5tFTWFedora is a big project, and it’s hard to follow it all. This series highlights interesting happenings in five different areas every week. It isn’t comprehensive news coverage — just quick summaries with links to each. Here are the five things for July 8th, 2014:

DNF and Protected Packages (and Mailing Lists)

DNF is a next-generation package manager, scheduled to replace Yum in Fedora 22. Last week, there was a lengthy Fedora devel list thread, largely centered on DNF’s lack of a “protected packages” feature, which keeps users from inadvertently removing certain core software (like the package manager itself, or the running kernel).

On Thursday, DNF version 0.5.3 was announced, along with Core DNF Plugins 0.1.1, which contains a new protected_packages plugin. So, there we go.

It think it’s worth noting, though, that this a good example of how mailing list discussions often fail us. There were a lot of messages, but almost no new information in hundreds of posts — it’s mostly people going back and forth,  feeling like they’re not being heard or listened to. And then, many people feeling frustrated and driven out of meaningful discourse by the noise.

That’s a dynamic we need to change. If something is really important and you feel that your view isn’t counted, there are other channels by which issues can be raised — file a ticket with FESCo or the Fedora Project Board, for example. Or, tell the FPL that you have a concern! Everyone should have a voice in Fedora, even though sometimes decisions have to be made even when not everyone agrees. Mailing list wars (even when the flames are smouldering rather than explosive) just aren’t the best way.

I know I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone over the years, but we need to get out of the Someone Is Wrong on the Internet trap — arguments aren’t won by quantity, and it isn’t necessary to have the last word in order to be heard. And, most importantly, try to steer the quality of discourse up with each post, and increase understanding. This is the Fedora Code of Conduct, but more importantly, it’s our Friendship foundation.

Fedora 21 Branch and Changes Freeze

Today is the big day when the Fedora 21 package tree branches from the always-latest “Rawhide” development tree. This branched F21 tree will stabilize and become the Alpha, Beta, and — in October — Fedora 21 final release.

So, this is a big milestone — with a lot of work ahead! A lot of that work will be in Quality Assurance, and we could use your help on that front. There are lot of small and easy tasks which together make a big difference — see the Fedora QA wiki page for ways to get involved. (One simple thing you can do, even if you are not a a package maintainer, is to create a test case for a package that you’re familiar with.)

This is also the Changes Freeze — new features for Fedora 21 should be substantially finished and testable at this point. Note that this doesn’t mean that all changes are now blocked, just that the various items in the F21 Change Set should be ready for testing. The next big milestone in the schedule is the Alpha Change Deadline (which is a “code freeze”) on July 22nd, in preparation for an Alpha release on August 5th, just before Flock in Prague.

FESCo Summer Election in Progress

FESCo is holding a special election to fill three empty seats. There are five nominees, and there will be an IRC “townhall” meeting sometime from July 10-15, with voting open for a week after that.

Python 3.5 Nightly Builds

Fedora packager Miro Hrončok annouced that he and Slavek Kabrda have a new Copr repository with nightly builds of development version of Python 3. Fedora tries to be leading edge without “bleeding”, which sometimes means we don’t move as fast as everyone would like. The Copr system is an easy way to build and maintain personal RPM repositories outside of the general package collection — so if you want more risk, you can take it.

This repository uses the Software Collections technology to install python35 into a parallel tree, so it won’t mess up your main system. You can eat your cake and have it too!

Documentation Beats Are On!

Fedora Docs team member Petr Bokoc announces that it’s time to start working on the Fedora 21 release notes. This is another great way to get involved in Fedora or to branch out into a new area – see the wiki page on beat writing for more.

Remembering Seth

One year ago, Seth Vidal was killed by a driver who struck his bicycle from behind. One year later, it’s still hard to imagine Fedora without Seth. We miss you.