When I recently installed Fedora 16 on an experimental server at work, it felt like dealing with a whole new platform. Prior to version 16, my last install was version 14 and things seem to have been in their familiar places. With 16 I was suddenly dumbfounded, like starting to learn Linux anew. I am not even referring to the GUI here, not a big fan. Windows is fine with me there.
For starters, there's the new Grub2 boot loader to learn. Then there's NetworkManager which tries to sniff out and configure everything when I was just happy with the plain old network startup. Related to that is what’s known as Consistent Network Device Naming. My ethernet adapter was suddenly labeled p1p7 instead of the familiar eth-0.
But the worst offender of all is the startup hell known as systemd. In a not too distant past the daemons and other startup processes were housed under /etc/init.d/ and then configured via chkconfig. Those were the good days of SysV. No more, now we have the purported super-polished, parallelized, speedy and advanced systemd, managed via the systemctl command. random symbolic linking here and there and strange file extensions. Even worse, old commands like chkconfig are hacked to call the newfangled systemd functions. I'm still trying to figure out the systemd craziness.
I know some of these changes started with previous versions and these changes were supposedly introduced to take advantage of new architectures and simplify, streamline, and accelerate operations, but that doesn't alleviate the shock and confusion of finding oneself in an unfamiliar terrain so unexpectedly.
Maybe I'm too old and set in my ways. And perhaps I should understand that Fedora is free and experimental and radical changes are par for the course. But there's a lesson Linux can learn from its nemesis, Windows. Microsoft hasn't scrapped Service Control Manager or Device Manager with every successive release of Windows. They improved them and added more features but the core functions remained the same and that goes a long way to allay users' and admins' fears of upgrading to new versions.