May 14, 2009, 6:46 pm
In Fedora 11, we have a number of features that are the result of a planned process of maturation. We often put new features into the distribution with the purpose of garnering more information on how people put a technology to work. Then that information can be digested by developers to help them design and refine their software. It‚Äôs a cultivation mentality: By focusing more attention on advanced technologies, we help them mature and improve faster. Including them in a popular, high-volume distribution whose mission is to advanced free and open source software is a natural strategic fit.
When PackageKit was first introduced to the masses, it was meant to smooth out the experience of someone using the free desktop. In Fedora 9, it provided mainly the functions to which long-time users were accustomed. In Fedora 10, the first glimpse of the longer roadmap appeared ‚Äî on-demand codec installation. In Fedora 11, fonts and some content types are also automatically handled for users. Entire applications are on the horizon.
As PackageKit maintainer Richard Hughes puts it, ‚ÄúPackages really aren‚Äôt all that interesting‚Äù ‚Äî at least not from the user perspective. The idea is that people just want to be able to do what they sat down to do, without thinking about the plumbing of their system.
You can listen to this recording, in which Fedora Project Leader Paul Frields interviews Richard about the motivation behind PackageKit, what‚Äôs coming in the future, and the danger of oddly-matched clothing. There are other recorded interviews for Fedora 11 up at this wiki page. For those of you not using the fantastic open codec support in HTML 5 and Firefox 3.1+, you can find the MP3 version here.