Chapeau project status.

Many users of Chapeau have been waiting on an official release of Chapeau 25, then 26 and 27.
This post is to announce that the Chapeau project has been on a hiatus and will continue to be, probably indefinitely and to provide an explanation to the thousands of loyal users out there as to why.

Before the details though I will explain that if your system is running Chapeau and you’re keen to update your system you have not been left high and dry and there is no need to reinstall your operating system to get newer software, you can easily upgrade your Chapeau 24 system to Fedora 27 and keep all your software and settings.
Follow the complete guide on How to update your Chapeau system to Fedora 27.

Why I started Chapeau

The Chapeau project was started as a personal project to;

  • Give something back to the free software community without which I wouldn’t have the career I have today.
  • Lower the barrier for newbies to run the best Linux distribution and have some of the coolest stuff out-of-the-box.
  • Create a better Gnome desktop than the stock Fedora one with subtle but saner default settings in various areas.
  • Create a genuinely useful live image that does anything from web browsing & media playback to technical stuff like fixing broken systems, disk recovery, virus removal and a spot of pen testing all without the need to install.
  • Evidence some of my Linux expertise to potential employers as my (then) employer wouldn’t assist with up-to-date training/certification for Linux to compliment my other Unix & storage specialties and I was looking for a way out.

I uploaded the first official Chapeau release to Sourceforge back around Christmas 2013 based on Fedora 20, for me this was not the beginning of the Chapeau project but the culmination of months of tinkering, testing, scripting, building and discarding iso images remixed from Fedora 19 and then Fedora 20 in my spare time. That first release as well as all other releases are still available to download at Sourceforge.

What was involved in creating Chapeau

Chapeau was a small project were everything was done by one guy.
Over the 4.5-ish years of this project the stuff I created, maintained & funded to make Chapeau a reality was including but not limited to the following;

  • Physical/virtual infrastructure of build & test machines, the web server, online resources and repos.
  • Building, testing & publishing ISOs.
  • All enhancements & RPM packages unique to Chapeau.
  • Tools to automate asset gathering, package building & ISO creation.
  • Web hosting for and software repos.
  • Graphic design for Chapeau’s themeing and website.
  • Running Chapeau’s website, forum & social media.
  • Wrote ‘HHT’, the Hardware Helper Tool that made identifying hardware & installing and removing Nvidia drivers easy. Something that had a tradition of being a negative user experience for new Fedora users.
    HHT was the only tool that dealt with Nvidia drivers on Fedora whilst automatically identifying and configuring Optimus configurations correctly.
  • Publicizing the project across online media.
  • Supporting the community

A lot of tools and technologies were used (and sometimes learned from scratch) to achieve Chapeau. Stuff like;

KVM bash Github WordPress
MariaDB Apache HTTPd Python livecd_creator
RPM yad SVG SourceForge
Google+ Inkscape GIMP Git
XML Plymouth Kickstart Mock

… so Chapeau was a great learning exercise and perhaps unsurprisingly the actual technical bit of pushing out and maintaining the distribution is just a portion of running a project like this. All the the other stuff like documentation, content, screenshots etc. on and Chapeau’s presence on, github and social media all take time to think up, create and publish.

The Challenges

So the project started as a personal contribution to benefit others and improve my own skills and became a quite serious hobby. However there have been negative aspects to the project that were an eye opener for me.

Whilst Chapeau has received lots of acclaim from its users and the press it always surprises me how negative and change-averse some are in the free software communities for seemingly no reason. FOSS is where the most progressive, fast-moving, cutting-edge software can often be found so the negativity I have seen from some who profess an affinity to open-source towards new things completely baffles me.
I’ve had to creatively ban individuals and IP ranges from Chapeau’s different online presences for uninvited abuse against myself and the project, I had to spend the best part of 4 months battling to keep Chapeau’s website online against relentless DOS & spam attacks originating from Eastern Europe and then there’s the common issue in the open-source world of continually explaining the distinction between a software distribution and a package that might be available in a software repository (people hate reading it seems).

It is difficult to build a community and the Chapeau Forums was the first step in providing users with somewhere to help each other out and discuss project related stuff and even make friends. I hoped after a year or so that it would have a life of it’s own but it never really achieved this and most of the support on the forum was provided by myself and mostly on things not directly related to the Chapeau project but upstream issues or other general user support.
Nor was there any genuine offers of contribution, the most promising was from a Chapeau user and Red Hat employee but the offer was on a platform I don’t use so I only noticed it a year later! That said collaboration would have been welcome and could have been engaged on Github in the way of pull-requests or direct communication but none materialized.

The Successes

Still, I am quite pleased of what Chapeau achieved from nothing in just 4.5 years.

Praised by many including reviewers from Linux Magazine,, Distrowatch, Softpedia & LinuxInsider, Chapeau 24 given away on the cover disk of Linux Magazine, it created interest across the globe and has been downloaded around 100,000 times and is installed on thousands of systems across the world which I see from the repo access statistics.

Not bad for a one man side-project.

The End

After a very popular release of Chapeau 24 what followed was a multitude of technical issues and events in my own personal life that put a stop on the next release, Chapeau 25.

Fedora’s upstream build tools were changing, tools that I’d built my own tools, processes and infrastructure around and worse still those upstream tools were actively broken for Fedora 25. I missed the Chapeau 25 release and I divided efforts into both creating a new way of building Chapeau around Fedora’s new build process and effort into getting round the issues with the legacy tools which were in the process of being re-written for Python 3.

This all took away momentum from the project but I reluctantly decided to skip release Chapeau 25 and aimed for Chapeau 26 with new, partially fixed build tools.
The project gained momentum a bit until my fiance’s health issues got worse which required an operation and me to look after her for a few months whenever I wasn’t at my day job. Little progress was made on Chapeau 26 after that and Chapeau just became an additional source of mounting pressure for me.

In the time between the release of Chapeau 24 and now, the Fedora Project as ever, have made really positive changes and some great progress in making Fedora Workstation more useable for all. There’s even effort to getting a graphical method of installing Nvidia drivers working in native Fedora (one day), to have Virtualbox guest additions support out-of-the-box (confirmed), Wayland has been fully adopted with relative ease, Nvidia Optimus is better supported and the continued beautification of Gnome and the evolution of Fedora steams along at a relentless pace.

So with that it is time to close the doors on Chapeau for now, it’s been fun but for the most part it has achieved what I’d set out to do.
Thanks to all the supporters, comments are enabled below and see the guide on How to update your Chapeau system to Fedora 27.


One Response to “Chapeau project status.

  • I told you once that you freed me from windows. Chapeau was and still is the best distro that I have ever used. I understand that life happens. I will say that neither Fedora or Korora will be able to match what you did anytime soon. I had tried both of those and a few more before I found Chapeau and I was happy with it for years. I have no negative comments. One man can only do so much. Good luck in your future endeavors. Hope this gets passed on to someone someday. I don’t have the skills to do it. Thank you for what you’ve done.

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