[Mageia-dev] How will be the realese cycle?

Buchan Milne bgmilne at multilinks.com
Thu Oct 7 11:20:04 CEST 2010

On Thursday, 7 October 2010 05:21:37 Fernando Parra wrote:
> On Wed, 6 Oct 2010 15:25:13 +0100

> Must first be clear that Mageia is in fact a process of re - engineering
> Mandriva. All of us here have perfectly clear that things are not working
> as they should in Mandriva, and if we are consistent we should be clear
> that there is not only a matter of management.

Fine, but we still need to identify the real problems, and potential 
solutions. I don't believe a problem has been identified for which the only 
solution is a rolling release (of any kind).

The fact that almost no-one on this list seems to have known about backports 
at all doesn't mean that the backports feature is not useful, it may be that 
it wasn't accessible enough to end users.

> Moreover, if we stick to the numbers, something is not working at all well
> with all Linux distributions, while despite all the virtues and benefits
> of free software, the number of users is still very small . For example:
> http://www.dudalibre.com/gnulinuxcounter


> Actually my list almost does not matter, in fact it does not matter at all,
> because I understand myself as an atypical user. Although I am a teacher,
> I have a degree in electronics engineering and other in engineering
> software. And while my particular list does not matter, my experience
> allows me to see quite clearly both sides of the coin (the end user and
> developer).
> With the clear intention of showing the point of view of end users, the
> inexperienced, was how I expressed myself here. As developers continually
> forget that is what the user wants and focus on what we need.
> I find it obvious that the purpose of a distribution is not to develop
> everyday applications, however its purpose is to provide the framework on
> which you can run the latter.


> What I do not like Mandriva model (and indeed of any distribution) is that
> although free software is developed very quickly, once you have installed
> a distribution, you must wait a cycle to gain access to new versions (not
> just security patches) and also must pass through the traumatic transition
> from installing any operating system.

We have already shown that this is patently not the case. The only problems 
with the current Mandriva setup are:
-Identifying which packages should be backported
-Making it easier for users to get backports

> Beware! Not for me, and certainly
> not for you, my only problem with that is time.
> Let me explain with a practical example. A user needs with urgency (without
> judging their motives) the new version of aMSN to use his video camera,
> with the current model need to wait for the new operating system version
> and then install it completely. And to make matters worse this will only
> work until MS decides to change the protocol again (as I read he has done
> countless times).

amsn is regularly backported or sent to updates for MS protocol changes.

> Assume that a user, who never pass from being a mere user of basic services
> will even try to understand that is the backports repository or cocker or
> anything similar, is at best naive.

So, how would they get updated software on a different platform?

> I do work continuously with such people, and I have made clear they want
> solutions as simple as giving a couple of clicks to solve this type of
> situation.

Start->Tools->System Tools->Configure your Computer->Install/Remove software-
>Click first dropdown box and choose backports

Now, maybe the user interface needs to be improved. For example, maybe there 
should be no dropdown box, but instead when searching for a package by name, 
it should show you all the versions:

Find: | digikam         | In: ->Graphical applications   |By: ->Package Name
Package|                |Status                          | Action          
+digikam                |Security update recommended     |Update            |
- 1.3.0-1mdv            |Installed                       |Uninstall         |
- 1.3.0-1.1mdv          |Security Update                 |Update            |
- 1.4.0-4mdv            |Unsupported upgrade (backport)  |Upgrade           |

digikam - A KDE ........


Alternatively, maybe a "What's new" view?

Maybe a rating/voting/popularity system should be available, however in the 
past people had complained about privacy issues, which I think may have 
resulted in little effort being put into completion of drakstats.

So, maybe a web site should also be developed, which allows users to also 
access package rating information, and which provides some kind of 
installation feature.

> I do not use any IM service, personally I find abhorrent subject, like many
> other modern gadgets, but not going to close my eyes to the reality of
> their continued use.

Well, using an IM service with a non-standardised protocol belongs in the age 
of proprietary network services.

GoogleTalk and Facebook both support XMPP, a standardised protocol ...

(I use IM a lot, but don't have an MSN account).

> Without being interpreted as an offence, for the same reasons, I think your
> own list is not important. The only list that should matter is that
> determined by a reliable and time hopefully. That list that reflects what
> the needs of end users.

The point is that there probably can't ever be a definitive list. We need to 
make it easier to get information on what users desire to the people who can 
provide it to them.

For example, I *know* some people use openldap backports, but besides other 
Mandriva contributors, no Mandriva user has ever indicated that they want it 

> If we actually stopped to see the problem of Internet access charges, never
> get to do anything for fear that the final product will not reach users.
> If this really were a factor, the distributions would never have grown
> from a few floppy disks, many floppies to a CD, 2 CD, 3 CD and now DVD
> (Tomorrow 2 DV and so on?).

There is a difference between making the distribution unusable by people who 
most of the time have limited internet bandwidth, and providing a distribution 
that is usable with limited bandwidth after installation but allows users with 
more bandwidth to have more up-to-date packages.

> > What if more people actually contributed ...
> Again, without trying to offend: at this stage of Mageia try to think
> collectively, at least in my humble opinion this is to contribute, do not
> you think so?

I think one problem Mandriva had was that users refused to believe that:
-Mandriva was open
-Contributors could easily improve the distribution
-Mandriva probably already had most of what they wanted, and if it didn't, 
they should do what they can do to help

For example, many people complained about bugs that get no attention, but *1* 
contributor managed to change that perception to some extent. However, if more 
people contributed, more bugs would actually be fixed.

Mandriva the company may have been a barrier to contribution to some, and I 
think one of the most important aspects of Mageia is ensuring that 
contributors know exactly what happens to their contribution, and knowing that 
the financial state of a company does not impact the future availability of 
the project to which they contributed.

However, I believe that the way packages and releases were managed from a 
technical perspective is better than in many other distros, and I don't want 
to see us throw out methods that were technically sound, but were just not 
known by many users.

I don't believe that merely changing to some kind of rolling release will 
improve matters for end users, they will just be more confused when they find 
out that to install database support for OpenOffice.org, they need to upgrade 
all of OpenOffice.org (taking an hour to download ~ 70MB), instead of just 
being able to install openoffice.org-base (with a 2 minute download of 2MB).

The problem is to make it *easier* for users to get new versions of software, 
not to force everyone to upgrade constantly.


More information about the Mageia-dev mailing list