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11 October 2012, 12:40

Fedora is retiring Smolt hardware census

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The Fedora Project's Infrastructure Team has announced that it will be retiring the distribution's Smolt service on 7 November. The web page and corresponding client application were designed to collect and share data on the hardware that Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is being run on. Several other distributions, including openSUSE and Gentoo, also support the system.

The Fedora developers explain that after the deadline, all new data sent to the Smolt servers will be discarded and statistics on the collected data set will no longer be available. However, the team may make the raw data available for download. The team also plans to maintain a redirect, until November 2013, to a page explaining that Smolt has been discontinued.

A page on the Fedora wiki dealing with the program's retirement lists several reasons for the decision. It seems that the information collected from the program was not as useful as the developers had hoped. Since the data resulted from an opt-in process, it was always skewed and could not be used to generalise about the distribution's install base. Added to this was the fact that the software had not been maintained for a while and does not work on RHEL 6. It is clear, from the wiki, that the Fedora development team have decided to change their approach to collecting data about their install base.

Zoom The Smolt web site currently includes hardware profiles with user added compatibility ratings

Many Fedora users used Smolt to research hardware they were intending to buy, since the Smolt web site allowed users to flag the hardware components in their system for how well they work under Fedora (or to indicate that they do not work at all). The Smolt site became a useful database of compatibility information but with the shuttering of the site, this resource will most likely be lost.

According to the Fedora developers, a replacement for Smolt is currently under development. This effort is being coordinated on the newly created census mailing list.


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