the Fedora filters

Karsten 'quaid' Wade kwade at
Sat Mar 22 03:28:48 UTC 2008

On Wed, 2008-03-19 at 15:03 +0000, Paul W. Frields wrote:
> Thanks for posting this, Karsten.  Since we have a lot of subscribers to
> this list who wouldn't know otherwise, I wanted to mention that this
> comes directly out of a conversation we had at the Board meeting
> yesterday.  

Sorry I didn't presage with that.  More than just the Board needs a
guiding filter in decision making.  Packaging standards have been a
stalwart maintainer in this realm for a while.

> On Tue, 2008-03-18 at 16:42 -0700, Karsten 'quaid' Wade wrote:
> > 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.
> Right.  The values that the Fedora community has represent a common
> ground that we can all live with, so that we can continue to work with
> each other and advance the project.  Even inside this project there are
> differences of opinion, and sometimes friction, but friction != bad.
> Friction can be one way to light a fire (get things done).

This may be why we sometimes re-sort the filters depending on the

> > =         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.
> I like the ordering of #3 compared to the first two, because it makes it
> clear that we need to strive to do the right thing, even if that means
> we don't get voted as the Homecoming Queen every time.  If the order
> changes, and we put this item first, our message instead is:
> "The most important issue to Fedora is to appeal to as many people as
> possible, because it means we're getting more users familiar with FOSS."
> I don't think that message needs to be labeled as pure evil for us to
> disagree with it.

Exactly the sort of clarity we gain with a filter.  It doesn't put a
judgment on the individual filter because we order it differently than
another person might.

> > ====                   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.
> Here's a thought about the "filter" concept:  Some of these filters are
> emergency cutoffs, like legality or resource constraints.  In other
> cases the filters are an escape valve that relieves pressure.  Is there
> room for the concept of weighting for these filters, or (in the sense of
> "perfect" being the enemy of the "good," and "good" being the enemy of
> "good enough") is binary *good enough* for decision making?`

As Spot's order points out, there are some binary decision filters
("Avoid jail -- yes or no?").  As you say, there are some where a good
enough can be applied.  Redistributable firmware seems to fall into the
latter category, while patent encumbered software falls in the former.

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