May 7, 2010

Greg mentioned dissidents in fedora in his outgoing blog post.

In case you were wondering – I was one of the dissidents Greg was talking about.

I like to think I was a dissident who was building things. Fedora Extras for example. Some of you may remember that at one point in time the Fedora Extras build system was ME and a wiki page. Scary, huh?

We were taking Red Hat Linux and turning it into, ultimately, an rpm-based debian-like project. Take a bunch of people who wanted to share packaging responsibilities and chuck all of that at something sort of like a distro.

Then the merge happened and  we still had a ‘core’, sort of, but that’s expanded and the package set has exploded in size and the ability for the core to exert force out over the rest of the distro is greatly limited.

Fast forward a few years: whereas before everyone who maintained a package in the ‘core’ knew that the goal was to make a distro that all went together, now we have a lot of packagers who only care about their own packages, not the good or the focus of the distro.

Our current batch of dissidents are not building anything. They want to preserve the status quo of things being without rules, without organization. Let’s use an analogy:

At one point in time there were no speed limits, nor were there rules about how a car had to be maintained. This was the case since interaction with cars was so uncommon and the people who maintained them so careful and special it was just not a concern. Then you ended up with a lot of cars and a lot of interaction and a lot of people maintaining them poorly you needed to have rules to make sure the cars were being kept up properly and to make sure no one was operating them dangerously.

When they started to make the rules about cars a group of people protested and raised their voice in anger. This was not what _THEY_ wanted – this was not FREEDOM – they were being oppressed and no one would listen to them.

That’s our group of dissidents. They do not want anything to change, even though they’ve already changed.

Cars are packages.

There used to be few – and the people who took care of them knew the implicit set of rules. Then there were more and the problems cropped up and we setup packaging rules explicitly so everyone could understand. So they knew what they should do and not do. The rules of the road, so to speak.

Now there are TENS of Thousands and we need to set up infrastructure to keep them from colliding into each other all the time and wrecking people’s computers AND lives.

Our dissidents want life to be like it was when there were fewer pkgs and they could roam free and willy-nilly. Those days are gone. Repeatedly saying the same arguments over and over and over again will not make those days return.

So our dissidents are in a fantasy world and they are not BUILDING a new world, they’re just building their fantasy.

That doesn’t work when you’re traversing to the next layer of things.

I’d like fedora to be en-route to the next layer of things. If that means more rules, more infrastructure, more control, so be it.

But if I know there is going to be more rules and more infrastructure, I’d rather be the people working on making it so. Not the group of people crying about their fantasies.


2 Responses to “dissidents”

  1. […] waren. Beim offiziellen Start des Paket-Depots Fedora Extras war er eine Weile praktisch das “Build System” des Add-on-Repositories. Der sehr geschätzte Entwickler hat auch nach der Zusammenlegung von Fedora Extras und Fedora Core […]

  2. […] yum, Vidal had helped maintain the Fedora project’s infrastructure and helped create the original Fedora Extras system, and had contributed to the CentOS project. “To say he will be missed is an […]

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