"What is the Fedora Project?"

Máirín Duffy mairin at linuxgrrl.com
Thu Oct 8 18:00:27 UTC 2009

On 10/08/2009 01:29 PM, Seth Vidal wrote:
> Let me see if I can sum up the differences in this thread to a couple of
> options:
> 1. pick a target audience and follow down that path, as rigidly as we
> possibly can, excluding and removing things which distract us from the
> target.
> 2. Don't pick a target, cast out as large a number as possible of
> directions and see who we pick up. Then cast out more.

I'm seeing a third:

3. Pick a primary target audience and cater to their needs as the 
highest priority, others a secondary priority, in a default spin, as the 
main focus of the project. Continue to enable other communities to build 
other spins with differing targets. Clearly delineate between the 
default spin and secondary spins - the default is more 'the product', 
the secondary spins more the 'innovation / research lab.'

If you take away the spins space (and it doesn't need to be in the form 
of producing spins, eg. there are cool things in spins I'd like to be 
able to install on top of a default install) then you take away the 
ability to experiment & learn. Perhaps I'm just re-posing #1 in a softer 
way, though.

Looking at things in terms of spins poses Fedora as a platform; looking 
in terms of the default spin you're viewing it more as a single product. 
I think a platform is complicated and hard to sell to anyone but 
technical users & developers which is why I tend to think the folks who 
support that as our target userbase are very supportive of promoting spins.

Fedora-as-platform vs. Fedora-as-desktop-product also makes folks 
unfamiliar with Fedora wonder what the heck it is, which I think is why 
the question 'What is Fedora' keeps coming up. I don't think the 
question should be 'What is Fedora' because we know at a great depth 
what Fedora is. The question should be perhaps, 'What should we tell 
someone in an elevator what Fedora is?'

E.g., let me pose a few different strategies based on potential answers 
to the elevator pitch question.

1) "Fedora is a desktop operating system that you can use as an 
alternative to Microsoft Windows or Apple's OS X."

The resulting strategy would be a default Desktop or Simple Fedora spin 
being productized as the *Fedora* itself. You go to the website, perhaps 
not fedoraproject.org, maybe something like fedoralinux.org or 
getfedora.org or fedoraos.org, and you see a site solely focused on 
extolling the virtues of using Fedora, obtaining Fedora, and getting 
help with using Fedora. The platform and community get branded as 'the 
Fedora community' or 'the Fedora Project' and are no longer branded as 
being Fedora itself. There's a website likely fedoraproject.org (but 
maybe based on Fedora Community) geared far more towards joining the 
project, starting a new group or project, finding tasks to work on to 
help out, filing bugs, etc. etc. etc.

2) "Fedora is a family of operating systems. These operating systems are 
tailored versions of an operating system with different goals and 
specific target uses. For example, we have the Fedora Electronic Lab and 
the Fedora Art Studio. We throw them at the wall and see what sticks and 
promote the strongest ones."

The resulting strategy would likely result in individual spins having 
their own websites. E.g., fedoraelectroniclab.org, fedoraartstudio.org. 
They may have light overarching Fedora branding to keep a common thread 
between them and to link back to the mothership fedoraproject.org, but 
they'll have a lot of latitude besides that in tailoring their branding 
and messaging to attract their target audience (which may differ wildly 
from the target audiences of other spins.) Your fedoraproject.org here 
would serve as a directory of spins, supporting heavily both the 
downloading and usage of individual spins. It would keep the most 
well-established / successful ones front and center. It would also 
promotes the creation of new spins and provides workflow for anybody to 
come in an do this. Maybe it'd have some kind of 'spin creation lab.' 
You'd probably have rating systems and forums for the different spins 
and it would result in a large community of sub-communities around 
individual spins.

3) "Fedora is a desktop operating system for free & open source software 
developers and highly-technical folks."

Here you'd probably end up with a default spin with a ton of complex 
features in it with a high level of customization - KDE would probably 
make a better choice for default desktop here since it tends to be a lot 
more customizable than GNOME. You'd have the development tools package 
group installed by default, or maybe have different primary spins, eg. 
OS Developer, Java Application Developer, LAMP developer, etc. On the 
website, you'd probably end up putting a lot more focus and polish on 
working with Fedora Hosted, since we're supporting developers in making 
FOSS. You would keep spins around and they would be really important, 
but you would be able to get by with just the tools we have in place for 
them rather than having a nice interactive website for creating them and 
rating them and such.

I don't know that any of this really changes the ingredients we've got, 
just the recipe we're making with them. And I think the vision is the 
recipe we need to decide on.


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