[Note: I wrote this in the LXer.com forum in response to Jeff Hoogland’s blog posting on #fedora that was linked to LXer.com. I did spell out “asshat” below, where I did not do that in the forum posting. Jeff’s blog item is here, and I would invite everyone to read it first before reading my response below. Or not. It’s up to you. Also, I fixed the link to the Eric Raymond/Rick Moen tome that’s worth a read as well.]
Truth in advertising disclaimer: Many of you already know that I have been an active participant in the Fedora Project for several years; for those of you who don’t, that secret is now out (and, man, do I feel relieved admitting it!). I have also been a regular in many IRC channels, both Fedora and non-Fedora related, though I am not a regular in #fedora — in fact, I avoid #fedora for the same reasons Jeff outlines in his self-proclaimed “rant.”
That said, Jeff accurately points out a situation that has been a sticking point, and one that is being addressed and corrected, in the Fedora Project around the types of caustic responses that sometimes come up in #fedora. Also, while I don’t frequent the channel and usually find answers to my questions elsewhere — a good practice (and more on this later) — I can say that it’s something that has caused some of us in the Fedora Project some concern.
However — and you knew that was coming — just as an observation on my part, it appears Jeff shot from the hip on this one rather than giving it some thought before writing.
Believe me, I am not casting the first stone against this “sin” — I speak from experience here: lots of experience in which I have fired off unretractable words that a walk in the redwoods or shooting a few hoops would have tempered into something more reasonable and justifiable.
So, Jeff, with apologies, I think your blog goes over the top in the following ways:
a.) #fedora has not cornered the market in asshats by any stretch of the imagination, despite our mutual experience in this particular channel. The cantakerous tards who have an inflated self-worth exist in most IRC channels in every distro across the board — maybe not in Bodhi, if their leader has any say in it (I sincerely hope) — but I think it’s more the nature of things like how IRC operates as well as a wake-up call for the need for change, positive change, in this regard.
b.) It’s a little myopic to judge the performance of a distro by the people “representing” it (and, arguably, any bad experience in any distro-related IRC channel does not accurately reflect the community as a whole, but rather reflects personality flaws in those responding to questions, regardless of whether they’re chanops or not). If that were the case, I would never, ever, EVER use PCLinuxOS, since I have had the same experience seeking information from them that we have had with Fedora (and I do have a box in the lab with PCLOS).
c.) An aside: When I first started using Linux, I was told to read this tome by Eric S. Raymond and Rick Moen: “How to Ask Questions the Smart Way” which lives here:
(You may have to copy/paste the link above — there is no space before the ~ though each posting insists on inserting one)
Why this isn’t a README in all distros is a mystery, but it should be. I am not suggesting that Jeff asked the wrong question here, but often times questions are not asked in the most efficient or direct way. But as Jeff points out in his blog, we don’t know the circumstances that the user is facing in finding out an answer, but it does help immensely to ask the right question. Immensely.
d.) Another aside: I can’t imagine Jared Smith of Fedora or Jono Bacon of Ubuntu firing off a rant like this. As a project leader for what I think is an up-and-coming distro, I hope you understand, Jeff, that as a project leader, you’re in the bigs now and what you say and do reflect on your project for better or worse.
For those of you who have gotten this far, thanks for staying awake. I’ll now put on my Nomex and feel free to flame away.
(Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation. He is also one of the founders of the Lindependence Project.)
During the course of the year, the FOSS traveling salvation show in North America wends its way around the nation to end up, finally, at the Utah Open Source Conference (UTOSC) in Salt Lake City in October before taking a hiatus for the holidays. Then of course the new year, FOSS-wise, starts with the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) in February.
There’s only one word for those who might want to skip the last-of-the-year Linux expo: “Don’t!”
Quietly and with little fanfare, UTOSC has been building up to a top-notch, not-to-be-missed show that is beginning to draw deserved attention — and people — from outside immediate Utah area. In fact, in the last four years it has grown to become the best community computer conference in the Mountain West.
UTOSC will be held from Oct. 7-9 at the Miller Campus of Salt Lake Community College in Salt Lake City. Attendees who register before Saturday can save 30 percent on the price of admission to the three-day event. Regular admission to UTOSC is $70 for a full-access pass, $25 for an expo pass with entrance to try-it lab workshops and $15 for an expo pass.
For registration information, visit the registration page and those who register before the Early Bird registration deadline Saturday can use the code OPEN to get the discount.
This year’s lineup of keynotes — Jared Smith, the Fedora Project’s new project leader; Howard Tayler, creator of creator of Schlock Mercenary; and Karsten Wade, of Red Hat’s Community Architecture team — highlight the more than 60 presentations scheduled for the three-day event.
Two scheduled events at UTOSC other shows should look at deserve special mention. UTOSC is a very family-friendly show, meaning kids are welcome — in fact, the trio of junior high girls who talked about their involvement in FOSS at SCALE earlier this year are going to give an updated presentation at UTOSC — and there are activities for them as well. Second, there’s a huge game night at the end of the show, and I’ve honed my Munchkin skills over the year with the intention of not being trounced this year.
In addition, of course, Larry the Free Software Guy will also be giving a presentation on User Groups 2.0 — Noob Morning in America. Never one to be accused of false modesty, I have to say that one is not to be missed.
See you in Salt Lake City.