2011-09-14

Thoughts on Rawhide

Currently Fedora supports in some form or fashion 4 releases at one time:

Rawhide
Meant for the cutting edge of packages. Packages here can be broken regularly so that fixes can be done as fast as possible versus waiting til more expensive times during an adoption curve.
Release+1 (16)
A release that will be released soon. Branched from Rawhide and then made into release quality over a 6 month period. Problems and fixes are progressively worked on so that the software is the newest "stable" version.
Release (15)
The current "release" which is meant for most users to install and run. Fixes to this release are meant to be neutral. If a newer "stable" version is released it does not mean that it is put into the Current Release but only if no fixes can be made to the version that was released.
Release-1 (14)
The release which is nearing its end of life and fixes should only be done for security and critical problems

Ok using the "standard" technology adoption lifecycle, and realizing that Fedora is meant for Innovators and "Early Adopters" versus say people in the Majority curve(**).


  • Rawhide should be where people can experiment and break and fix stuff quickly without affecting the main population of users.On the standard technology curve this should be the furthest out innovators and developers.
  • Release+1 should be where things are solidifying and innovators are getting things ready for others to use.
  • Release should be where innovations have solidified and early adopters can try to make the various parts work for their projects.
  • Release-1 is where users who are not ready to move to either Release+1 or Release and may want to jump off to something more "Main Stream" like an Enterprise Linux.

The reality though is that Fedora does not seem to be able to handle this many streams at once. There have been a lot of threads about packages not getting approved for fixes in "Release" and "Release-1" that should have been, and large and long complete breaks in "Rawhide" that have not been fixed. Looking at the threads and in particular Jonathan Corbet's reply to me.

To me the original idea of "No Frozen" rawhide sounded good. I am not sure that the implementation due to the fact that developers can only focus on 1 or 2 releases at any one time. So I think we have problems that need to be addressed after this release.

  1. Should Rawhide be usable by anyone? If people are using it should they expect any kind of timeframe for problems to be fixed?
  2. Should we just have a way to move people from rawhide to Release+! when the alpha split occurs and stop updating rawhide til Release+1 becomes Release?
  3. Should we just give up on the concept of this many releases being available and go for "Release+1, Release, Dooom"?
  4. With all the other stresses should we just end Fedora on a high note, and move along to "GnomeOS-X" and "NotADesktopOS-X"?


** People who are in the majority parts of the curves prefer items where the cost to adopt is much lower and different than people who are early adopters or innovators. This is why there is such a disconnect between the "Wow this is the greatest thing since sliced bread" and "This is the most horrible change I have ever seen." groups in adoption cycles.
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