Fedora retrospective

June 16, 2005

Back in October of 2004 I wrote an entry about FC4 and what needed to happen to make fedora a better place to be involved with. By a freak click of the mouse I read through that entry today and was both pleased and unhappy with the results so far.

Let’s look at a few of the items and see how we’ve done:

  • communication: the steering committees for a variety of fedora projects/subprojects meet and talk and from what I can see actual results are coming out as a result. That’s a pretty good improvement from 8 months ago.
  • leadership: We’re not quite there yet but, as always happens, a number of defacto leaders have emerged from the fray. Greg has been providing the most cohesiveness and consistency for fedora overall and Karsten has given much-needed focus to the docs project. However, we still need to move further and have more community leaders. We may find that some of that emerges as the details of the fedora foundation become more clearly defined.
  • update posting and notification: Sadly we’ve not gotten to this one. Happily there is an intern at red hat who has been tasked with this and is actively working on the bits to make this happen this summer. I’ve been discussing storage of this metadata in the repodata with Paul and Peter and I think if I can get some hours to focus on it we can come up with a workable solution.
  • Fedora Extras: Damn it that didn’t occur. We went from manual builds and a forced march to functionality to almost real viability and functionality. We’re no longer relying on manual builds, we’ve got tons of checkins happening every day and we’re acquiring new packagers at a reasonably good pace. We’ve got a lot of bugs to shake out of the system, yet, but I think that will come in time. There are people inside and outside of red hat who are noticing fedora extras and realizing: “Hey, this doesn’t entirely suck.” We still have a number of detractors and we need to deal with some of their concerns to make it work but at this point the limitations seem to be almost exclusively technical save a few organizational issues. There’s very little hold up for other reasons.
  • Mirroring: Not much changed – there MIGHT be some things on the horizon – we’ll see
  • Package metadata: Well we got rid of 2 of them: rpmdb-fedora and the yum .hdr files. Yay us. We still have comps.rpm to go (DIE DIE DIE) and the hdlists. That’s a big improvement as opposed to what used to be shipped around. We also now have set of tools to do more with the metadata we have. Repoquery in the yum-utils package (now in fedora extras) allows some pretty arbitrary queries of the data.
  • Technical priorities: Not quite there yet but I think the next few weeks of FC5 pre-devel will be valuable for shaking out what the goals really are. On the plus side Josh has compiled this list and that provides some more focus.

So it’s kinda cool – we made some movement on some of the issues and in other cases we’ve made progress on items that will let us move on the issues. In almost the almost 8 months since FC3 came out we’ve come a long way. Fedora is not as much scoffed at by folks when someone claims it to be a community-involved project. That, to me, is kinda a big deal.

Maybe I need to think about what FC5 holds and work on another entry like the last one. Maybe someone else should, too.

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