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

Máirín Duffy duffy at
Wed Jan 12 16:48:12 UTC 2011

On Wed, 2011-01-12 at 09:51 -0600, inode0 wrote:
> 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.

Actually she wouldn't be exposed to that menu at all, unless she pressed
enter to interrupt the syslinux countdown screen. It countdowns from 30
(I think it would be better to be 10 though, working on that for F15)
and says hit any key to interrupt. 

(I say the above while at the same time respectfully pleading with all
EXAMPLE OF A NON-ADVANCED USER. </soapbox podium> :) )

> > 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.

How does it provide a hassle at every boot? I'm confused here. What I
think would be a hassle is having to reboot just to try out a different
desktop.... with a GDM-controlled selection you could simply log out of
one and log back in, no reboot required. If you're trying out different
things, having to reboot at every choice I think discourages it. Plus,
for the use case of an ambassador at a show with only one or two laptops
to demo things, having to stand there while the thing reboots might be a
hassle, especially if you miss the syslinux timeout. Depending I am
thinking it could be a difference of < 30 seconds to log-out / log-in to
3-4 minutes for reboot and keeping an eye on syslinux.
> > 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.
> 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.

I tried to engage and while I'd prefer to not say anything at all... the
amount of intense negativity directed towards me as a result of trying
to engage seriously frightened and completely dismayed me. We need more
civility around this initiative. When negative energy is unleashed folks
really need to stand against it and contain it, and not just sit back
and let it run rampant over and over again. That is what happened last
time, and I honestly had to set up filters to block some messages in
order to remain productive. 

In short, the multispin initiative is a good idea and a damn shame it's
been tainted with such negativity.

> 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?


[snip some great stuff]

> 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?

+1, multispin media is an *excellent* idea considering both the
convenience of the form factor and the lessened environmental impact of
the media itself, which will be more generally useful than any one
single piece in the form we do today.

> 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.

Honestly I could live with a syslinux menu to choose between spins
(although I still think it's far from ideal) to get this out the door
sooner, but the problem is the menu as it was presented to the board
some months ago was the squint-equivalent of:


This kind of sloppiness is simply not acceptable and is avoided
altogether using separate pressed media, because the sleeve designs of
the media serve this purpose instead and are written out far more
cleanly and clearly. 

See for a list of suggestions for improvement (they were ignored before, I'm not sure why ), although since we've done some more thinking about syslinux's layout for F15 I'd revise it now to suggest the following:

Welcome to Fedora 14! Select a desktop to try below:

* Try Desktop
* Try KDE Plasma Desktop
* Try LXDE Desktop
* Try XFCE Desktop

* Verify media

I would also suggest giving the new syslinux config & graphics I put
together a shot to make the menu appear a lot nicer.... here's the files
and instructions:

> 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.

Certainly on paper having one more sales agent to help sell your product
is helpful, but you have to consider whether it's worth it if said sales
agent makes your product come off basement-produced rather than polished
and professional. Let's not sell ourselves short when we do actually
have the skills and professionalism to do it right...?


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