My current unhappy thoughts on Fedora 12

November 23, 2009

Right now, I have two machines (a 64-bit desktop and a 32-bit laptop) at Fedora 11 and one (another 64-bit desktop) that's still back at Fedora 8. Upgrading to Fedora 12 soon is the obvious thing to do, since there are drawbacks to waiting too long to upgrade (although this is not an issue if you use PreUpgrade or yum-based upgrades).

Except, well, I haven't been having the best of luck with Fedora 11. On my desktop, Flash has been broken for all of Fedora 11 (and the free alternatives don't work for me), and then sound stopped really working in the 2.6.30 kernels. On my laptop, wireless stopped working with the 2.6.30 kernels (I'm detecting a trend). It doesn't seem likely that upgrading to Fedora 12 will fix those problems, especially the kernel related ones.

(I have not bothered filing a bug for the sound issue, because my impression is that sound is a huge mess in Fedora right now and worse, it is partly a political mess. I've certainly seen Fedora bugs of 'my sound card stopped working' be answered with replies that boil down to 'well, that's what you get for buying a sound card from people who aren't open source friendly'.)

I would like to upgrade to Fedora 12; I generally like getting the new stuff (although not always), and it avoids various future issues. But upgrading doesn't seem like a wise decision right now, and I'm not convinced that it ever will be; I have no confidence that any of my issues will get solved over the lifetime of Fedora 12.

(My cynicism suggests that things that stay broken in kernels for more than a relatively short amount of time stay broken for good, because no one cares enough to try to fix them. I can't blame the kernel hackers; I certainly don't have enough energy to try to build stock kernels and git bisect my way to the changeset that broke wireless. Not on what is an old and slow system that, for now, works fine when I stick to an older Fedora 11 kernel.)

What this really leaves me nervous about is the further future. If these issues aren't fixed in Fedora 12, will they be fixed in Fedora 13, Fedora 14, and so on? The odds seem against this, and there's only so long I can run Fedora 10 and Fedora 11.

Sidebar: dealing with my Fedora 8 machine

This means that I should bite the bullet and do the odd thing of upgrading the Fedora 8 machine to Fedora 10. Yes, it's just about to go out of support, but I don't really have a choice; it's the most recent Fedora where Flash worked for me in a 64-bit environment.

Written on 23 November 2009.
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Last modified: Mon Nov 23 00:47:08 2009
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