Thursday, October 12, 2006

about leaving

I've read quite a few blog posts about someone leaving Debian and whether they should remain on Debian planet. An official policy on these matters has now been posted which stated what I expected, if you feel that you belong and meet technical criteria then you are welcome.

Not that this solves much, the next debate will be about what content is suitable for Debian-planet with the expected answer being "anything which meets technical criteria and doesn't offend many people or break any laws". I've already had some comments on my blog from people who want me to change topics. I don't know if other people get this or whether doing an average of one post per day gets me more attention from the loons.

I started blogging after leaving Red Hat. I considered asking for my blog to be added to the Fedora Planet, but wasn't sure whether I would be posting much about it. I just checked and it seems that my old Advogato blog is aggregared on the Fedora Planet and there is no mailto URL on that site to allow me to get it changed. I've just put a final blog entry on Advogato to inform everyone of the change.

I'm not sure if it's worth adding my blog to the Fedora syndication. I have just decided to change my main desktop machine from Rawhide to Debian/unstable. The reason is that Fedora is mostly a Gratis distribution and Debian is more Libre. For most computer users there is no real difference as they don't have the skills to use the liberty that Debian offers. But for people who can code (note that we are in a small minority of computer users) the difference is significant.

The final issue that forced me to this decision is this bugzilla entry about Xen. In Debian there are kernels for Xen on i686, Xen on AMD K7, and Xen on i686 with vserver (doesn't Xen make vserver redundant?). In Fedora there will be one Xen kernel which won't boot on the machine that is most important to me and which ironically is the machine that was issued to me by Red Hat (and sold to me when I left).

This issue of a lack of choice is quite understandable from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux side of things. It's OK to say to a customer who wants to pay for a RHEL-AS license that they need a machine less than 3 years old if they want to use all the features. Adding new kernels adds support costs and I think that most RHEL customers want to have a smaller set of supported options with a higher level of support. I often recommend RHEL to clients and I will recommend that clients use Xen on RHEL-5 - and that they purchase recent hardware to do so.

But for home and hobby use it's a different matter. I provide all the support I need, I can compile my own kernels without much effort - but it saves time to have someone else do it. Fedora simply lacks choice here by design. I still support a bunch of Fedora and RHEL machines and will still develop RPMs for them. I will put everything I develop under for anyone who wants it.

Given that if the Fedora Planet people want to syndicate my blog I am more than happy to have them do so. I don't dislike Fedora, in fact I still recommend that people use it. It's just that Debian suits my personal needs better than Fedora does. I expect that I'll have more Debian content than Fedora content on my blog, but there will also be a lot of Linux content that's not distribution specific.

It will be interesting to see what the Fedora Planet people do.


samfw said...

wrt what the fedora people will do, i would say that it sounds like you are an active fedora advocate and encourage people to use the distribution. Therefore I would say it's perfectly appropriate to have you on fedora planet. the fact that your still putting together rpms means that your site is a great resource for people... didn't realize you had moved on, but i for one would be curious to see some thoughts on comparing debian to fedora in detail...

Kevin Kofler said...

Fedora does care about freedom. For example, they removed OpenMotif from Rawhide in time for FC6 because it is not Free Software. The guidelines for both Core and Extras clearly disallow non-Free software. So I must say I don't understand the "Fedora is mostly a Gratis distribution" point of view.

Anonymous said...

I would hate to see your feed pulled from planet.d.o. Sure I may not want to see your giant semi-bearded head every day, but posts like that give you a humanity that can't be found in boring dry technical details. If I wanted dry technical blogs I could subscribe to any number of changelogs.

Chris said...

> The reason is that Fedora is mostly a Gratis distribution and Debian is more Libre.

Could you give an example? If anything, I've found Fedora more restrictive (e.g. not shipping ntfsprogs) as well as equally against things like encumbered multimedia codecs and firmware..

Anonymous said...

Well, one thing's for sure: we need to get Planet to fix the funky URL issues.

And, oh, yeah, examples of how Fedora is more "gratis" than "libre" would be awesome -- because I just don't buy it, dude.

Vinci said...

Except on the point of Xen I mostly have similar thoughts about Fedora. But I also think that Debian is not really more free. it is VERY democratic and in a sense that i think is not so positive, because it does not mean that everybody can contribute. Fedora neither. But about Debian I think those things mentioned here: are just sick. I sticked to use Fedora even though I do not like the concept of meritocracy very much (like it is defined here: ) I think today communities are changing quickly and I see similar problems in Fedora Project like in Wikipedia (this debate:
What you are is really an inclusionist( You also think that it is better to include more and not always have the best quality as to only have limited support for hardware or to rather not include what can not be supported NOW.

I think there is no real YES/NO answer to such problems. I think the best is to have a big pool of options or content and to then refine it. So thats what Ubuntu did with Debian! Fedora and RHEL share many values and I think Fedora is much more like RHEL as it is like Debian, including the meritocracy.

I think we need both and I really think it is more important that all users and developers on Linux come together as to have flame wars about the rigth distribution. I think we need the anarchy, the democracy and the meritocracy without a user being kept in one distribution . Thats where we are today. I hope this gets better.

Anonymous said...

Xen does *not* make vserver redundant. They each solve a unique problem. So much so that you can run vservers inside of xen and this is also not redundant, but rather quite useful.

I'm sad that all the big money behind Xen's marketing has made it so people don't even know about the community Linux-Vserver project and have no idea how it is different.

Anonymous said...

I would definitely like to re-enforce the fact that vserver is by any means "redundant" or "obsolete".

With vserver, I can quickly create sandboxes without having to (re)install anything. I uses little more than a few processes in terms of resources, as opposed to having a chunk of memory taken away by xen.

I prefer to use vserver to solve my server sandboxing needs over xen.
I overlay a writable layer on top of a read only layer using bind mounts.
Works like a train...

Xen doesn't even work for me in FC6. It sits there and hangs and does nothing, very annoying and feels super fragile. Vserver has been very robust. Easy choice to me...