Target market?

Bill Nottingham notting at
Tue Jul 24 02:10:46 UTC 2007

(warning: some of you have seen this rant before)

Mike McGrath (mmcgrath at said: 
> What is our target market supposed to be?

We don't have one! Seriously, I have yet to see anything that shows that
we have a coherent market, a plan for attack, or *anything* along those

So, we muddle along. Since no one has a plan or a target market, we
implement whatever features the developers happen to think of, or random
features vaguely relating to future enterprise development. Or we just
incorporate the latest upstream.

Since no one has a plan, and we don't target any market, we never have
dedicated resources to do large amounts of cross distro work. So, we continue
to have things like system-config-network and NetworkManager working in
direct conflict for going on how many releases now?

Since no one has a plan, and we don't target any market, we just continue
to ship the same-old same-old distribution. Development tools? Gotta have
those, they were there before? Two or three desktops? Well, wouldn't want
to lose any users. And we need all the servers too.

Whatever you can say about Ubuntu, they had a coherent, directed, plan,
and they executed. We have no user-visible plan, and I think it shows.

But does Fedora have any goals?

Maybe we want to trumpet the customizability of Fedora, and focus on
highlighting user-contributed spins. If so, we should be focusing all our
efforts on creating web frontends, getting storage together, writing bits
for people to rate these spins, etc.

Maybe we want to investigate the online, connected destkop, and the possible
creation and use of open service frameworks. Then we should start heavily
investigating in infrastructure to host these apps and people's data. We
should start working on rolling out open-source backed versions of popular
online services (mail, chat, flickr, blog, etc), and working heavily with
legal to enter this space with a *truly* open policy about how the user owns
their own data, how to truly not be evil, etc.

Maybe we want to trumpet Fedora'a ability to be ported to seconday arches
and portions of the embedded market. Then we need to heavily invest in
storage for contributed ports, cross-compiling support for all of our
software, and so on.

Maybe we just want to expand the reach of Fedora and drive more users to
the Fedora userbase. Then we need to start investing heavily in targeting large
markets, figuring out what they need, and implementing that. It means
investing heavily in selecting true best-of-breed apps for a coherent user
experience - no more shipping two desktops, 20 servers, and a gigabyte of
development libraries. It could be installers that run from Windows. It
could be tools that take the user's profile data from their Windows install,
for use on the LiveCD. It could be fixing all our software to use
NetworkManager, and partnering even more with Fluendo for codec deployment.
It involves partnering with various organizations, including RH, to provide
support, because you're not going to get mass market usage without *SOMEONE*
providing backend support for it.

And there's plenty more that people have suggested we should be doing.
Overthrowing the music industry. Showcasing content production for graphic
artists. Just running rock-solid servers.

Right now we don't have any overriding set of goals. So we never really
say 'no, that isn't what we want Fedora to do' to anything that fits our
simple 'uses open source, isn't completely targeted to obsolete things'
mantra, and we attempt to do all of these things... which means we'll
probably fail at all of them.


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