There has been a discussion on the Fedora advisory board mailing
list recently on the subject: "What is the Fedora Project?".
John Poelstra started the discussion in an
attempt to get this item off the agenda before 2010.
We really need to resolve this topic that has been on the board's
agenda since January 2009. For some of us, since we joined in July
2009. I'm proposing that we set a hard deadline of "the end of FUDCon."
This means that by the time we leave FUDCon the first part of December
2009, this issue will be officially closed and off our agenda until
there is a reason to revisit it and we can start 2010 with a clean
Beside the fact that it's an old agenda item, the Fedora Project continues to grow, and,
without direction, that growth could eventually lead to fragmentation and
chaos. Some definition of the target audience for the Fedora distribution,
and some goals for the project are useful for everyone involved.
Mike McGrath wrote:
I've said it on the board list so I'll say it here. I strongly believe
that volunteers can be [led] and I believe volunteers can lead. Right now
Fedora is a place for everyone to just come and do whatever they want
which is harming us in the long term. There's plenty of room for everyone
in the Linux universe. I understand that by narrowing our focus we might
lose some contributors who disagree with our values and mission. But
that's better [than] not having one and having volunteers work against
each other because they joined The Fedora Project thinking it was one thing
only to find it's something else.
While there was general agreement that some kind of focus was needed, Greg
DeKoenigsberg wanted to make it clear that competing visions still have a place in the project:
I also believe, however, that the Board must guarantee the freedom for
dissenting community members to move in their own directions. Fedora's
governance was built to ensure precisely this freedom. The Board is
empowered to bless the "Foo Project", but any Fedora contributor is free
to form the "Anti-Foo SIG," even if the goal of that SIG is to prove,
through their constructive actions, that the direction of the "Foo
Project" is wrong.
But, Máirín Duffy sees it as more
of a positioning and messaging problem, as, currently, there is no coherent
story for Fedora:
I don't *think* folks here take issue with the ingredients we've got
floating around in the kitchen, and I don't think anyone is looking to
throw any of them out. I think the problem is more that we haven't
decided on a recipe with which to present them in. In the end, we've got
to offer a menu that makes sense. And to the outside world, the Fedora
menu looks like a confused mess. Rather than try to interpret it, most
folks head down to the street to the more-easily-grokked McDonald's.
The project is more than just a distribution, it includes the entire
community of contributors and users. The Fedora distribution also includes
many spins, each of which has its own target audience, so perhaps the
a target audience should only apply to the default spin. Does that default spin
contain development tools to appeal to developers? Does it target the
lowest common denominator user with software for email, web browsing and an
office suite? The project would like the default spin to fit on a single
CD, so that it is accessible to people with low bandwidth and older
hardware. You can't make a decision about what goes into the default if
you don't know your target audience.
Fedora does have a Mission
statement: "The Fedora Project's mission is to lead the
advancement of free and open source software and content as a collaborative
community." It also has defined values, or Foundations.
"Freedom, Friends, Features, First
The four foundations are the core values of the Fedora community. They
sprung from work on the Fedora marketing plan, and have replaced the old
"infinity, freedom, voice" slogan. That slogan originally emerged from the
design of the Fedora logo. That design has become a very powerful and
effective part of Fedora's brand and image, but does not sufficiently
describe our core values in a clear and effective way.
Fedora needs to define goals that align with its mission and values. No
decisions have been made yet, be we look forward to seeing some definition
to Fedora's target audience and some goals for the future soon.
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