Request: please consider clarifying the project's position on Spins

Jesse Keating jkeating at
Wed Dec 1 21:42:32 UTC 2010

On 12/1/10 1:21 PM, Toshio Kuratomi wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 01, 2010 at 11:31:09AM -0800, Adam Williamson wrote:
>> Hi, Board!
>> During the F14 cycle, I worked on a proposal to do desktop validation
>> testing on non-GNOME desktops; KDE, Xfce, and LXDE. I also proposed that
>> we make failures in this validation testing block the release.
>> In discussing this with various people, notably Jesse Keating, it became
>> clear that there are various problems and inconsistencies in the Fedora
>> project's stance with regards to non-GNOME desktops and spins in
>> general. We agreed to ask the Board to consider these.
>> In suggesting that failures in the main non-GNOME desktops should block
>> the release, I started by looking at the Fedora download area. Both on
>> the last incarnation of the website (which was current at the time) and
>> the present one, the only download option we present by default is the
>> 32-bit GNOME live image. The 'second stage' of download options is this
>> page:
>> which offers the KDE, LXDE and XFCE spins, in 32-bit and 64-bit, as well
>> as the Desktop spin.
>> It was probably this presentation which led me to assume that KDE, LXDE
>> and XFCE are significant offerings for the project, and that it would be
>> reasonable to require them to meet the desktop release criteria before
>> we make a release.
>> However, Jesse pointed out several opposing points while we were
>> discussing this. He noted that the intention when the spins process
>> began was for the spins to be quite independent and expressly not tied
>> into the main engineering and QA processes. As he put it:
>> "Spins were supposed to be handled by the spins sig.  They were supposed
>> to do the engineering of them, the advertising of them, and the testing
>> of them.  "We" were supposed to just create and post them, and if they
>> didn't work, take them down."
>> He also pointed out that, in contrast to the presentation of Desktop,
>> KDE, LXDE and XFCE together in the download area of the website, the
>> images are divided up rather differently elsewhere. On the torrent
>> tracker and in the actual directory structure on public Fedora mirrors,
>> the GNOME and KDE images are available together. The other spins,
>> including LXDE and XFCE and all the other spins that aren't promoted on
>> the download website, are in a separate torrent tracker and in a
>> separate download directory on the mirrors.
>> I noted that, in addition to the issue with the download page, the
>> language used on official pages discussing spins -
>> , ,
>> - tends to be quite 'inclusive'
>> and present spins just as minorly-differing interpretations of Fedora;
>> it doesn't distance the spins from the main project in the way Jesse
>> suggests was originally intended.
>> In the end we agreed that it was clear the Project's messaging on spins
>> is internally inconsistent and it would be best to ask the Board what
>> the Project's position on spins is/ought to be. Are they expected, as
>> Jesse says was the original intention, to be engineered, tested and
>> marketed by the SIGs, rather than the project directly? In which case it
>> would seem to make sense to put a bit more in the way of barriers /
>> disclaimers in place in the download area, to prevent giving the
>> impression that the non-GNOME desktop spins are pretty much 'as
>> official' as the GNOME desktop spin, and to adjust the language on the
>> Spins project site a bit to make this clear. Or do we want to put more
>> of the Project's weight behind at least some of the spins - the major
>> desktops - as is implied by the current language on the project pages
>> and the download area layout? In which case we should adjust the mirror
>> and torrent structure, and adjust releng and QA processes to reflect the
>> greater importance of these spins; we should also look at an exit
>> strategy if it turns out we don't have the resources to commit to the
>> quality of some of these spins.
>> It'd be great if the Board could take a look at these issues. Thanks!
> There's a few different things in here:
> High Level:
> * What are individual spin's relationship to the Fedora Distribution?
> Lower Level:
> * Who's in charge (spins SIG, individual SIG, rel-eng)?
> Even Lower Level:
> * Who does the work?
> My impression is a large part of the problems we've faced with the last
> round of spins creation has been with the lower two levels.  For instance,
> the spins SIG was nominally in charge of things but the individual SIGs were
> producing the kickstarts and rel-eng was in charge of creating the actual
> images.  I think that putting those under one roof would make a lot more
> sense in terms of communication and getting things done.
> Which roof they should fall under, though, depends on the answer to the high
> level question.  If we're keeping the spins tightly coupled to Fedora then
> we should probably think about consolidating under rel-eng.  SIGs with spins
> to create need to get someone on their team into rel-eng to create and test
> their images.  If we're thinking of pushing the spins out farther, then we
> need to give them more autonomy.  Each SIG should be able to create their
> spin and we need to figure out how to get them access to the resources they
> need to create, host, and market those.
> As for the high level decision itself... what do the spin owners themselves
> want?  rdieter, nirik, probinson, chitlesh, maxamillion, etc -- this is
> a question for you -- what direction do you want spins to head in?  Does the
> basic idea above seem like a way to implement that direction?
> -Toshio

There is also the question of who /tests/ the things that are produced.

Even though I've stepped down as Fedora releng, I think it's pretty safe
to say that anything that is produced and published "by Fedora" needs to
go through the rel-eng department.  So having those that want to create
spins join releng makes sense.

There is some changes coming to koji that will allow people to produce
live images via koji commands, which should make it a lot easier to
delegate these tasks within the releng group (not to get too technical

Jesse Keating
Fedora -- Freedom² is a feature!

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