Where is Fedora Magazine most popular?

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Matthew’s keynote at Flock 2015 contained a lot of data about the status of Fedora. One of the stats that caught my attention was what countries draw the highest number of views at Fedora Magazine. There are not many surprises. The United States are leading by a large margin. Big countries such as Germany, UK, India, Brazil follow. The Czech Republic is on the 14th position which is not bad because it’s difficult for such a small country to compete with giants in absolute numbers.  But the chart looks very different if you sort countries by views per capita (number of views per one million citizens):

view-per-capita

Now, the Czech Republic is leading, followed by Sweden, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. I’m glad to see FM so popular in our country. We try to link to it as much as possible on fedora.cz and promote it elsewhere. It seems to pay off.

I’m going to GUADEC and Flock!

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Tomorrow, I’m traveling to GUADEC 2015 which is held in Göteborg, Sweden. It’s going to be my 4th GUADEC and the location is kinda special to me. When I was a kid and was a lot into football, my most favorite goalkeeper was Thomas Ravelli who played for IFK Göteborg which thus became my favorite foreign football club. I was in Göteborg five years ago and it was indeed a beautiful city, but I didn’t manage to purchase an IFK jersey. So hopefully, I’ll have an opportunity this time.

I’m also very much looking forward to the weather because the weather forecast for Göteborg is 18-20C while temperatures in Brno are getting back over 35C. We’re having the hottest summer all my family relatives remember. We might get more than 30 tropical days (30C and more) this year, so the cold Swedish climate will be a nice retreat from the heat.

But I’m primarily looking forward to the conference itself. The schedule doesn’t look too busy, but I’ve still found a lot of interesting talks and some hard collisions of areas of my interest. I will surely attend talks by Caolan and Stephan from my team. And I’m glad there are actually quite a few talks on LibreOffice.

BTW I’ve also created a group chat in Telegram for the conference (you can join it by following http://bit.ly/guadec15tg). At this year’s Akademy, they used it as the official means of communication and they found it very useful and popular. Open source conferences traditionally use IRC channels, but at conferences you get disconnected and connected very often and that’s not where IRC excels. Moreover a group chat in Telegram can be hooked with an IRC channel via a bot. I most likely won’t have time to set up the bot, but if someone wants to volunteer…

The annual conference for Fedora contributors – Flock – is very close after GUADEC this year. I won’t even have time to travel back home, so I’m flying to Rochester, NY directly from Göteborg. I will have two talks there (both on the same day, it actually be the first time in my life I have two talks on the same day). One is on the long-awaited transition from FAmSCo to FOSCo/CommOps and the other on Fedora SWAG. I’d like to conduct it rather as a discussion than a typical talk because both topics have a lot to discuss.

I’ve also created a group chat in Telegram for Flock. To join, just follow http://bit.ly/flock15tg. I, Kushal Das, and Dennis Gilmore used it to communicate at FUDCon APAC and found it very useful, so why not to include more people?

After Flock, I’m taking a week off to travel around the East Coast to see old friends, do some shopping etc. I also hope finally go to Quebec City which I’ve always wanted to visit.

Most popular web browsers among Fedora users

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Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. It is so popular that some call it a new Internet Explorer. But that’s based on global stats. In Red Hat, I’m responsible for web browsers, so I wondered what are the most popular web browsers among Fedora users. So I asked through Fedora accounts on Facebook and Google+: “Which browser do you use the most in Fedora?”

I didn’t look for exact numbers. It’s clear that such polls can’t be 100% representative and for instance Google+ users have inclination to use Google products which can be seen on the comparison of results from Facebook and Google+. However, I think the results give you a rough idea of what browsers are popular among Fedora users. And the results are:

fedora-browsersThe surveys differed a bit. G+ supports polls, but only up to five options. So I pre-selected five browsers I expected would be most popular, and told the users to write a browser of their choice to comments if it’s not among pre-selected options. Facebook natively doesn’t support polls, so users wrote their preferences in comments. Even though other browsers were not discriminated by not being pre-selected the results were very similar. None of them got more votes than any of the pre-selected five. The total amount of votes on Facebook was considerable lower than on Google+ (1262). And the findings?

  • Firefox and Chrome/Chromium are the only relevant browsers among Fedora users. They take up to 95% of the pie. Opera and Epiphany were a bit more popular among Fedora users on Facebook, but neither of them exceeded 5%. All other browsers got just a couple of votes: Midori, Konqueror, SeaMonkey, Pale Moon, Vivaldi, Lynx,…
  • Firefox was the winner, a pretty clear one on Facebook and a close one on Google+ (49% vs 48%). Firefox is the default browser, so it’s not surprising.
  • What really surprised me is the huge difference between Chrome and Chromium. I thought there would be more people who prefer open source solutions, but apparently a lot more people prefer convenience even among Fedora users. You can find Chromium in alternative repos and it’s easy to install, but it doesn’t include Flash player and other closed source goodies. With Chrome, you get it all with an installation of one package. In terms of numbers of users, Chromium is pretty much irrelevant if you compare it to Chrome.
  • Quite a few people said that they were primarily using Firefox, but they had Chrome for Flash. When Flash goes finally away, Chrome will lose one of its significant advantages.
  • Opera used to have a market share of ~10% among Linux users. In this survey, it got 4.9% (FB) and 1.7% (G+). It took them more one year to release the new generation of Opera (based on Chromium) for Linux after they discontinued the original Opera (12.16). Apparently most users left and never came back (I’m one of them).

Growth of Fedora Repository Has Almost Stalled

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I went across statistics from Fedora Package Database and what caught my attention is that the increase of number of packages in the official Fedora repository has almost stalled:

fedora-number-of-packagesThe number of packages in Fedora 22 is 17021 and is not going much since Fedora 20. Does it mean there are no more projects worth packaging? I don’t think so. The number of open source projects goes up like never before, just look at GitHub.

I think this trend is related to the growth of Copr. The number of projects has been rising exponentially there. Mirek Suchý reported a couple of months ago that the number of projects in Copr was almost 3000 and almost 2000 were active. And the numbers have increased significantly since then.

It’s actually a success. It means we have achieved what we outlined in the Fedora.Next plans: we’ve built a ring of software around Fedora which has low barriers to entry for packagers and where software is easy to install for users. Although the number of packages in the official repositories is not growing like in the past the total amount of software available to Fedora users has grown like never before. That’s great.

What we’re still failing at a bit is how to build on this and bring the best of Copr to official Fedora repositories and convert the most promising Copr packagers into Fedora packagers. The official repositories still have their relevance. The quality of packages there is significantly higher than in Copr. We should encourage Copr packagers to work on their packages to meet Fedora standards and become Fedora packagers. We should show them the path. I can imagine that we offer an option in Copr to run the source packages against fedora-review to give the packager a hint what needs to be done to meet the official repository standards and if he/she is interested we can point him/her to documentation for the rest of the process.

The current situation is a great opportunity if we streamline the path to quality. Then Copr can serve as a broad source of “playground” software from which useful and proven projects can get deserved quality of integration and make it to the official repositories. But it’s also a threat because if we don’t provide a path and encourage Copr packagers they may just be satisfied with the easy way to make and maintain packages in Copr and no one will want to package software for the official repositories any more.

Chrome and missing key

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Are you using Chrome in Fedora? You might have noticed messages about a missing public key and you may have encountered problems with updating the application. That’s because Google fails to provide the public key for the Chrome RPM package. It’s become a serious problem in Fedora 22 where it aborts the update process completely and the package can’t be updated. The most convenient solution for users would be importing they key while installing the package, but some argue that an RPM should never automatically import keys.

Another solution is to simply add the following line to the repo file that the installation creates:

gpgkey=https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub

And you’ll be asked to confirm the key import during the next updating. This solution is a one-liner. It was reported to Google 10 months ago and the problem has not been fixed yet. This a bright example of problems with using proprietary software. You’re completely dependent on the vendor and on their will to solve your problems. Fedora developers are sometimes accused of not caring about how proprietary software runs on Fedora. At least here in the desktop team, we do care because we care about the experience our users have using Fedora. But in most cases including this one, we just can’t do anything. I can only advise you to import the key manually to get rid of the problems:

sudo rpm --import https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub

FUDCon APAC 2015 in Pune

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I had the pleasure to attend my second FUDCon APAC, in Pune, India this time. I arrived the day before the conference at the airport in Bombay where I met Tuan. After four tiring hours, we arrived to Pune and met Kushal.

My contribution to the conference was a keynote on Fedora Workstation. I found out just a couple of days before the conference that my talk had been selected as a keynote. That is why I changed my presentation last minute, I removed slides with technical details, so that it’s understandable for general audience. I also didn’t speak about Fedora Workstation specifically, but about (Linux) desktop problems in general and how we’re trying to solve them in Fedora Workstation. I think the talk went pretty well and received a lot of questions in Q&A at the end of the keynote and later during hallway conversations. The most frequent complaint of users was lack of multimedia support, so I added it to my presentation, and explained that it’s not really a technical issue, and that we’re working hard to make it better, and that we might see a significant improvement in Fedora 23.

Me giving the keynote, photo is courtesy of Kushal Das.

Me giving the keynote, photo is courtesy of Kushal Das.

I also really enjoyed other keynotes, especially the one by Tenzin Chokden who has worked on adding Tibetan translations to Fedora.

I also achieved other things:

  • participated in the discussion about the location for the next FUDCon APAC.
  • shared with APAC ambassadors what is our system for swag production and distribution in EMEA.
  • attended a key-signing party and got my GPG key signed by Harris Pillay, Dennis Gilmore, Jared Smith and others.
  • met a lot of Fedora contributors from India and people from Pune office of Red Hat.
  • agreed with Ryan Lerch that we would create a repository of artworks for Fedora swag production (yay!)

I’m staying in India for a few more days. I and Dennis Gilmore went to the historical center of Pune on Monday and to highlands near Pune yesterday.

I’d like to thank Fedora Project for providing me with accommodation during the conference and taking care of me (it was my first conference where they arranged a pick-up at the airport for me!). My big thanks go to the whole organizing team and especially Kushal who has been a great host to us.

Time to revisit how we’re doing updates?

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Fedora 22 is out and it’s again the most quality release we’ve ever released. Our quality assurance is improving and on the developer side, we’re also trying to do our best heavily using ABRT retrace server to prioritize bugs that affect many users. Unfortunately while the quality of releases itself is improving, the quality of updates that follow the release is not.

There are still too many regressions. I’ve installed Fedora on computers of my relatives and they’re happy with it, but sadly I can’t let them do updates themselves because there is still a high risk that they might end up with a broken system. I update their systems myself and always check whether everything is working when I pay them a visit. If we want to attract a larger user base, average users can’t be afraid to update their systems.

IMHO our current updates setup doesn’t ensure the required quality. It’s pretty much a “one-size-fits-all” approach. The kernel, the most critical part of the system, needs the same number of + karmas as some small unimportant, self-contained utility. Updates of critical components get to users too quickly without much of testing. I’ve got updates-testing repo enabled, but whenever I find a (critical) regression it’s very often too late because the update already got +3 karma and made it to the stable updates. Yeah, I already have the “Missed the train” badge :)

While Bodhi is too fast for standard updates, it’s too slow for critical security fixes. Especially in older supported releases (F20 now). There are not many testers willing to test updates there. The active community are usually early adopters who jump on new releases early and a several-month-old release is history to them. Then security updates just get stuck in Bodhi waiting for stable karmas.

What to do with it? I truly believe we need batch updates. One pack of updates, say, once a month. We would collect updates in updates-testing for 3-4 weeks, then freeze it for a week, so that even the latest updates have some time to be properly tested (I can imagine the pack of updates gets some more structured testing like our releases do for example). This way, individual updates would get much more time to be tested and the monthly update could be tested as a whole. I believe it would improve the quality of updates and users would not be under the fire of updates (it’s actually one of frequent complaints that there are too many updates in Fedora).

I don’t see a lot of downsides there. Who’d like to get updates as soon as possible could still enable updates-testing. This actually could build an even bigger community of update testers which would again help improve the quality of updates.

Any security updates? It’s clear that they can’t wait for a month to reach the users. They will need their own process. But I think it’s clearer and clearer that they will need their own process in the current setup as well. Maybe pulling in the security team which would evaluate proposed security updates and if they approve them as critical they will get into some fast track?

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