Re: ESR: Goodbye Fedora

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On 22/02/2007, at 2:06 PM, Les Mikesell wrote:
Macs do a nice trick. Aside from upgrading the same machine, if you buy a new Mac can connect your old one via firewire, boot it as a firewire target (they all do that) and it will migrate all your old settings (users/passwords etc.) and programs over. A new Intel Mac will even migrate older PPC programs over and continue to run them. That's a tough act to follow.

I wish you hadn't said this, it makes me butt in to a thread everybody has stopped reading anyway...

I have a lot of respect for ESR, he's been one of the most vocal and influential campaigners of Linux, and open source in general. I think we (the open source community) do owe him a fair share of our current status and credibility.

It makes me sad to see a letter like this from him. It was clearly written in a state of anger, and lacks all of his usual eloquence and sharp logic. He obviously got fed up to a bursting point.

I'm not going to even mention any of his particular arguments (other than saying that RPM is brilliant, just rule in those sloppy packagers), however I must say I've been harbouring doubts about the future of Red Hat and Fedora myself. I can't really point my finger at anything specific, but let me start by saying that I've been a Linux-only user for about 13 years, much of that with RH/FC. And so has most of my household. In the past couple of years this turf has been invaded from two sides, though.

Firstly, I replaced my firewall and Internet exposed servers with OpenBSD boxes a couple of years ago. The OpenBSD camp are stuck-up and hostile bunch, but with the sheer number of security patches my Linux boxes required on a regular basis I just didn't feel comfortable anymore to put them in the first line.

Secondly, the desktops. I've immensely enjoyed the Linux game, making the impossible happen, sticking it up to them (you know who), even playing as an equal in a corporate Windows/Exchange environment. It had cost me a lot of time and sweat but it was worth it.

I'm getting older though, my days seem to get shorter and I need to get stuff done. There isn't a lot of time for tinkering and fixing stuff on the spot anymore. I needed something that just works most of the time, without debugging. I've become a user, and as such joined the rest of my family. My family had morphed into a Mac OS X community some time ago (Linux was too hard and Windows was out of the question), so I finally joined them and am now using Tiger on a Mac as my primary desktop.

After those two invasions I'm still running Linux on my corporate desktop at work and on a few servers at home, and don't intent to change that. But for day-to-day desktop/media/end-user stuff I've pretty much given up on Linux. Now, you could blame that on Fedora, but I don't think it would have turned out any different if I had been using another distro. In the end, user experience wins, and Apple appears to be the only player that fully groks this.

Of course, Apple have an unfair advantage, they make their own hardware...

Please don't take this post as a pro-Apple rant, I was just trying to express that people (other than just ESR) can become frustrated at various aspects of a home computing environment that doesn't give the user a star to steer by but seems to be chaotic and rudderless all the time. I will certainly keep open-minded and closely follow the Fedora project.


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