Causes of my pain – what users tell me about Fedora

by davidnielsen

The following is not meant offend anyone.

I spend a great deal of time talking to users, doing support work and advocacy. In that capacity I get to hear a lot of feedback from users about what they like and dislike about Fedora. My observation is that users really don’t mind the nvidia/ati problem so much, there’s a solution they can employ (thank you Livna people) and they don’t really blame Fedora for it since we are good at explaining why their hardware doesn’t work. They also seem understanding with regards to the codec issue, though the idea of pointing people to legal means of obtaining support rather than failing with an obscure error message is welcomed with applauds.

What do people like about Fedora? They seem to generally like our security focus, the fact that we have well working packages, they also really like our artwork. The performance of FC6 was especially noted as a big boon by many users, the myth that we are slow seems to have died with the FC6 release.

So what don’t people like about Fedora? Well that is very simple, about 60% of the people I talked to were annoyed by one application we ship, namely pup. They don’t like the fact that it greys out and generally looks like it crashed. The thinking seems to be that if we can’t design an updater that works that reflects the overall quality of Fedora as a product. Many people switched distros based _solely_ on this behavior. This opens up for regaining the trust of those users, which are a very large and measurable part based on fixing one issue.

The other major issue is the complaints that yum is slow, I get that a lot but when probing for more information to define what is slow and what use cases they felt were slow the answers are split over several cases and I don’t feel qualified to poke further. I know Seth and the wonderful yum people are doing work on performance but it might serve us well to examine what specific scenerios users feel are slow.

But that leaves me with a lot of hope, if those two issues go away that will mean nearly all the complaints I hear when talking to users will go away or at least greatly decrease. I really had expected more issues spread on more applications.

Naturally there are some muslings about wireless but the general trend is that this sucks on any Linux distro and people tend to understand when they get the reasons and they are very encouraged by the fact that it was made a target for F7 to improve that situation.