It's more Fedora than it is Fedora $noun

Hi, I helped create “Fedora CoreOS” and “Fedora Silverblue”. Of lately something I’ve noticed is that very often in communication, people will just say “CoreOS” or “Silverblue”.

There are two reasons I think for this. First, at a practical level when typing, people are going to be lazy. It’s the same reason “Red Hat Enterprise Linux” cannot escape the unofficial acronym “RHEL”.

But the second is, I think some people are under the impression that these things are sufficiently different (than “traditional Fedora”) to warrant emphasis via the “edition descriptor”.

I have come to believe this is more harmful than helpful. Personally, I am here to effect long term, lasting improvements in FOSS, and some of the technical things happening in those spaces are important - automatic transactional upgrades, a focus on containerization, and reprovisionability etc.

But in the end, I believe these are also changes that we want to have happen in “Fedora” in general.
Hence, over time I’d like to wind down the use of the term “Silverblue”. First, it’s very often clear from context whether one is talking about “desktop Fedora” or “server Fedora”. Instead of “I’m using Fedora Silverblue” one would say “I’m using Fedora Workstation (image mode)” perhaps. But actually - why even have the qualifier unless it is actually relevant to the conversation?

I’ve also seen people somehow think that using containers requires CoreOS/Silverblue. This is something we should push back on. For long time “traditional” Fedora users, I think it’s much easier to yum -y install podman flatpak toolbox && yum -y remove gcc firefox and tip one’s toes in the water that way.

Related to “CoreOS” - among other things, using the bare term can lead to much confusion because there is also “RHEL CoreOS”. We have a FAQ entry for this.

Anyways, my short term plea is: Let’s try to collectively stop using e.g. “CoreOS” and “Silverblue” as a standalone identifier. I know people want something short to type, so I’d propose acronyms: e.g. “FCOS” and “FSB34”.

8 Likes

I use Silverblue, and understand it is Fedora Linux Workstation-ish. I notice the point I think you are making though, as the perception seems to reflect a larger distinction between the variants Silverblue and FCOS WRT Fedora Linux Workstation and Fedora Linux Server respectively. Perhaps it is time to call it Fedora Linux Workstation (Silverblue or Kionite variant) and Fedora Linux Server (FCOS variant). It is a mouthful and the community will likely still settle on a slang term which may fall outside your desired scope, but it does introduce a paradigm which changes the POV towards the direction of your concept.

1 Like

This is a windmill tilt I fully support. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to stop people, but we should be deliberate in how we communicate officially. It’s like Fedora is a community; Fedora Linux is our OS. There’s a lot of value in the “Fedora” brand, and it benefits all of us to have Fedora CoreOS and Fedora Silverblue attached to it.

3 Likes

Sounds good to me. Unless someone tells me to do otherwise, I’ll start substituting “Silverblue” with “Fedora Silverblue (FSB)” and “CoreOS” with “Fedora CoreOS (FCOS)” when editing Fedora Magazine articles in addition to the “Fedora” → “Fedora Linux” correction that I’ve been making when “Fedora” is used in reference to the operating system (as opposed to the project).

4 Likes

I don’t think that makes a whole lot of sense. I use Fedora SilverBlue and it feels quite a bit different than Fedora Workstation, sure you can use toolbox / podman on Workstation but for a practical usage of SilverBlue it’s absolutely necessary (for developers, at least). Also the package manager is different (rpm-ostree instead of dnf). I really like SilverBlue, but it doesn’t feel like the Fedora Workstation I was used to, so of course I’m going to call it SilverBlue when I’m talking to other people who use Fedora (because it can be implied that it’s Fedora). Also I dislike acronyms very much - they add too much confusion. I also fail to see how talking about a project using terminology you deem unfavorable can be harmful. If it’s an issue of diverging technology that’s more of an organizational issue in the project, not a social issue.

Alright, I’ll bite, here we go…

After twenty years of “RHEL” existing as an acronym and half a decade of it being used in official marketing, I don’t think we can call this “unofficial” anymore. And the term came into existence because Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a mouthful to say. Even when I talk about RHEL, I rarely say the whole thing every time.

Well, the truth is, they are. They behave very differently and don’t even offer the same basic experience that the “traditional” environments have. For example, neither Silverblue nor Kinoite offer live environments, which we use as a rescue environment substitute. CoreOS, Silverblue, and Kinoite are all considerably less flexible on how they can be deployed by the very nature of RPM-OSTree. And because of how RPM-OSTree actually works for handling RPM content, it is drastically less compatible with the RPM universe than “traditional” variants.

Pretending these differences don’t exist is a great way to cause problems for both users and contributors.

I suspect most Fedora contributors would strongly disagree with you on at least one of those points. Certainly I am not the greatest fan of (ab)using containerization for every little thing. It certainly has its place and can be valuable, but the trade-offs are simply not worth it to use over all other alternatives.

Anti-hysteresis would annoy users to an extreme degree for personal desktop systems. That particular concept is likely dead in the water except for a few targeted cases (kiosks, shared systems in libraries/cafés, etc.).

The qualifier matters because they’re different. You know you cannot offer an equivalent experience. And in some cases, the experience is subpar from the variants people generally prefer to use. In other cases, it’s better. But if we want some of the benefits of those variants to be generally part of Fedora, we should be improving the stack that people want to use. There’s a place for systems with and without anti-hysteresis. And things like atomic updates are possible in a variety of ways.

What hasn’t happened yet is a good exploration on why anyone outside of the container world should care about the properties of CoreOS, Silverblue, and Kinoite.

4 Likes

I agree completely about the acronyms, especially as complex as the ones mentioned.

@ngompa I don’t think @walters point is that they are the same. It’s more… they are all Fedora.

3 Likes

They are all Fedora, but that wasn’t what he was asking for. He’s asking for us to retire the usage of the CoreOS, Silverblue, and Kinoite sub-brands and use the main ones for them. That implies much more “sameness” and primacy than they have.

I think a part of it is how unique the name is.

Very few people will call it just “Workstation” because that is a pretty generic work. Which workstation? what type? (though here most will just call it Fedora)

Silverblue on the other hands, are there are any competing meanings? There is also that the name was specifically chosen to make it sound different and not imply what fedora atomic workstation did.

CoreOS is an outlier here as AFAIK there is also Red Hat CoreOS.

I have heard that many media organisations have style guides to make sure they are consistent. It may be useful to have one for Fedora that is for official and semi official communication.

I think it’s not necessarily to remove the subbrands but to include the Fedora in them. So you used RHEL as an example. Yeh people call it “RHEL” not “EL” - so if you were gonna call Silverblue “SB” you would instead call it “FSB” (OK hmm unfortunate acronym collision there. :frowning: )

The idea is to not throw away that the projects are different but are all Fedora.

2 Likes

Well, can anybody explain in 6 words that all these Fedora include?

SilverBlue = Fedora + …
CoreOS = Fedora + …

I agree, but I’d propose it is almost always relevant. Look at this forum, people come here for support. Knowing which spin/flavor the poster is requesting support from is so important that the forum even has categories for it.

image

Your proposal would look something like the following where I combined the two variants
(FSB/FK, image mode) in one screenshot:

image

If I’m on the fedora forum and I’m talking about Silverblue, Kinoite, or CoreOS… the context is pretty clear?

Generally speaking acronyms are harmful to inclusiveness. However us humans, especially tech minded folks who like efficient, will always try to shorten things to save a beat. Having short catchy namse like Fedora Silverblue or Fedora Kinoite has probably prevented the community at large from shortening them further (beyond dropping the Fedora).

But maybe you’re not talking about this forum? In which case I suppose I agree, however I’m still against more acronyms. When I am outside the Fedora community, I tell people I use “Fedora” and only if the conversation goes in that direction do I mention Silverblue or Kinoite.

Edit: If I may read into walters’ intent, we should appreciate and recognize that we’re building on the Fedora community’s efforts as a whole. This is something I 100% agree with.

I think I will have to disagree with you Colin. I think having more distinct identities for our output is actually a boon and allows us for instance experiment with a new type of OS with Fedora SIlverblue without having every issue in Silverblue automatically be perceptually applied to Fedora Workstation. And at the same time we can improve the experience in Fedora Workstation without having a reviewer talk about how crap we are because they happened to test a not so well working spin for their review.

So I agree that we should maintain and promote the Fedora brand as the name of the factory and our share giant box of parts, but at the same time I want our output to be seen as individual entities by users and the media. So Fedora is Toyota, but at the same time no reviewer would confuse a Tacoma with a Yaris in their review.