Artwork Quality (was Re: Sound themes)

Max Spevack mspevack at
Wed Oct 29 10:24:03 UTC 2008

On Wed, 29 Oct 2008, Jonathan Roberts wrote:

>>      * Free and open source software enthusiasts, developers, and
>>        remixers.
>> I haven't polled the entire team about it, but I can pretty much 
>> guarantee you that this description is _not_ what we see as the 
>> target audience for the Fedora Desktop.

Fedora is *forced* to be a lot of things to a lot of people.

Some of the things that Fedora has to be (simultaneously) are:

1) The premiere community development platform in the OSS world.

2) An open R&D lab for new technologies that Red Hat is interested in 
from a RHEL server point of view (witness virtualization's path through 
Fedora over the years)

3) An open R&D lab for new ideas and technologies that Red Hat's desktop 
team is interested in.

There are others too.  The point is, the very heart of Fedora -- the 
nature of what we are, and what our sponsor company Red Hat asks that 
Fedora be -- will sometimes generate conflict, because there are 
multiple constituencies that must always be made happy.

I firmly believe that the INFRASTRUCTURE OF PARTICIPATION that Fedora 
builds is the lifeblood that sustains the entire project.  Without 
continually building and nurturing a strong community, Fedora might 
still produce a distro every six months, but that distro will be unable 
to provide any additional value back to Red Hat than a proprietary R&D 
model.  And if that happens, then *some* of Fedora's key goals will have 
been failures, and almost all of the people that Red Hat pays to spend 
100% of their time on Fedora should be fired immediately, including me.

Now, let's look at the current situation:

We have a Desktop team that is trying to innovate towards its particular 
vision.  I will admit that I don't know enough about what that vision is 
as I would like to, but I am definitely eager to learn.

Questions that I think are valid:

(1) How does the Fedora Art team's *processes* around creating the 
default artwork for each Fedora release hinder the Desktop team's 
ability to achieve the goals that it has for Fedora?

(2) What is the end-state of all of this that the Desktop team wants? 
It's much easier to find common ground in the middle when both sides 
understand what the other is actually trying to achieve.  Let's all get 
our agendas out in the open.  Everyone has an agenda, there is nothing 
evil or wrong with that.  So let's share them.  What does the Desktop 
Team actually want?  Is it "complete control over everything that is 
seen in runlevel 5?"  Is it something else?  I have no idea.  What is 
the delta between the decision making ability and leadership ability 
that the Desktop Team has *right now*, and what the Desktop Team thinks 
it should be.

(3) How appropriate is it characterize opinions as belonging to the 
Desktop Team versus individuals within that team?  Far better for the 
Art Team to have one set of positions and the Desktop Team to have 
another set of positions, but to know that the collective members of 
those teams all agree with the starting points.  Then you can have one 
conversation, as opposed to 7 or 8 individual ones.

(4) Does the Desktop Team feel that it has participated in the public 
processes that the Art Team has set up?  Does the DT feel that is has 
been shut out from the process?  Or does the DT simply not like the 
process, and therefore doesn't want to participate in it?

(5) What needs to be done to finally end this cycle of conversations in 
a way that everyone can live with?  We've been having the same instance 
of this talk since Fedora 6/7 timeframe, and one way or another, it has 
to end.  So again, what is the end state that the Desktop Team is 
looking to realize?


I submit to you all that this isn't a problem that the Fedora Marketing 
team can solve.  This Artwork v Desktop squabble is a problem about the 
fundamental way in which Fedora prioritizes the needs of its different 

Red Hat has asked that Fedora be many things, as I said earlier.  One of 
the things Red Hat asks is that Fedora be the best community development 
platform in the OSS world, and we strive for that every day.  However, 
Red Hat has also asked that Fedora be the incubator for the Red Hat 
Desktop Team.

If those two requests are so incompatible with each other that only one 
of those goals can be achieved, that is a RED HAT problem and not a 
FEDORA problem, and we should take that conversation to our managers 


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