Rolling release model philosophy (was Re: Anaconda is totally trashing the F18 schedule (was Re: f18: how to install into a LVM partitions (or RAID)))

Adam Williamson awilliam at
Fri Nov 2 20:22:21 UTC 2012

On Fri, 2012-11-02 at 21:07 +0100, drago01 wrote:
> Well your point basically is "we can't/don't ship anything that is
> stable so we should give up on that."

More or less, yes.

> I disagree with that. Fedora releases had some small regression
> introduced via updates from time but is is *very* usable as a stable
> operating system.

I disagree. It's usable by the kind of people who use Fedora. Who like
shiny cutting-edge stuff and don't mind dealing with wonkiness
constantly. I wouldn't dream of putting any regular person on a Fedora
install, quite frankly. It's easy to get into a perspective bubble where
Fedora looks normal, but it isn't. It is not a stable general-purpose
operating system and it's absurd to represent it as such. I wouldn't put
Fedora 17 on my uncle Bob's computer (I don't have an uncle Bob, this is
just your hackneyed old 'regular person' example) and say 'there's your
computer'. How many of us would? Even if you get a good Fedora release
and don't hit problems with updates - which we don't do a _bad_ job of
these days, admittedly - our releases really aren't quality general
purpose OSes (we let all kinds of weirdnesses go into our releases which
a serious user-facing OS would never let go), and after 12 months, you
have to do an upgrade, which has about a 50/50 chance of exploding,
let's face it. That's not a convincing stable general purpose operating

It's telling that when you meet 'normal people' who are running Fedora,
they're usually using Fedora N-5, which hasn't had security updates for
a year and a half. That's how 'normal people' use their computers - they
don't upgrade every year and find it _fun_ to fix the upgrade process
when it explodes. I don't think we're serving the (few) 'normal people'
who run Fedora in this fashion very well, frankly. They'd probably be
better off with something else.

I realize my point of view here is somewhat radical, but you need the
lunatic fringe around to keep people on their toes, I've always
thought. ;)

> Compare it to "always cutting edge" like rawhide ... you can't get any
> work done with that. It keeps breaking almost every second day.

Well, that's why I said two streams. One would be what Rawhide is now
and the other would be pretty much branched/stable level. On a broad
conceptual level - there's several ways of doing this, of course. But my
basic point is that the three stream idea works for a project like
Debian, which has a conservative approach to everything and is able,
over a very long timeframe, to produce something that actually *is* a
stable operating system. It's not appropriate to a project like Fedora,
which really isn't doing that. How often have we said we don't have the
people interested in doing LTS releases, for instance? That's the kind
of work you need to maintain a true 'stable' tier in a three-tier
system. It's boring maintenance of long-dead code, and that's not
generally what Fedora people are interested in. How many maintainers
right now are doing a convincing job of maintaining F16? How many people
are testing the updates? How many Fedora packagers wake up in the
morning and think 'hey, what I really want to do today is carefully test
and backport specific fixes to the F16 branches of my packages'?

> So things aren't perfect now they aren't as bad as you paint them to
> be. The current anaconda mess is just a project management failure ...
> nothing else really.

The current anaconda mess is an example I used in my post, but it's not
the only one. I've been thinking along these lines for a long while, not
related to any particular fire. It's a general perspective.
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Twitter: AdamW_Fedora | adamwfedora

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