Fedora.next in 2014 -- Big Picture and Themes

Josh Boyer jwboyer at fedoraproject.org
Thu Jan 23 18:26:22 UTC 2014

On Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 1:03 PM, Thorsten Leemhuis <fedora at leemhuis.info> wrote:
> Verbose: Yes, I really think the Fedora needs changes -- at some point
> a few years ago we mostly continued to do things as they have "always"
>  been done (read: since Core and Extras merged), without thinking if
> those ways are still the best.
> So I welcomed Fedora.next in the beginning. But I, as someone that is
> not involved very much in Fedora any more, still fail to fully grasp
> it. Yes, there are many mailing list or blog posts and some docs in
> the wiki. But most of them are really way too long for people that
> have busy days; a lot of those docs are also quite "meta",
> nevertheless afaics failing to give a goal. Take
> https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Fedora.next for example. It more a
> description of a vague idea without saying much concrete besides
> "design, build, and market three distinct Fedora products" (what is a
> Fedora product?). There are a few links there, but even
> https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Fedora.next/boardproposal is still
> quite meta for something which is supposed to be the base for a
> release that is eight months or so away. It doesn't explain what
> problems are being solved or what happens to spins (KDE and such) or
> how often (according to current plans) Fedora will be released in the
> future.

You make a fair point.  There are many unanswered questions around
Fedora.next (like spins?).  Asking those questions or pointing out
inconsistencies does help though :).

> What really gives me the creeps on those pages: "sub-committees of
> FESCo, with individual governance structures". Those afaics are three
> Product Working Groups Workgroups, two Fedora Rings Working Groups and
> the Inter-WG for coordination. That sounds like a awful lot of
> overhead an even more bureaucracy than we already have. And we imho
> have way to much already (part of it is my fault!) – something I had
> hoped Fedora.next would try to fix.

It is more overhead to a degree.  On the other hand, the idea is to
enable people that are interested in specific areas to go forth and
create a Fedora deliverable that they think meets the needs of those
areas best, without having to pass everything through FESCo.  FESCo
just doesn't scale like that.

> I these days wouldn't start contributing to Fedora, as all those rules
> and guidelines that the wiki provides would scare me off. That's what
> Fedora.next should fix imo, as we afaics need more contributors: I
> more often than a few years ago find packages in Fedora that are badly
> maintained or outdated. Contributing must be as easy as editing a

The packaging guidelines are very daunting.  Automating as much of
that as possible, either through spec creation tooling or package
review tooling would help.

> wikipedia page. Further: kororaproject.org, fedorautils-installer and
> similar project show that there are people that want to make Fedora
> better. But they do their work outside of Fedora and RPM Fusion;
> fixing the issues directly at the root would be better for all of us.

Small note:  The two projects you use as an example are required to do
what they're doing (in part) outside of Fedora for legal reasons.  I
don't believe Fedora.next will change how US law works, so it might
not be the best of examples.

(And we have a Board meeting to discuss related things that are not
legally prohibited.)

> And I really wonder if Fedora.next is really backed by those community
> contributors that are not involved in Fedora to deeply. One reason for

I wonder the same.  However, I don't think it's because we haven't
necessarily asked in all of the usual places, or haven't tried to
reach as many people as possible.  There has been very little response
from anyone and I can't tell if it's from indifference or from a lack
of them even being aware.  It's really hard to tell.

> that: Fedora.next mails like the one I'm replying to seem to get very
> few responses -- especially considering the fact that Fedora.next is
> something really important and brought to a list where small details
> quite often spawn very long discussions. Sometimes it's different --
> like the ongoing and long "3rd party and non-free software"
> discussion. That shows that a lot of people still care, but don't
> bother follow to closely what the workgroups discuss before it someone
> gets to a point where it's more visible.

Yes, that thread shows a lot of people caring.  However, those people
are still people that I consider "core contributors".

> That's why I got the feeing a lot of contributors are simply waiting
> for more concrete details to emerge before deciding what to make of
> Fedora.next; or they simply at all don't care to much what the higher
> ups do, as getting involved on that level can cost quite a lot of time
> and can be frustrating (that's not a complaint, that's simply how it
> is often; wasn't much different in my days, but noticed that more when
> I wasn't that active an more myself).

If they are waiting, what are they waiting for?  If they don't care,
and they just want to maintain a package or 30 packages, is there
anything that you see in Fedora.next that would prevent them from
doing that?  There will always be varied level of participation, and I
think we need to have a development model that encourages that and
allows for growth.  I don't think Fedora.next gets in the way of that,
but I would love to have other opinions.

> I have many more thoughts in my head, but I'll stop here, as those are
> basically the most important things that bother me right now when
> looking at Fedora and Fedora.next.

They're great thoughts/questions.  I hope this dialog continues,
because I think things like this will help those driving Fedora.next
shore up the weak points in the proposals.


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