[Ambassadors] Red Hat's investments (was Re: Going passive)

Jeroen van Meeuwen kanarip at kanarip.com
Tue Nov 9 23:15:01 UTC 2010

On Tuesday, November 09, 2010 07:57:16 pm Max Spevack wrote:
> Isn't it the opposite?  Aren't we celebrating that fact?  Aren't we
> holding up Linux overall as a *better* option *because* contributions
> can come from so many different places, and that there can be so many
> competing vendors?

I don't think anyone intends to argue the relationship *isn't* mutually 

I doubt anyone can sustain a claim of the relationship *not* being beneficial 
to the Fedora Project.

I also think money is the wrong asset to use; all intangible value would need 
to be expressed in monetary value and then we start the discussions on 
currency. Besides, neither of us can afford to commit to inject as much as Red 
Hat injects in the Fedora Project year in year out. It doesn't get us 
anywhere, it's hard enough to qualify, let alone quantify.

That said, however, does not necessarily mean the relationship is sustainable.

Just to give an example, noted this discussion should not start evolving 
around examples; We are in it for fun.

There's a big difference in why both parties take stake in the health of the 
project. It translates in to how either party participates in the project, and 
to what extent they control the project.

The explanation for most controlling positions be in the hands of community 
members on Red Hat's payroll is, of course, that people who do this for a 
living have a higher visibility and are more likely to be elected.

Luckily, examples exist of people being appointed in important positions, and 
making it very, very clear only U.S. citizens are eligible, aside from the 
issue of Red Hat, Inc. ignoring EMEA.

Like I've explained on advisory-board before, the effect, however, is that the 
project is being given direction, and limitations are being put in place by 
the many people that do not necessarily have the same perspective on things as 
their fellow contributors.

All the teletubby "be excellent - don't say it the way you mean it" aside;

Speaking for myself, this cumulates into having to explain every little tiny 
detail because the opposition in such discussion doesn't have a clue where I'm 
coming from and refuses to acknowledge anything if not in full understanding 
on every little detail, let alone agree I might be right. While having seen it 
happen many, many times, being the victim of it myself many times, I cannot 
but state, as if were fact, this is restrictive, not inclusive, not the 
natural way of things, and ultimately dangerous -but, it's just an example!

I've thought about this best I can for little short of two years now. Certain 
events have certainly acted as a catalyst. I've spoken to you and many others 
and expressed my concerns that from where I am sitting, in my perception, Red 
Hat, Inc. -not any one individual in particular, nor any one group in 
particular- and/or the Fedora Project as is under the complete and absolute 
control of aforementioned Red Hat, Inc., is going about it in a way that is 
not sufficiently sustainable. I think given the mutual beneficial 
relationship, and the vast amounts of both tangible as well as intangible 
value going back and forth, we, the mortal people, deserve to be listened to. 
If only we would word our concerns in terms of constructive criticism... which 
seems to be another problem these days.

I've also warned that whatever will spawn next to Get Real Things Done, cannot 
but endanger all of us with a split. You all know what beast I speak of.

I'm afraid that is what is going to happen, and it's a very unhealthy thing to 
happen -to the Fedora Project. Hence, against better knowledge and judgement, 
I keep *fighting* tooth-and-nail to improve some little things within the 
Fedora Project knowing that I can only improve it within certain boundaries -
giving "us" more and more justification everytime we hit the brick wall of 
players thinking they get to control the project and the community 
participating in it rather then assist both best they can - because I've had a 
good time here so far, I've learned much, had many beers with many new 
friends, and I would hate to close that part of my life burning it all down on 
my way out.

Kind regards,

Jeroen van Meeuwen
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