Why I have chosen Fedora

There are plenty of Linux distributions available and a few years ago when I changed to Linux at home it took me a while to get an overview and choose a distribution. I have chosen Fedora and I am still convinced that I did the right choice (note from 2009-08-18: I have switched to Ubuntu ;-) ). Here are my top reasons (in the order of importance for me) for choosing Fedora (mostly applying also for Ubuntu):
  1. There is no special focus on client or server features.
    I looked for a distribution that can be used as client workstation, for software development as well as for a server efficiently. It is so nice with Linux that I don't have to choose one single language at installation - I can choose several language packs, so fine. The other thing that is really annoying with Windows is that after you chose the language you have to choose whether to install a server or a workstation. I wanted to get rid of this decision either. How the hell should I know what I want to use my machine for half a year from now? - So I need an allround-distribution.

  2. The distribution is kept quite up-to-date containing new packages.
    When I chose to go with Linux there were many things important for me that were only supported with some of the latest libraries and components - for example the support for my Canon photo printer.

  3. There are quite a lot of packages included in the distribution.
    The number of available packages in the repositories has been also an important issue for me (this is related to point 2). As it would have been annoying for me if I had to recompile a lot of software from the sources it was important for me to have ready-made packages.

  4. Easy maintainance.
    As I share the computer at home with my wife and I probably want to support friends with their computer issues I searched for a distribution that was more easy to handle even for a person that is not a commandline freak.

  5. Defaults to gnome desktop environment.
    From current view this really depends on the personal favor and I liked Gnome more than KDE. Although I had also some philosophic concerns against KDE. I do not really follow the discussions and changes any more regarding this - I think to remember that I heard about some changes here. However in the meantime there is either a version of Fedora that defaults to KDE.
The only thing that is annoying with Fedora is that only the last two older versions are maintained which means that I have to update approximately once a year. However, the update process is usually not really problematic.

You can find a comparison of distributions at Wikipedia. On second place there was Ubuntu - which I would probably also choose if I would have to choose now.

See also: The sad thing about Linux..., The operating system, Why I switched to Ubuntu, Why Linux?.


What is useful software?

After continuously reading about Twitter I created an account and tried it. Even after reading "A Minimalist’s Guide to Using Twitter Simply, Productively, and Funly" at Zenhabits, I cannot really see the benefit.

I was used to face a problem and then create a solution for it. Looking at IT developments of the last years I think that a lot of software is created and used many times without either knowing why. I have read comments from people trying hard to figure out the deeper sense of using Twitter. Instead of just letting go they spend hours trying to find a sense in using it. I find that strange.

Apart from the fact that there are particular special features in Twitter other than being a micro-blog with some character of an RSS feed, there is no particular focus and that's the worst. If I would seek out for new employees, would Twitter be a starting point where to seek? Nope. Would I look at Twitter to read peoples opinions? No, I would read an RSS feed of a blog where I know that one takes more time to write a blog article than chit-chatting on Twitter. Would I look for solutions to technical problems? Neither.

There are already Instant messengers, Wikis, Blogs, RSS feeds, forums and mailing lists. All those things have been created to solve particular problems and - sure - later have been used in a wider area also for other purposes.

Software is a tool, it should help me - or the user - to get something done, faster or better.

There are enough areas in IT where still big mess is happening - Backup & Restore, Privacy & Security, Information management and document management, customer relationship management just to mention a few. So there are enough opportunities to improve.

When creating software we should keep in mind that
  • there are people who want to get their work done quickly and then go outdoors and have fun (those people are not willing to play with fancy features),

  • there are people having difficulties using a computer (they are not very familiar with it and even not very interested to change this) and

  • there are people - power users - who want to get the most out of the computer by trying to solve everything with the help of the computer - those are also focused on achieving a lot of particular goals.
Twitter is an application that does not serve any of those groups mentioned above. If I seek for particular information there are particular websites, wikis or forums where I can find that information because those places are focused on particular areas providing much information. Same applies for particular software.

Twitter is doing chit-chat to the world - whoever is listening (or not). As soon as something is going to be all and nothing the question for the purpose should be asked.

Related post: Why I don't need Twitter.


Economic crisis and IT

In times of competition pressure and economic crisis (not necessarily a crisis triggered by the financial market) one of the first steps is to reduce employees in order to cut down costs. This may be a very logical step for the manufacturing part of a company but usually affects also other employees from service departments or employees maintaining the internal infrastructure of the company. Basically it means usually (even on reduced sales) that less people have to do the same amount of work. I have seen several client companies "optimizing" their "structures" with the idea of doing more (or at least the same) with less people.

In times of economic crisis (or in areas of hard competition) a general idea is even to reduce the time needed for production or for completing services - also in order to reduce overall costs.

Last but not least all the optimizations needed have to be implemented quickly.

As an effect of appropriate optimization actions quality of service is often reduced - not by intention, but as a (logical) side effect.

Improving the efficiency and maintaining the services (or even improving them) although reducing staff is only possible with the help of technical improvement (in production as well as in administration and even sales). This includes appropriate hard- and software to be optimized.

To gain an advantage in comparison to other companies it would either be required not to do the job as all the others do it also - no, only investing into innovative new solutions could bring an advantage.

Being a customer I faced several issues with companies lately where they could not provide me the service I would have expected because of inflexible software. New solutions available on the market right now on the other hand are often too flexible - offering the possibility of doing everything and nothing. The used software should offer a concrete help for providing the required services and support company workflows.

Oh, and I lately thought about who would the government finance the help given to banks or other companies. Then I heard of the idea introducing a tax on internet traffic. Then I thought how would this affect company strategies. Many programs would have to be optimized to produce less internet traffic.

So I think that there is still much software to write although there is so much written these days...

Related posts: IT investment required, Bronze age of IT, IT project costs explosion, The Open Source movement, Scope of IT projects.