Voting considered harmful (Was: Re: Echo Icon Theme in F10?)

Martin Sourada martin.sourada at
Mon Oct 13 18:04:49 UTC 2008

On Mon, 2008-10-13 at 13:36 -0400, David Zeuthen wrote:
> On Mon, 2008-10-13 at 17:03 +0000, Martin Sourada wrote:
> > to ask you now is the preferred way to decide upon it. Should we hold a
> > irc meeting, do a mail vote, set up a vote in the fedora voting system,
> > other way? 
> I know I'm ranting in the wrong forum (but anyone should feel free to
> forward it to the Fedora board or whatever powers that be), but, FFS,
> can we please get away from this voting business? It's a disease.
> Consider what happened if we started voting on what patches should go in
> tarballs? Or what the dialogs in your desktop looked like? Or what
> options to use by default. Or what IO scheduler to use in the kernel.
We are deciding about default look'n'feel of the Fedora Desktop, not
about (kernel) patches. Long ago, Red Hat hired artist, Diana Fong
started Echo Icon Theme. She has left since but community take the
project under it's hood and transfered it to less Fedora specific space.
Technically the development of Echo Icon Theme is an Upstream job,
though done by fedora artists and aiming to be default on Fedora and I'd
say we are now as open with our development as gnome's default or kde's
default icon themes are.

> IMNSHO, voting is making Fedora turn into something mediocre that I, for
> one, really don't want to work on, much less rant about. Heck, I'd be
> running Debian if I wanted something like this.
Well, Fedora has grown quite a big Art team, dedicated to create art for
Fedora, it's a pity not everything is easily available outside of
Fedora, but we try to be as much transparent as possible and act as an
Upstream for Fedora. With many people we are bound to have different
opinions about art and thus we need to come to some sort of compromise -
and that's what the Art Team uses the voting system for.

> The fact that you are proposing a vote only shows there's a tremendous
Definitely not. Voting is the last option when there is no better way on
deciding things (like with Fedora 10 Theme where there were enough
people interested working on four different themes, but for default we
need to chose one).

> problem in Fedora. You guys hanging out on fedora-art-list that is
> interested in the visual of the desktop _really_ _really_ need to grow
> up and work with upstream projects instead of sitting in your own little
> Fedora cube disconnected from the rest of the world. With your stupid
> voting system.
There's nothing wrong with voting system, if used with care. Fedora Art
isn't about competition but about collaboration. We'd like Fedora to
have distinctive look from other distros and we seem to have enough
people to do so, for some people it indeed feels like competition and
motivates them to work harder - and that's a good thing - however when
you accept is as a competition, you're disappointed  when you are not
the winner - and it's easier to accept "defeat" when it's decided by
community that by one (wo)man.

> If you think what you're doing is "value add" that makes Fedora look
> better than the "competition" you are wrong. If you grasped what free
No. It's not about adding value or directly competing with others. We
just want Fedora to be usable, look nice and have distinctive looks from
other distros.

> software / culture is _really_ about you'd know already that it's about
> working together to deliver great value that can be maintained and
> improved by something larger than yourselves. It's not about competing.

> Not even if the socalled "competition" that you're trying so hard to
> emulate have been to space and all that. It's about working together.
I think you misunderstood our intentions here. We are trying to work
together on Fedora Art, it does not always involve directly contributing
to non-fedora-related upstreams, but we have no restrictions for doing
so. Art is slightly different from software and there are bound to be
more upstreams than just one (in case of icons think e.g. about tango,
oxygen, mist, gnome-icon-theme, hicolor, echo-icon-theme, ...) and it's
not a bad thing. We are not all doing the same thing, though we are
achieving similar ideas. It's not like "hundred and one implementation
of quick sort", but rather like "hundred and one web sites of world

> And sometimes about being that beacon that leads the way for the less
> enlightened; e.g. go out there, talk with people working on the same
> stuff and start working together. It's definitely not about stupid
> zero-sum games with misunderstood "value adds" that may have
> questionable value in the first place.
Yeah, I've already did (in case of nodoka gtk engine) and we hope to
work together more. In case of icon themes we can at most coordinate our
efforts on making every icon on the desktop themable. 

> The fact that the Fedora leadership allows this art charade to go on and
> on and on for eons is complete and utter FAIL. And it's making
> contributors (and, no, not just me) move away from Fedora only to focus
> on upstream. You are killing Fedora slowly this way.
Well, seeing Fedora contributors moving to upstream is IMHO pretty much
desired and as Fedora is all about upstream it does not mean killing it
at all.

Just my two cents ;-)

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