The Forgotten "F": A Tale of Fedora's Foundations

Michael Scherer misc at
Mon Apr 21 17:00:01 UTC 2014

Le lundi 21 avril 2014 à 11:17 -0400, Stephen Gallagher a écrit :

> I'm trying to assert with this proposal that the best way for us to
> advance free and open source software is to continue shipping only
> open-source software, while making it easy for users to *transition*.
> By setting a hard-line on our users and saying "You can only use FOSS,
> unless you jump through these fourteen poorly-documented hoops", we're
> discouraging our user-base (and ultimately, contributor base) from
> growing.
> I simply cannot see any way that we are satisfying our Mission by
> discouraging users from operating the way that they want to. 

Please excuse the reductio ad absurdum ( and my display of Lati^W
Wikipedia )

But if we look at the current way, I think a high percentage of people
want to run windows and download movies for free out on the internet,
mostly because non technical people are motivated to do that. 

So if we really want to satisfy them, we should do that. The fact we
don't prove that we will always do something that discourage people from
operating how they want ( ie, without caring about license, copyright,
etc ) for a variety of reasons. And so that we have to balance the
various factors.

So the question is more "up to what point do we have to balance user
requests for some value of users versus all others factors".

The good part of working in free software is that lots of people do try
various things, and it turn out that we are not operating in a vacuum.

And there is distributions that do operate of the premise of
"functionality for users is more important than complete adherence of
freedom ideals" , mint is a fine example, ubuntu would be another one,
mageia would be a 3rd one. 

So we can see if they did grow their contributors basis by taking this
path ( especially given years have passed since they start ). 

And therefore, if the ultimate goal is to grow our own contributors
basis, if this worked.

I am not exactly sure it worked fine, but I do not have much data to
back it up, more my own experience ( especially on Mageia side ). 

( here, I should insert my theory on the stigma of beginners and how
more complex distributions have more contribution, but too long for
today )

> All it
> does is ensure a positive feedback loop such that Fedora will
> eventually be used only by the limited set of people that are
> comfortable operating under strict restrictions on their behavior[1].
> [1] Hmm... that sounds an awful lot like the way Apple behaves...
> except they can afford marketing.

And lawyers, lots of them :)

And they really limit people, which is not something we do, so the
analogy is a bit disturbing.

Michael Scherer

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