Skip to comments.ESR gives up on Fedora
Posted on 02/21/2007 7:53:22 AM PST by N3WBI3
After thirteen years as a loyal Red Hat and Fedora user, I reached my limit today, when an attempt to upgrade one (1) package pitched me into a four-hour marathon of dependency chasing, at the end of which an attempt to get around a trivial file conflict rendered my system unusable.
The proximate causes of this failure were (1) incompetent repository maintenance, making any nontrivial upgrade certain to founder on a failed dependency, and (2) the fact that rpm is not statically linked -- so it's possible to inadvertently remove a shared library it depends on and be unrecoverably screwed. But the underlying problems run much deeper.
Over the last five years, I've watched Red Hat/Fedora throw away what was at one time a near-unassailable lead in technical prowess, market share and community prestige. The blunders have been legion on both technical and political levels. They have included, but were not limited to:
* Chronic governance problems. * Persistent failure to maintain key repositories in a sane, consistent state from which upgrades might actually be possible. * A murky, poorly-documented, over-complex submission process. * Allowing RPM development to drift and stagnate -- then adding another layer of complexity, bugs, and wretched performance with yum. * Effectively abandoning the struggle for desktop market share. * Failure to address the problem of proprietary multimedia formats with any attitude other than blank denial.
In retrospect, I should probably have cut my losses years ago. But I had so much history with Red-Hat/Fedora, and had invested so much effort in trying to fix the problems, that it was hard to even imagine breaking away.
If I thought the state of Fedora were actually improving, I might hang in there. But it isn't. I've been on the fedora-devel list for years, and the trend is clear. The culture of the project's core group has become steadily more unhealthy, more inward-looking, more insistent on narrow "free software" ideological purity, and more disconnected from the technical and evangelical challenges that must be met to make Linux a world-changing success that liberates a majority of computer users.
I have watched Ubuntu rise to these challenges as Fedora fell away from them. Canonical's recent deal with Linspire, which will give Linux users legal access to WMF and other key proprietary codecs, is precisely the sort of thing Red-Hat/Fedora could and should have taken the lead in. Not having done so bespeaks a failure of vision which I now believe will condemn Fedora to a shrinking niche in the future.
This afternoon, I installed Edgy Eft on my main development machine -- from one CD, not five. In less than three hours' work I was able to recreate the key features of my day-to-day toolkit. The after-installation mass upgrade to current packages, always a frightening prospect under Fedora, went off without a hitch.
I'm not expecting Ubuntu to be perfect, but I am now certain it will be enough better to compensate me for the fact that I need to learn a new set of administration tools.
Fedora, you had every advantage, and you had my loyalty, and you blew it. And that is a damn, dirty shame.
Eric S. Raymond
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< New Mono release lets VB developers compile under Linux | InstallJammer, a self-executing installer for Linux > Comments on ESR gives up on Fedora Post to discussion - Log in/Create an Account - Return to top level - 9 comments - Search Discussion Display Options: The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way. ESR - professional blowhard (Neutral) By Anonymous Reader on 2007.02.21 9:46 (#96226) Why does ESR need to send out this letter to multiple news outlets when he makes a personal decision regarding his distro needs? Really, the man holds himself in too high regard. Apparently, he thinks he is so important that his use/disuse of Fedora can be used as a mode of attack. [ Reply to This ]
* Re:ESR - professional blowhard by Anonymous Reader (Neutral) 2007.02.21 10:15
So??? (Neutral) By Anonymous Reader on 2007.02.21 9:53 (#96227) What exactly does ESR want to achieve by sending out this letter? It makes him sound like a total script kiddie eager for attention.
[ Reply to This ]
* Re:So??? by Anonymous Reader (Neutral) 2007.02.21 10:02 * Re:So??? by Anonymous Reader (Neutral) 2007.02.21 10:05 o Re:So??? by Anonymous Reader (Neutral) 2007.02.21 10:18
Feel Better Now? (Neutral) By Anonymous Reader on 2007.02.21 10:02 (#96229) Well, that's a nice rant. Do you feel better now?
While I've not used Fedora, I gave up on Red Hat when they started Fedora, I feel your pain. But, the fact of the matter is that I have had the same experience with every distribution I have ever used and felt the same way that you describe about each of the distributions. If you use any distribution for a while, sooner or later, you will encounter the dependency nightmare described. Ubuntu and Debian are no exception. Sooner or later you'll break the system with some package or module that you have to compile from source.
In fact Debian and to a lesser extent Ubuntu are even more guilty of the inward looking purist mentality that you describe. It is a wide spread disease spreading throughout the open source community. 'My way is the only way and if you don't like it, you can write your own.' Or, 'my way is superior so, I'd rather reinvent the wheel, even if it hampers development for another ten years'. Just look at the recent spat with Linux and Gnome!
You can rant all you like, they won't miss you. They're probably muttering good riddance right now. Remember, their way is the only right way. So says Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, openSuSE, Gentoo, Gnome and most of the others.
Finally. Just to head off the fanboy posts: You would never have had this problem if only you had used my favorite $DISTRO_NAME Linux.
If you are interested in the OSS ping list please mail me
Linux has technical problems and difficulty keeping a large and complex O/S all playing nicely together? Who'da thunk it? ;-)
Of course, they do have a much better excuse for their problems than MS does, since Linux developers aren't all working for the same boss.
Fedora Core was my first Linux distro and I had the same problems with dependencies. After that I dabbled in BSD, Slackware, and finally Gentoo.
The biggest problem I tend to have is that I like to install software, play with it and then, often, blow it away. Fedora just couldn't take it.
I have been disappointed with the last release of Fedora, maybe Ill give something else a try. But I have never had nay serious dep problems..
One really cool feature: rpm -qa --last | less
For some reason though, I don't think that this issue is limited to Fedora. IMHO, other distros such as openSuse and even Knoppix going down a similar path.
Yeah, that's something I'll look at--got a new computer and have one extra 250 and one 40.
Might work on the 40, but I'll probably need an USB to IDE adapter. I'm still in my folks' house, and they're definitely not thrilled I prefer to run Linux.
I have no love for M$ but Windows 2000 and XP are very easy to install software on. I installed Win 2000 and all necessary drivers on a Dell Latitude c600 today. The hard drive was blank. No problems at all nor with the software I also put on
Any way Fedora can make use of YaST repos?
Ive never tried but Im pretty sure it can though I would be surpised if there was an RPM out there for it so youll have to do a configure, make, makeinstall on it.
Since YaST repos contain RPM's for Suse, and since I had no problems installing Fedora RPMs on Suse, I wasn't sure whether the vice-versa was true.
I've been using RH since version 5 and have been appalled at Fedora's instability.
It's a bit to early to call the situation hopeless, but it should never have come as far as it has.
Not according to the article, which was written by a very well known Linux expert.
To quote, "an attempt to upgrade one (1) package pitched me into a four-hour marathon of dependency chasing, at the end of which an attempt to get around a trivial file conflict rendered my system unusable."
I have posted a movies to you of an upgrade in process.. ESR does things well beyond what 99.99% of users will be doing.
Fedora has problems. RPM hell is a well-known problem on Fedora, which is RedHat's experimental sandbox. If you want real stability, use RH Enterprise.
APT on the Debian-based distros don't have this problem. I lost an entire RPM database back in the RH8 days. I left for Debian and haven't looked back.
I've poked and dabbled with various distros here and there. Fedora was looking like the most Windows-newbie friendly one so far. ...but I never tried any RPM upgrades either, just the packages that came on the original ISO image. :-/
Now, I'm thinking Ubuntu's looking pretty nice.