"What is the Fedora Project?"

Paul W. Frields stickster at gmail.com
Thu Oct 22 00:35:49 UTC 2009

On Wed, Oct 07, 2009 at 11:14:51PM -0400, Josh Boyer wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 07, 2009 at 07:27:34PM -0400, Paul W. Frields wrote:
> >I think it's a good idea for this discussion to concentrate not on how
> >we aren't meeting this goal at present, but rather on where we want to
> >be in the future.  Here is the kind of lowest common denominator user
> >for whom I would like Fedora to be the first choice of an operating
> >system in the next two years.
> >
> >In terms of characteristics or approach, this person:
> >
> >* ...is switching from $OTHER_OS to free software after hearing or
> >  reading about it, or seeing it first hand.
> >* ...expects things to "just work" as much as possible, and can
> >  sometimes be impatient as a result.
> I think it's important to note that even our current developers can and do
> have that characteristic.  People generally want things to work, regardless
> of how much experience they have.
> >* ...doesn't want to go back to $OTHER_OS, and is therefore willing to
> >  fiddle occasionally -- on the order of 10-15 minutes or less per
> >  month -- to avoid it.
> >* ...accepts that software freedom has certain limitations, but wants
> >  to minimize (and if possible eliminate) any difference in
> >  capabilities vs. $OTHER_OS.
> >* ...won't pay for software.
> >* ...will contribute in the form of a bug report or helping others, if
> >  it's easy to do so with a few mouse clicks, but won't fill out long
> >  Web forms or do more than a sentence or so of typing.
> This seems to conflict with the 'less than 10-15' minutes or less per
> month goal you have above.  Good bug reports (ideally abrt assisted) will
> still take at least 10 min to file.  Actual useful bug particpation is much
> more than that.

We could adjust this figure somewhat and it wouldn't radically change
the user profile, I think.  Maybe "10-15 hours" would, but not "30
minutes-2 hours."  It's a gradual difference.

> >* ...is interested in sustainable practices in general, but is not
> >  necessarily fanatic -- recycles packaging and goods, thinks "buying
> >  local" is worthwhile, volunteers at something a few times a year.
> Why is that important to the Fedora project or distro?

That characteristic of the user might not be of interest to the Fedora
Project.  But one of the point of the user profile is to understand
that user's interests and how the Fedora Project and the Fedora
distribution are relevant to *them*.  (And in fact understand the user
in general.)

> I won't disagree that extending pariticpation as a side effect is
> something we can and possibly should do.  However, I do not feel that it
> is something we need to make a _primary_ focus.
> Why?  Mostly because while I understand the article's points about
> increasing paticipation, I want that participation to be a concious choice
> on the users part.  I want our contributors to WANT to contribute.  I want
> them to be annoyed at something and motivated enough to do something about
> it.  Or to have them have a great direction they want to take Fedora in and
> care enough to actually try and see it through.

Annoying users into doing something is not a recipe for success.
Think about the people you've heard get involved in any kind of
volunteer endeavor.  Is it common for them to say, "I thought this
project sucked, so I got involved to improve it"?  In my experience,
not at all -- it's almost invariably, "I was excited/turned
on/inspired by this project and wanted to be a part of it."  Hopefully
this ties in with what I said earlier about the user profile.

> We have long said that 'Fedora is a meritocracy', and I still think that is
> something we want to strive for.

Meritocracy++.  Hopefully, we will continue to have a large non-vocal
user base.  But I can tell you with certainty that we are not reaching
the people *idn* our primary contributor audience as effectively as we
could.  I've watched repeatedly as people have taken the time to talk
to me and other people about Fedora at community events, and quite
often they remark, "Wow, Fedora's not at all what I thought."  That
means we're not doing a good job extending participation to people who
already (1) have a cursory familiarity with Fedora, and (2) are
interested enough in free software to come to a community
event.  Narrowing our focus isn't going to help that process.

> >I've heard a bit of preliminary rumbling about DSCM-like Rawhides -- a
> >way for developers to have trees that move at their pace, and are
> >possibly quite broken from time to time in ways that differ from each
> >other.  If we were able to develop such a scenario, why not also
> >provide the flipside of this idea -- make the One True Rawhide the
> >place where we take in changes that don't break the world, while
> >they're cobbled on in the other trees?  Whether this is an extension
> >of the "KoPeR" idea or something entirely difficult, it merits serious
> >consideration.
> I very much like the aspect of the more stable rawhide here.

Jesse Keating brought up some concerns about integration, but aren't
those concerns something that people would be interested in solving?
(I'm assuming those people are the wide variety of engineers working
in the Fedora community who are smarter than I.)

> >> (c) Set some broad goals for where we want the Fedora Project to
> >> look like a few release from now--say when Fedora 15 is released.
> >> What should those be?
> >
> >By Fedora 16 (i.e. two years out):
> > 
> >* Complete package maintenance interface in one site (i.e. less or no
> >  shuttling between SCM, Koji, and Bodhi).
> Perhaps s/site/site and tool?  I know that as a developer, if I had to go
> to a website for everything I did in order to contribute I wouldn't be overly
> thrilled.
> (Also, it's worth pointing out that openSUSE already accomplishes this with
> their build service.  It is build, SCM, etc all rolled into one.  And they
> have a command line tool.)

s/site/site and tool/g  :-)

> >* Using the Fedora Community Portal to connect new FAS members
> >  immediately with short-term tasks, and live mentors through a
> >  Web-based communication interface.  Devote several FADs and FUDCon
> >  hackfests to coding the pieces needed as part of a planned project.
> Again with the Web-based focus.  Wouldn't this be potentially alienating
> and annoying to a not small subset of the 1% of our development community
> that is making the distro today?

Note the focus there -- connecting new FAS members with people who
want to spend time getting those people acquainted with the community
and simple tasks.  This goal is specifically enabled by the Moksha
framework.  I would expect that anyone potentially alienated by a Web
based application wouldn't be the first person to take up the task of
greeting and teaching new FAS members.

Paul W. Frields                                http://paul.frields.org/
  gpg fingerprint: 3DA6 A0AC 6D58 FEC4 0233  5906 ACDB C937 BD11 3717
  http://redhat.com/   -  -  -  -   http://pfrields.fedorapeople.org/
  irc.freenode.net: stickster @ #fedora-docs, #fedora-devel, #fredlug

More information about the fedora-advisory-board mailing list