Fedora 9

Paul W. Frields stickster at gmail.com
Tue May 13 02:30:52 UTC 2008

Hello Fedora community -- I wanted to take the occasion of my first
release as Fedora Project Leader to say a few -- OK, not so few -- words
to everyone about what this release means to me, and what I hope you see
in it too.

                               * * *

My daughter Evie, who's seven years old, has become a really avid
astronomy buff lately.  Practically every book she brings home from
school and the public library are all about planets, comets, the solar
system, the universe.  It's been fun talking to her about all the stuff
I used to enjoy studying when I was little.  Recently we took her to an
observation night out with the local Astronomy Club, and she got to look
through a real telescope at the stars and planets.

Thanks to light's finite speed, the images of some of the stars you see
through the telescope have taken millions of years to reach your
eye.  When you look through a telescope at the stars, you're looking
back in time -- at the past, as it were.

In about 12 hours, more or less, the official release of Fedora 9 will
be out the door, and we'll all immediately start looking toward Fedora
10's release, approximately six months from now.  But before we do that,
I wanted to pick up the Fedora telescope and aim it back at *our* recent

                               * * *

It's been less than five years since the first release of Fedora (back
when it was called Fedora Core), and in that time Fedora has become not
just a vibrant, innovative, and extremely popular Linux distribution,
but also a thriving community.  A community that believes that free and
open source software is not just something you *use*, it's something you
*do* -- something to which you *contribute*.

Looking into the eyepiece of that Fedora telescope shows how hard we've
worked in building a model of collaborative work and trust, based and
built on entirely free and open source software, across an entire
population of contributors.  We use that model for everything from our
web sites to our artwork to our build systems.

We've gone from the musty old past of a tightly controlled, walled-off
system of code and content, to a bright, clear present in which we
participate equally on the basis of knowledge, ambition, and enthusiasm.
We've gone from an awkward, stratified system of direction to a
flexible, open one in which any contributor can help determine the
future of Fedora through self-actualization.

During the time that image has been traveling to meet us, our own past
now seen clearly through the viewfinder, we've come such a long way!
Just in the last year alone, look at what we've achieved:

* Two-thirds of the maintainers of the thousands of software packages in
Fedora are volunteer community members.  Our maintainers range from
people like Hans de Goede, who maintains hundreds of packages as a
volunteer contributor; to teams like Dave Jones, Kyle McMartin, and
Chuck Ebbert, who all work on the kernel packages that power Fedora for
almost every single user; to the many contributors that watch over that
one special package that matters to them and, inevitably, many others.

* The number of Ambassadors has doubled, actively bringing Fedora to
every corner of the globe, from Italy to Ithaca, from Berlin to Bangkok,
from one freedom lover to another, empowered by a dedicated steering
committee led by volunteer Francesco Ugolini.  Today, and in days to
come, our Ambassadors around the world are holding release parties to
celebrate the achievement of Fedora 9 and the community spirit that
powers it.

* We have about 2,000 contributors throughout the Fedora Project, 75% of
them volunteers, and they're actively involved in every part of Fedora,
from creating stunning digital artwork, like the disc sleeves created by
volunteer contributor Ryan Lerch, to translating software and
documentation into dozens of languages.

* The Fedora Localization (L10N) Project now has its own elected
steering group of community members to bring together the work of
hundreds of translators.  Our translation teams now have the power to
join together upstream and downstream forces using the nexus of
Transifex, a powerful web-based translation system (originally conceived
and written by volunteer contributor Dimitris Glezos) that makes it easy
for anyone to contribute translations to Fedora or any of countless
upstream software projects.  

* We have the ability to form communities of development around any
conceivable area in which Fedora is useful.  We have a team that
produced KDE 4 for release in Fedora 9, powered by volunteers such as
Rex Dieter, Sebastien Vahl, and Kevin Kofler, and partnered with Red Hat
engineers like Than Ngo; a renewed bug triage team led by volunteer Jon
Stanley; and even a new Robotics SIG for pushing new frontiers of
science, mechanics, and engineering.

* Fedora 8 (Werewolf) has racked up over 2.25 million users in a half
a year, and shipped more torrents than any previous release of Fedora --
in fact, 35% more torrents than the previous release, Fedora 7

* It's now easier to join Fedora than ever, with a click-through
account system that's as simple to use as any social networking site.
And soon all our Fedora web applications will use the same account so
you'll have access to a huge array of capabilities through a single
sign-on.  Go to http://join.fedoraproject.org/ and check it out!

* With a little bandwidth and hard disk space, an hour or two of spare
time, and a couple of commands, anyone in the world can produce a
working CD or DVD installation set, or create a runnable Fedora system
on a Live disc or USB key.  In Fedora, The Remix Rules.  You can even
create a Live USB key in Windows, thanks to Fedora coder Luke Macken!
And in the coming months we'll have exciting new ways for you to share
those remixes with others....

* The Fedora Project Board now has evolved from a fully appointed group
to a majority of community-elected seats, where the members come from
all parts of the Fedora Project and work on community empowerment and
general policy issues.

* Our Websites and Infrastructure teams have completely restructured the
way we do business daily, turning out exciting and powerful web
applications with increasing speed and consistency.  Over time, I expect
Fedora will become the blueprint for open source projects, from garage
hobbies to global concerns.

                               * * *

It's hard to believe all of the amazing new features in Fedora 9 came
together so quickly.  Thanks to the tireless work of hundreds of FOSS
developers, and the watchful eye of our Feature Wrangler, John Poelstra,
we were able to get a huge number of cool, shiny things into the

LiveUSB, PackageKit, PolicyKit, FreeIPA, easy partition resizing,
one-click encryption, RandR support and a faster X, TeXLive, Firefox 3,
GVFS, ext4, GCC 4.3, and so much more.... There are far too many
improvements to list them all, but certainly even to the naked eye there
are worlds of difference between our present and our past -- and the
change is overwhelmingly for the better!  Go check out the full list
at http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/9/FeatureList on the wiki.

All of this work is done with our constant, unwavering commitment to
upstream -- making sure that the Fedora Project always donates back to
the source from which we draw.  When we find opportunities for
improvement, we share that with our upstream contributors to make sure
that all open source participants benefit.  

By being good citizens of the free and open source software community,
we ensure the health and progression of thousands of projects that make
the Fedora distribution a vehicle for advancing freedom.  You can read
more about this philosophy at
http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/PackageMaintainers/WhyUpstream on the
Fedora wiki.

And always, we continue to use our own work for everything we do.  We
push the improvements and results out as 100% free and open source,
available for everyone to use, poke, prod, and build upon.

That's why Fedora is so much more than a Linux distribution.  It's a
mindset -- "Doing The Right Thing," as we like to say.  Giving credit
where credit is due, and working hand-in-hand with others, but not being
afraid to stand apart when doing otherwise means sacrificing hard-won

But most importantly, Fedora is a community, where people come together
for a common good -- making it possible for every human being,
everywhere to have the same access to information, communication,
standards, and knowledge.

                               * * *

In six months, around the beginning of November, you'll see Fedora 10 --
and over the next few weeks you'll start hearing more about what that
release will bring.  I urge you, if you're still on the fence about
getting involved, to visit http://join.fedoraproject.org/ and create an
account.  Introduce yourself to people.  Keep your eyes, ears, heart,
and mind open.  And prepare yourself for an exciting journey!

I started in the Fedora Project as a volunteer, with wide eyes, a
willingness to learn, and a love for free and open source ideas.  Four
and a half years later, I still can't quite believe that I get to spend
all day on what used to be one of my hobbies.  The ONLY reason I'm here
is because of the remarkable people in the Fedora community, and the
good things you do every day to make this world a better place.

Congratulations to everyone who worked on the release of Sulphur!

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
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