A question to this list regarding Fedora as a Product

Nelson Marques 07721 at ipam.pt
Mon Feb 22 18:59:30 UTC 2010

On Mon, 2010-02-22 at 09:10 -0500, Paul W. Frields wrote:
> On Sat, Feb 20, 2010 at 06:23:19PM +0000, Nelson Marques wrote:
> > 
> > 
> > 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.
> [...snip...]
> Nelson, you make some very good points in your email.  So my next
> question is, how would you personally like to help us improve our
> communications around SELinux and FOSS drivers?  I know there are
> other places we could improve communications, but since you pointed
> these two out, we have a good place to start.
> How would you propose to solve this problem, and can we count on your
> assistance to help make that solution a reality?

Hi Paul,

 I've submitted another threat for something I wanna do right now, the
SWOT Analysis for Fedora. This two topics are something that will be
present for sure.
 My suggestion for this issues is the following:

 - FOSS Drivers >> people with strong background knowledge and open
source fanatics do support this initiative. People with lower tech
background that only aim to 3D performance do heavy critics about
performance and they point a very valid reason from the "end user" point
of view, proprietary drivers do not represent costs for them, they are
freely available.
 My suggestion for this was that the communication should be addressed
to the community within 2 or 3 layers, something like:

 Layer #1 > the first impression, usually known in marketing environment
as the "elevator talk". A short attractive no technical speech promoting
it's benefits and grabbing their attention. We and to stimulate the
reader to look deeper in Layer #2. This first layer is just to call his

 Layer #2 > Provide a anti-message. Here we focus the development state
and pass on the information of the project goals, the efforts being done
by Red Hat (and other contributors if they exist) on this field. Provide
the important feedback and above all, we need to fit in some technical
details, not overwhelming  for the mainstream user and hit hard on the
benefits such project drops. End up the message with "Check technical

 Layer #3 > Dump a massive technical explanation and once more support
it by the long run benefits of this technology that is being developed.

 Related to this, I've seen people even mocking that one day Red Hat
will be doing FOSS Drivers and that hardware manufacturers won't even
have to write drivers. Wouldn't this be wonderful?

 About SELinux, I've worked with this technology before. Nowadays we
need to seek other "vendors" technology that targets to rival SE Linux.
SE Linux is a painful thing for non-technical users. We need to try and
break this gap. I am convinced that IT Professionals know it's
advantages, despite this, we should keep track if something like
Novell's App Armour (and other technology that rivals SE Linux) is
getting perceived by the users, so that we can do our communication to
answer their doubts.

 This email doesn't clearly answer your question for something we can do
in the short run, and it's not wise from my point of view to make it
stand high on the Fedora 13 release as we don't have time to work this
out in a safe way. My suggestion is that we start gathering technical
information so that we can process it and decide the highlights we want
to do based on what the rival products can offer.

 My suggestion is that our technical people could help us out on this,
in fact it's kinda mandatory they do, I speak for myself and I don't
have a strong background on this technology to do it alone.
 I think this is something that we should look with more concern after
Fedora 13 being released.

 Most people will remember all the fuss around Red Hat 7 release. For me
it's the best release from Red Hat (all times). Many people didnt
understood that it wasn't a compiler bug or a bad compiler. The software
being compiled itself explored several bugs from the compiler, which
rendered it uncompilable. This is the idea I got about it, thats what
happened right? (I would suppose so, because from the 100+ patches that
Red Hat made to GCC on that release, nearly all of them went into gcc
main tree right after). Back then communication failed to explain users
(specially non-technical users) what was really happening. SE Linux
doesn't fit for a metaphore, but FOSS Drivers are being misunderstood in
essence and substance like that famous GCC release on Red Hat 7.

 I would assume that Fedora 14 (13 is a weird number and is often
co-noted with bad things, norske mythology, Loki who deceived and killed
Balder, Christian culture, the betrayal of the 13th apostole, etc etc
etc) would be perfect to settle our communication on the FOSS driver
(and hopefully we'll have a lot more to show then, than now).

 We can use though Fedora 13 to check that segmented message and how it
will be taken by the users.

 I would ask from this list the following regarding this 2 issues:

 SE Linux > technology highlights, benefits for end users (non
technical), benefits for IT Professionals, benefits for enthusiasts and
old school BOFHS and other segments of the Fedora Community which are

 FOSS > Technology Highlights, value for normal users  (non-gaming),
value for IT Professionals. This message should also include a promise
to 3D demanding people (what would our engineers have to say about

 If we can gather objective information regarding this, we can still
process it and do a minor communication on Fedora 13 release. But I
would consider doing a full scale brainstorm only on F14, so we have
more time to conduct one or two studies.

 Do we have a survey operating platform ? This could us greatly to
collect information regarding our users. I understand the concern about
privacy, but we can advertise properly and call for interaction, in
fact, we need to be more active with the community.

 I hope this makes sense.


> -- 
> 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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