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3rd Party Software for RHL (was Re: mp3, Real, Flash, plugins..)

The ideas expressed in this thread were kind of my idea when making these two projects.

I obtained permission from Macromedia to repackage their binary and test packages on various Linux distributions. With simple documentation (could be improved), apt-get and urpmi repositories (adding yum later) and GPG signed security (could be improved...) it makes things easier for users. No more users screwing up tarball unpacking or creating symlinks, the package does it all for them.

Macromedia was the first of several proprietary companies that I want to create this kind of arrangement. It makes things so much easier for the community while giving us a centralized place for the community to complain and force companies into fixing bugs <evil optimistic grin>.

Check out the Webalizer download statistics on the bottom of the Flash site. The download numbers of various Linux distributions are interesting. (Did you know that the majority of Linux users use Konqueror? That was surprising to me.)

This project is my idea to rally the combined efforts of volunteer developers to create a body of well maintained 3rd party RPM packages specifically for Red Hat Linux. This idea is very much similar to the Debian community, with Fedora stable, testing and unstable trees in our current plans. Fedora Project is still in infant stages, but things are beginning to roll now with our Bugzilla up and other infrastructure growing.

Fedora can be there to save us all time and effort. We Red Hat users, both newbie and experienced, would no longer need to manually configure and compile 3rd party packages, thus saving lots of time. Just imagine the following LUG mailing list question from year 2004:

> I just installed Red Hat 8.3 on my Athlon 64 laptop. My sound isn't
> working, does this Red Hat have drivers for my sound? How can I
> install the browser plugins and where are good games?

Today we would go through a complicated process of explaining kernel compilation, unpacking tarballs, configuring sources, installing dependencies, symlinking, compiling... YUCK! This is just way too hard, takes up far too much time for the experienced people and scares away most new users. The answer for all this should simply be:

> Your motherboard sound drivers are in "amd_cx994-kernel". Install
> all browser plugins with "bundle_browserplugins" and look at the Games
> category in Fedora. You may like "The UrQuan Masters".

So much quicker and easier. Save time for the gurus. Make everything easier, attract more users to Linux!

It is my hope that Fedora packages will also be a testbed for packages that may eventually be included in Rawhide. Fedora packages could give new software a chance to "prove itself" in a Red Hat-like environment and perhaps reduce development costs for Red Hat should they choose to accept Fedora packages into their stable base in the future.

In every way possible I hope to keep Fedora packages strictly as add-ons for Red Hat Linux. In no circumstances should Fedora packages cause errata or dist upgrade problems for the base distribution. If any such upgrade problems are caused by Fedora, they should be filed in Fedora Bugzilla and dealt with quickly.

All of this sounds great in theory, but Fedora currently has none of this. Much work is to be done, and we are in need of many more developers. If you are a developer interested in this goal, please check out our fedora-devel mailing list, open tasks in Fedora Bugzilla, and chat with us in #fedora on irc.freenode.net IRC network.

(We are not ready for users yet. Use Matthias Saou's FreshRPMS until Fedora becomes more mature. fedora-users mailing list will open when Fedora is ready.)

Warren Togami

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