Most popular email clients among Fedora users

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In the desktop team of Red Hat, I’m responsible for development and Fedora/RHEL maintenance of apps which also include email clients Thunderbird and Evolution. It’s quite useful for me to have a rough idea what email clients Fedora users use. So I went ahead and asked them on Google Plus and Facebook and here are the results:

Google+:

email-clients-gplusFacebook:

email-clients-fbThe results from Google+ are probably much more representative because they come from a much larger number of users. Facebook doesn’t support polls, so users had to answer in comments which resulted in much fewer votes. Polls in G+ only support 5 options, so if someone wanted to vote for a different client than web, Thunderbird, Evolution, Geary, or Kmail, they needed to write it in comments as well. It might have disadvantaged other clients a bit.

Web – this includes all web clients, vast majority of it is Gmail which seems to be by far the most popular email service among Fedora users. On Google+, web got almost 40% which is not a number that surprises me a lot. A fairly large portion of users doesn’t use desktop email clients any more, but it’s also not big enough to say that desktop clients are obsoleted. 2/3 of users still use desktop clients to access their mail.

Thunderbird – the most popular among desktop clients, it’s a solid email client with many years of development, and many users value its support for various platforms, so that they can use it on other OSes, too. The most mentioned weakness was (in)ability to be a good groupware client (calendaring, Exchange support,…). Some lost faith in Thunderbird after Mozilla announced it wanted to spin off its umbrella which many understood (probably wrongly) as killing it.

Evolution – the second most popular client is the default client of GNOME – Evolution. Clearly the most appraised feature of Evolution is its groupware nature and support of Exchange, it’s probably the only Linux client that reasonably supports Exchange. On the other hand, it lags behind Thunderbird in IMAP support and it’s Linux only. Like Thunderbird, it doesn’t have a big developer force behind it any more. Red Hat is currently the only one who invests in Evolution, unfortunately.

Geary – it’s the biggest surprise to me. Considering its author – Yorba Foundation – ceased to exist at the beginning of the year and Geary has been dead for months, it’s still pretty popular. It’s a modern client with really good support of Gmail, but if Thunderbird and Evolution don’t seem to face big future, chances that Geary will be further developed are currently minimal.

Kmail – another surprise to me, I thought the default client of KDE would be more popular, it may be caused by the fact that Fedora is primarily a GNOME distro, but it may also be caused by the fact that users have lost faith in it after many ups and downs in development after KDE 4.0.

Mutt – I expected Mutt to be in TOP6. A CLI client will never win popularity contests, but it has a fair amount of loyal users. Another CLI client Alpine only received less than half of votes.

Among other mentioned clients were Claws Mail, Sylpheed, Mu4e, Nylas N1, Lotus Notes, Pine, Zimbra, Seamonkey… but they each got fewer than 10 votes.

Linux desktop clients are not dead, they’re still used by majority of users, but none of the traditional ones has a larger community of contributors and very active development which brings poses questions about their future. It will be interesting to watch new approaches to desktop clients such as Nylas N1 which moves IMAP client to the server and provides just a really thin desktop client.

Fedora at LinuxCon Europe 2015

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This week, another edition of LinuxCon Europe took place in Dublin and as always Fedora was there. The Linux Foundation confirmed our booth quite late, just two weeks before the event, so we didn’t have a lot of time for preparation. On the other hand, we got the stand and three passes for free which was big help because the conference is otherwise very expensive (the standard pass was ~$1000). And I’d like to thank the Linux Foundation for the support.

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Giannis and Jon at Fedora booth

Because we had little time for preparation, our booth was only basic: we had standard swag (Fedora logo stickers, Fedora product stickers, badges, case badges, pens), a stand-up banner, and a laptop showcasing Fedora Workstation 23. Unlike last year, the stand didn’t have the best location, but we still got a reasonable number of visitors. Here are some of my notes from the event:
  • One guy from Fujitsu Finland told us they were using Fedora on mission-critical servers and it turned out to be working fine. They’ve got the latest and greatest, they can adapt to changes earlier (he specifically mentioned systemd), and upgrading from one version of Fedora to another is much easier than to upgrade from one version of RHEL/CentOS to another.
  • A developer from Intel told us that their whole Linux development team was using Fedora. They also ran Fedora on their booth (another booth that ran Fedora was some UEFI organization). I was looking for someone from Intel who has something to do with the Intel video driver development because Retrace Server is full of false positives from the driver, but Intel was mostly represented by embedded Linux team.
  • Some developers asked what laptops we could recommend to run Fedora on because there is no compatibility database. I recommended ThinkPads because I think they still have the best Linux support and they’re still the most popular laptops among Linux developers.
  • Quite a few people asked us why we have two booths at the conference. That was because there was also a booth of Red Hat. A lot of people apparently think that Red Hat and Fedora Project are the same things. Having a separate booth sends a strong message that Fedora is not Red Hat-only thing and it’s, in fact, the most independent among the Red Hat-backed community projects.
  • Even at LinuxCon there are people who have no awareness of Fedora, so paciently kept explaining what Fedora is about and what has to offer. Building awareness in the enterprise ecosystem is IMHO one of the main benefits of being at LinuxCon.
  • It was a bit saddening to see so many Macbooks at LinuxCon. I saw more of them this year than any other year before. Even people from the Linux Foundation were promoting their Linux certifications from Macbooks with OS X.
  • Many visitors asked about the new Fedora products (Workstation, Server, Cloud). Evergreen question was why we have Fedora Server if there is already CentOS. A lot of people apparently associates Workstation with something for developers and serious work only and ask if we have something for end users. Yes, our core target audience are developers, but Fedora is still very much useful for other end users, too. Maybe we should say that more clearly and loundly in our marketing messaging.
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Fedora running at Intel booth

At the end, I’d like to thank the Fedora Project for sponsoring my travel and lodging and Jon Archer and Giannis Konstantinidis for staffing the booth with me.

DevConf.cz 2015: Last Call for Papers!

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The deadline of the CfP of DevConf.cz 2015 is really close (Dec 1st). So if you’re still thinking about submitting a talk, stop thinking and proceed to an action: CfP online form ;-)

Talks on Fedora or on stuff related to Fedora are especially welcome because the third day of the conference will be Fedora Day where all such talks may find their home.

DevConf.cz is the largest developer conference devoted to Red Hat technologies (Linux, Fedora, JBoss, cloud, virtualization,…). The last edition had almost 100 talks and workshops and around 1000 visitors. The 2015 edition will take place in Brno, Czech Republic on Feb 6-8.

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Fedora Day @ DevConf.cz 2015

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DevConf.cz is the largest developer conference devoted to Red Hat related technologies (Linux, JBoss, OpenShift, OpenStack,…). This year, there were around 1000 attendees which is a sizable number for a deeply technical conference. Because we were hitting the capacity limits of the venue, we decided to move the event to a different university campus which offers more rooms – FIT BUT. For those who attended GUADEC 2013: it’s the same venue.

The next DevConf.cz will span three days again – February 6-8th. And like this year we’d like to make the last day a Fedora Day. I think the Fedora Day was a success this year. Matthew Miller delivered his FPL’s keynote on Fedora.Next, representatives of working groups spoke about their progress, and there was overall an interesting discussion about the direction Fedora was taking. Not counting Flock, DevConf.cz is a conference with the largest number of Fedora contributors, so why not to use it for discussions, planning, and hacking?

I’m also in talks with the CentOS guys whether they want to join us for the Fedora Day and make it a Fedora & CentOS Day. I think there are quite a few topics the two projects can discuss.

DevConf.cz’s CfP has been on for some time and will be open till Dec 1st. If you have an interesting topic for a talk, workshop, or hackfest, submit it. And even if you don’t, consider attending. I assure you that you will enjoy the conference. You will have a chance to attend a lot of Fedora-related talks and meet many interesting people from the project.

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DevConf.cz 2014

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Developer Conference 2014 is finally over. The last two weeks were damn busy for me. Just a week before the conference I went to FOSDEM and it wasn’t just attending. I organized a bus with 40 hackers between Brno and Brussels, accommodation for 6 Fedora people, and pretty much the whole Fedora booth at FOSDEM + producing 400 t-shirts for CentOS guys and bringing a lot of other stuff from Brno for various parties. When I returned I didn’t have time to rest because DevConf.cz was just a few days away. This in a combination with very little sleep meant that I had a complete physical meltdown on Wednesday. Not only was I dead tired, but I also got some flu/cold. Then I just focused on surviving till DevConf.cz because as the main organizer I just couldn’t simply back off. So I just worked and slept and removed all stuffing between it and it worked :)

We put DevConf.cz just one week after FOSDEM which as I described above almost killed me. But it also had a lot of benefits. Most importantly, people from overseas could come for both events and spend the week between on internal Red Hat meetings in Brno. And a lot of people did. I wondered how many attendees would come this year. Last year, it was around 700, but quite a lot of publicity on the Internet and people mentioning the conference indicated it could be much more this year which could be a problem because the venue is not very large and half of the campus is under reconstruction.

And we did have a lot of attendees. The number from DevConf.cz 2013 was exceeded within two hours and the total number of attendees for the first day was nearly 900. The total number of unique attendees for all three days was around 1000 which was a significant increase from the last year. Especially on Friday, we were hitting the capacity of the venue. Several talks were completely packed. For example the ones about Docker and OSTree where you couldn’t even get into the room if you came too late. I didn’t attend many talks and when I found time to attend one I was usually called back by an urgent problem. Nevertheless, the general feedback I heard from other people was that the talks had even better quality than last year. I really liked the Fedora Day which was the third day of the conference. This attracted a lot of people from the Fedora community and I could actually meet maybe more Fedora contributors at DevConf.cz than at Flock.

I can’t rate DevConf.cz because as the main organizer I’m biased, but from the organizer’s perspective the event went quite smoothly which was mainly due to tireless help of dozens of volunteers without whom the event wouldn’t be possible and I thank them for that.

And DevConf.cz 2015? I’m already thinking about that. We improve the event incrementally based on feedback from attendees to make the event better every year. Some of the proposed changes such as making the talk slots shorter to have longer breaks worked very well and we’ve already gathered new ideas for the next year. We also will have to assess the venue. The cooperation with the university is almost ideal, the location is also very good, but if we want to accommodate even more attendees next year we’ll have to have more space. The reconstruction will be finished in summer and then there should be mid-sized rooms for smaller talk or workshop tracks available. We will see. The only significantly larger venue in Brno is The Brno Exhibition Area which would be a huge cost jump up and I still find university campuses more appropriate for developer’s events.

P.S. Videos of talks from the three main tracks will be online within a few weeks. We’re working on it.

Talk on Docker (© Sirko Kemter)

DevConf.cz 2014 schedule is out!

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Last week, we published a schedule of Developer Conference 2014 that is going to take place in Brno on Feb 7-9th and I finally found time to write about it. The schedule looks IMHO very promising. There are around 100 speakers of 18 nationalities that will deliver 68 talks and 30 workshops and labs from 14 topics: cloud, databases, desktop, developer, Fedora, kernel, networking, security, server, software quality, storage, userspace, virtualization. The conference has been expanded into three days. The first two will be standard conference days packed with talks and workshops. The third day is devoted to Fedora. There will be Fedora-related talks in the morning and planning sessions and hackfests in the afternoon. BTW we still have available slots in the afternoon, so if you’d like to organize a session or hackfest, let us know.

But DevConf.cz won’t only be about talks and workshops. We’re also preparing a DevConf.cz party that will again be in the Fléda club. And there will also be a city tour with a great Canadian guide on Friday. And there are still more things in the works.

We have a special rate for conference participants in Avanti Hotel (and this time also in A Sport Hotel), but there are just a few left, so if you still don’t have accommodation, don’t hesitate.

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