What Fedora makes sucking for me - or why I am NOT Fedora

Max Spevack mspevack at redhat.com
Tue Dec 9 12:27:30 UTC 2008

On Tue, 9 Dec 2008, Robert Scheck wrote:

> 128 Euro per year is IMHO too much for the current level of what seems 
> to happen with the money. And for that money I could support the Free 
> Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) with multiple membership fees per 
> year. And sorry, just one cool bathrobe isn't a good reason for 
> spending 128 Euro away per year. Without enough transparency and 
> communication, it's like throwing the money out of the window of my 
> room.

As I mentioned in another email (just to Ambassadors list), there are a 
couple of points I'd like to make:

(1) Since I started as the FPL in February 2006, I've tracked the money 
spent on Fedora publicly on the Fedora wiki not because I needed to or 
because someone told me to, but because I believed it was the right 
thing to do.  That's almost 3 full years of total financial 
transparency.  The money given to Fedora EMEA e.V. is a small piece of 
that budget, and it is repoted along with everything else.  I can't 
think of another Linux distro that is as transparent with its finances 
as we are.

(2) I never understood why the membership fees are anything other than 
nominal.  The purpose of a legal entity like Fedora EMEA e.V. is *not* 
to collect money from Fedora contributors, but to serve as a legal 
entity that can hold onto resources from Red Hat (freeing us from having 
to spend resources in a 3-month window or watching them vanish) as well 
as to hold resources from other organizations that want to contribute 
directly to Fedora without having to contribute to Red Hat.

> But nobody really follows, is having a look to these issues and 
> problems or even takes care of it...why? I think, this should be the 
> job of the Fedora Project leader, shouldn't it? I don't want to blame 
> neither Paul nor Max in this e-mail, I think everybody of us needs to 
> be more sensitive to issues around the Fedora Project and needs to 
> take more care before developing or forking something.

There has long been a difficult balance between the overall day to day 
leadership of the Fedora Project, and the manner in which specific 
technical decisions are made.  Many of the things you mentioned in your 
initial email fall into the latter category.

I won't speak for Paul, but for me, I always knew that it would be 
inappropriate for me to try to micromanage individual technical pieces 
of Fedora, because that wasn't my expertise.  So I never tried to, and 
instead tried to make it clear that FESCO and other engineering leaders 
within Fedora take that on.

Looking back, I think that things have ended up going well enough, but I 
definitely could have done a better job in that area of my old FPL job.

Recognizing this weakness was part of what led me to advocate for the 
creation of a Fedora Engineering Manager position (which Spot holds) at 
the same time that we brought in Paul to take over as the Fedora Project 

If the FPL is Fedora's "CEO" then the FEM is Fedora's "CTO".  I also 
don't want to speak for Spot, but I think that it would be very 
appropriate for him to give a talk at FUDCon that represents his view of 
what Fedora's roadmap and critical path are from an engineering 
perspective in 2009.  Maybe that should be the keynote, actually, since 
Paul gave the "Fedora State of the Union" in Boston back in June.

I could write a few more paragraphs, but I think I've said enough for 
one email.


More information about the fedora-devel-list mailing list