Remaining issues for the multi desktop DVD (was: Re: Dear Fedora board, please open your trac)

inode0 inode0 at
Wed Jan 12 15:51:17 UTC 2011

On Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 8:34 PM, Jon Stanley <jonstanley at> wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 6:26 PM, Christoph Wickert
> <christoph.wickert at> wrote:
>> I hereby request the board (again) to give me a list of open issues with
>> the multi-desktop DVD so I can finally start working on them. I will
>> document everything on a wiki page and keep it updated once I've got
>> that list from the board.
> One of the things that we had mentioned in the meeting is what is the
> mechanism of choosing between the different DE's? I really think that
> a syslinux menu is epic fail. Think of a user new to Fedora - "Ubuntu
> (or pick other distro) doesn't make me make these selections that I
> have no idea what they are!". I do realize that the target audience
> for this is people who attend Linux shows (and *may* have the
> wherewithal to make an appropriate choice), but you have to assume
> that Joe that attended the show and got this cool DVD will pass it on
> to Grandma since he liked it so much.

Grandma would already be confronted by such a menu using any current
installation or live boot media. What you are saying to me is just
that all our current media sucks and this one would too.

> I think the choice needs to be presented in GDM, with some opportunity
> to get help with it.

While this has some appeal to me for a unified installation DVD it has
no appeal as a unified live media arrangement as it would just
introduce a hassle on every boot at a different point in the process
and really would be difficult for some spins containing differences
other than the DE.

More importantly, this is vapor. If and when it exists it can be
considered, now it is just a roadblock preventing progress.

> Note that in no way am I saying that this is not a good idea, simply
> the implementation could use work, and that implementation reflects
> (for better or worse) on the Fedora brand.

Let's run with this. The board gets a request from contributors who
handle pressing media, distributing that media globally, and handing
it out to real people at real events. They *know* what isn't working
well currently in that process and provide the foundation of an
alternative that they believe would work better.

The reaction I would like to see from the board is one based on its
trust that these people probably know what they are talking about. How
can the board help them make it happen? Three areas have been
identified: releng, QA, and design. Whatever issues need to be
resolved in these three areas may or may not need the board's
involvement, but I think it is clear that encouragement from the board
to get this done would help get it done.

Many of the interested parties in this discussion will be in Tempe
very soon. Why don't we just sit down in person there where I'm sure
we can do this more productively?

Let me share a little of my experience testing various forms of this
so far. I've installed versions containing mixes of live and install
media. The presence of the install media has marginal value to me
compared to the value I see in having an aggregation of live media. I
have a small partition on the hard drive of a netbook we ship around
with an event box. On it I have a recent image containing various
spins including the default live image, other DE live images
(including KDE, XFCE, LXDE), as well as the design and other spins.
While this hasn't been tested at an event yet I expect this to be a
superb arrangement. If we are having a conversation with someone about
meego - boom, here, take a look at this. The ease of showing off the
spins that are relevant to the person we are talking with is a huge

I also carry around an old 8GB usb stick with this same aggregation of
live media on it. I can use it to show things to people just about any
time the opportunity arises. Do you think I ever carried around 10
live CDs?

Looking at it from the perspective of pressed media the user is always
going to be stuck having to make a choice. If we press this in the
future there will be a choice made from a menu. Today there is a
choice of which of 10 physical pieces of plastic the person wants to
pick up and lug home (for those who are lucky enough to hit an event
that actually has options for them). If you don't want to make a
choice then boot it and get the default, that isn't hard or confusing.
If you do want to make a choice then make if from a simple menu, that
isn't hard or confusing either.

I hope the board will get behind this effort but I will continue using
it to promote Fedora whether that happens or not. This media enables
promoting Fedora in ways that don't exist currently.


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