The Fedora 12 Installing Saga

And so, long story short, we decided to revert the change for F12.

Part of being an open source maintainer (and also my job at Red Hat) is to ignore trolls, but some of the messages I was getting yesterday were just personal attacks and abuse. That’s not cricket at all.

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Richard has over 10 years of experience developing open source software. He is the maintainer of GNOME Software, PackageKit, GNOME Packagekit, GNOME Power Manager, GNOME Color Manager, colord, and UPower and also contributes to many other projects and opensource standards. Richard has three main areas of interest on the free desktop, color management, package management, and power management. Richard graduated a few years ago from the University of Surrey with a Masters in Electronics Engineering. He now works for Red Hat in the desktop group, and also manages a company selling open source calibration equipment. Richard's outside interests include taking photos and eating good food.

13 thoughts on “The Fedora 12 Installing Saga”

  1. Not related to the current issue, but of course all that it takes to be a good dictator is to
    * not justify your decisions
    * label everyone who doesn’t share your opinion as either troll or moron

    Unfortunately it is easy for users to get the impression that the maintainers are dictators in this regard, “they do what they want”, “they ignore my profound critics”, “they don’t even bother to explain why they changed something that worked fine for years (for that user) and that now impacts (the users’s) daily work”

    Some of the major ones that hurt the casual user and created the impression that the maintainers wouldn’t care: pulseaudio (broken, unusable mixer applications – just wasn’t ready for the desktop yet) – and why can’t I put the volume icon where I want it to be?

    gnome-power-manager/devicekit: Why yet another abstraction layer that doesn’t recognize the battery’s status, whereas hal/acpi don’t have any problem with it. Why can’t I suspend/hibernate from the applet anymore?

    These are end-user’s questions. Developer’s are more tough – just need to remember a glibc → eglibc that perfectly reflects the “Maintainer is the Dictator” view, usually resulting in split efforts/a fork.

    So yes: Ignoring the complainers is a big part of every maintainer’s job. But there would be less of those if they’d knew the reasoning behind those changes. (And that requires putting up your decision finding process in a visible place and formulating it clearly, in easy to understand words)

    Bottom line: Don’t get discuraged by the trolls – but try to understand what makes them become trolls in your eyes.
    And especially: Always try not to take it personally.

  2. That sucks, the way people were being so rude. PackageKit isn’t perfect, but it’s getting better by huge leaps every Fedora release, and it solves a real problem. Don’t let those petty, non-contributing piles of FAIL which we call trolls get you down too much!

  3. Personal attacks are not warranted, but reverting this change was the right choice. I recognise that having to authenticate when installing packages is a big problem for some, but increasing the possible attack surface for local root exploit by orders of magnitude is a huge problem for many.

  4. I think the work you (and the rest of the Fedora team) do is outstanding! You’re truly making Linux better for desktop users. Hopefully some positive comments on this post will restore the karma of the fedoraverse.

  5. Thanks for your work. I upgraded two F11 machines to F12 the other day and there were no fireworks or disasters, just a few minor things that should be expected from any OS upgrade.

    WRT the package installation thing, I think reverting it was the right thing to do. The longer term solution is to probably empower certain users or groups with an install priv through an easy to use “parental control” gui.

  6. Hey Richard, so here’s a big tap on your back for fantastic work done. You know, for a change. Keep rocking!

  7. Just wanted to echo the thoughts of the other comments. Figured encouragement from a random lurker would help offset the abuse.

    You’ve done a fabulous job of making the Gnome/Fedora desktop better, regardless of any bumps along the way.

    You rock. Keep it up!

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