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about leaving

I’ve read quite a few blog posts about someone leaving Debian and whether they should remain on Debian planet. An official policy on these matters has now been posted which stated what I expected, if you feel that you belong and meet technical criteria then you are welcome.

Not that this solves much, the next debate will be about what content is suitable for Debian-planet with the expected answer being “anything which meets technical criteria and doesn’t offend many people or break any laws”. I’ve already had some comments on my blog from people who want me to change topics. I don’t know if other people get this or whether doing an average of one post per day gets me more attention from the loons.

I started blogging after leaving Red Hat. I considered asking for my blog to be added to the Fedora Planet, but wasn’t sure whether I would be posting much about it. I just checked and it seems that my old Advogato blog is aggregared on the Fedora Planet and there is no mailto URL on that site to allow me to get it changed. I’ve just put a final blog entry on Advogato to inform everyone of the change.

I’m not sure if it’s worth adding my blog to the Fedora syndication. I have just decided to change my main desktop machine from Rawhide to Debian/unstable. The reason is that Fedora is mostly a Gratis distribution and Debian is more Libre. For most computer users there is no real difference as they don’t have the skills to use the liberty that Debian offers. But for people who can code (note that we are in a small minority of computer users) the difference is significant.

The final issue that forced me to this decision is this bugzilla entry about Xen. In Debian there are kernels for Xen on i686, Xen on AMD K7, and Xen on i686 with vserver (doesn’t Xen make vserver redundant?). In Fedora there will be one Xen kernel which won’t boot on the machine that is most important to me and which ironically is the machine that was issued to me by Red Hat (and sold to me when I left).

This issue of a lack of choice is quite understandable from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux side of things. It’s OK to say to a customer who wants to pay for a RHEL-AS license that they need a machine less than 3 years old if they want to use all the features. Adding new kernels adds support costs and I think that most RHEL customers want to have a smaller set of supported options with a higher level of support. I often recommend RHEL to clients and I will recommend that clients use Xen on RHEL-5 – and that they purchase recent hardware to do so.

But for home and hobby use it’s a different matter. I provide all the support I need, I can compile my own kernels without much effort – but it saves time to have someone else do it. Fedora simply lacks choice here by design. I still support a bunch of Fedora and RHEL machines and will still develop RPMs for them. I will put everything I develop under http://www.coker.com.au/rpms/ for anyone who wants it.

Given that if the Fedora Planet people want to syndicate my blog I am more than happy to have them do so. I don’t dislike Fedora, in fact I still recommend that people use it. It’s just that Debian suits my personal needs better than Fedora does. I expect that I’ll have more Debian content than Fedora content on my blog, but there will also be a lot of Linux content that’s not distribution specific.

It will be interesting to see what the Fedora Planet people do.

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