Reasons for hall monitoring

Stephen John Smoogen smooge at
Sat May 8 01:39:43 UTC 2010

On Fri, May 7, 2010 at 5:41 PM, Matěj Cepl <mcepl at> wrote:
> Dne 7.5.2010 16:56, Przemek Klosowski napsal(a):
>> Here's the rub, though: Kevin argues for aggressive development and
>> empowering the package maintainers to push out changes, even if it
>> resulted in temporary regressions. Ralf, on the other hand, reminds us
>> about the need for quality control, process and stability. They can't
>> both be right---but the entire project is better off for them voicing
>> their opinions.
> Well, I would argue that both can be right (although I believe Ralf
> would strongly disagree with me on this point). The point in Kevin's
> triades which I am afraid was utterly rejected (or ignored) is that the
> most important relationship in whole Fedora land is the relationship
> between package maintainer and users of the package she maintains.
> When I came to Fedora from the Debian-world (around FC6 release) I was
> absolutely in awe how better experience was maintaining packages in
> Fedora than in Debian. It seemed like the combination of best of being
> completely independent and maintaining your own repository (what would
> be now called PPA; I haven't heard the term then yet) and having support
> and community of fellow maintainers all in one package. It was
> refreshing to see how problems were just solved on the spot without need
> to apply for permission and a lot of bureaucracy. The result was
> incredibly rapid development (I remember I was using as an advertisement
> slogan "Fedora? Next release of your distribution today!").

It is a blessing and it is a curse. Why do more developers show up at
conferences these days running Ubuntu or Debian systems.. many who
used to run Fedora or RHL? My very non-scientific survey has been that
it isn't that Ubuntu is cooler, etc.. but it is just much more stable.
Things don't break mid-release, they aren't spending all their time
updating to whatever is in Fedora and finding yet again its broken.
And when things are broken, people seem nicer.

Now does this happen a lot, probably not.. but for most developers it
just has to happen one or two times at the worst time and they will go
find something both new and stable for them. Yes they aren't getting
the latest stuff anymore.. but on the other hand they don't have to
worry that the 3 KDE apps they use didn't completely change over a
weekend (or vice versa the 2 gnome apps they depend on for something
didn't break because ibus got added as a dependency and didn't work
for some reason.)

> This vision in my opinion requires freedom for packagers of individual
> packages to have quite wide allowance in setting their own policies
> concerning updates and bug fixing. If Kevin prefers to have packages on
> all distros synchronized and (maybe, I don't know, I don't use KDE)
> broken much more often than Gnome-folks, it is in my opinion mostly
> between KDE team and KDE users. Also, if they don't think they can
> manage much more than pushing all non-packaging bugs upstream, I am not
> the one who would preach to them they should do better (especially
> without providing manpower to do so). OTOH, if Ralph doesn't won't to
> push almost any bug upstream and he wants to make sure that all Fedora
> bugs are fixed asap, great for his users, they will certainly love him,
> but I am not sure it should be fixed as a rule for everybody.

The vision works as long as the set of packages and packagers is
small. It is very much the "Tragedy of the Commons" where at a certain
point I don't have a strong enough social link to think or worry about
what effect my package might have on something 30 packages away from
me. The fact that its broken and 4 users left doesn't really affect me
unless it turns out that it is Linus and he says something like "Sorry
about missing 2.6.36-rc1.. but for some reason Xmonkey. started
writing 0's to all my files last night and my backups too... Didn't
know I even had it installed.." Sure it got pulled in because it gives
libslapmonkey and now vim pulls it in so you can have an animated
monkey if you type :monkeybrainz [or some such thing.] But in cases
where it isn't Linus people just don't know.

At a certain size there are too many packages and too few packagers
who meet the level of people back when Fedora Extras was the big
thing, and you had to deal with getting critiqued directly by Ralph
and similar others.

Stephen J Smoogen.
"The core skill of innovators is error recovery, not failure avoidance."
Randy Nelson, President of Pixar University.
"We have a strategic plan. It's called doing things.""
-- Herb Kelleher, founder Southwest Airlines

More information about the devel mailing list