Way back in 2003, the original Fedora Project mission statement¹ was
straightforward — “to work with the Linux community to build a
complete, general purpose operating system exclusively from open
source software.” This has some virtue: it's clear and concrete, and
it encodes the values of community and open source. But, it's also
rather small; arguably this was _already done_, so, you know, “good
job everyone” — backslapping ensues, nothing more needed, right?
After 6½ years, the Fedora Board (the precursor to our current Fedora
Council) decided it was time for a refresh, and put a lot of work
into coming up with our current mission² (as well as a vision and
objectives). That mission is “to lead the advancement of free and
open source software and content as a collaborative community.”
This has many virtues too — it's ambitious, and again keeps those key
values front and center. But, it's also very broad. If we were to
start a project with a clean slate today to do what the mission says,
I don't think we'd even _think_ of creating a Linux distro. There are
plenty of other activities that could consume an entire large
When we started Fedora.next, we decided to work underneath the
mission as it stood. This has worked out well enough, but we're
coming up to what feels like the limit. This is clear in the
"Budget.next" process — it's one thing to say that spending is to be
determined in public based on clear objectives and measurable
results, but for it to really work, those objectives need to be
attached to a goal with a more clear scope.
It's now been another 6½ years, and it’s the perfect time to revisit
the mission — to look at who we are, what we do well, what we really
want to do, what we say we do but actually don't, and so on.
At our in-person activity days at the end of March, the Fedora
Council did just that. We spent some time discussing those questions
and worked on lists of strengths, weaknesses, threats, and
opportunities. We talked about the Fedora Foundations as well, and
agreed that we do want to keep these as statements of our core
values. We wanted something which would answer:
* What do we do?
* How do we do it?
* Who do we do it for?
* and, what unique value do we bring?
After a long and productive working discussion, we decided to break
for dinner, and come back the next morning to actually draft a new
statement to bring to the community for discussion, adjustment, and
approval. Brian scribbled down a quick idea in the evening, and in
the morning we started bright and early at adding to, subtracting
from, rewording, deconstructing, and reconstructing, until we came up
with something that everyone on the Council felt good about.
The New Mission Draft
So, here it is:
Fedora creates an innovative platform that lights up hardware,
clouds, and containers for software developers and community
members to build tailored solutions for their users.
Let's Break It Down
We decided to not write a new vision statement at this point. The
Four Foundations³ — Freedom, Friends, Features, First — both state
our core values and illustrate our overall goals and objectives.
However, we do want to make sure that some of the various parts of
the mission are explained.
* Creates an innovative platform — at the operating system level,
we don’t just integrate.We do new things. This is what makes
us a platform and not just a distribution. And, “innovative” is
just a buzzword. Current examples include solving the “too fast
/ too slow” problem with Modularity, exploring ostree for
delivery and updates, and the Layered Image Build Service,
where containers become a first-class part of the OS.
- Lights up hardware, clouds, and containers — We want to be
specific about a primary focus as an enablement layer for
environments people want to use.
- For software developers to build tailored solutions for their
users — this includes both upstream software developers and
downstream communities who want to build on what we create.
- For community members to build tailored solutions for their
users — Fedora isn’t just the toolkit. Many of our contributors
are here to collaborate to create solutions for specific user
problems, ranging from Fedora Workstation to Fedora Robotics
Suite. We have lots of ways to do this within the project, from
Editions to Spins and Labs to the upcoming Fedora Playground
concept. The core emphasis, though, is on enabling this
We really hope our proposed mission statement makes sense to all of
you and tries to capture what we want to be for the next three to
five years. We would be very interested in feedback from the
community, not just in how to make the language tighter but, truly,
on the goals of the project and how we can better capture the ethos
Fedora Project Leader