Fedora

Fedora/BSD hoax

You may have noticed the news that one of the proposed features for Fedora 19 is the FreeBSD kernel and one of the proponents is me. You may wonder if I’m crazy or why I’m so into the BSD kernel suddenly. Let me explain it:

First of all: I didn’t create the feature page on the Fedora wiki.

It all started with an article about one of proposed features for F19 – Cinnamon as the deafault DE. In the discussion under the article, people wondered what are the odds that something like this gets accepted. Pavel “Pavlix” Šimerda found it very unlikely and agreed saying:

I see it very unlikely, too. Anyone can propose anything. If I make a feature page of switching Fedora to the BSD kernel, will I make it to the news articles at abclinuxu.cz as well?

Actually, I tried to come up with some very unlikely feature to make my point and I could have easily come up with for example Unity as the default DE. The first thing that came to my mind was the BSD kernel. That’s where I ended with this case. Later someone picked up the idea and created the feature page. I got a link to it and I saw my name there, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. It’s a joke that no one can take seriously, right? Well, I underestimated Linux journalists. Phoronix published an article about it, Slashdot followed even though Elad Alfassa marked it as a joke page. They stated me as a Red Hat employee that proposes such a feature which is when I realized that it might not be a good idea to leave my name under something I didn’t actually propose. Because I was offline at the moment, I asked Jarda Reznik to remove my name from the page. There are three lessons to learn from this case:

me: don’t leave your name under something you actually didn’t sign even though it looked like completely harmful fun.

journalists: existing feature page doesn’t mean that the feature is planned for the next release of Fedora. Until it’s accepted it means nothing.

all of us: don’t believe everything that is written at Linux magazines/portals. As you can see, a complete hoax backed by nothing can make it from nowhere to the headlines of most popular portals very quickly.

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7 thoughts on “Fedora/BSD hoax

  1. I didn’t see the slashdot story, but that’s just the proof that people traded the journalism and the investigation for just a statistically accurate set of news. IE, by publishing as soon as possible, even if X% of the news is wrong, you have enough reader to sustain ( or i think, given the amount of ads on phoronix… ). This story is a few months old, but quite fun to read :
    http://gizmodo.com/5953355/how-i-fooled-the-internet-into-thinking-this-fake-sony-nexus-was-real

  2. Another lesson: Either we have to propose fake features very frequently to teach the journalists to make their job properly, or we have to adjust the FedoraFeature template and add a bold text about its current status. Like

    “Feature status: PROPOSED – Some has proposed this feature for Fedora X. Currently there is no commitment to implement it. The steering committee will vote on this feature and only if it is accepted it can be part of the next Fedora.”

    Similarly for other statuses there should be a description what it means. That will help some poor journalists to make a better decision whether to announce some bombastic news or maybe not yet.

    1. Actually latest discussion on Features will lead (current status: TO BE PROPOSED) to separation of features as a planning thing and marketing. But it’s still going to be hard to explain it to press – that they should not use our internal project planning as a source for articles – we are still very open project and we can’t hide it (and we really try to open the process even more!). At least FeatureList will get similar disclaimer 😉

      Btw. if someone is able to dig ReadyForWrangler category, he should understand the meaning…

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