The Fedora hackers have a small problem
the current Fedora Core 4 distribution, as it sits in rawhide, is
about 300MB too big to fit onto four CDs. For various reasons, the project
is not interested
in adding a fifth disk at
this time. So that means that
something has to come out and, presumably, be relegated to the "extras"
repository. The project has taken the somewhat unusual step of coming out
and asking its users: what would you remove?
The leading candidate, at the moment, would appear to be Java support,
especially Eclipse. The Java packages are huge; getting rid of them would
solve the space problems easily. They are also relatively easy to remove
because they were not shipped in prior versions of Fedora. The
distribution's users, one assumes, will complain less about losing something
they didn't have in the first place.
People are complaining, however. Many developers feel that, if Linux is to
have a hope of long-term success in large enterprises, it has to offer
top-quality Java support. But, if the distributors do not support free
Java implementations now, work on free Java stands a good chance of dying
from neglect. Few people want to see a future where Linux is, at best, a
platform for proprietary Java implementations. To avoid that future, the
distributors should support free Java now.
Other possibilities raised include:
- Getting rid of the games. Certainly games are not at the top
of the list for many commercial environments, but games do serve as a
gentle introduction to Linux for many people.
- Dropping either emacs or xemacs (but not both).
- Dropping exim and postfix. Except, of course, many people think that
the distribution should drop sendmail instead.
- Removing abiword and gnumeric, since, in theory, OpenOffice.org
provides the same functions.
- Removing KDE. Or removing GNOME. Neither of those look feasible, but
it's possible that XFce will go.
- Move epiphany to extras. Or firefox.
- Go to GCC4, which will cut some redundancy. It appears that this
change might just happen for FC4.
Various other ideas have gone around as well, but none of them are pleasing
to everybody. It appears that the Fedora
Project, which has to come up with an answer to this question in the near
future, is almost certain to upset somebody, at least in the short term.
For future Fedora Core releases, there are plans to make the installer
smarter so that it can transparently grab packages from multiple
repositories. With a bit more infrastructure work, perhaps Fedora could
take a cue from Ubuntu, and drop back to a single installation CD. In the
end, it really should not be necessary to download every possible package
(in ISO form) just to get a base system installed. For now, however, the
project seems stuck with the need to remove packages that some of its users
Update: a list of removed packages
has been posted. Victims include abiword, balsa, exim, gnumeric, koffice,
octave, sylpheed, xemacs, and xfce. The Java packages appear to have
survived. Second update: it seems
that Fedora Core 4 will also be a five-CD distribution; that's how
they kept the Java packages.
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