A question to this list regarding Fedora as a Product

Nelson Marques 07721 at ipam.pt
Sat Feb 20 18:23:19 UTC 2010

On Sat, 2010-02-20 at 11:53 -0500, Paul W. Frields wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 03:18:03PM -0500, David Nalley wrote:
> > On Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 3:07 PM, Nelson Marques <07721 at ipam.pt> wrote:
> > >  From what I could understand, two goals to reach:
> > >
> > >  - Increase the number of Fedora users
> > >  - Increase the number of Fedora contributors
> > 
> > Well I'd say that's a misconception.
> > Fedora is concerned with growing it's contributor base and advancing
> > the state of free software.
> > 
> > Fedora isn't at all concerned with the "getting mindshare above all
> > else" type of mentality that most orgs have. While we want and like
> > users, I don't think that we actively try and seek out what people
> > want as driving our decisions.
> At the same time, though, we're trying to identify places where we are
> actually *driving away* users.  Through more attention to these
> problems and the many easy fixes we could put in place, we can do
> better on both of the goals Nelson mentions.
> Our aim is not to carpet-bomb the planet with CDs, nor to just
> accumulate fans.  We prefer to define and follow more sustainable
> practices, aided by strong engineering and good upstream partnership
> with the projects creating important and innovative software.

 My idea is not to change how Fedora operates neither boss people
around. I shouldn't go technical on this one but this is important to
mention, and it's about segmentation. It is important to segment your
audience (doesn't mean you need to change your product). Keep in mind
that Fedora is aimed for a international community, and that very
community has different goals and perceives value (from Fedora) in a
different way from individual to individual. You need to segment your
communication, else it won't work. 

 There are other things that Fedora has that need some work, I'll point
two of them that need a lot of work at communication level:

 - SELinux (being rivaled by Novell's AppArmour)
 - Red Hat FOSS drivers (check the output of several communities about
this news, ex: slashdot threat).

 The last one points clearly for several types of users, those who don't
really need outstanding 3D performance, and those who explore this
subject on a more technical point of view and show different advantages.

 Threads like the one on Slashdot could be avoided if there was good
communication around that topic. Another disruptive fight is going
around GNOME and gnome-shell vs gnome-panel.

 All of this could be sorted out by marketing. Those who believe that
Marketing is a sales force, are completely wrong. Marketing has the most
powerful diagnose tools at it's service for issues like this one. See it
this way: If you are sick, you search for a doctor for a diagnose and
then you get a set of conditions to fulfill in order to improve your
situation. An organization should use Marketing not only to support
sales, advertising and so on, but to diagnose as well itself and it's
product in order to achieve it's goals. Marketing might provide a good
set of procedures to improve it.

 Everyone forgets a single point, Fedora at some point promotes the
technology created by it's sponsor Red Hat. If you fall back in users
related to other distributions supported by Red Hat competitors,
eventually in a 10/15 year time frame, all this users that are currently
using other distro's will hit the market, and they will flavour as their
tools those they work for a long time.

 I might have a degree on Marketing and not on Engineering, which
doesn't mean I've worked years packaging software the former Center of
Telecommunication Studies in Portugal (nowadays Portugal Telecom
Innovation S.A.).
 I used SuSE back then at home, and was forced to work with Red Hat, and
since then I'm far more comfortable with Red Hat/Fedora than with SuSE
itself. If I needed to choose between distro's taking productivity in
mind, I would go Red Hat for sure because of the strong background I
have with it.

 This will apply to the users that somehow people want to neglect.
Eventually the Industry and it's professionals at a later stage will
reflect what we do today.

 The higher the number of users, the better it will serve Fedora and
it's sponsors in the future. I might be wrong on this.

 To finish, people can't expect to keep a community if we don't provide
them challenges and if we don't incentivate them to cooperate. By
statements like: 

"I don't think that we actively try and seek out what people want as
driving our decisions." 
 We are doing exactly what we shouldn't, marginalizing the users. We
don't have to be driven by what people want, but we should try to
understand their needs and provide the right communication segmented for
them in order that we can offer them a product that they recognize value
on it.

 Expectation > Satisfaction = Loose situation
 Satisfaction > Expectation = Win Situation (and you can only achieve
this if you don't neglect your users and if you understand then, and
most important of all, if we can answer to their needs).

 From the marketing point of view, Quality is not achieved by security,
stability or whatever, it comes as easy as:

 Quality = Expectation - Satizfaction

 Positive = Quality 
 Negative = No Quality

 This is how users perceive Quality. If we can asnwer them accordingly,
I would believe that everyone has something to win, Fedora as a
community, Fedora as a Product, Red Hat as a sponsor and technology
enabler and above all, all users.

 Keep in mind the following as it is always true:

 Organization Goal: Profit (might come in different flavours,
capital/finantial profit, social profit, etc), for Fedora community I
would recon it would translate better into social profit.
 Organization Means: Product/Service (always)
 Organization Target: People (always)
 People/Consumers/Users, whatever is always the key element. Neglecting
their role on this "symbiotic ecosystem" is not wise.

 There is no point in being a King without people to rule.


 PS: This is a personal opinion, nothing more, nothing less.

> -- 
> Paul W. Frields                                http://paul.frields.org/
>   gpg fingerprint: 3DA6 A0AC 6D58 FEC4 0233  5906 ACDB C937 BD11 3717
>   http://redhat.com/   -  -  -  -   http://pfrields.fedorapeople.org/
>           Where open source multiplies: http://opensource.com

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