planet issues

June 6, 2008

I’ve been reading a couple of people complaining that the planet changed how it gathered its feeds and they have had problems with the new mechanism. I’d like to answer a few of their questions/points:

1. I posted about it here twice and to fedora-devel-list. I waited a full week between the posts before I made any changes at all: I think it’s reasonable to expect people who are on the planet  to READ the planet.

2. The technical critieria we use to call someone a fedora contributor is ‘user has signed the cla’ and ‘user is a member of one group in FAS other than cla_done’. That’s it. Once you have those things you’re done. You have an account on

3. This may sound elitist and terrible but if you’re unable to edit a single file. Save it named as ‘.planet’ and then scp it to then are you even USING fedora? Or any linux distribution for that matter? Hell, If you’re using kde or gnome you can do the copying of the file to using just the gui.

4. I think making it be just a field someone adds in fas is fine(ish). Here are my problems with it:

a. it means the criteria for being a fedora contributor is having any sort of FAS account. Nothing more. Gee, I’m sure that won’t make the drive-by additions to our planet go way up and be filled with necrophilliac pr0n or anything

b. It does complicate matters for making arbitrary subgroups of planets. It doesn’t make it impossible, just a bit more complicated.

5. I made these changes to encourage people to add their planet w/o having to go through any intermediary person. The goal of the changes were self-service but protecting us from crack-filled craziness in the form of random spamming drive-bys.


13 Responses to “planet issues”

  1. quaid Says:

    +1 on everything except …

    We lack a mechanism to easily send email to every person who has signed the CLA (in ‘cla_done’), and especially lack a way to alert a ‘contributor’ (cla_done + one other group.)

    I don’t want to see such a mechanism abused, but I got stuck behind the lack this week when I wanted to invite all contributors to partake in the Fedora 10 naming, including those contributors who don’t read f-devel-l. Bottom line — it requires a sysadmin to sit on bastion using a for loop with mail on the CLI. Does. Not. Scale.

    So I’m probably going to make this another soapbox issue until we get something worked out. Then we can get away from the legitimate complaints of people not hearing about stuff in this busy project. With a general announce, technical announce, and a direct-to-each-contributor method, we should be covered.

  2. Nicu Says:

    3. Maybe I’ll do these day a small screencast showing how to add yourself to planet (or maybe someone else will do it, to have a nice English narration)

    4. a. It could be that the field is read only it the person is also member of a group
    4. b. probably FAS can write the .planet file
    But I agree that creating the .planet file and copying it (with drag&drop in Nautilus) is easy enough.

  3. red Says:


    Maybe I missed something, but on the planet itself, you’re still told to drop a mail in order to add your feed instead of being pointed to

  4. Nicu Says:

    @red: there is imminent a change to the planet template and CSS and the new template does have the correct link for subscription.

  5. petreu Says:

    +1 even i got it working in some minutes without problems

  6. stickster Says:

    What are we to do with all these pesky contributors?!? 😉

    In all seriousness though, I did explain to the folks who sent me complaints that the new system was (a) announced several times, and (b) a whole heck of a lot better than dozens of people emailing you every day to add, change, or remove their planet feed listings.

    @Nicu: Thanks for the screencast — great work!

  7. Being able to update my own RSS feeds is goodness, as is saving work for Fedora infrastructure. Those complaining about this being a horrific barrier to entry are nuts.

    Now if we could get a nicer way to do “English Fedora Planet” than Yahoo Pipes, maybe?

  8. Alex Maier Says:

    Wanted to make sure you knew how much I personally value your contributions to Fedora, and to give you credit for running Planet for so long pretty much single-handedly and then completing the transition to the new way of managing the feeds. I hope you do not see my posts as a criticism of your work.

    The new feed management process is much better and more scalable than what existed before, and transition needed to be done. If anything, you should have received more support from other groups, like the Ambassadors helping spread the word and possibly even preparing screencasts or similar step-by-step instructions like Nicu did *ahead of time* so that folks who are like me less comfortable with SSH keys etc. would feel less intimidated by the task.

  9. Apology to Seth for crushing his volunteer effort on running Planet. Check.

    Thanks to Seth for his volunteer effort on runing Planet. Check.

    Thanks to Paul for managing the stragglers who apparently want to be on planet, but not participate in the registration process, and complain when it is different than what they expect. Check.

    Listening to stragglers who illustrate that Fedora isn’t always perfect as a project at including others, but *continues* to work hard at it. Check.

    Nicu, being a man of action, actually putting some work into solving the problem. Check.

    One person, publically, of many who say privately, “damn, you guys didn’t do this before?” Better communication, step-by-step instructions, hand-holding and palm-greasing… Check.

    Lowering the barrier to entry, and recognizing that *technical* barriers aren’t the only thing keeping contributers out… priceless.

  10. Jeremy Katz Says:

    Seth — there’s nothing that says that if we add the info to FAS that we can’t continue to enforce the “group” requirement. In fact, it might even make it easier to do some things like automatically generating the “Fedora Ambassadors Planet” based on the groups that they’re in.

  11. Seth Vidal Says:

    The goal was to define arbitrary grouping of the planet, not just arbitrary groups. With the above we’d need to have ambassadors and ambassadors_planet – repeat ad nauseum for every other group that wanted a sub planet. Maybe it’s just my ‘users live in home dirs’ mentality but that’s where their content should really be and can most easily be. The nice virtue of the way it is right now is no additional programming. No interface designing, etc.

  12. Sparks Says:

    Wow, I can’t believe how much trouble people were having with this. SSH is NOT an unusual method of communication and should be common knowledge to all Linux users. It takes nearly zero configuration and I thought the instructions on FAS made it seem pretty straight forward.

    +1 on setting up Planet this way.

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