[Fedora-config-list] Merging redhat-config with GNOME System tools
After reading an enormous number of "TradeMarked Name --redhat-config-"
I hope this mail will lead to a bit more constructive messages. I
would appreciate somebody of Red Hat to gives RedHat's opinion.
Mike Harris already gave his own personal opinion.
He's unfortunately sceptical, but hopefully I can still convince him :-)
For people who don't know (I already posted something about this about a
month ago, but I didn't get too many reactions) there exists another
project who tries to make config tools: Gnome System Tools:
They basically have the same goal as we do: Making easy to use config
tools. A nice thing they furthermore did is split the front-end (the
GUI) and the backend (writing the appropriate files on disk). For the
GUI they use GTK and as programming language C and Python are accepted.
The backend is currently written in perl. Due to this split it is
possible to have a common frontend for all linux distributions because
the backend arranges all the distribution specific things.
Most of the people hacking on it are people from Ximian, but RedHat is
following the development (I saw some posts of Havoc Pennington on the
list). The GNOME system tools guys are going to propose their tools for
So my proposal would be to bundle our forces with Gnome System Tools. I
have the following arguments. They could benefit from their tools and we
from theirs. Fedora.us and Redhat also merged for having similar goals
* It will make the people happy who are afraid that their work will only
be used by Fedora and Red Hat users.
* It's possible that the config tools will become a de-facto standard,
when Red Hat and Novell (Ximian, Suse) back this. Being an open de-facto
standard motivates people to contribute. For that reason people are
happy to contribute to tools gcc and apache etc.
I my self do research in a large consumer electronics company and there
standards are really important. Things become a succes due to standards
and in the end the standards are better for all companies. Look for
example what happened to CD (a standard, a success) and Digital Compact
Cassette (DCC) and minidisc (both failures, because they were not backed
by all electronics companies)
Also in software you can see that de-facto standards are really
succesful: TCP/IP, the linux kernel, all the GNU tools, Apache etc. etc.
* Having standard GUI tools with flexible backends will maybe in the end
lead to a standard for all configuration files. If the linux distro
providers can agree on a standard for configuration files someday
(hopefully sometime soon). They just can do this from one release to
another and an average desktop user won't even notice this.
* Advantage for Red Hat is that they can share development costs with
more people. Also standard tools will be good for redhat because it will
be good for linux in general.
* Mike's reply to my included following statement:
And "same tool works
the same on all distros" is a nice thought, but that's not the
*highest* priority. What is more important than our tool being
the same one SuSE and/or Mandrake, etc. uses, is that our tool
actually works for our distribution without a lot of hacking, or
developmental latency. Our tools are developed on _our_
distribution release cycle. An upstream tool is developed on
volunteer time, and different components of such a suite would
more likely than not have different release cycles.
I understand this is an issue, but for all the other packages (hundreds
of them) included in Red Hat you have exactly the same issue. Linus for
example does not release kernels at exactly the right moment for RedHat
releases. And some of these programs are way more complicated then
* In the end config tools are not really important for the average
desktop user. Once the desktop user gets everything working the way he
wants, he just will use programs like Mozilla, Evolution, OpenOffice,
Gaim to have fun and get his work done. It's only a major pain when he
decides to go to another distro (for example because he was not happy
with the service the distributor offered him) to get everything working
I hope this convinces you redhat guys ;-)
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