Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cloverleaf Dead: The Kids Pick Up Their Toys and Go Home

by Dietrich Schmitz

It began with Fuduntu's spring closure announcement, then its team opened a new project called FUSE, a spin of openSUSE.   And now comes another announcement by Shawn Dunn "...we are stopping development on Cloverleaf...":

"Due to many factors, the most important being lack of available manpower, we will be refactoring our efforts as part of the openSUSE project, whether in an official or non-official capacity. 
Initially, we had calculated on having 7-10 active developers available to work on Cloverleaf as an independent distribution, based on openSUSE. 
As things turned out, many of the developers we had factored into our plans had things pop up in daily life, whether personal or professional, and that has cut down on our ability to keep up with changes from the upstream and still develop Cloverleaf into a distribution that would have the same sort of polish that Fuduntu did.     Right now, we only have three active developers and it just isn’t possible to develop a satisfactory project with our current manpower."
That's too bad.  But perhaps the bar was set too high?  And to do anything with openSUSE would have meant developing a much deeper understanding of its internals which are quite broad and expansive.
I personally think that the brain trust of Fuduntu was largely a 'one man band'.  The take-away is that having any one individual in charge of development will always be risky, which left all of the Fuduntu community 'high and dry', unfortunately.
You should therefore ask yourself these questions:  Is my Distro being maintained by more than one programmer?, and, Will my Distro still be around in five years?
I happen to believe only a few Distributions will remain in five years and they will consist of Debian and derivatives, Ubuntu and derivatives, Mint, Fedora, openSUSE, Mageia, Arch Linux and Gentoo.
All others are cookie cutter Distros of sorts and have no real redeeming value beyond being mixes of the aforementioned base Distributions.  There's no innovation in that.  The programmers who maintain them will eventually leave their respective communities 'at the drop of a hat', kind of like what happened with Cloverleaf.    When they chose openSUSE following the initial Confused by FUSE episode, I suspected then the project wouldn't have longevity.  It turns out, I was right.
The Kids picked up their toys and went home.  So long.
-- Dietrich

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