[Fedora-marketing-list] What Is Fedora's Prime Directive?

John Mahowald jpmahowald at gmail.com
Thu Aug 3 18:25:42 UTC 2006

On 8/3/06, Rahul <sundaram at fedoraproject.org> wrote:
> Hi
> We are currently having a board discussion on how we handle updates
> better.  I would like to respond to this article after that we some
> concrete decisions in place. Meanwhile comments are welcome.
> http://blog.eweek.com/blogs/eweek_labs/archive/2006/08/02/12050.aspx
> Rahul
> --
> Fedora-marketing-list mailing list
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> https://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/fedora-marketing-list

A thought-provoking opinion.

My response:

Fedora users are free to use whatever software they like, including
proprietary software. This necessarily will involve some hassle when
Fedora ships 100% open source. I can see how the break proprietary
video drivers with an update is inconvenient. However, holding back
7.1 is about the only thing that Fedora can do, and that holds the
update schedule back. To get the latest and greatest upstream we can't
wait for proprietary vendors all the time. The impression of not
caring is reinforced when you emphasize that you are on your own with
regards to proprietary drivers.

I personally use those proprietary drivers on occasion, and I am
resigned to them not working when certain update occur. Which is
unfortunate. What I really wish would be for nVidia to follow xorg
updates as closely as Fedora does, but I doubt they will do that.

I would like a better definition of "stands on its own". Without Red
Hat infrastructure, engineers, and leadership there would be no Fedora
Project. Yes the goal is for community partnership, which has been a
slow process so far. Yet I would argue that Red Hat having a corporate
interest in the project drives innovation.

As to a "cloud hanging over it", I don't get the impression that there
is some malicious agenda. What's Red Hat going to do, take all Fedora
and make it proprietary? Won't happen, it's open. Even with RHEL you
can get the source of that and rebuild it, as CentOS did.

The Prime Directive? Whatever you want it to be. The goal is for as
many people as possible to take and use Fedora as they wish. The
project also is in some respects a meritocracy, like other open source
projects. Red Hat controls it by working on it. If, say, IBM were to
have several hundred engineers work on Fedora they would probably gain
similar control.

As to the desktop Linux world, if it's good and open source we want it
in Fedora somehow. Beagle desktop search is in Fedora due to mono
being developed elsewhere. I also have seen people run Novell's new
main menu on Fedora (which I hope to see in Extras sometime).

As to CentOS stealing Fedora's purpose, CentOS would't be there
without RHEL, and RHEL is based off of Fedora. I don't see this is
stealing purpose, I see it as an inexpensive alternative to those who
want the slower schedule of RHEL without the costs. Often this is for
servers. Fedora workstations and CentOS servers make a powerful, and
no cost, combo.

There were significant logistical problems to a Fedora Foundation, as
has been discussed at length before. I don't view it as Red Hat
aborting attempts to give up control, rather their level of support
didn't fit in to the standard non profit system. And as far as I can
tell OpenSUSE doesn't have a foundation either.

I can see how some don't like that Red Hat would profit though their
Fedora contributions via RHEL. It pays the project's bills, however.
And I have no problem with them contributing to a non profit organized
distribution if that's what they want. Especially if everybody is
contributing stuff back to the open source community.

In short, Fedora is a 100% open source project that moves rapidly to
bring innovative software to people. Indirectly, some of those people
are Red Hat's paying customers. Due to this, proprietary video drivers
among other things regrettably make things harder for end users. And
there is some confusion as to what Fedora is about because it is
different things for different people, compared to Ubuntu which is
commonly thought of as a desktop.

Throughout all this your freedom to take Fedora where you want remains secure.

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