Where are we going? (Not a rant)

Tomas Radej tradej at redhat.com
Fri Dec 7 12:53:50 UTC 2012

Hi everybody.

Disclaimer: This mail is written from the position of a Fedora
community member. Red Hat has nothing to do with this.

I don't want to start yet another rant saying that everything is broken
and we'd be better off if we aped Debian. Absolutely not. I don't want
to put blame on someone, I want to improve.

Fedora is all about passionate people doing what they want to
do in a community of like-minded folks. That's probably the most
awesome thing I've seen in my life - a bunch of folks not actually
charging money to each other, while providing everybody with fruits of
their efforts. It's probably trivial for you, because you've been doing
that for years. But for me (as I've been a part only for one year now),
it's something almost unimaginable. But reading this list showed me
that often the passion goes, at least in my eyes, too far. Instead of
constructive criticism, vitriolic scolding and personal insults are to
be found. This only makes effort in Fedora fragmented and inconsistent.

One of the results was a conversation I had with a few guys to
whom I recommended Fedora as a development environment. It showed me
that there's indeed something wrong. While they all said that Fedora's
features were brilliant, they unanimously rejected Fedora as a
primary system. The reason they gave me was, now quoting: It doesn't
really work.

While it's a simplistic statement with which I don't agree, it points
finger at the tradeoff Fedora had to make to become the fastest updated
Linux distro in the known universe - to give up much of stability. I
sort of like that decision, but I propose to step back and look at the
big picture to see if we aren't on the fast side a tad too much. Having
a completely new system out every half a year is great, but having a
system where various things crash for various reasons pretty much all
the time isn't. I don't have a definitive way to fix this, but I have
some ideas, and you people out there have better ones. Something like
having a solid, tested core that updates half as often as the developer
libraries springs into my mind, so I want to know what springs into

The threat for Fedora is that even in the FOSS, there is competition.
Distros are competing for users - users that give back, users that
report bugs, or users that are or become maintainers and developers.
When the overwhelming response to Fedora is "Hey, they've got some neat
features, but I need it to work, so that's why I'm using XYZ instead",
the user/dev base is going to wither and move elsewhere. 

As I said, I don't have the knowledge, mental capacity, or mandate to
give the answer to where Fedora is going and where it should be going.
I am just worrying that if there is no change in how Fedora is done, it
will be harder and harder for the community to thrive, and I wouldn't
like that. So, through this e-mail addressed to all the Fedora
community, I am seeking support for a movement, both collective and
individual, that would improve communication, cooperation and generally
the life of Fedora on the most fundamental basis.

To conclude, I don't want this e-mail to be accusing, flaming, or
mentoring. It is meant to be concerned, inspiring and accepted with a
good, yet scrutinizing mind.

A Fedora contributor, Tomas Radej

Tomas Radej <tradej at redhat.com>

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