Posted Apr 6, 2006 2:12 UTC (Thu) by wtogami
Parent article: The end of the Fedora Foundation
I am Warren Togami, founder of the Fedora Project. I am currently hired by Red Hat to work on both building and enabling the community. For example, my current project is to explore how we can redo our infrastructure so the community can development directly on Fedora Core.
I have a different emphasis of the key reason for the Foundation cancellation.
The key reason for me personally was Max's point THREE, the part about the IRS requirements for funding a non-profit corporation. The community simply cannot donate at a fast enough pace to fund the huge and still growing organization that Fedora has become. By IRS rules, the community must fund through many small donations a minimum of 33% of funds. Funding the bandwidth alone of Fedora downloads, it would be too heavy a strain on public donations. And bandwidth is only a tiny fraction of the expenses that Red Hat pays to further the cause of Fedora.
Just some of the things that Red Hat spends a ton of money to create or enhance:
- Many other parts of the kernel
- Fedora Directory Server (bought for millions, open sourced, development continues)
- Open Source Java (gcj and Classpath)
- Internationalization (Input Methods, Translation, Localization, etc.)
Red Hat spends literally millions per year on Fedora development and infrastructure, I don't have any idea how much exactly. It takes many years to build a non-profit organization that is capable of generating multi-million dollar income from community donations. For this reason it was simply infeasible to run Fedora as a non-profit Foundation, as doing so would severely hinder the amount of input we could put into all aspects of the project.
Fortunately, Red Hat *is* interested in funding this growth because of the clear reasons of mutual benefit between the company and community. The community gets a great deal of progress out of Red Hat engineering for many aspects of Linux distributions and related software. Both upstream projects and the greater FOSS ecosystem benefits from this. Fedora itself benefits from other FOSS ecosystem participants. Then Red Hat occasionally uses pieces of Fedora to productize and support for customers, generating revenue, which completes the cycle enabling investment into FOSS development.
We didn't understand this as goal back when we were initially building Fedora, but it is now clear from what Fedora has become. The Primary Goal of Fedora is "Rapid Progress of Free & Open Source Software".
In the ensuing months, Red Hat will prove its genuine intentions to grow a community based the values of FOSS, with a leadership model of meritocracy. The Fedora Project will show through actions that it not only defends the values of Free and Open Source Software, but emphasizes the need for Rapid Progress of the features and functionality necessary for FOSS to better compete against proprietary software.
Today Fedora has contributors totalling ~300 in the projects spanning Extras, Ambassadors, Documentation, Sysadmins and Legacy. If you count the number of translator accounts, that number is actually above 3,000. Fedora Updates pushes 10-20 packages a week, while nearly a dozen packages are added to Extras on a weekly basis. This is substantial growth compared to a year ago, and this growth continues.
I think Red Hat hasn't been trying hard enough to tell the community about this progress, partly because it wasn't going well at first. But now clear changes are happening across the board, and this is only the beginning. I realize the community has plenty to be skeptical about Fedora, but that is OK, because we will simply do it and prove it.
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