directions in Fedora desktop project

Thilo Pfennig email at
Mon Nov 27 17:01:13 UTC 2006

Hi all,

I would like to take the chance to try to convince on a last attempt the
Fedora project to change its path. The problem starts if you try to find
the right list to post such an article. There seems to be no list for
discussing the Fedora project!?

There are the more or less readonly or readprotected lists, there is a
general fedora-list, one for martketing,... - This list is the best
guess I could make although I assume desktop means desktop enviroment.
Anyway, I just want to post this now.

My general criticism is that Fedora is not a real community project.
This can clearly be seen by the mailing list structure (as the future of
Fedora can not really be discussed by the users). Fedora has stated to
be a meritocracy (
). There is a system of Ambassadors. Different from Ubuntu one can say
that it is generally not wanted that users take the distribution into
their own hands and make their own marketing. Who is ambassador?
"Ambassadors program is a meritocracy, so the ones who have shown that
they are actively doing the right thing will be best candidates."

The basic principle in Fedora is distrusting the users. Fedora is
affraind that users would do marketing or do other things that hurt the
organisation. The strange thing is that Fedora initially was ment to be
a community project. If one would take this approach seriously we would
have to start a community project for the community project, as Fedora
contains of free software and take the power away from Fedora
Foundations and Boards. I can not think of anything more stupid as to
create a community project and than to try to destroy the community by
separating them into different categories - also stating officially a
meritocracy as wanted status. Where as community and meritocracy can not
be combined. In the book "wisdom of the crowds" one can learn how
intelligent masses can be. Fedora has managed to keep the positive
influense of the crowds out effectively.

Some measures I (again) like to criticize are:

The wiki policies:
*  I think Fedora project is more or less the only wiki of all oepn
source projects which does not allow anonymous contributions nor
contributions by simple registered users.
* Who every wants to contribute has to give Red Hat non-exclusive rights
to relicense his or her content
* Fedora chose to use the OPL which is deprecated by the invenstors of
the license and has a bad reputation. Choosing this license does mean
that  content can neither be shared with other documentations or the
Wikipedia who whose the GFDL nor with any new projects that use the
successor licenses of OPL (Creative Commons). This in fact means that no
one can use the content of in other projects, nor does
anybody can import any conten from orher projects to fedoraproject org.
So this means redundancy, that means less sharing.
* The action that had taken place and the decision where intransparent
and not discussed in the wiki, it was expected that people would read
the mailing lists.

On the marketing approach I think Fedora has a very hard job against
Ubuntu and that is not just because Ubuntu is giving live medias for
free but also because it is unwanted that users show activity if they do
not plan to become official ambassadors. This is why I have installed
Ubuntu on many machines for private users although I myself like to use
Fedora much more. My guess is that Fedora could easily have 10 or 20
times more users if it would change policy.

What I constantly asking myself is why Fedora does not want to eb
successful? Do such policies come from Red Hat where one is used to
exclude people because of company policy?

I think today in distributions or software is is all about
communitities, the software itself, the companies do not matter. The
software or distributions who gets the most attention and love from the
community will succeed. Users and developers tend to switch their
favourite software more and more often, so most people will not have one
distribution that they advocate. They advicate what they use and like. I
can also talk about myself:  I would never become an official Ambassador
of any distribution but I love to do all for the software I really like.
Fedora does not trust people like me. Why should I trust Fedora? Why
should I use Fedora? Right now I use it because it is technically the
best Linux distro that I know. The community in Germany really is quasi
non-existent and I am not allowed to make small corrections to the
Fedora wiki that I know are there for months (and I do not want to
search for anybody who has signed the CLA to inform him), That is just
plain stupid.

Does Fedora Board want people to create a community project for Fedora?
Does this make any sense? I mean Fedora was made out of Red Hat to allow
easier contribution (as one goal) - actually I do not think it is easier
to contribute to Fedora now as to contribute to RHEL. Fedora is very old
school from its approach, distrusting its own users, not letting lose of
control,... I think that it is sad to see such a good distribution
sunken in organisational congealment.

I think a huge switch in policy needs to be made. I know many Fedora
users and Ex-Fedora users think the same. Maybe Fedora gets a little
push from Novell that acts even more stupid, but in the long run I'd
like to see Fedora moving differently

And: No, I don't want to be an Ambassador, I like to see less
Meritocracy and more Anarchy to revive Fedora. In Germany Red Hat
traditionally was weak and in my Linux group in my home town no one uses
it and I also have never met anybody who uses it as well. And I really
can not stand behind Fedora and recommend users to use it, till all
those things will not be cleared up.

I wanted to get this post out for months and like to see if things will
change or at least are discussed.


see also
Thilo Pfennig
PfennigSolutions - Wiki-Systeme

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