In the news: Zarafa

Robyn Bergeron robyn.bergeron at
Tue Apr 20 20:37:10 UTC 2010

On Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 12:41 PM, Paul W. Frields <stickster at> wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 09:04:28AM -0700, Adam Williamson wrote:
>> So, Zarafa is getting a lot of press attention:
>> some of it is fairly unflattering:
>> I'm a bit uncomfortable with this myself; the availability of Zarafa in
>> Fedora seems to be being read in ways in which we certainly didn't
>> intend it (as an aspect of commercialization, as some kind of Red
>> Hat-parachuted feature and hence an indication of RH's future
>> directions, etc).
>> I'm wondering if perhaps we should pull Zarafa's mention as a 'feature'
>> of Fedora 13, or if not that, then certainly develop a more coherent
>> story about its inclusion, what it's for, why it's in Fedora, and the
>> whole 'open core' angle on it...
>> What do people think?
> As some others noted, I think pulling the feature is unwarranted.  At
> least part of the compelling story around Zarafa is that it's included
> because a volunteer took advantage of our open, community process to
> get a cool piece of software into the distribution.  This happens
> quite a lot, and deja-dup is another good example.  But that story
> wasn't clear in the talking point, so I've corrected it for future
> reporters who only read the talking point.
> Comparing Deja-Dup and Zarafa in Fedora to something like Ubuntu's
> Ubuntu One music store is comparing apples to oranges.  The Fedora
> Project has no commercial agreements with these companies and receives
> no money for them.  They're provided because volunteers decided they
> brought worthwhile solutions to users with 100% FOSS.

What I find troubling about the article is that he's not - as we did,
on the mailing list when discussing the Zarafa feature - talking about
the "open-core" thing.  He's basically talking about being troubled
because Fedora is becoming "commercialized."

This is akin to arguing with someone about whether or not a Wal-Mart
should go into their neighborhood. Some people are for it - "new jobs!
lower cost goods!"; some will be against it - "They'll put all the
locals out of business!"  Other people will just argue against it
because.... hating Walmart is anti-establishment, and being
anti-establishment is cool.  In this case - no commercialization is
"cool" - and he doesn't provide any significant underlying reasons
why, other than he believes that open source should be a refuge from

The fact is - more and more companies are producing open source
products.  Personally, I could care less if a product going into
Fedora is created by aliens from another planet, provided that the
product itself - or in this case, the version/edition of the product -
is adhering to Fedora's core values, has appropriate licensing, and so
forth.  We should not put ourselves in the practice of excluding
features that would be valuable and useful to our user base - not to
mention, products that had significant community effort, and are
appropriately free and licensed - simply because
$CompanyThatMakesMoney(orAtLeastSpendsMoney) put effort into it.

I think we made the right call - and I don't think we should backtrack.

> Also, I've dropped a comment at the article site, pushed a change to
> the BFO FAQ indicating clearly that BFO is not part of Anaconda
> itself.  That was the only location I could find that looked
> potentially unclear.
> --
> Paul W. Frields                      
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