"What is the Fedora Project?"

Paul W. Frields stickster at gmail.com
Thu Oct 22 14:17:45 UTC 2009

On Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 08:37:55AM -0500, Mike McGrath wrote:
> On Thu, 22 Oct 2009, Paul W. Frields wrote:
> > On Wed, Oct 21, 2009 at 11:05:44PM -0500, Mike McGrath wrote:
> > > On Wed, 21 Oct 2009, Paul W. Frields wrote:
> > >
> > > > On Wed, Oct 07, 2009 at 08:13:29PM -0500, Mike McGrath wrote:
> > > > > On Wed, 7 Oct 2009, Paul W. Frields wrote:
> > > > > > This is why I feel so strongly that we should not be assuming that the
> > > > > > people we see every day in our roles in the Fedora community,
> > > > > > participating and contributing in constructive ways, are de facto
> > > > > > representative of our only target audience.  Do we want those people
> > > > > > involved?  Almost invariably the answer is "yes."  But there are many
> > > > > > more people we reach, and more that we want to be reaching, to
> > > > > > encourage an appreciation for sustainable software freedom, on the
> > > > > > terms we set out in our mission and core values:
> > > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Can you give some more detailed examples here?  You've defined the people
> > > > > we see day to day but then went on to describe the people we don't see day
> > > > > to day.  Those two groups combined are everyone :)
> > > >
> > > > Dangling reply never went out:
> > > >
> > > > People we see daily:  Packagers, admins, and developers.
> > > > People we don't, in decreasing levels of visibility:  Ambassadors, bug
> > > > filers, potential bug filers, independent open source developers,
> > > > students
> > > >
> > >
> > > Also windows users, oracle employees, those without computers.  I guess
> > > I'm just not following the logic.  If you're saying we should cater to
> > > those we don't ever see, how?
> >
> > If you're committed to reductio ad absurdum, this discussion can't get
> > anywhere meaningful.  I specifically indicated we want to reach people
> > on the terms we set out in our mission and core values (see above).
> >
> I bring it up because I still honestly don't know your stance on this and
> being the project lead it's pretty important to this discussion.  Are we
> excluding people or are we including everyone?

I'm sorry I haven't been clear enough, in that case.  "Everyone" is
too broad and there's no way we can make release, QA, or any other
criteria around that definition.  Any detail, no matter how small, is
going to be important to somebody and for that person, might be a
blocker on a release.  With that target we would have a hard time ever
releasing something.  So:

We should target computer-literate users who are making a conscious
choice to switch to Linux, are willing to help a developer debug a
problem if one occurs, and use their system to connect to the Internet
and run a general set of productivity and communication tools (connect
to network, update system if needed, browse Web, use our help venues
including mail and IRC).  These users need not be developers,
programmers, sysadmins, or tinkerers.  By targeting this type of user,
and by fixing things we're not doing right for this type of user,
we'll also fix a lot of other people's pain, including people in our
core contributor audience.

I would like to have a much longer and more detailed set of criteria
for what this person needs to be able to do from the moment they boot
the installation media, but that's a next step.  Mairin Duffy sort of
started down this road and I think there's a lot we can add to her
description of what the user should expect to be able to do.  

If it helps you gain clarity at all, I think Bill Nottingham and I are
in pretty good agreement.  If the above isn't clear to you please let
me know how and I'll be happy to be more descriptive. 

> > The people you and I are in direct contact with every day in our
> > Fedora $DAYJOB represent a much smaller set of people than the people
> > who use the Fedora distribution and are interested in what the Fedora
> > Project does.  Set A is a very small subset of Set B, not a disjoint
> > set.  By ensuring that Fedora gets better and is more appealing for
> > Set B, we can not only generally make Set A's life better but we can
> > also grow Set B, and if the size of Set A is governed by some
> > proportion (albeit small), Set A is likely to grow as well.
> >
> > Calling this "catering" comes off as exclusionary to me, and I think
> > that's unhealthy for the Fedora Project in the long run.
> >
> I'm just going to bring up the elephant in the room, at least the one I
> see.  Up until this discussion I was under the impression that Ubuntu and
> us were not in direct competition.  They were catering to noobs and
> general users, we were catering to enthusiasts and experienced users.
> Coming out of this conversation (not just with Paul but with everyone) it
> seems clear that Ubuntu's goals and our goals greatly overlap if not
> completely overlap.
> The problem?  They are KILLING us.  I'm not talking about market share,
> I'm talking about my recent converts from Fedora to Ubuntu.  I haven't had
> to do a single thing to my wifes computer since I put Ubuntu on there
> except setup my printer.  With Fedora I was on it almost daily.

I think fixing some of the things that are clearly causing some people
pain in Fedora is going to have the (not unpleasant) side effect of
making Fedora more appealing to people who might otherwise not give us
a chance.  That's different than going out of our way to target people
who don't fit into the description above.

One possible future, the one I'd like, is where someone in our target
profile says, "I tried Fedora, and it's super-solid, updates never
break, I never have to drop to a command line to fix things, and
everything just works."  We don't need to make "newbie stamp of
approval" a priority to make Fedora better.  The point is that the
Fedora distribution will be better for the people we *do* care about.

Will the target audience above influence other people around them?
Sure they will.  And sure, we'd be happy if that influence was
positive about Fedora and not negative.  But again, that's not the
goal, it's just a side effect of making a better Fedora distro.

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