I first became interested in using jigdo (Jigsaw Download) during the test releases for Fedora 8. I was spending a lot of time getting the DVD ISOs over bittorrent and was annoyed that in all probability I already had packages necessary to compose the release, but not in its official form from the rawhide trees I mirror locally.

Jigdo has the ability to start with a base image and build ISOs based on local (or remote) packages. I gave it try with some of the Fedora Unity Respins, helped test one of the Fedora 8 respins, and recently built the Fedora 9 Alpha ISO myself using jigdo.

There has been noticeably more interest in jigdo on the fedora-list@redhat.com mailing list over the past few months. This is interesting considering how summarily dismissed jigdo has been as “not being needed” by some of the regulars on the fedora-devel-list. The first time I heard jigdo mentioned was at the Red Hat Summit 2007 during the Revisor session. When I asked some of the Fedora veterans why Fedora didn’t use it I was told it was unreliable, full of memory leaks, and “that old thing from Debian”.

Is this the same disconnect between the folks who think CD releases of Fedora don’t matter and those that do? A classic “developer doesn’t think user wants or needs what the user says they need”? CD releases will be back for Fedora 9 and I think one of the reasons was the complaints from users on fedora-list.

The other arguments I’ve heard against doing jigdo is that it would not benefit enough users or would cause confusion by adding “yet another method to obtain Fedora”. I don’t find any these arguments strong enough to believe Fedora should not provide jigdo as a download option.

Looking at the Fedora Unity’s jigdo statistics people are using jigdo to get Fedora. How many more people could we get Fedora to if it was a mainstream option and how big is the risk if we try?

Speaking from personal experience I think providing direct jidgo support by Fedora would be a great thing. I have never had problems with jidgo or problems with the ISOs it creates. It provides a good alternative for people who cannot use bittorent or have limits on how much bandwidth they can use in a given period.

Who knows, maybe it will become a reality: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Features/JigdoRelease