"Workstation" Product defaults to wide-open firewall

Matthew Miller mattdm at fedoraproject.org
Mon Dec 8 22:07:15 UTC 2014

On Mon, Dec 08, 2014 at 03:20:30PM -0500, Mike Pinkerton wrote:
> burning your old market when trying to grow a new one.  From a
> marketing standpoint, that is just crazy.  In a for-profit company,
> where products are connected to revenue streams, it would be a "you
> just bet your career" move which nine times out of ten you would
> lose.

The classic Innovators Dilemma actually posits that the reverse
situation is _worse_. (For the record, I don't think we're at that
crisis point — but we could be, because the computing world is

But also, we get into the even _more_ classic parable of the blind
people and the elephant — and the recent thread about metrics. You have
a strong idea of what the primary "classic" Fedora userbase is, and I
have a slightly different one, and I think if we ask the room, we'll
get a dozen different answers. We do need better real knowledge of our
user base — both current and future. Any efforts into improving that in
a meaningful way are very welcome. (And that includes this
conversation; just because I don't necessarily agree doesn't mean I'm
not listening.)

> In recent years Fedora has been known primarily as a secure by
> default Gnome desktop OS.  To suggest that anyone interested in a
> secure by default Gnome desktop OS should have to resort to a
> not-yet-existent spin is to admit that you are abandoning your
> current market in search of greener fields elsewhere.

I don't actually think we're abandoning anyone, here. In my experience,
the classic Fedora user is relatively savvy, or else leans on friends
who are. They tend to take the various parts of the project they like
and shape it — and whether something is on or off by default isn't a
huge concern. (I have a whole checklist of items that I like a certain
way on my system that I'm definitely not going to try to make the
default, and that's fine.)

We could have decided to double-down on growing that enthusiast
segment, but, first, that's not what the people who showed up to do the
work decided; and second, I actually think we continue to serve the
hackers and tinkerers very nicely with the spins and nonproduct option.
What we're not doing is expanding

I also think you're also kind of setting up an argument against
something no-one is for. "Secure by default" is a not a well-defined
term, and while I'm digging up chestnuts, let me refer to the
powered-off server, which is in a locked box, which is sunk to the
bottom of the ocean — ahhh, finally secure. Whether you agree or not,
reasonable people argue that a host-based packet filter isn't really a
meaningful increase in security. I don't think we're _really_ leaving
the security emphasis behind.

I *will* talk to the designers about plans for presenting the zone
information in a different way. I personally am conscientious about
setting my coffeeshop wifi to "public" — but I know why and where to
dig for it. Making that more discoverable and usable would be a
meaningful improvement.

> Perhaps the Workstation team thought that opening up the firewall
> defaults was the best compromise.  I disagree.  Perhaps a better
> compromise would have been to leave the old defaults in place, and
> add a new pre-configured "more open" zone for those who want fewer
> constraints.AAAA

Wait, my last paragraph was a great end to a long message :) but I need
to also add: please take a look at the actual implementation. The above
suggestion is _exactly_ what was done.

Matthew Miller
<mattdm at fedoraproject.org>
Fedora Project Leader

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