Developer focus for Fedora workstation

Alex G.S. alxgrtnstrngl at
Wed Aug 20 03:18:33 UTC 2014

> 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?

Fedora is a distribution and it doesn't compete directly against GNOME, KDE
or LXDE or any desktop environment.  Fedora Workstation will compete
against Ubuntu, Arch and OpenSUSE as well as Apple's OS X for developer
mindshare and contributors.  In order to succeed it has to appeal to a wide
general audience of diverse users/developers with very diverse tastes and

GNOME is a desktop environment that competes against KDE, LXDE and any
other desktop environment out there. It is available on Fedora's
competitors Ubuntu, Arch and OpenSUSE as well as many other distributions.
GNOME, the desktop environment, has as it's goal, like any desktop
enviornment, to appeal to a certain subset of users who happen to like it's
workflow, it is not a general purpose project but specific.

The interests of GNOME and Fedora Workstation are totally different and
because GNOME can be run on Fedora's competitors these interests aren't
always in alignment.

Let's say Fedora puts all this investment in time and money into improving
GNOME with the Fedora Workstation project. What's stopping these changes
from propagating to Fedora's competitors?  Nothing.  GNOME users on Ubuntu,
Arch and OpenSUSE will also have the full "Fedora Workstation" experience.
 There's no need to actually switch to Fedora and thus Fedora will see no
net-growth in it's user-share or new developers.  Instead the effort of
Fedora's developers will go to help grow Ubuntu with it's GNOME spin.

If the Fedora distribution was to shutdown and disappear tomorrow GNOME
would still be available on Ubuntu, Arch and OpenSUSE and going strong.

What should Fedora do to ensure that Fedora Workstation is successful?

Fedora Workstation's real value will be how it integrates developer tools
with multiple desktop environments!

Focus on Fedora Workstation as a platform and integrate it with a series of
mainstream desktop environments such as GNOME, KDE and LXQt.  Make sure
these environments are deeply integrated with the whole Workstation
experience so that users/developers get a unique enterprise-level
experience they can't get on Ubuntu, Arch or OpenSUSE.  When the user
installs Fedora Workstation present them with a series of desktop choices
to install.

In reality you shouldn't care what desktop the user/developer is using, you
should care what distribution they're using and that's the whole point...

On Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 10:08 PM, Adam Batkin <adam at> wrote:

> 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 Ubuntu.
>  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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> desktop at
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