Distrowatch dot com judgment of Fedora's relation with the "community"
sundaram at fedoraproject.org
Thu May 10 03:05:28 UTC 2007
Herman Meester wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> I translated the recently refreshed section of "Major distributions" on
> distrowatch.com into Dutch.
> That text is in fact the opinion of the site's owner, Ladislav Bodnar.
> It's not "the gospel", but I do suspect many people new to Linux will
> check that page out and take its content for relatively authoritative.
> There was one remark on Fedora that I couldn't agree with.
> "Cons: Less community-oriented than other major distributions; its
> priorities tend to lean towards enterprise features, rather than desktop
> I don't really agree with the 2nd line either, which is not really
> important to argue about (leads to a lot of nonsense on non-free stuff
> anyway), but especially since Fedora 7's merger of Core and Extras, the
> live spin thing, etc., I think that the first line, "Less
> community-oriented than other major distributions" is simply no longer
> true - if it ever was.
> Could "y'all" or some of you come up with good arguments to present to
> Mr. Bodnar (on this list, I mean), so I can object to this in a
> convincing manner? Or is there (still) some truth in his statement?
I think this deserves a detailed response.
(CC'ing Ladislav Bodnar)
With the understanding that any attempts to summarize the nature of a
distribution is bound to be subjective I would like to comment on the
two items you have suggested as cons
There are a number of things show how much oriented we are towards the
* Licenses - Our credentials here is well established. We have a
strong focus on Free and open source software.
* Platform - We provide the usual list of suspects for everyone to
contribute to - Open mailing lists, forums, irc channels, bug tracking
* Governance - All the important bodies in governing Fedora has
volunteers playing a major role or leading efforts. Fedora Project
board, Fedora Engineering Steering committee, Release Engineering and so
on. One of the important things to understand is that it makes obvious
sense for Red Hat to hire the active contributors who are part of Fedora
and the community and it has increasingly done so.
Mike McGrath and Toshio Kuratomi for Fedora Infrastructure, Chuck Ebbert
as kernel co-maintainer. Seth Vidal as yum developer and atleast one
another person who has shall go unnamed till he becomes less shy letting
the world know ;-). Moving ahead is more important for us than the
politically correct balance. We need to break down the artificial
barriers and segmentation anyway.
Though democracy isn't a model I would promote on every place (nor does
the Debian founder for that matter) it should be of interest that
engineering, documentation, ambassadors committees are elected bodies
and Fedora Board is atleast partially becoming so post Fedora 7 release.
* Contributors - We are fond of saying that everyone who works on
Fedora (or even just uses it) is part of the community regardless of
whether we work for Red Hat or not. If you count the participation of
non Red Hat volunteers as a measure of strength you need to look at our
We have participation from not only volunteers but many vendors like
Dell and IBM. Today I think we are doing it better than any community
distribution with a vendor backing the efforts and we are only getting
better. I would encourage you to compare this with other vendor backed
efforts like OpenSUSE or Ubuntu and look at how many volunteers are part
of their governing bodies and see whether you can still consider us as
less community oriented. I bet you are in for a surprise if you do that.
Starting out with the formation and success of Fedora Extras and
culminating with the Fedora 7 release we have steadily grown better at
delivering what we originally promised. We have had our share of
missteps, scrambled to do better and we still have lots left to do but I
am not feeling this as a weakness anymore.
It took us a longer time than we had hoped but what we set out to do
when we launched Fedora as a Red Hat sponsored partnership between
community and a commercial vendor was breaking new grounds. The success
of that methodology is undeniable. One just needs to look at OpenSUSE,
Freespire, OpenSolaris, MySQL community edition or even what Red Hat
again is doing currently with JBoss to understand the impact of the
model that Fedora Project pioneered.
Max Spevack described what we are doing with our next release and you
would notice that there is hardly any mention of our feature list.
This is not because we don't have new features worth mentioning. We
certainly do but the primary target of the Fedora 7 release is laying
out the groundwork for the volunteer community to drive more of what we
are doing now and in the future. It is as Christopher Blizzard described
 all about the community.
I am part of the OLPC team which is based on a derivative of Fedora. I
have just convinced a couple of days back a roommate of mine who knows
nothing about Linux that we need to install Fedora 7 on a new Sony
Playstation 3 he is about to buy. Did I mention that Sony official
supports Yellow Dog which is again a derivative of Fedora and Fedora 7
will support it out of the box too? I think of these as the new desktop
platforms that we play a pivotal role.
I think you would agree that Freedesktop.org, HAL, Dbus, Cairo, Network
Manager or AIGLX are important pieces of any modern desktop environment.
Red Hat folks have started these efforts and continue to play a
important role in these and many of these efforts showed up in a big way
With the introduction of GNOME and KDE based installable live images in
Fedora we have reached another major milestone. . You might want to play
with Big board or mugshot a bit like I did to get a look at some
of the interesting things we are working on. We are already planning to
innovate in new ways for the next release.
Some closing thoughts for you to think about. We do have a strong
desktop focus and clear desktop strategy but it might not be in the way
your expect. Thanks for any constructive criticism and feedback. Keep
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