Thank you everyone for your thoughtful feedback. Since I was on
vacation last week, I didn't keep up with the thread in real time, and
rather than going back and commenting on individual messages, this is a
wrap-up of points I saw.
Putting Free Software and Open Source in the mission statement directly.
The first thing that got a lot of discussion is a request to put
something about free software and/or open source in the mission
statement itself. I want to stress again that this wasn't omitted to
pave the way for some movement away from our commitment to this. Quite
to the contrary: in our discussion, the Council considered this a basic
fundamental rather than something that we thought needed to be repeated
in the mission. Some of the response worrying about this is my fault, I
think, because this thread presented the mission and background for it
mostly on its own, rather than as we are expecting to show it: in a
revised version of the Fedora overview wiki pages which show the
Foundations and Mission together.
In the discussion, I noticed a *lot* of different terminology being
thrown about: free and open source, free software and open source, open
source, open, free, free software, FOSS, free/open. I'm glad that we
didn't have any long vi/emacs war debates about the various political
philosophies embodied, but I think we do all know that there *is* a lot
behind each particular wording. Fedora has always tried to stay above
that — bridging as best we can without conflict — and it's important to
me that we continue to do so. And, I *definitely* don't want to use
acronyms like FOSS or FLOSS — that immediately limits understanding to
a very niche in-club.
So, I think that if we *do* include some wording about this in the
statement, it needs to be a longer form, with "free software and open
source" the bare minimum. But, I also think we're plenty wordy already,
so my preference really remains with making a prominent Freedom
foundation as our banner for this, and leaving it as granted in the
It's also worth noting that we had one comment from a contributor who
felt her (all open source / free software!) contributions were attacked
because of association with a proprietary software company, and that
having this in the mission would further embolden that behavior. I
certainly hope that wouldn't be true (following our commitment to
Friends, after all), but I can see the concern.
Also, there was a commenter who felt that not having free software in
the statement meant that we would reduce our focus on upstream first —
our relationships with the rest of the open source world and,
basically, our software supply chain. Again, I think this is actually
best addressed by the Foundations — specifically, the Features
foundation talks about this directly.
In any case, I remain open to inserting a "free software and open
source" clause if it's the community consensus that we *need* to — but
I personally hope that we can see it as deep in our DNA already, and
showcase it through the Foundations.
People reacted strongly to this. I'm not surprised — but, personally, I
still kinda like it. Sure, it's jargon, but I don't think the metaphor
is hard to understand. And, I didn't hear an alternative better than
"enables", which feels particularly weak to me. This isn't the hill I
plan to die on, though, if everyone hates it. I'd still love to hear
something more interesting than "enables".
Ordering of the statement, and particularly, distance from users
There was some discussion on reordering the statement to change the
emphasis. This relates, I think, to discussion here and also on LWN.net
with concern that there's no focus on desktop/laptop users
specifically. Some of the commentary seemed to assume that this was
accidental and sent a message other than intended.
No, actually, we put it this way on purpose. But, it shouldn't be
As I said in the intro message, the Council built this draft from a
discussion of Fedora strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. And,
while we have an awesome user and community, catering to that community
directly has never really been our strong point at the core of our
project. That's why we decided that we wanted the focus on building the
Fedora platform *for* developers and for our own contributor community,
and to help that community to engage users with user- and use-case
This *doesn't* mean that we're abandoning the desktop, or anything
else. As I said on LWN, the mission statement is *not* an end-user
marketing message. It's meant to help guide the project itself (as well
as potential collaborators and contributors). In fact, we don't really
want to market the Fedora platform to end users at all. Instead, we
want to have stronger distinct marketing around Fedora Workstation,
Fedora Atomic, Fedora Server — and all the various Spins. Many of these
*do* have a direct end-user focus. We've seen a marked increase in
various metrics since we started this organizational and marketing
split with Fedora.next, and we want to build on that.
I'm not entirely opposed to the general idea of putting the "for
community members and software developers to build" part *before* the
"lights up" (or whatever) part — but I _don't_ want to move
into the platform target directly.
Platform vs. Platforms / "Supports an Ecosystem"
There was some discussion about whether we build _a_ platform or
multiple platforms. And, related, some of the earliest comments were
about an ecosystem emphasis. I think the above section actually
addresses this — a platform with an ecosystem is exactly the intent,
and I really think the draft as proposed carries that well. I'd very
much welcome help with additional supplemental and explanatory
Again, thank you everyone for the good discussion. As a next step, I'm
going to file a Council ticket with the original draft and several of
the proposed tweaks and rewrites from the thread. Let's keep
non-Council-member discussion going here on this list, rather than
splitting it to the ticket.
Fedora Project Leader