back to article If you're a Fedora fanboi, this latest release might break your heart a little

The Fedora Project has released Fedora 28, a significant update that supports something it shunned for years: third-party repositories of non-free apps. These third-party repositories allow you to easily install Chrome and Steam on Fedora 28, but for some they may come at the sacrifice of Fedora's long-standing ideals. Fedora …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In Linux, "freedom" means you have no freedom but to bow to Stallman.

    Frankly, I find this discussion absurd. If you're really free, you're free to release your code as you like, and install any application you like.

    Linux is trying to twist the words "free" and "freedom" in a way I don't like. It's an authoritarian/religious way, you're free as long as you bound yourself into a very strict set of rules and never challenge them, and shun everything else as evil, because you need to transform the world and reach the Promised Land of Open Source.

    No nVidia cards? Are you kidding?

    That's why Linux as a desktop system is still below 5% of the market - because desktop application very rarely can be the side effect of larger business like server ones could.

    1. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: In Linux, "freedom" means you have no freedom but to bow to Stallman.

      Well, you've got this straw man back to front then, because even Fedora have now relented and allowed these non-free packages in. And they were always very clear what they meant in this context: things that they were not legally allowed to redistribute as source.

      Personally, as a Linux user, I'm not particularly concerned what 'market' share the Linux desktop has, so long as it's large enough to be sustainable. I realise the people who make the distros may sometimes wish it was bigger, but as a tool I use I'd prefer it if they didn't make changes to chase after people whose main requirement is the simplest push-button way of loading Word possible at the cost of functionality I need.

      I sort of appreciated Fedora's stance on non-free, it came from RedHat, and meant they tried to provide a completely open source, unencumbered, system from the ground up. I did always enable the rpmfusion repos on my personal systems too, particularly as I live in an area where some of the things that were not re-distributable under US law were fine, but the focus of the project is the point. For most of the past two decades if you were using mp3 on a Linux system in the USA you were probably infringing the patents, that's not the fault of the Linux crowd. RedHat's response to that promoted codecs like Vorbis and Theora, they didn't entirely succeed, but they did drive the technology forwards, so WebM is still with us.

      Lastly, every machine in this office that runs linux (the majority) has an nvidia card, as does my home box.

      Edit: if I have any particular worry about this development it's that it might sideline the great work that RPMFusion do. I haven't been following fedora-dev properly for a while, but I'd hope if they're going down this road that RPMFusion may eventually be included in the list of things you can turn on. That'll probably never happen though, because there are real legal issues there, and distros that include some of those things are either based elsewhere or take a 'see no evil' approach to legality.

      1. Jonathan Dieter

        Re: In Linux, "freedom" means you have no freedom but to bow to Stallman.

        The nvidia repository is actually provided by RPM Fusion, so I don't think you need to worry too much about them being sidelined.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In Linux, "freedom" means you have no freedom but to bow to Stallman.

      It’s not ‘Linux’ doing that it’s the free software fruitcakes who insist on it, open source has entirely different aims. I use only Linux but I don’t refuse to use or install proprietary software.

      Most Linux users don’t care about or listen to what Stallman says.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC - Re: In Linux, "freedom" means you have no freedom but to bow to Stallman.

        You don't know what you're talking about.

        Nvidia for instance does not prohibit you from installing their drivers, they prohibit you from distributing their software. This is according to Stallman why their software can not be considered free. If you would have read Fedora justifications for not including non-free software you would not be posting such nonsense.

        Sheesh! Linux fruitcakes!

      2. keithpeter
        Coat

        Re: In Linux, "freedom" means you have no freedom but to bow to Stallman.

        "Most Linux users don’t care about or listen to what Stallman says."

        Android, ChromeOS, no-name teles and routers, data centres and embedded devices, HPC clusters and the supercollider. You are certain to be right on statistical grounds.

        Not so sure about those making an active choice to install a Linux based OS on a laptop or desktop.

    3. keithpeter
      Coat

      Re: In Linux, "freedom" means you have no freedom but to bow to Stallman.

      "In Linux, "freedom" means you have no freedom but to bow to Stallman."

      Have a look at the *BSD based operating systems, permissive licence and nice design. My personal favourite is OpenBSD. No chance of nvidia though.

      "That's why Linux as a desktop system is still below 5% of the market"

      Nope. Most people just use what the device came with. And if it is a PC or laptop it probably came with Windows.

    4. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: In Linux, "freedom" means you have no freedom but to bow to Stallman.

      "If you're really free, you're free to release your code as you like, and install any application you like."

      True. And you are, as is Fedora. I'm unaware of anyone who was trying to forcibly prevent them from releasing a distro that's exactly as they want it to be.

      However, freedom is a multi-way street. You are free to make any sort of distro you want, and others are equally free to criticize the decisions you've made.

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: In Linux, "freedom" means you have no freedom but to bow to Stallman.

      "If you're really free, you're free to release your code as you like, and install any application you like."

      True.

      As for the topic line:

      you have no freedom but to bow to Stallman Poettering.

      fixed it for ya.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A differente audience

    "t feels like Fedora is chasing a different audience all the sudden,"

    "I admin many a CentOS server."

    I can't help seeing a link between those two sentences - could it be that Fedora is looking for a less ideologically pure audience, but one that can actually help pay its bills (via the use of non-free-as-in-free-beer RHEL)?

    1. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: A differente audience

      Ideological purity wasn't really the RedHat / Fedora approach, it was more paying attention to legal and licensing issues. Not sure how they've overcome the nvidia issue; the nvidia license is a good example, it used to say you couldn't redistribute it. Is it "ideological purity" to look at that license and say "okay we shouldn't redistribute it then."? If there was an ideological core it was that you should be able to compile the system yourself, which remains one of the main selling points of Linux.

      Can't see this getting them more RHEL business though, the people using Fedora as a desktop who don't know how to add a repo for nvidia support or want to run Steam don't seem particularly likely to want to buy RHEL support.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: A differente audience

      smells a lot like Ubuntu, looks a lot like Unity.

      Unless it comes with Mate I'm not even going to download the thing - I don't like using rpm packages anyway, tried/tested CentOS and wasn't all that impressed with it. I got used to dpkg/apt a long time ago and I can stick with it.

      But at least the screenshots weren't all "2D FLATSO". I appreciate THAT much.

      Ubu has non-free packages. I guess this may have driven RH to do the same.

      But I believe in "true freedom" so I welcome the [mis-named] "non-free" package repo, particularly when it's 'non-free' as defined by STALLMAN and his hippie/commie fanbois. Stallman's fascist approach to GPL is not relevant any more. Who _CARES_ if the 'GNU List' of "approval" doesn't include Fedora? What matters is what the users/customers think.

      And right now, RH "gets it". Well, minus the whole systemd and gome-3-ness...

  3. fluffybunnyuk

    For those for whom ./configure && make is too complex.

    Its just another distro thinking its bigger and more important than what it is. It'll be reined in like ubuntu and unity eventually.

    1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

      "For those for whom ./configure && make is too complex."

      You'd be surprised. People want a computer that just works, and don't care if it is Windows / Linux / Mac, so long as they can launch a familiar browser.

      We have work experience kids in, ones who want to be in the software industry. Our first half day is usually spent teaching them CLI commands in a terminal window.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        I administer a large fleet of Linux and Windows servers. Apart from the Linux terminal server, all the Linux boxes are headless and have no GUI installed. To be honest, administering the systems with the CLI is second nature and a lot of Windows configuration is now quicker / easier with PowerShell, once you have a few scripts set up.

        I still prefer the GUI for many tasks. But my fellow admin only does the Linux side and only uses a CLI, even his Jabber chat client runs in a text console. He says how crap Windows is, because you have to use a mouse to click checkboxes to set options, as opposed to writing them out long hand with vi in a configuration file... For him having a list of options and checking off the ones you want is wrong, it is much better to have to remember arcane commands in the config files.

        But for the average user an easy to use desktop environment, they don't care about how the system works underneath. They just want to get their work done the quickest and simplest way possible. Anything that can help to make their lives easier is going to make the distro more attractive to them and increase your audience.

        Linux is like the German Reinheitsgebot (the regulation for brewing beer, only water, hops, malt and yeast can be used), for those interested in brewing, it is great. For those that just want to drink, it is irrelevant, as long as it tastes good. If you want to add fruit juice or something else to change the flavour, then it is no longer beer... For the drinker, they don't care, if it tastes good. The same goes for computer operating systems, most people don't care about what is underneath, as long as they can complete the task at hand with as little fuss and frustration as possible.

        1. GIRZiM Bronze badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Reinheitsgebot

          I all but sobbed the day that was rescinded - if want flavoured beer, I can get a Kriek or whatever, but where can I go now to get a pure, unadulterated beer rather than beer+E numbers?

          1. jake Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Reinheitsgebot

            "where can I go now to get a pure, unadulterated beer"

            Make your own. People have been brewing at home for thousands of years. It's not exactly rocket science. Here's a good place to get started.

            1. GIRZiM Bronze badge

              Re: Make your own.

              Yeah, that's all well and good when I'm at home.

              How about when I'm not though?

              I can't carry two to four litres of beer around with me every day in case I spontaneously decide to have a drink with friends/family/colleagues. And, even if did, I couldn't keep it cold. Nor could I drink it on the premises if my companions want a drink and we go to a bar/pub. And if I can't carry enough for myself just on the off-chance, what hope is there of me carrying enough extra for everyone else who might turn up, so that we don't need to go to a bar/pub?

              Your solution is better than nothing, yes; sadly, however, it's not a universal solution to the problem that repealing the Reinheitsgebot has introduced - namely, that I can no longer rely on anyone else's beer to be pure.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Make your own.

                If they don't carry good beer (or worse, only carry BMC products), I don't drink beer. And let 'em know that I don't drink crap beer. So do many of my friends. And a lot of other people. End result? Many more places here in Sonoma/Napa/Mendocino/Lake counties now carry palatable brews. The ones that don't? Either I don't venture there, or I drink water. It's not exactly a problem, unless you feel that you have to have beer. Note that "all my friends are drinking beer, so I must drink beer too!" isn't a good answer, unless you're a frat boy ... and even then it's not a good answer, not really.

                1. GIRZiM Bronze badge

                  Re: Make your own.

                  I don't mind what my friends drink, I want to drink beer - proper beer. But, as it happens, so do my friends - we like beer. And, if everywhere sells the same tired old beer-flavoured E-numbers then the choice of "don't go there then" or "just drink water" is not really a solution, is it?

                  Unfortunately, simplistic != simple.

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: Make your own.

                    "And, if everywhere sells the same tired old beer-flavoured E-numbers then the choice of "don't go there then" or "just drink water" is not really a solution, is it?"

                    Of course it is! Are they holding a gun to your heads, forcing you to go there and purchase their swill? Or are you CHOOSING to go there and purchase their swill? Shirley the proverbial "thinking man" would say to himself "fuck that, I can do better!" and then proceed to do same.

                    Get your friends together and form a homebrew club. The cost of admission is not all that high if you share the costs. Make beer together. Drink beer together. Save money drinking EXACTLY the beer you want to drink. It's how I started. But be careful, it's addictive. I'm up to 6,000 gallons once or twice per month ...

                    1. GIRZiM Bronze badge

                      Re: Make your own.

                      Are they holding a gun to your heads, forcing you to go there and purchase their swill? Or are you CHOOSING to go there and purchase their swill? Shirley the proverbial "thinking man" would say to himself "fuck that, I can do better!" and then proceed to do same.

                      What?

                      Of course it's a choice. But that's meaningless when the choice is junkfood or living in a mobile haute cuisine kitchen. I'm afraid that, in the real world, the fantasy that it's a free market and everyone can offer what they like is just that: a fantasy; try opening a 'free house' pub and see how quickly the major breweries put you out of business by engaging in a price war and taking a hit you can't afford yourself.

                      Your argument falls down the moment you substitute the word 'beer' with something that you personally would like to be able to avail yourself of but don't have the inclination to make for yourself. Let's see how inclined you are to say "just make your own, nobody's holding a gun to your head" when you're away from home, want to go out to eat with friends but not one restaurant serves the kind of food any of you like, just junkfood.

                      No, nobody is obliging me to go to a pub/bar and drink beer I don't like, but that's not the point.

                      Get your friends together and form a homebrew club. The cost of admission is not all that high if you share the costs. Make beer together. Drink beer together. Save money drinking EXACTLY the beer you want to drink. It's how I started. But be careful, it's addictive. I'm up to 6,000 gallons once or twice per month ...

                      That's an option I could avail myself of in addition to the other one, yes. It still does't resolve the problem of when I'm not at home with access to my own beer. Nor does it solve the problem when I'm with people who want to go out and drink beer, not travel all the way back to my home to drink my beer.

                      Really, your approach is far too simplistic.

                      1. jake Silver badge

                        Re: Make your own.

                        If you're that determined to drink swill, who am I to argue? Enjoy.

          2. big_D Silver badge

            Re: Reinheitsgebot

            @GIRZiM many of the traditional breweries are still brewing using the traditional methods.

            I was drinking Flensberger yesterday and that is 20% malt from the coast and water and hops. No Es or other additives...

            1. GIRZiM Bronze badge

              Re: Flensburger

              That's good to know, but it's no guarantee that things will stay that way.

              Heidelberger Schlossquell, for instance, is pisswater. Many moons ago, my favourite beer was Valentins helles Hefeweizen. Then, one day, Schlossquell got the licence to brew it. The next day, Valetins was pisswater and just couldn't drink it any more.

              *sigh*

    2. ibmalone Silver badge

      There is no way you run an up to date desktop using ./configure and make, a server maybe, but even then I really doubt you build every library on it. You'd spend most of the time compiling and the rest of it making small fixes to build configurations. It's hundreds of times more efficient to use a packaging system and have those tasks taken care of once and by somebody else.

      1. fluffybunnyuk

        I run my own linux. Not LFS , my own toolchain setup,my own unique setup, its binary incompatible with linux distros so you cant infect it by trying to run your own binary on it. It doesnt run JIT of any sort either.

        Yes I have built every library on it. im running kde 5.10 on kernel 4.16. So its hardly out of date either.Builds are executed by script file, and i can rebuild a system in less than 12 hours from the toolchain up.Usually its just a package and thats anything from 1 minute to 3 hours(firefox). I dont care about efficiency, its internet facing so i do worry more about security.

        1. GIRZiM Bronze badge

          Re: Not LFS

          Technically it's not LFS, no.

          But "I run [...] my own toolchain setup" is LFS in all but name, isn't it really?

          Unless of course you factor in the whole "its binary incompatible with linux distros" which is a bit unclear, really.

          Do you differentiate between linux and GNU/linux?

          If not then do you mean it is binary incompatible with the kernel - in which case, wtf, how does it even work? If so, in what way is it binary incompatible with the GNU aspect and how on earth do you manage to keep up with every update to ls, cp, mv, etc.? That's gotta be a nightmare to maintain!

          FreeBSD is 'binary incompatible' with linux and yet it can still run unmodified linux binaries without virtualisation or even emulation per se - are you doing something similar?

          1. fluffybunnyuk

            Re: Not LFS

            No because unlike LFS I use a hardened toolchain, and I integrate advisories into the patching process. I also get to choose whether i want systemd or init. Those are the flexible choices i like.

            How is my system binary incompatible? Read the binutils documentation. It makes it quite clear ways in which you can make a system binary incompatible with any pre-built linux distro. I have selectively chosen option/s that meet my requirements. I've built thousands of toolchains over the years, eventually you hit on the sweet spot of what you desire.

            The kernel is built using the incompatibility built into the toolchain, therefore I end up with a binary file that is unrecognised by any other system unless you select similar options in your toolchain.

            The simple truth is you dont need every update to everything, what you need is a stable set of source code, and to patch the advisories as you see fit. Programs arnt generally an issue, nor standalone libraries its when you get to a clib vulnerability thats when the dependency chain gets to the point a quick system recompile is less hassle. Generally due to hardening the system usually passes tests like return to C vulnerabilities.

            The biggest problem I had was getting rid of X Windows , too much legacy code, too much junk kicking about in it, always made it a nightmare reading back and forth through all the dependencies code. I moved to wayland as soon as it was available and resolved most of my security issues doing that.

            I maintain a source code folder, a patch folder, and a custom libraries folder for replacement memcpy etc.

            Nowadays I can compile a whole system in a few hours (a linux base system in 1 hour), and I dont even notice it running in the background on -j16.

            1. GIRZiM Bronze badge

              Re: Not LFS

              So, it's an HLFS (sort of)?

              I'll take a look at the binutils docs - thanks for the pointer.

              What immediately springs to mind as a potential concern, however, is incompatibilities that arise due to upstream development that relies upon hardcoded values, offsets, etc. - drivers and firmware in particular.

              Also, keeping up-to-date with all the CVEs for standard elements is probably fine if you're on the kernel devs' mailing list but what about all the external elements and apps - your in-box must take some serious management, no?

              I'm of two minds vis a vis systemd: on the one hand I find its monolithic mission creep disturbing but, on the other, the 'nspawn' function allows me to pivot to a sort of second-stage initramfs that lets me to use lvm on dm-cypt without the usual limitation to the pool size - boot an encrypted system that then mounts an image containing a standard lvm schema that maps encrypted devices, so you can add as many additional encrypted devices as you like at runtime, save changes, shutdown and protect your lvm schema with encryption too! I haven't found a way to do this with a init so, despite my misgivings about eggs, baskets and single points of failure, it has a very big plus going for it as far as I'm concerned.

              I haven't been paying much attention for the last two years for various reasons, so my last knowledge of Wayland was that it was still the future - no-one but Canonical was giving it sufficient development support for it to be anything more last time I looked and Ubuntu is not my distro of choice; not even as a base from which to spin. Iirc, however, it seemed a bit like systemd to me, insofar as you ended up with some hybridised frankenWM whereby apps controlled their own window management without reference to anything else, thus doing more than should be within their remit as apps - which struck me as a bit dubious security-wise and also to pose a potential danger of runaway threads using up resources like a logic bomb. I assume you're going to tell me I needn't fret but I'd be happier with a pointer to some good documentation on Wayland, if it's all the same to you ; )

      2. Alistair Silver badge
        Coat

        @ibmalone:

        ----> Gentoo!

      3. handleoclast Silver badge

        Make vs package manager

        @ibmalone

        There is no way you run an up to date desktop using ./configure and make, a server maybe, but even then I really doubt you build every library on it.

        No, I wouldn't build applications individually on a server. Especially not on a server. Fifteen years ago, yes, because back then packages didn't handle common use cases. When RPM won't give you apache with everything you need, and not even in a form where you can add the modules, then you have no option but to build from source. But that was back then, this is now.

        The big problem with building applications from source is that you then have to track all the bugs in every application and its dependencies. Because if you don't you end up with security holes that never get patched. That is a lot of effort. You have to maintain a dependency list so that if a bug is found in X you know that you have to rebuild Y and Z, and it's a very big list. Only it gets a lot more complicated than that. There are a lot of tools you use infrequently to the extent that you forget about them until you need them, but you have to ensure they're up to date too.

        It's too much work to build everything from scratch and keep it up to date. It's the keeping up to date part that's hard, not the initial build. These days it takes a hell of a lot to justify (to me) installing something by building it from scratch rather than using a package manager, because that's just fashioning a rod for my own back.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Make vs package manager

          @handleoclast we use Gentoo on many of our servers, with everything built up from scratch... That said, that is built up from source repositories, not sourcing from individual projects and having to track down dependencies ourselves.

          That said, a Debian is much quicker and easier to set up, if we need to test something quickly or for things like the terminal server, where you can't take bits of it offline for hours on end.

  4. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Don't want non-free software? Don't install it. Some of us like the choice though

  5. Tom 38 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Linux tip: Avoid Nvidia graphics cards if possible

    Yeah, who likes everything functioning exactly as the manufacturer intended, with perfect performance, zero glitches and perfect hardware video decoding.

    1. thames

      I have an AMD APU in the PC I am typing this on (CPU and GPU in one chip package). Before that I had always used NVidia graphics cards.

      For my next PC I would definitely choose an AMD APU again. I have had zero problems with it in several years of use. It's fast, glitch-free, and reliable, as are the open-source drivers used with it by default (I'm using Ubuntu).

      In contrast I always had some problems with NVidia graphics cards used with multiple Linux distros, especially when using the proprietary drivers.

      Considering the AMP APU comes with CPU and GPU in the same chip package for considerably less money than I would have paid for a comparable CPU plus separate graphics card, it is pretty difficult to justify anything else for typical desktop applications.

      I don't play video games so I can't speak to that field of use. I use mine for software development, full screen video playback, and web browsing. I have no complaints whatsoever about AMD APUs in my applications.

  6. TrevorH

    > Linux tip: Avoid Nvidia graphics cards if possible

    Really? That may have been true about 10 years ago but these days they pretty much just work. Besides, the main alternative would be AMD and theirs are far far worse.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Really? I bought a RX580 last year - Debian 9.1 or some such install - just worked - I had to do nothing extra to get it working with 3d acceleration and such.

      So yeah - nvidia can enjoy the landfil.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        How times have changed. I can remember getting an Acer Penium M laptop with ATi Radeon X800 graphics. None of the distributions would even boot to a VESA boot screen, let alone run the installer. In the end I managed to do a plain text install and then had to download the proprietary ATi drivers and manually install those, before it would boot - and I had to wait nearly 6 months after I bought the laptop, before the drivers were made available...

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      > Linux tip: Avoid Nvidia graphics cards if possible

      Hm. My GTX-1060 and Debian drivers would disagree. It works just fine in Kerbal Space Program.

      Granted, they did break xrandr in the latest release, if you're turning off/on monitors.

      But then I wouldn't have to turn monitors off/on if all my ill-behaved Java apps didn't shit their pants at the sight of more than one monitor.

    3. GIRZiM Bronze badge

      Re: Besides, the main alternative would be AMD and theirs are far far worse.

      On the other hand, in my experience at least, they last longer - all the Nvidia cards I've had have burned out within two years, whereas the AMD cards kept going.

    4. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

      > Linux tip: Avoid Nvidia graphics cards if possible

      Back in the late 90s the Nvidia Linux drivers were way ahead of their Windows ones.

      I used to dual boot my laptop, most of the stuff I was forced to use for work was Windows only, but when I was able to reboot and come up in Linux the screen was just so much nicer I often had other engineers stopping by and asking how I managed to get things like fonts displayed that nicely.

  7. alain williams Silver badge

    The Mate spin

    Gnome has long been unuseable. I'll download the spin that uses the Mate desktop over the weekend.

    1. joma0711

      Re: The Mate spin

      Indeed - I prefer Cinnamon, but only just,m the last time I downloaded a mate spin it was pretty good too :-)

      What is it with Gnome 3? Are they _really_ still trying to follow the Win8.1 paradigm?

  8. Spudley

    That problem with stable distros providing a fixed version of everything is the biggest bugbear I have with using Linux as a platform over Windows.

    I like that most of the software on my box is stable well maintained, but there are some applications for which I absolutely need the features in a newer version. Most of the time it's possible to install the newer version if you need it, but it almost always involves a lot more effort, and relying on third party repos that you may or may not want to trust.

    This Modules feature sounds like it fixes that problem for me. I will be very very happy when this feature rolls out to Centos (and Debian too...? we can hope, can't we?).

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Yeah, I was trying to create Metaploitable 3 on a Debian Stretch system last week. First add the external VirtualBox distro, then install vagrant from the repo, then copy a compiled binary for packer over (so I put that set-up in a VM!!). Only VB can't run 64-bit VMs, if it is running under VB, so I spun up a Stretch under Hyper-V to run VB in 64-bit mode...

      Anyway, after about 2 hours, the whole thing went tits-up... It turns out that the version of vagrant in Debian Stretch doesn't work with the version of VirtualBox for Stretch, so I had to add a repository from Hashi and update to the latest version and re-run the creation process again...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Anyway, after about 2 hours, the whole thing went tits-up... It turns out that the version of vagrant in Debian Stretch doesn't work with the version of VirtualBox for Stretch, so I had to add a repository from Hashi and update to the latest version and re-run the creation process again...

        This kind of thing really annoys me. Distros' curation of packages is a kinda promise that it should all work, and it all gets messy when it doesn't.

        This kind of cross-package version dependency is painful enough to manage as an ordinary user on platforms like Windows, where at least it's generally piss easy to install / uninstall any software you want. They have little hope of resolving them on most Linuxes

        1. keithpeter
          Coat

          "This kind of thing really annoys me. Distros' curation of packages is a kinda promise that it should all work, and it all gets messy when it doesn't."

          Agree.

          That is why I use Slackware. No promises, and no extensive modifications from upstream.

          Void linux is similar if you prefer the rolling distribution model (but their BDFL has gone awol so fork soon I guess).

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            I switched away from Slackware years ago, because distros were doing a decent job and saving me a ton of work. But over the past couple of years, distros have also been exacting a price for that in the form of reduced ability to stray from Their Preferred Builds, and I've been seriously considering moving back to Slackware.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Modules thing just underlines the major problem in the Linux world; too many different ways of distributing software. It sucks, it has always sucked, and no one seems at all interested in fixing that. Modules might help in the RPM world, but what about the DEB world?

      It is ludicrous to have a large number of different ways of distributing software on Linux when all the distros ship kernels with identical system calling interfaces. It's like they're saying, "if you can install it, it will run, but don't expect me to help you install it!"

      The Python community has made the same mistakes - people are now being actively put off using Python because it's hard to make pip / wheel / whatever installations work on platforms that people actually want to use (Windows, Mac). This is about the only thing keeping Mathworks in business against the onslaught of PyLab et al; their installers work.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        it's hard to make pip / wheel / whatever installations work on platforms that people actually want to use (Windows, Mac).

        Chortle.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Chortle

          Don't get too cocky - Python 2 vs Python 3 is a complete f***ing joke. Any language community with that kind of stupid history cannot justify preaching to others on any topic...

      2. jake Silver badge

        "too many different ways of distributing software."

        That's why i run Slackware. KISS, use tarballs as gawd/ess intended.

    3. GIRZiM Bronze badge

      Re: I absolutely need the features in a newer version

      That's what Arch is for.

      Or Bedrock, if you're prepared to risk increasing your attack surface and the number of possible vectors of attack - you pays your money and takes your choice.

      Or you could just use containers.

  9. HPCJohn

    Nvidia cards are fine

    Linux tip: Avoid Nvidia graphics cards if possible).

    Eh?

    I have a career as a manager and systems integrator for HPC systems for many years.

    In an F1 team I installed and managed SuSE Linux workstations - with Nvidia graphics cards.

    I have installed and managed many GPU equipped servers.

    So I'm supposed to tell all the engineers and scientists I work with that they can't use the most popular platform for GPU computing and high performance graphics? Why?

    To be honest I have always just installed the latest Nvidia drivers by using the command line. It is no hassle at all. I could just as easily have configured the automatic update mechanisms using a repository.

    Exactly why is an article on The Reg recommending against a hugely popular piece of equipment?

    You really think that all those people who are running accelerated GPU codes like Ansys, or are developing machine learning codes, or are using engineering visualization are going to abandon them just because some sysadmin says the graphics drivers are difficult to install?

    I KNOW in an ideal world they should be Open Source. I know Open Source has many, many advantages.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Nvidia cards are fine

      The problem with proprietary drivers for Nvidia or ATI hardware is that they both silently remove support from older chip sets.

      On two occasions with Ubuntu, one Nvidia, one ATI, I've put some updates on a system (one was a dist-update, and the other was just a normal in release set of updates), rebooted, and been faced with either a text login screen, or a 640x480 16 colour screen.

      In both cases, the support for the graphics card that was in the system had been removed from the proprietary drivers, so the system defaulted to the highest system it could use. This is far from ideal, especially when Linux is seen as suitable for older hardware.

      Nowadays, I recommend that users switch to the Open Source drivers before doing any major updates, and as I don't have any major reason to use heavy 3d applications, I use them all the time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nvidia cards are fine

        "The problem with proprietary drivers for Nvidia or ATI hardware is that they both silently remove support from older chip sets."

        It's not silently removed; it's in the release notes. Support for older h/w is migrated to the "Legacy" drivers (which are still updated and maintained) to reduce driver bloat.

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Nvidia cards are fine @Lee

          And when, during the update process on Ubuntu, does one get to read these release notes?

          Oh. you can read the changelog in synaptic (can you do this in the Software Center?) I suppose, but I wasn't explicitly updating the graphics driver, I was just allowing the automatic update process to install the updates that were in the repository. This means it was silent as far as I was aware.

          So what do ordinary users do? Freeze the graphics drivers (if they know how to do this) so they don't get updated, and vet every graphics update manually? This will work until a kernel update that requires a new graphics driver module, and then the result will be, again, that the graphics stop working.

          And if you do spot it, switching to the legacy driver is not something that is obvious. Graphics drivers are normally in use when you are running normally, so in my experience, it is necessary to stop the GUI, and work in console mode. This is something that is also not obvious.

          It's exactly what opponents of Linux complain about, you need to know a lot about what you are doing if you want to run Linux on the desktop with the vendor drivers, and this is why I recommend to non-technical Linux users to use the open-source drivers.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. cs9

    Nobody cares, no film at 11

    But Scott does appear to be a shoo-in to be elected head of the RMS fan club.

  12. RB_

    Does this mean the distro is no longer condescending ?

    It may have been Fedora, or it may have been Ubuntu I can't recall but around 5 years ago I thought to myself, well, it's been a while let me install Linux onto a spare partition.

    After trying to install gfx drivers via the desktop install tool, I promptly deleted it and haven't tried a desktop linux again. I was outraged at the Linux distribution telling me how I was a bad person because I wasn't installing free stuff! Screw that, *I* made the choice to install the distribution and *I* make the choice to install what I want. How dare some drooling zealot chastise me for thinking otherwise.

    On the server side it's great - I have a SuSE distro on my little micro server and I first used slackware way back in '93. Looks like in 25 years the idealogical zealots are still out in force - or just maybe, just maybe they are now realising that all they are doing is preaching to the converted and finally getting with it. Good luck and we'll see where it goes.

    1. James O'Shea Silver badge

      Re: Does this mean the distro is no longer condescending ?

      They're still zealots.

      I have a number of servers at this location. Some are Windows, running WinServer 2008 R2 and WInServer 2012 and 2012 R2. Some are various Linux distros. One is an old Apple XServe which Tim Cook's minions will pry loose from my cold, dead, fingers, and only after I lay waste to Cupertino and sow the ruins with radiocobalt. I also have a few desktop systems, Windows 7, Windows 10, a few XP, a lot of Macs running 10.6 and 10.9 and a few running 10.13. No Linux desktops. Why? Hardware and software incompatibilities. Linux does not talk to many of the various scanners, printers, imagesetters, and so on around here, or at least doesn't talk easily, and if it does, lacks the featureset of those devices when talking to Windows or Mac. I'm in the middle of dumping all the XP and some of the 7 and 10 systems and replacing them with Macs... because it's simply easier to get Macs to talk to the other hardware, and where I _must_ use Windows-based systems, in many cases it's simpler to get a Mac-based VM and still a Windows license on that. Macs and Windows boxes don't argue with me about video cards, network cards, printers, and imagesetters, scanners, floor-standing multifunction devices etc. (We have several Canon floor-standing copier things. One of them supports Linux... in theory. In reality, getting adequate hardcopy out of it from a Linux system is painful. Scans ain't happening, though they should, in theory. The other units simply aren't supported. All work perfectly with Windows and Macs, even ancient versions such as XP and 10.6, even though Mac OS X 10.7 is, officially, the lowest supported version of Mac OS. Yes, I can use it on theoretically unsupported Macs, but Linux systems balk. Perhaps someone who actually gives a damn might be able to coax good behavior out of the Canons and Linux; I just point a Mac or a Windows machine at the print or scan or fax job and It Just Works(tm). I've never got the Canon to send or receive a fax using Linux; we fax things on a semi-regular basis using Windows and Macs, without problems, and so simply and trivially that we no longer have stand-alone fax machines, we fax over the network from desktops. Can't do it from Linux, or at least not from any version of Linux we have using any of out Canon copier things.)

      We have reason to use certain software which is simply not available on Linux, including MS Office and image-editing software like Photoshop and Affinity Photo. No, Open/Libre Office will NOT replace MS Office; I mostly use Word, and could probably make do with LibreOffice instead, but there are those who use Excel (a lot!) and simply cannot make do with LibreOffice. We have tried. No, it won't work. Not here. Pretty much everyone uses Outlook, even though most hate it. Tests with other email/calendaring systems show that the users here hate pretty much everything else (yes, especially Lotus Notes) more than they hate Outlook. It takes talent to be hated more than Outlook; the competition has lots of talent. No, the GIMP is not an adequate replacement for Photoshop or Photo. In particular, given that Linux systems have problems talking to the scanners we have here, the GIMP is crippled out of the box 'cause it can't scan. It can't even bloody scan from some of our directly-attached large-format high-resolution scanners, though it can detect the el cheapos. Problem is, we don't want scans from the el cheapos for production work; el cheapo scans are fine for me and the beancounters and admin, but the art department would have collective cows at the thought, and that tends to leave a mess which I would be stuck with cleaning up, so no thanks. I usually scan either from the el cheapo no-name scanner in the department or from the Canon floor-stander over the way, because 150x150, 300x300 or at most 600x600 scans are plenty for me and the el cheapo or the Canon can manage that without problems... except that the Canon won't scan to Linux. Then there's output. Assuming that we get scans in, somehow, despite the good scanners not supporting Linux, output is a bitch 'cause the good printers, including the imagesetters, don't support Linux.

      This doesn't matter for servers; I rarely need to scan or print from a server and if I do, or if I need to fax, it's easy to print to a PDF on one of the shared volumes and then print or fax the PDF using a machine which can print or fax, or to have another machine do the scan and save it as a PDF or whatever on a shared volume and access it that way. The lack of support for some hardware and software isn't a problem, with a server. It's a big problem with desktop systems.

      I expect lots of screaming from zealots.

    2. J27 Bronze badge

      Re: Does this mean the distro is no longer condescending ?

      That's Ubuntu, up until now Fedora's install tools wouldn't even give you the choice to download binary drivers.

  13. Jim-234

    The problem with the Nvidia cards is the 10xx series

    The current generation Nvidia GeForce cards such as the 10xx series (such as 1080Ti etc) will give some installations (Like Linux Mint 18.3) fits & black screens.

    Since, I didn't get around to reading how to fix the issue properly, I put in an older Nvidia card, do the install, then load the Nvidia drivers, then swap the card back in, sometimes it fails & I have to remove & do it over, but then it usually works fine.

  14. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    The crack about nvidia cards indicates a lack of use of proprietary drivers of late.

    By default nouveau works *just fine* out of the box, and I've used a fairly recent version (F26, may last year), on a mess of cards ranging from GF8800 to a GTX970Ti, at least in the install process and basic setup process. The proprietary drivers across the historical spectrum take some reading to figure out which version you need, but they too work quite well in my experience.

    For quite some time ATI had the linux driver world locked up tight as they were *always* out in front on driver development in the linux world, however after AMD took over, and during the 6 years it took to beat the teams into shape for the old ATI graphics folks working in a new hierarchy, the drivers, and the video card designs themselves suffered horribly and the linux folks moved over to nvidia in herds. AMD have only in the last three or so years gotten sufficiently on board that the opensource and proprietary drivers are being regarded in the same light as Nvidia.

    All that said, as a *long* time wine user and linux gamer, for the moment I'm still more on the nvidia front than the AMD front, although, it is starting to get back to the AMD vs Intel space -- where the *value* ($$ vs perf) is very much headed back to AMD's side of the wall.

    (and believe me here, I'm a huge ATI/AMD fanboi, both for the fact that they are the underdog, and the fact that my very first coding job was at ATI, and I can still dredge up some of the oddball assembler language....)

  15. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Red Hat

    Also, Fedora needs to start selling the red fedoras again, they're cool.

    I still have mine from when I bought Red Hat 1.0 (or 2.0, don't remember)

    1. mattdm

      Re: Red Hat

      For many years, the only way to get one was to become a Red Hat employee -- you get one at new hire orientation. But.... I saw a photo of Jen Madriaga giving them out at Kubecon, so maybe there's hope for wider distribution now.

  16. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

    FTR and technically off-topic, the hat in the photo is a trilby, not a fedora. Fedora has a wider brim. Think Indiana Jones.

    It's a common mistake.

    And that has been your dose of hair splitting for today.

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      I was reading through the comments just to see if anyone pointed that out.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Non-free software

    FFS just don't opt in to the non-free repositories.

    I can understand why you wouldn't want to use non-free software. But why would you care that other people now have the option on their copies of Fedora?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quote: "Fedora 28 is available in three versions"

    *

    Well....this is misleading....there are other "spins" available for those (like me) who think Gnome 3 is an abomination. My preference is XFCE for the desktop, but MATE, KDE, and LXDE are also available.

    *

    On the ugly debate about "free" versus "non-free" versus "open"......I'd like to point out that Red Hat and Fedora licences are MUCH TO BE PREFERRED compared with the alternative offered by a large company based in Redmond WA!!!

    1. FrankAlphaXII

      "....the alternative offered by a large company based in Redmond WA!!!"

      Ahh, the famous Linux neckbeard persecution complex on an article with fuck-all to do with Microsoft or Windows. It'd be funny if it wasn't so predictable.

  19. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Good thing

    Linux really needs some money driving development. Honestly, most Linux apps are garbage once you get past simple utilities. They lack the refinement that you're only going to get from a coordinated team working for a salary. "You can use WINE or a Windows VM" is not a compelling reason to install Linux on a personal desktop computer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good thing

      Speaking as a user and not a developer or IT pro, I can fully appreciate that. I would love to use Linux on my main workstation for photo editing and some video too, but the open source offerings aren't a patch on the commercial offerings (Lightroom, CaptureOne, etc). Sadly these are only available on Mac or Windows. And don't say 'have you used Gimp, it's really good'. Yes I have, and no it isn't.

      I've looked at all the opensource equivalents (Gimp, Darktable, etc) and they simply aren't good enough for professional work, although Darktable is showing some promise. Don't think of merely the photo editing here, think of the complete workflow and colour management. Adobe for all their issues are the market leader for a reason - they provide an end-to-end solution with good integration between their products regardless of platform.

      I would have no issue whatsoever with Redhat/Ubuntu/etc getting in bed with Adobe, CaptureOne and so on to provide the tools I need for my job so I don't have to run Windows. I don't care that the software isn't free, I'm quite happy to pay for it if it delivers what I need and the quality is good.

      Photography is just one example, I'm sure there are many other professions out there who would quite happily run Linux if the apps were available. And nobody is going to retrain from Adobe, etc, to another app just so they can use Linux. This is very time-consuming and none of the available apps are worth the effort in time to learn them and make the switch. If Redhat, etc want to build market share on the desktop, they need apps. Having a free OS isn't enough - we pay for Windows, and put up with all the MS crap, just to run the apps we need and have flexibility with the hardware.

      The catch 22 of this is having multiple desktop managers and package types (rpm, deb, etc) and such a small market share is what puts developers off Linux for desktop apps. It would be too expensive to develop and support compared to Windows or Mac. So for Linux to succeed on the desktop there needs to be less variables and effectively a standard distribution. It would take something like the Adobe Creative Suite or Microsoft Office on Linux to start increasing numbers of Linux desktop installations, but that would take a leap of faith and you don't see many of these nowadays as everyone is too concerned with profit.

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. mattdm

      Re: Ditch SystemDerp and I'll try it

      Fedora includes systemd because its authors showed up, did the work, and convinced Fedora's engineering steering committee that it it was a better approach.

      If you want Fedora to move to something else, show up with *your* better thing and do the same.

  21. mattdm
    Linux

    In which I am Just Sayin'....

    You note "and this interface design will be quietly lost in the spittle of philosophical arguments, which is a shame", _after_ several paragraphs of things like "the sky is falling". Mayyyybe, just maybe, you could have led with the other thing?

    In any case, I want to emphasize: The Fedora operating system and everything within the Fedora Project, including the tools we use to *make* the OS are free and open source and always will be. Third-party means just that.

    But, we know that a) many, many people use non-free software on Fedora and b) research and user feedback indicated that lack of easy configuration was an impediment to adoption. People don't generally say "Oh, I guess I won't have my hardware work" or "I won't use Steam" if we make it difficult — they say "Oh, I guess I won't use Fedora". Then, we've basically just completely lost those people and don't have any opportunity to help show in a positive way that open source and free software *is* better.

    I do appreciate that you noticed the work we put into the UX here. We went through a lot of work trying to find the right balance, and I think the result is decent. There's always room to improve, of course. THAT is an important part of what Fedora is about, too.

  22. RLWatkins

    Why is this a big deal? Oh, and the hat looks like a trilby.

    Repositories are not part of the operating system. The distros are what you get at the outset. Repos are a source of additional software. Some provide updates, drivers, other enhancements to the OS. Others provide application-specific software. Some of that is proprietary.

    Egad?

    Nah. Almost everyone who uses a computer uses some proprietary software. Some of it is very useful, helps some of us earn our living. Having some of those repos pre-set makes it something less of a pain in the ass to use Linux. Good for them. They're doing everyone a good turn.

    So...

    The sky is not falling. The user base as a whole isn't disappointed. This is not a religion. It's a collection of tools. There is a difference. No significant breach of ethics or trust is taking place. Mom and apple pie are not at risk. Daleks are not killing kittens.

    Oh, and the hat looks like a trilby. That's typically what genus Crested Hipster mistakes for a fedora.

    (source: someone who has been programming, and wearing hats, for 45 years)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is news?

    I could swear that Fedora has offered the option of adding 3rd party repos during installation for awhile. Is it just that these now have a home inside the project like EPEL? Including binary graphics drivers for NV doesn't seem controversial, since proprietary firmware has shipped as part of the main distro for years. Did something change in NV's attitude towards redistribution?

    Finally, as a sysadmin who has run big farms of RHEL servers since v2 (numbered in the 1,000s), I'm don't think that having Fedora on my desktop would have any advantage over an Ubuntu LTS. I know, because I worked that way for many years. In fact, using CentOS or RHEL itself would probably make more sense, if I didn't already have my own VM garden running every version that lives in the DC -- managed using virt-manager because I find Boxes default to creating disk images under my $HOME suboptimal.

    Desktop Linux makes for a great non-Windows developer workstation, particularly with the new open source tools from MS like VS Code, Powershell and dotNet Core, but there really isn't much that differentiates them: unless you're talking about the latest Ubuntu MATE with high dpi support :-)

  24. The Central Scrutinizer

    I can never understand why people get all bent out of shape about proprietary and non-proprietary software. I enjoy the freedom of open source as much as the next Linux user, but if I CHOOSE to use some proprietary software then that's my CHOICE, regardless of what the fanatics might say. I believe the key word here is freedom. I like getting shit done, not having an existential crisis every time I boot up the computer.

  25. J27 Bronze badge

    I guess this will save me 5 minutes off every Fedora install, because I'm not going to have to set up RPM Fusion. And maybe, just maybe, Nvidia driver support will be better. I'm getting sick of Nvidia drivers failing to properly work on my XPS 9550, I always have to search for that "golden version" where the card is detected and the graphics switching actually works right. But all-in, this is a pretty minor change.

  26. Johnny Canuck

    Note to editor

    The hat pictured is a trilby, not a fedora. Fedoras have wider brims.

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