Response to "Getting Fedora Out of the If-Then Loop"

Greg DeKoenigsberg gdk at
Fri Feb 19 15:04:49 UTC 2010

On Thu, 18 Feb 2010, Máirín Duffy wrote:

> There's a reality here that's not being acknowledged, and it has little 
> to do with popularity. I hope folks who work on XFCE or KDE in Fedora 
> don't come into those projects with the expectation that the same amount 
> of resources are dedicated to those as the desktop spin - because that's 
> never been true, and I sure hope they've not been misled into thinking 
> so. If I go to a Honda dealer in order to buy a Chevy I saw an ad for in 
> the paper, I do go with the full understanding that they're a Honda 
> dealership and don't argue with the dealer that he should have that used 
> Cobalt in red, blue, and silver as well as black.

If you're comparing the experience of building a community with the 
experience of buying a car, aren't we in the wrong territory?  Because 
that metaphor rapidly turns Red Hat into a greasy car dealer, and the 
hardworking community into customers who can like what we give them, or 
shut up.  Surely that's not the metaphor we want to extend.  :)

To be clear: I don't believe that people *do* expect to get the same 
amount of resources.  I believe that, mostly, people work their asses off, 
and hope (a) to be recognized for it, and (b) to get a little help now and 
then -- but I think that now, those people who were getting few enough 
resources as it is, are faced with the very real possibility that they'll 
get *even less*, because the focus will shift continually away from them 
with every conversation, and inexorably towards the One Exalted Desktop Of 
Teh Future.

I think that's why you continue to get pushback.

Again: I don't necessarily think the decisions to narrow focus are wrong.

What I *do* think would be helpful would be to identify specific points of 
legitimate concern that contributors have about change of focus, and how 
that change will affect them.

Something like this:

* Issue: Fedora only talks about the default GNOME spin on the front page.

* One possible resolution: a very prominent, regularly recurring piece on 
the front page of fp.o called "Spin of the Month", that has a talk piece 
about a particular spin, why it's important, who works on it, how to get 
it and play with it, and how to get help.

* Issue: Usability folks have never once given a moment's thought to Xfce!

* Possible resolution: each spin gets an hour of the Fedora design team's 
time each month to discuss issues...

...and so on.  Mind you, these are just examples, and likely imperfect.

For what it's worth, I really like Mike McGrath's ideas about providing 
Engineering as a service to other areas of the project, and believe that 
this idea can be usefully extended over time.

>> I'm not saying that it's an easy issue to sort out, and ultimately focus
>> *is* required, and like it or not, in some cases that means "winners and
>> losers".  But don't pretend those issues aren't important.  They are.
> Well wait a minute, isn't this reducing it to a popularity contest
> again? Are we working for the love and passion we have for what we do,
> or are we working for glory?

Volunteers work because they love it, and because they hope that other 
people will say "this is awesome, thank you."  It's really that simple, 
Mo.  People who have worked hard on a project, and who feel like the 
Larger Project As A Whole is drawing already limited focus away from their 
project, are going to get less help and hear fewer thank yous.  Recognize 
that, and respect it, even as you make tough decisions.

As always, just my $0.02.


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