Developer focus for Fedora workstation

Adam Batkin adam at
Wed Aug 20 02:08:10 UTC 2014

On 08/19/2014 09:10 PM, Josh Boyer wrote:
>> In contrast, I see Server and Cloud products having more clearly benefited from their self-imposed constraints. Yet they still have a "build it and they will come" attitude.
>> More and more often I'm seeing emails pointing fingers at OS X, making comparisons. I'm not the only one observing [1] the prevalence of Macs at FOSS conferences that are not running a FOSS OS but rather OS X. And I'm wondering what Workstation wants to be when it grows up and if it needs additional self-imposed constraints to help it along.
>> Anything built in the past 8 years is recommended hardware, but none of it's explicitly supported as far as I can tell.
> Welcome to community driven, volunteer supported Linux
> distributions...  We can't tell people with new hardware "sorry, we
> don't support you because you didn't buy a thinkpad or the $vendor of
> the week."  We're losing enough users already.  We also can't say
> "this is explicitly supported" because the distro and the hardware is
> constantly changing, and they aren't changing in lock-step or with any
> coordination between the distro and the HW vendors.  So we do as best
> we can.
 > ...
>> I can only describe symptoms, the bugs are all essentially unanswered as if no one has any concrete idea what the underlying problem actually is, therefore I don't know if it's worth throwing resources at it?
> Yep.  That's also par for the course.  People basically have to guess
> at a lot of the problems you've described if they can't recreate on
> their own hardware.  I'm beginning to wonder if you're confusing
> Fedora with some kind of paid-support model distribution.
>> What's the alternative to that? Should we put together a list of actually recommended hardware, specific makes and models? And if so what are the (largely) objective criteria by which to figure out what is recommended?
> We can't do that without some kind of relationship with vendors for
> that hardware.  Otherwise we're playing catch up at best trying to
> make things work _after_ the hardware has shipped and it really
> doesn't change the user experience or support story from how things
> are today.  Christian has mentioned trying to build such
> relationships, which would be good.  It won't be with Apple.

Personally, my hope is that some issues will be taken up by Red Hat 
employees, either because they happen to have an interest in the area, 
or because Red Hat will make it their responsibility because it's in 
RH's interest. I believe that it's in Red Hat's best business interest 
to work on certain things that will enhance Fedora, which will in turn 
enhance RHEL (even if it's just to stem the tide of people moving to 
Ubuntu, or bring people who would have otherwise chosen Ubuntu over).

For developer workstations, the competition is mostly Mac. For server 
deployments, it's Ubuntu. I don't think Red Hat "loses" anything when 
people use Macs for development (though they might gain if people used 
RHEL instead) but they *do* lose if people choose Ubuntu for deployment. 
And if someone chooses Ubuntu for a workstation (say, because they have 
a better relationship with a hardware vendor) instead of Fedora, that 
*does* hit Red Hat because that developer may have a greater likelihood 
of deploying to Ubuntu instead of RHEL.

And for everyone else who does this of their own volition (maybe because 
Fedora is more ideologically FLOSS): It's in your best interest to make 
Fedora better for everyone too. If the rest of the world thinks 
"Linux=Ubuntu" then it will become harder and harder to get things to 
work nicely under Fedora (and RHEL/Centos) as everyone builds solely for 

>> New project focus, new product name, seems like a good time for a change in tone. The project's attitude toward Virtual Box would have to change before anything else possibly could.
> Again, not sure if you're advocating for it to change.  If you are,
> you're doing it in a confusing manner.

Can someone explain what all the fuss is around running Fedora under a 
Virtual Machine and what's wrong with VirtualBox support?

I run a bunch of Fedora VMs and they all run fine. I even run Fedora 
under VB on my Mac and it's as good as can be expected (given the Mac 
keyboard layout and how Mac steals certain key combos). It's slow, but 
that's probably my 6 year old laptop.

I'd vote that Workstation focus should be on something other 
concentrating on being a VM guest, but only because my experience there 
has been pretty good, and most of my complaints affect Fedora whether 
it's run as a VM or bare metal.

I really think that we need a better consensus on the long term goals of 
Workstation, since there have been lots of people (myself included) 
jumping up and saying "let's do this and that". The official mission 
statement(s) are pretty vague, and while the "Overall plans and policies 
for the product" is good, I personally think that it's lacking any 
discussion of UI/UX, and as a long time committed Fedora/Red Hat user, 
that's the area where I have the most pain right now (I don't want to 
sound selfish, but if I have these issues, there are probably others who 
either don't want to speak up or haven't fully articulated what it is 
that isn't right - or have moved to KDE or XFCE and never looked back, 
and we should try to get them back too...if your core dedicated userbase 
is scattered among DEs, how do you expect to bring people in who aren't 
so committed?).

-Adam Batkin

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