Marketing Fedora Worldwide

Jeremy Hogan jeremy.hogan at
Fri Oct 21 15:29:38 UTC 2005

As GDK pointed out, we aren't a liberty to make a number of assumptions
about the "market". We don't have market analysts, we don't have commercial
drivers, we don't have shareholders, we don't have the budget to engage in
any such speculation. The good news is, we aren't bound to a revenue target,
so a whole lot of work doesn't need to happen around that sort of thinking.
We also aren't at full liberty to establish markets where they commercially
compete with Red Hat, though we won't stop someone from commercializing it
in some fashion. Since our hands are mildly bound, and since we only know
*our* version of the Fedora story, all we can do is start there. And it can
be a simple message (and thusly portable and translatable), so long as being
simple is a goal.

I don't want to start another brand rant, but we can only lay out the
"promise" (what is it? what does it do? who cares?) of Fedora, the
"experience" (how it's used, and by whom) is semantic, and evolutionary from
this starting point. We can shape and/or react to the promise, but we'll
never be able to magically anticipate it, and surely won't be able to
control it. We can't tell Fedora what to be for everyone, we can't tell
anyone what they should or shouldn't do with. We can, however, decide to
never tell it what not to be--while deciding as a group the core purpose or
*intended* use by *intended* audience.

Just as we make package choices, without inhibiting third parties from
adding/subtracting their own.

We've answered these core questions about what Fedora is, and for whom a
great number of times already on this list. Someone needs to digest it, and
make a cut we can all vote on. And somone needs to call final cut at some
point. Then, similar to the development of the logo, we can get a head of
steam going and the folks at Red Hat--who know a thing or two about
marketing Linux--can polish it up.

As for the purpose of Fedora marketing, it's to make more people use/hack
Fedora more often, so we make it better more often than it gets worse. Just
the same as that marketing in a commercial environment is to "get more
people, to buy more stuff, more often, so you make more money". That's it.
There's nothing more to it than technique.

Our metrics are the number of contributors (code, bugs, feedback, list
posts), and number of users (hackers, enthusiasts, early adopters, those
wanting insight into what RHEL might be)--which together make the target
install base--and the number of articles, reviews and how-tos written about
Fedora. That's not all the use cases and measures for Fedora, because we
don't and never should know all the use cases, anymore than Apache
foundation knows exactly what's going on on every web site running Apache.

For example, sometimes, we'll see that we are getting significant uptake in
verticals like desktop productivity, or multimedia, or LiveCD variants. Or
someone will write an article explaining how to shove Fedora onto a Mac
mini, or XBox, or pen drive. Or some teacher in Portland will start a
program targeting K12, based on Fedora. Or some VAR or IT support org will
charge folks for support, customizations or maintenance. Etc.

User driven innovation, and an eco-sysem. In other words, a lot of what made
Red Hat what it was before the RHEL/Fedora debbil scat.

Once we establish ourselves in the known universe, we have a baseline of
metrics. And we can draw up a set of benchmarks and be more inquisitive and
measure against those metrics, as well as reacting emerging segments.

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