After I got a note on my blog in a comment, that Fedora actually has left the OPL and changed the CLA. I have looked into the topic again, after I left Fedora 2006 because they chose OPL (as one reason) and after I repeated my critique in April 2009 in “Fedora: Open up your documentation!“
Four years into the future and things seem to have changed. This sentence says it all:
To be honest, this change is probably a bit overdue. Most of the time, though, you can’t push the river, it has to flow as fast as it can in the direction it wants.
Also the change of the ICLA t a newly FPCA (Fedora Project Contributor Agreement). Another quote from the change FAQ:
Q. Why change the Fedora ICLA?
A. The current Fedora ICLA wasn’t really well structured for the needs of Fedora. It was composed of a lot of legal boilerplate, and was written before Fedora had really taken shape. In fact, the only reason that we’ve been able to leverage it for as long as we have is because of some creative interpretation on the part of Fedora Legal. Also, there were many people who could not agree to the Fedora ICLA for a variety of reasons, and we hope that the FPCA will resolve most (if not all) of those concerns.
That is true.
Ok, after all this years Fedora did what I requested. I publicly acknowledge that. So currently i do not have any legal doubts when it comes to Fedora contribution.
Would Fedora now be a viable choice for me? Well most major distributions suffer from a strange illness which is tat they constantly move forward into new technological grounds, same is true for desktops like KDE and GNOME. But Fedora especially did meet those demands. I think that partly this is because Fedora was invented as a testbed for future Red Hat versions. Another motivation sure is that new stuff excites contributors more than old stuff.
But right now I am frustrated and sticking with Ubuntu. I hate what they do with the GUI (FUSA, button switches) every now and then. Especially as somebody who people ask what distributions the should use. Ubuntu is a compromise. Part of why I recommend it is because its popular – and that makes argumentation easier. It’s not all Ubuntus fault. GNOME does a lot of changes but some change just are not going to happen. But KDE is still worse in many aspects.
Fedora is not that much different and better than Ubuntu. And it actually does not have any larger user base in Germany. I would estimate the relation of Ubuntu:Fedora here to 1:12 or so. Fedora here totally has lost the popularity contest. It also stated it never wanted to win this as far as I remember. I have not used it for a while. So I can not judge on how stable or well crafted it is right now. At the pint where I left Fedora it had been technically ahead of all other Distros.
What I see is that it seems the users have got more grip on the directions of Fedora and that’s a healthy development.
What is the future of Linux and Linux distributions? I do not see much innovation that excites me. Most of the interesting stuff is happening inside he applications. And it seems the more they are independent from a major desktop the larger the user base is. Thats not the whole point of development for sure. I can also understand the OpenBSD approach and like it very much. But OpenBSD in effect does what its users want – or many of its users are also core developers or at least have the same interests.
In Linux distributions it seems there are two kinds of distributions:
- Those who are supported by larger companies and that exist as a door opener for services and other products (Ubuntu, Fedora,…)
- Distributions who are driven by the community and the excitement about software (Debian, Arch Linux)
Although Ubuntu has claimed as being a Linux for “human beings” it has not proven to be easy to install and use. Especially those major changes in GUI design that Mark seems to have forced personally (?) have been fatal. And I would switch tomorrow. The obvious commercialisation an weaknesses on free software usage has also been mentioned by many users as being a reason to consider switching or for having switched already. Many have already switched. Many have switched to Grandma Debian. And for good reasons. But Debian has been very slow and unpredictable in its development phases in the past.
On April 29th a new Long Term Support Ubuntu has been released. I have not been too excited about it for the above reasons. Ubuntu is destroying most of its reputation and popularity right now. It still has a lot of momentum, but that is only because all other distros still do worse.