5tFTW: Council Elections, Flock, Workstation Focus, Atomic, and Improving the Join Process (2014-11-14)
mattdm at fedoraproject.org
Fri Nov 14 17:05:40 UTC 2014
Reposted from <http://fedoramagazine.org/5tftw-2014-11-14/>.
Fedora is a big project, and it’s hard to keep up with everything that
goes on. This series highlights interesting happenings in five
different areas every week. It isn’t comprehensive news coverage — just
quick summaries with links to each. Here are the five things for
November 14th, 2014:
Fedora Council Elections
We are in the “campaign season” (okay, “campaign week”) for the first
general election for representatives for the new Fedora Council. (If you
haven’t been following, see the Council charter on the Fedora Wiki.
The “Coda” in that document should answer most of your questions, and if
you have others, please feel free to ask them.)
The five candidates are:
- Haïkel Guémar (number80)
- Pete Travis (randomuser)
- Michael Scherer (misc)
- Rex Dieter (rdieter)
- Langdon White (langdon)
(with IRC nicknames in parentheses).
Visit the nomination page for a brief-self introduction from each
candidate, and stay tuned for more from each (including an e-mail
interview to be published on Fedora Magazine at the beginning of next
Voting opens on the 18th, and will run for a week.
Flock to Rochester
Flock is our big annual conference for Fedora contributors and
developers, where we meet in person to share our work and develop plans
for the future. It alternates yearly between North America and Europe
(complemented by user-and-developer FUDCons in the APAC and LATAM
regions), and the location is chosen by a bid process.
The Flock planning team has announced the final selection of Rochester,
NY and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) as our location for
2015. Read the details, and take a look at the original bid if you’re
curious. (Note that the specific dates have not yet been finalized.
More to come!)
Fedora Workstation and the Target Audience
With last week’s beta announcement and its emphasis on the three
different “flavors” of Fedora that we’re promoting, we got a couple of
concerned messages on Fedora Magazine and social media, expressing
worry that the “software developer” target audience of Fedora
Workstation excludes non-developer enthusiast or even non-savvy desktop
So, here’s the deal: currently, Fedora is not really growing users.
(Despite some claims to the contrary, we’re not collapsing either, but
it’s basically flat.) We don’t have the resources for a mass market
push, and overall, trying to be all things to all people ends up being
not ideal for anyone. That’s not just a platitude — it’s hard for
designers to know what to design for, and we can’t do user testing or
quantify feedback in an actionable way without guidance on audience.
As I was thinking about this, the article "If you want to follow your
dreams, you have to say no to all the alternatives" came across one of
my newsfeeds, and it struck meas very relevant.
> People never want to do one thing. We want to do all the things. We
> simultaneously want to exercise and to learn Spanish and to go out
> for pizza. Our desires are countless, independent agents, working to
> nudge our beachball in their own selfish direction.
> And so usually, that ball is going nowhere. It’s controlled more by
> the terrain than by the will of what’s inside it.
That’s what we’re doing here; by focusing marking effort (and real
development resources) on a target we are confident we can solidly hit,
we’ll actually get there — with real user-base and ultimately project
growth. Then, in the future, we can expand even further from that
success into other areas.
That doesn’t mean that non-developer users are going to be left in the
cold, or excluded from Fedora. Developers are people too, and generally
want everything a normal human being would want from a desktop —
browsing the web, listening to music, editing photographs, and so on.
And we don’t want developers just using Fedora on work systems which
stay in an office — we want them using Fedora everywhere. From the
Fedora Workstation PRD, which describes the intended target in depth:
> While the developer workstation is the main target of this system and
> what we try to design this for, we do of course also welcome other
> users to the Fedora Workstation. In fact many of the changes and
> improvements we expect to implement for developers will be equally
> beneficial to other user segments, for instance our plans around
> multi-screen handling and improved terminal functionality should also
> be highly beneficial to a system administrator. Or the work we are
> doing to provide a high performance graphics workstation would be
> useful to people who want a linux gaming PC. Or a student who just
> want a system with a productivity suite to write their papers will of
> course get benefit from the fact that we do ship a good productivity
> suite. We will welcome feedback and request from all our users and
> try to accommodate it as long as it doesn’t negatively impact our
> developer target group and we have people available who have the time
> and ability to work on the requests.
Without this kind of focus, we end up with what I like to refer to as a
“bag of bricks” style distribution, where we have all the parts, and
users are asked to put together their own favorite configuration. That
turns out to not *actually* be a distribution for everyone at all — it
inherently makes a niche of people who like to tinker with their
system. But, I think **we actually serve those people really well no
matter what the marketing is**. That’s an essential part of Fedora, and
there is no plan to take it away. Take a look (or look back, if you’ve
seen it already) at my DevConf.cz 2014 presentation on Fedora.next, and
especially the “Lego vs. Playmobil section.
As I say at the top of every 5tFTW, Fedora *is* a really big project.
Even more so than an individual person’s brain, we *are* like a ton of
bees going in all sorts of directions. But, unlike the
motivational-speaker analogy, we’re not really missing out on anything
if someone wants to work in their own time on a part of the project
which isn’t directly aligned with the overall objectives, that’s
actually awesome (as long as it isn’t directly in conflict, of course).
Also, don’t forget that Fedora isn’t just a desktop distribution and
never was. With new emphasis on Fedora Server, we’re bringing that out
from under the carpet. And Fedora Cloud (and Atomic) give us a foothold
in important new areas of innovation. These *are* different directions,
but the Fedora.next plan is to separate them as much as possible so
that the metaphorical bees in each one can succeed independently.
I hope this helps clear things up; I’ll be happy to discuss further
here or anywhere. I think that this direction for Fedora Workstation is
going to yield great results for *everyone*, even people outside of the
direct target. However, if it doesn’t end up being the desktop for you,
that’s fine — we’ve got a *great* KDE spin, plus Xfce, MATE, and so on.
Fedora Atomic Test Builds
The Fedora Atomic team and the Cloud Working Group didn’t quite have
everything lined up for the Fedora 21 Beta release, and as Atomic is a
“non-blocking” tech preview for this release, that didn’t hold up the
whole process. We now have nightly builds of Atomic images that are
close to what’s planned for the final F21 release at the beginning of
December. We’ll update the “get pre-release!” website soon, but in the
meantime, launch in Amazon EC2 or download a qcow2 directly from our
build system. (Note that these images are meant for cloud environments
and require some tweaking if you want to run them stand-alone in a
If you’re looking to try out Fedora 21 *inside* Docker containers, note
that the “21” tag on the Docker Hub has been updated to F21 beta
(thanks to Lokesh Mandvekar), using the official bits from Fedora
release engineering. Spin up the Fedora Atomic image (in OpenStack or
EC2) and run
sudo docker run -t -i fedora:21 /bin/bash
and marvel at Fedora 21 running in a container inside Fedora 21!
Improving the Fedora Join Experience
Fedora contributor Sarup Banskota gave a talk at our Flock developer
conference this summer titled “The curious case of Fedora Freshmen (aka
Issue #101)”. The talk covered general issues with joining an open
source project and Fedora in particular, and suggested that we treat
this like we treat software bugs — find the problems and fix them.
Sarup has now written a post proposing some improvements to our Join
Fedora web documentation, including sketches of mock-up designs. Take a
look and offer feedback. If you’re a newcomer to the Fedora Project
yourself, or are thinking about it, improving our onboarding process
might itself be a good starting point!
Matthew Miller mattdm at mattdm.org <http://mattdm.org/>
Fedora Project Leader mattdm at fedoraproject.org <http://fedoraproject.org/>
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