Fedora is a big project, and it’s hard to keep up with everything that goes on. 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 September 11th, 2015:
Flock Conference Videos
It’s been a few weeks since Flock, Fedora’s big annual contributor conference. Wanted to come but couldn’t make it, or just otherwise interested in what we talked about? Video from sessions is now online. Of particular note, I think, was the “What does Red Hat want?” talk by Denise Dumas, and the keynotes.
Our first keynote was Be an Inspiration, not an imposter from Major Hayden. Major spoke about how it’s important to find the right level of confidence, and how to encourage that in others. Then, John Schull’s presented e-NABLE, an incredible community project which develops open source 3D-printed upper limb devices — robot hands! — for children.
You may also be interested in my State of Fedora talk (but apologies in advance, as our AV equipment hadn’t show up at that point and the recording is somewhat ad hoc).
FUDCon LATAM in Córdoba, Argentina
Flock isn’t Fedora’s only premiere event. We also have annual FUDCons — Fedora User and Developer Conferences — in Latin America (LATAM) and Asia/Pacific (APAC). This year’s FUDCon LATAM is going on right now in Argentina. Take a look at the http://fudconlatam.org/ site for details, and follow the event page on Facebook for photos and updates.
Bodhi 2 and what it means for you
As every Fedora user knows, we put out a lot of updates. All of these updates are prepared by Fedora contributors in the packaging group, and sent through a round of testing and then released generally. The system for managing that “push” process is called Bodhi, and after many years in development, the newest version, Bodhi 2, is live at https://bodhi.fedoraproject.org/.
This new version has many new features, and I’ll highlight just a few. First, it’s much easier for contributors to produce an update from the new web interface. After a packager identifies the component that needs an update, the system pulls together packages and possibly related bugs automatically.
And second — and possibly most interesting from a user point of view — the feedback checkboxes are now much, much more fine-grained. Before, the only option was a global “karma” value, with +, 0, or –. Now, you can actually attach feedback to various specific problems (“Was bug #1089880 fixed?”), in addition to general feedback on whether the update works. That way, users can provide valuable bits of information without feeling the need to test the whole thing, and submitters can make judgments based on better information (Hmmmm — big security issue is fixed correctly, but an existing unrelated annoyance still happens… I guess I’ll push this update now to protect people, and work on another one for the other bug.)
Fedora 23 Schedule Update
We are currently in the “beta freeze” period of the Fedora 23 release schedule. This means that all substantial work should be done, and we’re working on cleaning up bugs and stabilization for the beta release targeted at September 22 and the October final release.
Rethinking Bundling and Fedora
This week’s mega-thread on the Fedora development mailing list was kicked off by a post from Stephen Gallagher, who offers a Proposal to Reduce Anti-Bundling Requirements. To quote briefly:
Right now, we have a policy that essentially forbids source code from being bundled into a package. In technical terms, this means essentially that the packaging policies mandate that any code that appears more than once in the repository must be turned into a shared library and dynamically linked into any package that requires it. Any package that wants an exception to this must petition the Fedora Packaging Committee and get an explicit exemption from this policy. This process is heavyweight and sometimes inconsistent in how the decision is made.
Earlier this week, the popular photography software Darktable was almost dropped from the distribution due to bundling. This didn’t really seem like a great outcome for Fedora overall, and after debate that decision was reversed. But inspired by that (and by conversations we’ve been having for several years — see for example this blog post for a representative non-distro perspective), Stephen proposes that special permission no longer be required. There’s more, and a lot of discussion in the thread which I recommend reading and joining if you’re interested.
It also became clear that the current bundling policy has some clarity problems — Adam Williamson did some digging into that and is going to draft up some changes, saying:
I think any debate on what changes should be made to the current policies would benefit from these changes to make what the current policies actually are clearer, so I don’t mind doing it even if they all have to change again fairly soon.
Adam also has some thoughts on the overall discussion which I think are worth highlighting:
I think that back before the emergence of large ecosystems where bundling was the norm, distro bundling policies probably did yield significant results – distros had more power then, the F/OSS ecosystem was smaller and easier to impose norms on. The problem we face now is that the world has changed and there are huge chunks of the F/OSS ecosystem which see bundling as just the way they do things; the problem with our current policy is it gives us no way to even reasonably consider what’s an appropriate relationship with those ecosystems. All we can do is repeat the ~1995 mantra that the One True Way to work with Fedora is to turn your software into some nicely unbundled RPM packages, which is something they will just laugh out of court, and then we’re effectively just not talking to each other at all.
I’d prefer us to have some kind of sensible relationship with those kinds of ecosystems – even if in the end it’s simply to say ‘the way you get this software on Fedora is to use their distribution mechanism’, and our job is just to work with the ecosystem to make sure that works nicely on Fedora.
What do you think? Has the world changed, and how should Fedora react?