"What is the Fedora Project?"

Stephen John Smoogen smooge at gmail.com
Wed Oct 7 20:21:47 UTC 2009

On Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 10:10 AM, inode0 <inode0 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 10:36 AM, Paul W. Frields <stickster at gmail.com> wrote:
>> ...                                        The reason Fedora works, and can
>> innovate quickly, is because we are not a popular democracy.  We are a
>> meritocracy in which leadership comes from people who have the passion
>> to make their vision happen.  Look at the North American Ambassadors
>> program in which John works as an example.  The many advances over the
>> last two years that have happened there, have happened *precisely*
>> because the people who were interested in the work moved things
>> forward through their own time and toil.
> This was very heavily influenced by and the result of leaders in the
> community who had the vision to see an area within the project that
> had problems and empower a group of people to take ownership, become
> vested in the result, and get things done. If I haven't thanked Greg
> and whoever he worked with before I will now for doing that. I suspect
> this was an initiative from the community architecture team at Red
> Hat.
> Did Greg hand us a mission statement and a set of long term goals to
> meet? I don't recall that part if he did and I'm afraid we probably
> ignored it if it existed. We found direction in the common values of
> the Fedora community, they weren't written on a stone anywhere, but
> they weren't difficult to see.

The issue is one of usual growth of a community. When something is
small (100-1000 people) its easy for people to find direction and
common values. However time and growth end up making this harder and
harder to do with normal human tendencies to 'assume' its someone
elses job to do something and to assume that they will complete
whatever one wants... and then complaining loudly that they aren't
getting it. At such points groups usually do 1 of 3 things:

1) Reach maximum social entropy because communication of goals,
projects, and needs has become too lossy and emotional.
2) Reorganize, reprioritize, and figure out 'what it means' to be a
group. This is usually through agreeing to agree on somethings and
'dropping' things that disagreement will occur. This can be seen as
jettisoning various entropy and figuring out ways to continually do
3) Get replaced by either a new anarchy or a better organized group.
Either one will have lower entropy and things 'flow' downhill.

This is the point where things have gotten to in Fedora.. the anarchy
has grown to where everyone's various ideas of what 'everyone' should
be doing are becoming more of a headache:

Why didn't you know we were doing $PROJECT and it was going to occur on $DAY.
Why did you conspire to make $SOFTWARE to be default
Why didn't you do a $ARCHITECTURE.. its a payback for $PROBLEM
Why did $GROUP do $PROJECT. We were doing $PROJECT and told people on
our {for i in $BLOG, $TWITTER, $MAIL, $WEBSITE, $FUDCON,

And then it all goes to the board as "Well we can't come to a decision
that people say is unbiased so make the hard choice for us."
Basically the organization has grown to where 2000+ people need better
ways to communicate and figure out which of the 3 things they want to
happen before 1 or 3 are 'forced' upon them.

Stephen J Smoogen.

Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp. Or what's a heaven for?
-- Robert Browning

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