Reasons for hall monitoring

Adam Williamson awilliam at
Sun May 9 10:09:12 UTC 2010

On Fri, 2010-05-07 at 19:40 -0700, John Poelstra wrote:
> Matěj Cepl said the following on 05/07/2010 04:41 PM Pacific Time:
> > More and more I was writing this email, more and more I tend to agree
> > with somebody today, who wrote that they key problem of the Fedora
> > community is unclear vision about its purpose. I agree completely. I
> > believe, that in the root of many of our problems lies in our
> > unwillingness to say that we are not end-user-oriented distribution, but
> > the contributors-oriented one.
> >
> It is not a binary situation.

I'm tempted to agree in practice with Matej that it is. I don't think we
can kid ourselves that we're doing a particularly good job of making a
desktop for end users; if we were, we wouldn't be being trashed by
Ubuntu in this area (let alone OS X and Windows). Yes, yes, I know,
Ubuntu's statistics are unreliable and all that crap. I know we can all
rationalize for ten hours about how it's all Microsoft's fault for being
evil and Ubuntu's fault for being good at marketing and users' fault for
being stupid and blah de freaking blah.

But be practical. When you go to $RANDOM_LINUX_CONFERENCE (never mind
when you go to the coffee shop, I have never seen anyone else running
Fedora in any situation outside of the 'Linux world'), how many people
are running Fedora and how many are running Ubuntu? Have you noticed
how, whenever _any_ third party site posts reader statistics, the first
thing you see is that Linux is tiny, and the second thing you see is
that a heavy pluarality of the Linux numbers are Ubuntu? Example:
Distrowatch prints user agent stats, not just page hit rankings. .
Ubuntu is at 16.5%. Fedora is at 1.3%, on which number we are being
beaten by OpenSUSE and PCLinuxOS (and being trounced by Linux Mint, a
shoestring budgeted Ubuntu derivative), and just outpacing Debian and
Mandriva. Yep, a grand 1.3% of the people who visit a general-purpose
Linux news site are running Fedora when they do it. Please, _please_, do
not attempt to rationalize or excuse or except these numbers; they're
just an example (I know some people will, despite this explicit request;
I intend to entirely ignore them). Every site I've ever seen print its
user agent stats tells a similar story. Does anyone actually want to
claim that this kind of thing is a stunning success story for Fedora as
a general purpose desktop operating system?

Those numbers aren't lying. I think this discussion should always be
informed by the fundamental understanding that, if we're talking about
making an attractive general-purpose operating system for end users,
we're currently fairly shit at it. We're not a shit project, we do a lot
of valuable work that needs to be done, and produce products that are
great in certain ways. But we should either get a better understanding
of what we are actually good at and valuable for and work on those
things, or if we're serious about being an end-user desktop, get a lot
better at it. Which would probably involve doing some things a lot of
members of the project would be unhappy with. Frankly, I don't think
this project is currently laid out in such a way that doing that would
be very practical; it's very difficult to engender radical change in
Fedora as a project.
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Fedora Talk: adamwill AT fedoraproject DOT org

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