the Fedora filters

Karsten 'quaid' Wade kwade at
Tue Mar 18 23:42:39 UTC 2008

A community has a set of filters, spoken or unspoken, that are
used to judge various matters, such as entrance into the 
community, exit from the community, interaction of ideas, etc.  A
common mistake is to assume that "all open source communities
share values and filters."  In the end, we are all as different
as all communities can be from one another.

In Fedora we have such filtering, with priority given to values
and other considerations, which we use when deciding if a package
comes in to the community, what we'll ship in the distribution,
how we route packets, etc.

When making decisions that involve philosophy and practicality,
what is the Fedora filter?  Based on what I've seen around here,
and on how I've seen decisions tend to be made, here is a first
poke at ordering our filter.  What is strange to me is that
sometimes I feel as if we apply this filter in _reverse_, such as
with IT decisions.  Is that what we want?  Do different parts of
the Project apply the filters differently?

These decision filters are in order of usage/importance.  Please

=         Open source is first and best, regardless of what           =
=                       patents it leans on                           =

     We prefer our software to be 100% free but when the hairs
     are split, having an OSI license is the decider.

     In the near and far future, open source is the more
     practical solution.

==       Software patents are bad, Fedora is at risk shipping        ==
==                         encumbered software                       ==

     We recognize that all laws are not the same in all
     countries, but in the end, Fedora cannot put US-based
     sponsors at risk by breaking US laws.

     There are other similar considerations in this filter, such
     as US export laws for cryptography, and so forth.

===               Educating and changing the world                  ===
     It's not good enough to live the life.  We'll never see
     software truly be free for all unless underlying laws and
     values in society are addressed.

     Fedora is not here to force it's opinion on anyone else, but
     there is value in explaining about Fedora's philosophy of
     open source practicality.

     By finding ways to grow the contributor and user base, we
     make ourselves more relevant and are better able to change
     the world.

====                   Usability, Pragmatism                       ====

     We choose software solutions that are most usable and do the
     best job of solving our problems, user's problems, and
     society's problems.

     We recognize that everything is not free and open source,
     and won't be until the world is different.  In the interests
     of running a modern distribution, we have to rely upon
     proprietary firmware, network hardware and storage, and
     other resources.

     Using open source is the best pragmatic solution, but may
     not always be an option.

=====            Open Community Projects are Better               =====

     We seek solutions that are common and open, rather than
     inventing solutions just for Fedora.  We prefer to push
     changes upstream and inherit solutions with everyone else.
     When given a choice, we prefer to adopt solutions that are
     part of an active community.

======                 Budget and Resources                      ======

     Our pockets are not infinitely deep, nor do we have endless
     numbers of contributors to help.  Even when an idea is sound
     and practical by other filters, it may not be feasible to
     pursue that idea due to resource considerations.


Karsten Wade, Developer Community Mgr.
Dev Fu :
Fedora :
gpg key : AD0E0C41
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