fedora mission (was Re: systemd and changes)

Nicolas Mailhot nicolas.mailhot at laposte.net
Sun Sep 5 08:29:54 UTC 2010

Le vendredi 27 août 2010 à 15:47 -0700, Bob Arendt a écrit :

> Actually I think Fedora *should* articulate who the users are, basically
> design and express who and what Fedora is designed for.  If you poll
> "users" - people who download Fedora - and cater to their stated desires
> for the sake of market share, then market forces will start to drive the
> shape of the distro.  Populist market forces would tend to force everything
> to a gray mushy mass of similar distros.
> (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotelling%27s_law).
> I think it would be much better for Fedora to decide what it *should* be,
> specifically what the Fedora userspace should be, and excel at that.

As has been shown many times in the past, when you have engineers that
decide "who" their ideal target users are, and ignore the
"unrepresentative" users that provide actual feedback now, you get a
system where they decide their ideal users agree 100% with their design,
and do not care about all the boring/annoying/difficult bugs actual
users are complaining about but the engineer really does not want to fix
(and a majority of his fantasy users agrees with him, surprise!).

This is just human nature.

In closed software companies you have the same effect except marketing
people are calling the shots and deciding what the fantasy users want.
And they also use a reality distortion field, though not the same one
the engineers would like to.

This is how a perfectly fine system like Solaris degenerated in a pile
of obsolete cruft: the people deciding what fantasy users wanted spent
years ignoring field request to update ksh/vi/etc till the amount of
cruft exceeded what could be cleaned up in a reasonable amount of time.

So don't ignore our users, they may not be ideal users, but they're the
only form of reality check we have now. And without a reality check, and
looking where you walk, it's very easy to jump out of cliff while
dreaming of castles in the sky.

User requests should not be used to decide what the long term goals are,
but that does not mean it is sane to pursue the long term goals without
making sure current users are satisfied. And some of those users have
good long-term suggestions too.

Nicolas Mailhot

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