Fedora Board Strategic Working Group

Toshio Kuratomi a.badger at gmail.com
Tue Jan 12 21:15:39 UTC 2010

On Tue, Jan 12, 2010 at 11:24:26AM -0800, John Poelstra wrote:
> Toshio Kuratomi said the following on 01/12/2010 08:40 AM Pacific Time:
> > On Tue, Jan 12, 2010 at 12:39:49AM -0500, Jon Stanley wrote:
> >> On Tue, Jan 12, 2010 at 12:24 AM, Toshio Kuratomi<a.badger at gmail.com>  wrote:
> >>> There are potential issues.  For instance, when the Desktop spin wanted to
> >>> move to PolicyKit-1.0 and said that they'd veto a PoicyKit-compat package to
> >>> allow KDE applications to work.  Or when zope was dropped from the
> >>> repositories because it wasn't ported to python2.5 and we didn't want to
> >>> have a python-2.4 compat package.  There have also been times when certain
> >>> compilation options on one package were needed to allow other packages to
> >>> function but, because of the dependencies that the compilation options
> >>> brought in, that package didn't want to do so.
> >>
> >> Good points - but where and how do we draw the line between something
> >> that's acceptable to be called Fedora and something that is not?
> >>
> > I like the line of "in the Fedora repositories" but I'm warning that
> > sometimes we keep things (that are free software and legal to ship in the
> > US) outside of the Fedora repositories and that limits what a spin can do.
> > When we discuss a target audience we have to be careful that we continue to
> > make it possible for other audiences to be addressed by having ways to
> > mediate these differences.  Deciding that the default spin is more important
> > than any other spin and that the default target audience is more important
> > than any other audience is dangerous as we start making decisions based on
> > the importance to the target audience instead of on how the decision enables
> > more contributors to do the work that's important to them.
> >
> Why is it "dangerous" to have a focus?  What will be the consequences 
> one year, two years, five years from now?
> This has been raised a number of times in these threads.  It's making 
> things too binary (one way or the other) to say that we cannot "Enable 
> more contributors do the things that are important to them" AND be more 
> focused in our default distro offering.  We can do both.
Conflict of interests.  If the high level group becomes too invested in what
is happening to a single product that we are making, then the decisions that
the group makes becomes colored by that focus.  The SIGs that produce spins
should be defining a target audience but for the Project to be defining
a target audience is detrimental to embracing contributors who have
a different vision.  The high level group needs to be able to make decisions
that negatively impact the default distro offering if it helps empower more
contributors to work on the areas they want to see flourish.

> > I see things a bit differently from poelcat in that I think that having the
> > Board define a target audience for Fedora is not beneficial.  In fact, it is
> > detrimental to Fedora.  *Individual spins* (including the default spin)
> > would definitely benefit from targeting specific audiences but the Board and
> > FESCo's responsibility is to help all the sub-communities that make up
> > Fedora be able to derive usable products from the Fedora Package Collection.
> > This means mediating disputes, drumming up support for switching base parts
> > of our architecture (like moving from SysVinit to upstart), and defining the
> > absolute limitations that the Fedora Project will follow (free software,
> > legality within the US).
> It would be helpful to first state what you understand my position to be 
> and to use more specific in your usage of "Feodra."

I believe it is the job of the Fedora board to provide vision and
leadership.  Right now a big part of this vision needs to be who the Fedora
distribution is for.  This isn’t to say these ideas and leadership can’t
come from others in Fedora.  It is great when they do.  Ultimately though,
the Fedora Board is accountable for providing a vision for the future,
conveying that that vision in a compelling way to Fedora, making changes to
that vision based on feedback from other project members, and making sure
the right things are in place for success.

I disagree with this idea of the Fedora Board's role.  I believe that
vision for the Fedora Distributions should come from the people who are
presently creating those distributions.  The vision for Fedora will change
as the contributors to Fedora change.  The role of the Board as an entity
(the people involved with the Board can generate vision but they should not
have a higher degree of "say so" than another community member) would be to
mediate conflicts between the Fedora sub-communities, clarify our
iron-bound rules when necessary (all free software), and overall, get the
community members doing work the resources they need to be productive.

As for the term Fedora -- A bare use of Fedora should be taken as Fedora the
Project.  I'll do my very best to use "Fedora Spin/Sig/Distribution/OS/etc" to
differentiate when I'm talking about one of the products that Fedora the
Project generates.

[Taken a bit out of order]
> > If there's any audience that should be targeted for Fedora, the Project, it
> > is the people who want to create a free software operating system.  Those
> > people can then define audiences that their individual spins and SIGs will
> > target.  The Board can mediate disputes because they're tasked with
> > providing an environment in which people can build the free software
> > operating systems that are right for them.
> >
> I'm not advocating continued discussion of the target audience for "The 
> Fedora Project."  I understood that topic to be resolved a while back.

Ah -- I suppose I should ask you to clarify those terms in your messages :-)

/me notes that the blog post did use "Fedora Distribution" but the initial
email here didn't mention what the scope of the working group or the target
audience would be.

> To be clear, I believe the Fedora Project needs to define a target 
> audience for the Fedora Distribution which is currently understood to be 
> the "default spin" or "Gnome desktop".
My question would be -- why is it the Board's purview to decide what the "Gnome
desktop"'s target audience should be?  Shouldn't that be up to the SIG that
creates the spin?

> Just because I think we need to be clearer about who we create our 
> default distro offering for does not mean I advocate neglecting other 
> creations of the Fedora Project or stifling innovation.  The Fedora 
> Project is a big place. :)
<nod>  -- that brings me back to my response to jds2001's response to
mdomsch:  It's fine for the Fedora Distributions to have a target audience
but we have to be careful about how attached the Fedora Board gets to those
targets.  The Fedora Board needs to be an arbitrator that works for the
benefit of all contributors to Fedora the Project, making it possible for
all of them to do the work that they're eager to volunteer to do.  If the
Board gets too involved with the decisions involving a particular product to
be delivered by a subset of the contributor base then they lose their
objectivity when evaluating how a change that affects both that group and
other groups.

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