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

Haïkel Guémar hguemar at
Mon Apr 21 17:07:37 UTC 2014

Le 21/04/2014 18:37, Stephen Gallagher a écrit :
> I spoke too strongly there, I think. We do however give a *very*
> strong impression that using non-FOSS solutions for anything at all is
> unwelcome at best. Consider the recent discussions around GNOME
> Software where we have
> 1) Forbidden it from automatically looking up software from non-Fedora
> repositories, even FOSS ones
> 2) Asserted that it must consider web apps (either FOSS or not) to be
> second-class citizens (and call it out as such)
They actually are second-class citizens, we can't fix proprietary apps 
as we actually do with FOSS applications.
The one thing we could do is augmenting our QA to check the 
compatibility with non-free apps and file a ticket upstream so we could 
help them to fix it. And I personally wouldn't mind if we delay 
non-security fixes to give them enough time to update their applications.
We could even think of allowing editors to plug to our infrastructure 
message bus on some conditions.

But if we were to consider them first-class citizens, without the 
editors cooperation, we would be bind to their willing which is against 
our mission statement.
Unlike CentOS, we can't provide a stable base suitable to proprietary SW 
editors, all we can do is best effort.

> Please understand, I'm as much a proponent of FOSS as anyone here. I
> believe it to be the best way to develop software. However, I also
> feel that actively discouraging users from using the tools with which
> they are most comfortable on our platform is harmful to our long-term
> strategy of converting them. Microsoft had great success with
> "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish" and I think that FOSS can enjoy very
> similar results (probably without Extinguish, except in cases where
> user interest in the original wanes) as long as we make it
> approachable. I don't see that as the case today.

+1 and you were right to start this discussion.

> This is a key point that I disagree with entirely. I think we could
> attract many more users if we were the easiest way for them to get a
> free, open-source friendly operating system that also allowed them to
> continue using the tools they want to use.
> I don't think it's unreasonable for us to allow them to use Chrome
> from the Google repository. I don't think it's unreasonable to allow
> them to use Steam from the Valve repository. Device drivers get into
> hazy territory, but I think it's a conversation worth having.
> What about solutions that have no useful FOSS analog? Are you
> expecting that someone who uses Adobe Lightroom all the time should
> switch to Fedora and write a brand-new post-processing engine themselves?

We should think on how we could improve collaboration with third-party 
repos, fedmsg/copr might be part of the technical solution.
How about a Fedora Partnership Program ? We could open up at a certain 
extent our infrastructure and collaborate with software editors to make 
sure that their products have some support in Fedora.

> I'm advocating that they should have a place at the table. I don't
> advocate placing them "above" FOSS solutions (and I'm perfectly happy
> with requiring that any tool that provides access to them clearly
> identify them as such and ideally recommend a FOSS alternative instead).
> But I think that trying to actively discourage (read: prevent) users
> from installing such software is harmful to our Mission of advancing
> Free Software. In my view, it's okay to occasionally embrace
> closed-source as a means to expose more people to open-source. Failing
> to do so has a tendency to leave us labeled as zealots, which are
> often ignored.

That's the point, I think most of us agree with you :)


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