Rpath to Foresight Linux: Change to Fedora!

Aug 18, 2009

In order for Foresight Linux to follow development trends more quickly, Michael Johnson (the founder of rPath and former head of Fedora) has proposed switching from rPath Linux to Fedora.

With a post on the developer’s list, the rPath developer has unleashed a rather lively discussion among members of the Foresight community. “I'd like to propose a radical return to what Foresight has been good at in the past”, wrote Johnson. This post clearly articulates the intentions of the free distribution: with the most up to date applications the user should be able to catch a glimpse into the future of technical development.

Johnson’s opinion is that the distribution is no longer able to sufficiently fulfill this goal and believes to know the reason why: his own project rPath. He explains, “ The fact that Foresight is rolling to new versions at any time and rPath Linux is maintained as a classic stable distribution, and that rPath has not found strategic value in maintaining a constant stream of development updates for a set of rapid releases of new versions of rPath Linux, has created an immense amount of duplicated work in Foresight.

In order to rectify the situation, Johnson suggests Foresight developers create a base for using Fedora. Although a less than expected course of action coming from the current rPath leader, Johnson claims a deeper understanding of the situation because of his role. “The development model of rPath Linux is too divergent from the development model of Foresight to make it an appropriate long-term base for Foresight.”

Johnson speaks from experience when he endorses the idea of switching from rPath to Fedora. “If I were to make the decision of which distro to use as a base, I would choose Fedora, not because I was the original Fedora leader, but because rPath Linux has followed many Red Hat conventions.” Because rPath has followed Red Hat conventions, the switch would be much easier for users and developers, he claims.

In a reaction to a post on Linux Weekly News, many users and developers alike discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this change of bases. The reason for the switch has been less of a point of conflict than the question of which system to switch to. For example, many posts reflect a favoring of Debian over Fedora and defend this position by claiming a more sophisticated packet management from the distribution.

Johnson claims victory in relation to the issue at hand. “My (successful) purpose was to provoke discussion within the Foresight development community.”

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  • Change OS, not tools

    I need to clarify.

    The main point of the suggestion is to understand that other OS options can still be managed with Conary, built with rPath's tools. Foresight is enabled by using rPath's tools; the OS is only one of the many tools that rPath provides and it's not really the one that is that important to Foresight.

    Whether that's done by using rPath's tools to build on top of rPath Linux, or by using rPath's tools to build a new OS from scratch, or by using rPath's tools to import pre-built binaries of another OS, or by using rPath's tools to build a new OS from source that is in part based on another OS is the question under discussion. That is, rPath's tools are the constant; the point of discussion is only the base OS. Managing that base OS with rPath's Conary package management system, and building it with rPath's rMake build tool, will stay the same.

    Whatever base OS Foresight uses, it will be managed with rPath's Conary.
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