Neutrality in the Framework Support Linux Expectations Guide

@Matt_Hartley thank you for providing an excellent guide document for newer Linux enthusiasts. About the sentences on the page below, I have a suggestion. I see that you encourage people to comment at the bottom of the page directly when they have suggestions. However, I wanted to create a thread to discuss this topic separately, as the discussion might not be simple.

Situation

If you don’t have a Linux distribution in mind already, a good choice would be Ubuntu. For 11th Gen compatible configurations, Ubuntu 22.04 LTS is excellent, while for the 12th Gen compatible configurations, Ubuntu 22.10 or Pop OS 22.04 are recommended. These releases have newer kernels, with compatibility fixes and improvements not found in older kernels.

I agree that Ubuntu is a good choice for newer Linux users.

In my understanding, hopefully, Framework’s choice of positioning in the business is to be neutral between Linux distributions and *BSD OS. Because that’s the way to attract users as many as possible. This is a strategy to gain a market share in one layer, in this case, the laptop layer. This is a kind of horizontal strategy. As a result, people come to this forum and contribute beyond the difference of their using OS. The idea of Framework is that the Framework provides a “framework” that users can decide what the best content (parts, OS) is. This choice covers the “long tail” market.

In my impression, this is not like System76’s choice of positioning in the business. System76 did an excellent job with its hardware, open-sourced firmware, and Pop!_OS. And I think the choice is that System76 decides what the best content is with the hardware, firmware, and OS that they selected. This is to aim to gain the specific market across the layers vertically. In this case, System76’s hardware, firmware and Pop_OS, and application on the OS. This is a kind of vertical strategy. Apple is also doing the strategy.

As a reference, here is the thread of why the horizontal strategy fits Framework. - Framework OS

Suggestion

While each person has a specific preference for the OS, I want to see that Framework is still neutral between the OSes. the current sentences could be updated in a more neutral manner,

Bias

Recently I often think about my bias to know myself better, reading books about bias below.

  • Think Again - Adam Grant
  • Thinking Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman

I mainly have been staying in the Fedora project community. For Ubuntu, I only used it for a use of the server. I have a bias about my opinion and my feelings. I try to be neutral, and I don’t intend to promote Fedora or RPM-based OS here.

Thank you.

5 Likes

In the interests of neutrality, rather than saying *buntu xx.xx or fedora yy works best on framework, maybe Framework/Matt_Hartley should be making a post along the lines of ‘for best/most trouble-free Linux experience you should a distro with kernel version x.xx.xx or higher for 11th gen, or z.zz.zz or higher for 12th gen’

I think they’re doing a good job by providing documentation for 4 distributions on the 12th gen, and 5 for 11th gen. I think for the best user experience it’s very helpful to nudge new users using very clear language into which distro will run best on this particular hardware. If you tell users “Go find this kernel version and whatever distro supports it” gives users homework they may not be prepared to do. Sometimes it’s better to reduce friction if you want to drive adoption, and sometimes you need to be at least a little opinionated to do that.

3 Likes

true, but as someone who doesn’t like either fedora or *buntu, it would be nice to know which kernel version I should be aiming for.

You should likely be shooting for kernel 6.0.7 at a minimum. I know 6.0.9 is coming soon and there are a ton of PSR related items on the changelog.

1 Like

Publishing a ‘getting started with Linux’ guide using Ubuntu hardly suggests a lack of neutrality on Framework’s part. While Matt focuses on Ubuntu he also references several other distros in that article, not all Debian-based. Additionally, guides.frame.work has available guides for Fedora, Manjaro, Ubuntu, Mint and Pop!_OS, and the forum pages here have info for other distros like Arch and KDE Neon.

While I applaud a desire for neutrality, trying to write a beginners guide that’s truly neutral - as in distro-agnostic - will be unavoidably counter-productive for new Linux users. The author has to use something; better to pick a common, well-supported distro with a ton of community support than get readers lost in the weeds discussing distro-specific minutiae that will only confuse someone new to Linux.

5 Likes

A couple of thoughts. First, yes, per @nadb’s point, anything older than 6.0.7 will be hit-and-miss - newer is better for compatibility and bug fixes.

Regarding @junaruga’s solid point with:

In my understanding, hopefully, Framework’s choice of positioning in the business is to be neutral between Linux distributions and *BSD OS.

I used to work for System76. They are some of the most unique, forward-thinking folks I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with - I still have good friends there. Much love for them.

POP OS is not perfect for all situations. Still, it does a few things right, which make it best for newer users on 12th gen - newer kernels and a recovery partition that works “almost” like a reset button, preserving your home directory.

Yes, I am in charge of the Linux direction at Framework, which means you (each of you ) have a voice that will be heard. And the concerns expressed here are valid, and I am happy to discuss them.

If I am doing something, you do not like, please tell me - I will do what I can within reason to fix it. Simple as that. If you’re unhappy, it’s my job to figure out a way to correct this. Full stop. I work for you.

While I may not be able to get everything “perfect,” I will bend over backward to make sure each of you is heard, and no one distro is more important than another.

That said, the “fine print” to that statement is this:

  • We’re working with distros to make sure they have what they need to get the best compatibility possible with their specific distros.
  • Some distros are fantastic to work with, and some are not as interested. Fedora, for example, has been incredibly supportive, and I love everything they do. Fedora, Pop OS, and PCLinuxOS are my personal use distributions.

But I will only recommend specific distros based on a given use case.

  • Most Linux compatibility will come out of the box. Sometimes we may reach out to a distro development team for a hand.
  • My recommendations are just that: to get new users from point A to point B.

I spent a lot of time deciding which recommendations to provide. I went backward and forwards with this. Ultimately, I had to go with my true self and make recommendations I have seen firsthand work best with newer users. And yes, I agree some will disagree with me - that’s the great thing about a recommendation in the FoSS universe - people distro hop anyway. So, in the end, it’s fine if it gets them onto a proper distro!

  • As we advance, I will look at distros that will get “official support” and community support.

All that will mean is I can ask a related developer to fix something if they’re able/willing vs. being unable to do so. That’s all there is to it.

Can XYZ distro give the user a great experience on this hardware? If so, great! If not, it’s a community support item. Even with that, any distro you wish to use will still receive the same attention and effort from me as officially supported distros.

The only real difference is one will require more work from you and me, while the officially supported distros will primarily work as expected.

In the end, I made a selection based on my own experiences, my support experiences, and the software/kernels provided depending on the laptop hardware needs.

I will not suggest that it’s perfect, but I feel comfortable making these recommendations.

10+ (roughly) years ago or so, my recommendations may have been Simply Mepis and Mandrake. I have supported a lot of distros over the years in various areas.

So when a newer user buys a Framework laptop and installs the latest and greatest trending distro…then it goes poorly. They will blame the laptop. My goal is to minimize this by providing support recommendations to mitigate this “buyer’s remorse in trying Linux.”

To be clear, I financially support one disto right now, which is not on that list. It’s a great distro, but it did not meet my criteria. I wanted to ensure my new user recommendations matched a new user’s expectations.

Neutrality, in that situation, would not do well. Not because I don’t value it, rather, because I know it’s going to be a ticket or a forum thread later. My suggested distros may evolve over time. But for now, I feel good about my suggestions for newer users.

For overall support, I will happily support any distro or BSD to the best of my ability with a giant smile on my face because I live the *Nix life.

Framework welcomes all distros equally.

Your voice and direct line to me and the direction you would like to see with Linux support.

Starting in January, I will be hosting Jitsi powered meet and greets where you can tell me what I’m doing wrong and what I am doing right. Offer suggestions and provide face to face feedback.

I advocate for you, all of you. So if I need to be called out on something or you have an idea that would make something better, you always have my full attention.

I work for you.

I take this community support very, very seriously and I will continue to work very hard to make sure all of you are heard.

14 Likes

This is basically what my long-winded comment above was trying to say, without being nearly as succinct. :slight_smile:

12 Likes

Can I just say how nice it is to see such polite disagreement? both @Matt_Hartley and @junaruga should be commended for the excellent breakdown of their positions and rebuttals. I look forward to seeing @Matt_Hartley more on the forums, every time I see you pop up is a positive experience. I’ve seen too many flame wars on this forum already so this is nice to see.

@Matt_Hartley Can you be sure to post a blog post in advance of that meet and greet? I want to be there.

10 Likes

@Matt_Hartley, thank you for your careful and passionate reply. I see that you made a choice that you select, and recommend specific OSes because you think that’s the way to solve think thing below.

I see your goal is to minimize the blaming of the laptop. I agree. However, does the guide really needs to recommend specific OSes to achieve the goal?

I think a way to achieve the goals is just to adjust a user’s expectations. That is like the sentence above. Because if users select the hard way by knowing the reality correctly by themselves, I don’t think they blame it. There is a difference in the meaning between writing the expected results and recommending something.

I don’t say that we can’t write specific distro names in the guide. We can write “distro A is easy, and distro B is hard”. When users select a hard disto, considering their cases, they are prepared for a hard way, and then they have problems, is that really a problem for users who want to learn by making mistakes? It’s like giving users a fish or telling users how to take a fish.

I remember a relationship between the coach and coachee in the coaching. The coach guides coachee from the point A to the “coachee’s own” point B by asking the right questions, not providing the right answers. This choice comes from the belief that the coachee knows where he/she wants to go by himself/herself.

4 Likes

Well said! :slight_smile:

1 Like

I think what you’re suggesting is more along the lines of a “How to pick a distro” guide: something which discusses different use cases and which distros might be more or less suited to them, or something to present a handful of distros and provide comparisons of their respective pros and cons. I think something like that would be tremendously helpful to people as an additional resource, and I encourage Matt or one of the other contributors to write such a guide.

For someone just dipping their toes into Linux I think it’s much less confusing to present one distro. It’s too easy to overwhelm someone with information, especially if they have no prior experience of Linux. Make it minimally painless for someone to get running and build context, and point them to where they can learn more when they’re ready so comparisons of distros is meaningful. Switching distros is relatively painless: that’s one of the great things about Linux.

1 Like

More so, to be accurate about the fault itself - laptops are at fault sometimes, too. I want to make sure we’re addressing the issue with minimal hassle. Historically, I’ve found that Linux problems are 99.9% of the time OS/software/firmware vs hardware. So I want to make sure a good “first experience” is the focus vs spending hours troubleshooting something the user expects to just work.

I agree, but not on day one. Users tend to blame Linux if they have a bad experience. That said, I completely agree on adjusting the user’s expectations. It’s a process, though. And we want to make sure everyone has the best experience possible.

This is very helpful feedback. And when this community start doing Jitsi events in Jan, I’d really like to deep dive into this more.

1 Like

This might be somewhat off-topic, but also sort of not. Based on a different discussion elsewhere in the forum:

Yesterday I ran into a situation where the BIOS couldn’t be updated. It just said “Update failed”. But when I switched over to my Arch (btw :stuck_out_tongue: ) drive from my OpenBSD one, it worked perfectly fine. This makes some sense since obviously the image supplied is labeled as for Linux, and I assume it might be trying to make some checks to ensure it doesn’t break EFI entries or something. But perhaps it might be an idea to leave a short note about what the options are for *BSD users that don’t happen to have a Linux drive on hand. (Unless this is something that really shouldn’t happen and I’m now making you file a bug ticket? :stuck_out_tongue: )

@lthemick yes, I agree that it is a “How to pick a distro” guide. And if the Framework Support Linux Expectation Guide focuses on the newer users’ very first experience, I feel that the “How to pick a distro” guide is a bit advanced level for newer users.

Right. I agree with it. You can address the issue with minimal hassle if a few specific Linux distros are recommended in the guide. You want users to have a good first experience. That makes sense.

OK. I can assume that users tend to blame Linux if they have a bad experience. They expect Linux support on the level of Windows, and Mac support.

All right. So, in my understanding so far, I am happy to see that you value the neutrality between the OSes. However, the guide needs to recommend specific distros
because you want to minimize the blaming of the laptop by newer users and want newer users to have a good first experience.

Right now I can see there is a dilemma between neutrality and specific distros recommended in the guide. Hopefully, we will continue to improve the situation by seeing the reaction of users and will find a better way.

Thank you.

2 Likes