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What will Fedora be?

I popped the question back in July on FAB about Fedora's Target market (https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-advisory-board/2007-July/msg00137.html) Since then I've seen some interesting theories about it. Combined with a bit more thinking and off-line discussions I've come up with my own theory. Part prediction and part wishful thinking, I hope others will agree.

Fedora has always been a prime breeding ground for innovation, this will continue. Fedora will become known among coders, hackers, and scholars as the OS of choice for their works.

Coders will see a few developer specific features added in the form of custom re-spins and new tools for more integrated ways of collaborating. They will find new ways to work with each other far outside of email. Fedora as an operating system will slowly become a gateway into online collaboration and into Fedora (and other OSS) contribution. I count roughly 25 source control repos being shared on fedorapeople.org already (launched just 2 months ago). Most people don't even know that git, hg, bzr, svn and cvs are installed on the box.

Hackers will be very compelled to use Fedora for it's re-spin and architecture support. dgilmore, spot and company have been hard at work to bring secondary architectures online. I predict people will see Fedora making its way onto a wide variety of exotic hardware. Secondary architecture support isn't even completed yet and there is already confirmed interest from people wanting to build Fedora for arm, ia64, sparc, s390, and alpha. This isn't people wanting Fedora for those archs, these are people wanting and willing to build it themselves. Hackers will start re-spinning their own official and non official Fedora spins including custom builds like Mythdora (Mythtv version of Fedora) and other builds that I can't even imagine right now. I predict people will be installing Fedora onto their favorite $GAMECONSOLE as well as more embedded devices like their linksys router and toaster. Why? Because we've made our process as transparent as possible and the tools we use encourage it, making it easy.

Scholars will continue to look to Fedora as a completely free operating system where brand new technologies are always available. OLPC will prove a poster child in how to customize Fedora for specific use in education. I'm confident Fedora will make its way into the classrooms it just needs a leader who's willing do the work to talk to universities to get it done (this may be closer then I know :). Scholarly technophiles will learn to look to Fedora to see what most operating systems will be like in two years. They, and others, will join Fedora making us better because they realize that as a user who's willing to contribute,they not only have a stake in the outcome of a release but can ensure that they've help make Fedora all it can be.

Further Predictions:

1) Fedora will become extremely popular in non-english speaking places. http://translate.fedoraproject.org/ will see to this.
2) In the near future speaking English will not be a requirement to join Fedora (I'm going to personally try to see to this)
3) Someone will yet again see the value in basing another enterprise version of their software off of Fedora :)
4) Fedora will be even more available in other countries. Very soon we're getting our first Chinese mirror!
5) Integration, collaboration and just being online will be easier than ever
6) Fedora as a community will grow at a faster rate then Fedora as an operating system from where it is right now.
6) Ubuntu will be called the new Windows. Fedora will be called the new Linux and I can't wait.


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 31st, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC)
the oracle of mmcgrath
I might use a few of these ideas in my Ohio Linux Fest speech. I'd better come up with something good, because Drew Curtis of FARK.com is right before me....
Aug. 31st, 2007 02:52 pm (UTC)
Fedora for coders
I am a developer. The most important, basic requirement I have is an operating system which works reliably and easy access to up-to-date development kits for libraries which my software depends upon.

Ubuntu happens to fulfil those particular requirements quite well, and is probably the reason why (using an unscientific straw poll) Ubuntu and Kubuntu appeared to be the most widely used distributions by Gnome and KDE hackers at their respective conferences this year. Plain Debian also scores well by virtue of the amount of software available.

You mentioned better collaboration as a benefit. Given the most popular tools are currently email, IRC and web-based tools such as Tracker, Bugzilla, Launchpad, Wikis etc. what can Fedora offer that other Linux distributions will not?

You mentioned custom re-spins. That might be useful for creating CDs for demos or for install on specialized hardware, but I do not see that as a reason for the majority of developers to use Fedora on their own machines. Live demo CDs etc. will probably be quite useful at events and so on, but the ability to get packages of bleeding edge or just-released stable versions of software out to users quickly is of much more importance as that facilitates testing by a wider user base. SuSE's Build Service and 'One click install' button for software from the build service is much more interesting.

An important aspect of helping keen users test new releases is to allow them to have the bleeding edge software and the stable version installed and running at the same time for comparison and safety (in case the new one has bugs which prevent them from working) or to mix and match between stable and unstable components from a software suite (obviously assuming ABI compatibility exists between the two). I do not know of a distribution which really makes this easy, but it would be very, very helpful.

In summary, targeting Fedora at developers sounds like a plan, but I am not convinced that the features you highlighted are of that much interest to us.

Aug. 31st, 2007 03:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Fedora for coders
Launchpad will soon be forgotten I think. The lack of standards of what is allowed in launch pad has given it sort of a 'sourceforge' feel. People won't know whether to trust it or not. There will be some good things but mostly crap.

By contrast hosted.fedoraproject.org has a full review and removal plan for stale projects. Additionally some of our newer tools (our VoIP server comes to mind) and future plans (like an account system will full OpenID support) will make collaborative tools work better. Once this base infrastructure is in place I'm confident more tools that we haven't even thought about yet will be here.

Also developers have always been geeks and early adopters. They will always want to try new fun things which is why I made my comparison between Ubuntu and windows. Ubuntu has committed to making their OS usable, they've included some questionable bits into their OS in the form of binary drivers and some other non-free code. They will find themselves tied to these drivers at the mercy of those that write them, unable to upgrade to new kernels and new software until those non-free bits get upgraded. They have also made changes to a lot of software in order to get it to work the way they want. But strangely many of these changes have not made it to the upstream projects or back into Debian (sure, you can find some examples where they have, but I can find more where they haven't) They can't maintain this fork forever like they have. And thus.... the new windows. It will continue to work but at the cost of being stale.

Fedora takes a very different attitude in that we always prefer to work with upstream on projects. Take a look at all the bits in ubuntu that were written by @redhat.com and @fedoraproject.org people. Then install fedora and see how many were written by @ubuntu.com
Aug. 31st, 2007 04:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Fedora for coders
I am not really interested in Ubuntu-bashing arguments which have been aired many times before, I can find plenty of those elsewhere. I was looking for pro-Fedora reasons to use the distribution, including new Fedora features, not complaints about others.

What your comments suggest to me is that if you use guesswork to try and figure out what a certain target audience is interested in (eg. developers) and what might persuade them to switch, you are going to get it wrong. In my opinion, your comments about what developers want from their own desktop OS are way off the mark.

If Fedora can agree on a target audience and goals that would be a good thing, and I think this is a notable component in the success of a certain distribution. But please, once you know which users you want target, find them and ask them about their needs. Don't speculate.

Sep. 2nd, 2007 02:26 am (UTC)
added predictions
Most fedora users will use opensuse.. i'm currently using opensuse 10.3 beta2 and way better....bye bye my old good fedora!
Sep. 2nd, 2007 07:42 am (UTC)
I doubt it. Especially the 6th point.
Yes, fedora will develop, but ubuntu will rule anyway.
And how can you call ubuntu the new windows if ubuntu and fedora use the same linux kernel. Even more, fedora runs no faster then ubuntu and fedora is mostly a testing platform for red hat. So why call ubuntu widows? because ubuntu is a bit easier to use than fedora? because it's more popular than fedora? or because you just don't like ubuntu without any "true" argument against it?
Sep. 3rd, 2007 05:58 am (UTC)
Fedora Rules.
I am not a linux geek; but throught the last two and a half years I have seen a great evolution in linux. The most important part is that Ubuntu and Suse are sellouts! They sold out to the MicroSoft lie of patent infringements. The only TRUE TO LINUX os is Redhat, Fedora, and Mandriva. The others are cheap losers who could not stand against the tides of tirrany! I know this because I was a long time Linspire user. Linspire partnered with Ubuntu, and rebuilt their os on the Ubutnu platform, then struck a patent protection agreement with MicroSoft. They are cowards. I have used Fedora for a short while now and found it more useful then Ubuntu and Kubuntu. Sorry about your luck!
Sep. 3rd, 2007 09:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Fedora Rules.
If Linspire has deals both with ubuntu and microsoft it is only Linspire to blame.
Ubuntu/Canonical has made no deals with Micro$oft and doesn't even think about it. You are definitely misinformed.
Sep. 3rd, 2007 05:44 pm (UTC)
Ubuntu, MicroSoft? What is the difference.
Oh yes, they both use the same kernel; but MicroSoft is the "General" to Ubuntu. How can you have pride in a system that has to sit on the back side of an evil entity and eat their crap(could have said something else). Another point: the yum installer in Fedora makes installing software a breeze. You do not need to hope to have the correct repositories, missing files, and you do not have to search the web endlessly finding the missing peices to a software. With Ubuntu, that happens quite a bit. With Fedora, very little. Fedora is improving hardware compatability. Kubuntu would not recognize my printer; but Fedora did. Redhat and Mandriva did as well. Why would I want to degrade myself and us a less improved Ubuntu when I can upgrade and use one of the most stable versions like Fedora, which is based on Redhat? Why would I want to compromise me integrity and use a sellout when I am trying to get away from MicroSort? I do not like MicroSoft. I have not liked them for the past 20 years. The pride of linux is to collaborate with MicroSort, not join them!
Sep. 3rd, 2007 09:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Ubuntu, MicroSoft? What is the difference.
Fedora based on Red Hat? Fedora is just a testing platform for Red Hat...

Like I said...no true argument against ubuntu...ubuntu has nothing to do with microsoft, nothing like novell, Linspire or Xandros do. Ubuntu is as free as fedora and it doesn't provide closed source codecs just like fedora. Both are binary distributions. The main difference I see is that Fedora is backed up by Red Hat and Ubuntu is backed by Canonical.

The yum point. Yum just sucks(imho). It is too slow. And it is all the way around. In ubuntu (or any other debian based distro) you never have trouble with dependencies and browsing such sites as prm.pbone.net like crazy for unsolved dependencies like you do in fedora (or other rpm based distro). That is a fact recognize even by people who choose Red Hat. Upgrade is smooth in ubuntu. I upgraded (using aptitude) without no fuss from 6.06 to 6.10 and then to 7.04..and soon to 7.10.

Ubuntu is improving hardware compatibility too. I had a case when ubuntu would recognize the printer out of box, while fedora didn't.

I also don't like Micro$oft. And if ubuntu makes a similar deal with them(like novell, linspire, xandros) I'll switch back to debian.
Sep. 3rd, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Ubuntu, MicroSoft? What is the difference.
I have had no problem with yum. Yes, Ubuntu has its good points, but few. It does not really matter, becuse it is a well known fact that Redhat is the most advance along with Fedora. I mean, Redhat is 60% of the linux market. Go to the Linspire website and see what has changed with Ubuntu when Linspire introduced the latest release of 6.0. It is Ubuntu based, and is a partner with MicroSoft. Tisk tisk. There is no need for bitterness. I do not argue, I just proved you wrong. Take it gracefully. My advice is to dig deep and start using systems before bashing them. I mean, Linspire actually has the easiest installer with the CNR systme, which Ubuntu can now benefit from. Once click, and you are done. Fedora 6 and up has that now. Go into the file system, find what you want, ckick on it to download and enter your password, and you are done. Where is that in Ubuntu? Not! I agree that Ubuntu is a good system and very stable; but they will never rule because MicroSoft is going to do to linux what they are doing to Mac and their Itunes. They are out to destroy their market with Warner. Mac partnered with them over 20 years ago, and where are they now? Mac is an excellent os; but they have struggled--and now that they have one up on MicroSoft, the big demon is going to steal that as well. That is my biggest beef with these distros. They cannot see what is coming. Yes, Ubuntu is the new Windows, and Fedora/Redhat is the new generation os. Do research. Experts will agree with that. Redhat especially has been known of being the best for years. They have a lot of experience. The rest are playing catch up; but you cannot rush progress and dependability. Look, I understand your envy, but please, grow up and let not your harsh bitterness crack everyone elses choice. Let not your immiture and myopic judgement block the true vision of linux. Be true to yourself and let the truth set you free. Being a mugwump will only shatter your dreams and fog your intellectual development. I will see if I can find help for you. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
Sep. 4th, 2007 05:03 am (UTC)
Re: Ubuntu, MicroSoft? What is the difference.
I respect what you are saying. But there is no envy from my part, just pity for you.
Sep. 4th, 2007 04:17 am (UTC)
Look, I don't think there is a need for mud slinging. We love Linux and hate MicroSoft. Both Fedora and Ubuntu are great systems. I must correct the yum mystery. Yum, in the earlier versions of Fedora were a pain and were missing a lot of dependencies. Since the release of Fedora 6, yum has been developed as a self installing program. In other words: you download a yum installation commande line and it automatically installs. Now, when you find a software you want to download, there is no need to go to terminal. It has now become an automatic installer by default. You answer a couple of questions, and your software is installed completely, and in a matter of minutes. I have had very few, very few dependency problems. No need to go to command line and use the yum install command anymore. Fedora does it automatically. Also, Ubuntu has of yet made any direct ties with MicroSoft, although through the partnership with Linspire, it is. Linspire rebuilt their system on Ubuntu--very smart; but they then partnered with MicroSoft--very careless. On the new web page, it says: Linspire 6.0 powered by Ubuntu. In the Linspire suite, there is a MicroSoft search engine by default. So, indirectly, Ubuntu did kind of partner with MicroSoft via Linspire. Ubuntu is still a good choice; but hence so is Fedora. It is a matter of preference. Let us not concern ourselves with who's right and who's wrong; but what each os can do for us instead. After all, that is what Linux is all about: choice, right? Not domination, but choice. And I'm sure we all agree that MicroSoft is not about choice.
Sep. 4th, 2007 04:59 am (UTC)
I agree with you mostly. We've made our choices, and let's not argue about who made a better choice, because our choices depend on our needs...and we have different needs.
But you miss just one point. Linspire is an independent company...it chooses the distribution to be based of. Before it was based on debian and than it chose to be based on ubuntu, but it could have chosen to be based on fedora! so what then? would you stop using fedora just because Linspire chose to be based on fedora and made a deal with micro$oft?
Sep. 5th, 2007 01:37 am (UTC)
Yes, if Linspire chose Fedora and then went along with MicroSoft, I would have definitely trashed Fedora. I would have actually chosen Ubuntu then, because I do like it. I want Linux because it is NOT MicroSoft. Let me be frank. If every Linux distro decides to concede to MicroSoft, then I will choose Mac, after all, they made the mistake first; but they are very established. Maybe you are right. Maybe Ubuntu had nothing at all to do with the Linspire MicroSoft deal, which makes Ubuntu a more positive choice for me. I do hope that Ubuntu will stay independent, because the last thing Linux needs is to be corrupted by the MicroSoft lies. I am still open to change. I like Fedora; but I aslo do like Ubuntu and Mandriva. Linspire had a good thing going. They are still a good os; they just feared the dark force. The funny thing was that just a short time ago, Kevin Carmony, President of Linspire critisized Suse(right?) for joining MicroSoft, and now look at them. That burned a whole right through me. I will check out Ubuntu a little further. I do have a disk. It does load up well. Let us all be open minded. If we close our minds, we all lose. That is what makes Linux so great. Openness and choice. Different likes, different tastes, it's all good.
Sep. 5th, 2007 11:44 pm (UTC)
what a debate!
Linux should be no room for politics like this.. everybody should cooperate and collaborate otherwise all will be doomed, we will not progress! In software world, Microsoft definitely will stay no matter how hard you push them out. We are all business.. no free beers in reality.. only free man. so i've chosen what is best, and after using debian, ubuntu hype and fedora bleeds.. i'll stay long in my shiny "opensuse", they are leading players. Let the patents play with the lawyers..
Sep. 6th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC)
I think we are all foregetting something very important here. Take away the name, the flash, the graphics, and all the other good stuff; and regardless of what it is, it is still pretty much the same kernel. So, how can one really be better than another? I agree that Linus and MicroSoft need to stay out of each others business, but even then, those os's still use the same kernel. Each may vary; but are all basically the same. One uses RPM, while another uses Yum, yet another apt-get, and then up2date. Big deal. This is all the end user's preference, not the majority ruling. Let us continue having discussions, not bashings! Why give MicroSoft any more fuel than it already has? We all agree on one thing: Linux Rules! And personally, I beleive once everyone see the same vision we do, they will too. It will happen. Linux will rise to the occasion and beat down the tirrany that MicroSoft has held for so long, and they will run like cowards. Just see what they are doing now? They are hitting below the belt now simply because they don't know how to fight fairly, and, most importanty, because they are LOOSING! I'm lovin' it.
Oct. 22nd, 2007 05:40 am (UTC)
Re: Yeh!
You're right. I agree. I do want to assert my opinion. I started out with Lindows 4.5. At the time, it was the easiest--back in 2004. When Linspire 5.0 came out, I was impressed. It was easy to install and recognized my wifi. When it changed to 6.0, they partnered with MicroSoft and no longer recognized my wifi. At the time, Ubuntu was still experimenting with new technology. I went with Fedora. It wasn't bad. The yum installer did pretty good; but it was tempermental, and missed packages and dependencies. RedHat was even worse. I still like RedHat; but it is geared more toward commercial use. I was still uneasy with Fedora, though it recognized all of my hardware--except for my wifi(what's new). I then chose Mandriva One. It was very nice; but in the 2008 edition, it didn't recognize my wifi or even connect to the Cups printer server. Guess what? I downloaded Ubuntu 7.1. I am truly impressed. It recognized everything. I went to the restricted drivers icon, clicked on firmware, and it immediately connected my wifi! Not just that: everything that I download works perfectly! No missing packets. No missing dependencies. Only good, clean downloads. I will say that over the past two and a half years, Ubuntu is the best thing that has happened to Linux. Not only that, everything is FREE! I would recommend Ubuntu to anyone. My next step would be to buy a Dell preloaded with Ubuntu.
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