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

Christoph Wickert christoph.wickert at
Sat Feb 20 20:08:02 UTC 2010

Am Freitag, den 19.02.2010, 18:09 -0500 schrieb Matthias Clasen:
> On Fri, 2010-02-19 at 22:43 +0100, Christoph Wickert wrote:
> > There is no official document that says this, but there is at least one
> > board member who claimed that "spins are a detriment to Fedora". He
> > didn't outline why he thinks so, but the statement still stands. And it
> > hurts, at least for the people who work on the different spins.
> > 
> I normally avoid threads like this like the plague, and I'm not on the
> board, but I will tell you why _I_ consider spins as currently
> implemented to be detrimental to Fedora. And please, don't take this as
> a personal attack on the hard work that some of the current spin
> maintainers do; I'm trying to say that the decision to adopt spins as
> the solution to our direction problem was a strategic mistake.

Thanks for your objective and honest words. Frankly speaking I think the
exact opposite is true: The focus on GNOME is a damage to Fedora.
Because of the GNOME dominance and the lack of consideration of many
GNOME maintainers, it's impossible to have a spin without metacity,
GConf2 and a whole lot of GNOME stuff.

> - Having a bunch of alternative spins and no clear default is poison for
> the Fedora brand. It leads to ambassadors handing out their personal
> favorite spin instead of the default spin and selling it as 'Fedora'. 
> To have any wider success, 'Fedora' must have a very clear meaning.
> Currently, 'Fedora' can mean any number of things.

For me Fedora is defined by our foundations, our development model, by
our urge to set standards and to follow upstream and many more things,
but not at all by which desktop one chooses. Is Fedora with KDE "less"
Fedora then the desktop spin?

> - It splits us into a bunch of small fiefdoms where each group works on
> their thing, instead of working on a common product. And knowledge of
> what other groups do is often limited to hearsay and second-guessing.

OK, how about choosing KDE as the common product to work on? ;) Would
you still contribute to Fedora in the same amount as now? Honestly I
wouldn't. I think "one size fits all" will never work for Linux.
Diversity is not a weakness but a strength.

I agree however that the limited knowledge of what other groups do is a
problem. But I think we can address this issue with better communication
instead of narrowing our focus to a certain product.

> - To a non-geek user, the choice of LXDE vs XFCE vs KDE vs Gnome makes
> no sense whatsoever. 'A system tailored for Electrical Engineering' vs
> 'A system tailored for Astronomy' might make some more sense, but still,
> the mostly likely takeaway from a set of choices like that is 'not for
> me'.

I think "a system tailored for hardware with limited resources" or "a
system tailored for netbooks" are IMO legitimate choices as well.

But even more important: Do we target the non-geek user you are speaking
of? I thought we agreed on the "working" target audience, on early
adopters who are interested in Linux and who would like to contribute.
And on the other hand we think they are too stupid to decide which
desktop to choose? This doesn't sound convincing to me.


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