Self-Introduction: James Blake

Karsten Wade kwade at
Mon Jun 21 01:40:15 UTC 2010

On Mon, Jun 21, 2010 at 12:14:05AM +0100, James Blake wrote:


Greetings and welcome.  You reminded me of an idea ... 

> I am hoping that my experience in the articulating the value of
> technical products and how they can be used, as well as the FOSS model
> and its place in cloud computing, will prove a benefit to the Fedora
> marketing team.  At work I spend a lot of my time assessing risk on
> our combined Linux, Mac OS and Windows real estate, I am particularly
> interested in how FOSS (including initiatives such as OWASP) can
> produce more secure software than commercial models.

Last February I gave a keynote at SCALE 8x[1] and I talked about the
history of SELinux with regard to Red Hat, Fedora, and RHEL.  (If you
check out the video below, I think that story was mostly caught though
some might have been lost in that the video recording was accidentally
stopped for a few minutes mid-speech.)

I told the story of how SELinux was successfully brought in as
technology, touched lightly on it's value, but also dove in to the
negative side.  When I talk with people who were Red Hat and
Fedora users for a long time but left, one of the the breaking points
I hear most often is "Fedora Core {2,3} when SELinux came out."  There
were some hard lessons learned about how to interact with a community
around a seriously disruptive technology -- mistakes we still make,
though.  (Some feel this way about other technologies, PulseAudio,

Today, if you look at Smolt statistics, you'll see that 33% of users
turn the default SELinux off.  That is quite a negative vote for a
technology that is rarely disruptive anymore, with exceptions.  A
certain portion of that 33% are people who were burned 10 releases ago
and still haven't forgiven us.

I told that story in my keynote, and someone in the audience observed,
"You have a marketing problem."

Darn right.

I'm wondering if there are two valuable things that could be done

1. A Fedora Marketing campaign around SELinux - why to leave it
   running.  Dan Walsh is a highly responsive developer, and we can
   offer very fast turnaround time on bug reports, etc.  The tooling
   is superior.  People are just filled with FUD.

2. Extrapolate from that for a framework on how to market about new,
   disruptive technologies.  Then when the folks doing e.g. 'systemd'
   want to get the word out to get more testing, etc., they can turn
   to Fedora Marketing to run a campaign from that framework.

That just tumbled out of my brain when I saw your skillset, interests,
and background.  Let me know if anyone has interest in going somewhere
with this.  If you do, you'll enjoy working with Dan Walsh. :)

- Karsten
name:  Karsten 'quaid' Wade, Sr. Community Gardener
team:                Red Hat Community Architecture 
gpg:                                       AD0E0C41
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