experience. Some (certainly not all) Linux fans were frankly technical elitists who claimed that we were “dumbing down” Ubuntu. In my mind their views were contrary to the real opportunity of Open Source; to bring technical freedom to anyone, not just those with technical chops.

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