Thursday, January 13, 2005

Fedora facing challenges, just like Solaris

I was looking at the CNET article Red Hat tries again with Linux enthusiasts, regarding Red Hat's attempts to engage the wider developer community with Fedora.

On the pilot program - and one can make a reasonable analogy that Fedora has a similar relationship to RHEL as OpenSolaris does to Solaris - the challenges are similar. Sun are trying to engage with developers and others in order to build a viable, thriving community. And it's working. But it's a hard, slow process. It's a lot of work, because OpenSolaris wants to avoid the problem Red Hat had with Fedora, as Greg Dekoenigsberg, Red Hat's community relations manager, says in the above article:

"There just wasn't much they were able to do," he said. "(This time) we want to make sure we have systems and processes to make sure these people can contribute."

With OpenSolaris, Sun are trying to get this right first time around. We don't know how exactly, or how well it will work, or whether it will all be done and dusted at the time OpenSolaris comes out (clearly, there's a choice to be made between having all these issues sorted and getting the code released as soon as possible), but it's something that's important.

Sun's open-sourcing of Solaris has been criticized by some on the grounds that it will be difficult to build a community. Sure, it's going to take time before any of us get to the stage of being able to commit changes back in, but there is a community there ready to take on the challenge.

Sun have an advantage over Red Hat and Fedora, actually, and it's mentioned in the article as well:

"They (Red Hat) now are really viewed as the big commercial company," Haff said. "They can probably over time increase the user community involvement to some degree, but things like Gentoo and Debian are more natural places for the community to get involved."

Well, there currently is only one Solaris, so this dilution of effort into different distributions isn't an issue. Not yet, anyway. Who knows where OpenSolaris is going to end up?

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