Garrett: Default offerings, target audiences, and the future of Fedora
Posted Aug 23, 2013 4:40 UTC (Fri) by torquay
In reply to: Garrett: Default offerings, target audiences, and the future of Fedora
Parent article: Garrett: Default offerings, target audiences, and the future of Fedora
You value unchanging-over-a-long-time stability, while I value continually-improving capability enabling me to do more.
Sure, I understand your point. However, you're in effect tearing down a server every 6 to 12 months, and building a new one. This is too much for most people.
Why settle for anything less than the best? Or put another way, why deliberately hobble yourself?
This in effect reduces to the often encountered "old-and-stable vs new-and-unstable" problem. To get the latest software one needs to upgrade the entire distribution. This is too disruptive in most cases, apart from a small niche of users with time and energy to spare.
How about we look at this from a different point of view. Fedora moves too fast to be a useful server to most people, while CentOS et al become outdated rather quickly. Where's the middle ground?
Why not remove the need to upgrade everything, by doing a stable server where one can officially parallel install various versions of software? One example is Python2 and Python3, but it would be nice to extend this to other packages. RHEL already does some packages along these lines, as that's what its customers want.
The parallel installation idea can be extended even further. Over time, version N-2 (or N-1) of a given package can be declared as obsolete, and an explicit configuration upgrade mechanism is provided to convert the software's configuration files (eg. web server config) to version N-1 (or N). The platform is hence moved along (kept fresh), but in a much less disruptive way.
While the above may sound a bit like a rolling distribution, it is a separate and distinct idea. In a rolling distribution the packages are simply replaced (only one version exists at a time), while in a parallel installation setup various versions exist at the same time.
This may all sound technically elegant, but it does require a bit more work. It's also not exactly in line with Red Hat's interests, as a stable platform would compete with the RHEL offering. As such, a more suitable place to implement this idea would be Debian, which is already barking in that direction anyway: the backports repository.
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