Red Hat / Fedora relationship (was: The Inquirier on F17)

Emanuel Rietveld codehotter at
Fri Jun 1 16:23:10 UTC 2012

On 06/01/2012 05:02 PM, Paul W. Frields wrote:
> On Fri, Jun 01, 2012 at 02:03:19AM +0000, "J├│hann B. Gu├░mundsson" wrote:
>> On 05/31/2012 03:27 PM, Paul W. Frields wrote:
>>> Red Hat people who contribute to Fedora are community too.  There's
>>> not a dividing line with the community on one side, and Red Hat on the
>>> other.

This is a very positive viewpoint and I'm glad that it gets expressed 
here and other places. Still, there are some ways, of course also due to 
history, in which the Fedora Project and Red Hat are not completely 

Red Hat ultimately controls the Fedora trademark and the Fedora domain 
names, and pays for the Fedora infrastructure. What is shown on Fedora 
websites, and what is called Fedora, is ultimately under Red Hat 
control. This leaves Red Hat in an unique 'negotiation position' for 
influencing the direction of the project that other contributors do not 

Complete independence would mean that the trademark, domain names, and 
infrastructure are under the control of a legally and functionally 
separate entity, which is donation funded. I am not necessarily taking 
the position that such an arrangement would be beneficial to Fedora, 
just saying that such a level of independence would be subtly, yet 
significantly, different from the current situation.

It would take explicit marketing effort from both Red Hat and Fedora 
Project for 'the public' to see Fedora as larger than Red Hat; to see 
Red Hat as a community member, a small contributor, working to the 
larger whole of Fedora. Especially considering that this is, in several 
important senses, not true.

Let's take a step back. Most of the negative influence of the Red Hat 
relationship on the Fedora brand is the idea that Fedora is a lower 
quality product than RHEL, which Fedora is eventually 'distilled to'. 
That perspective is crucial for Red Hat's business positioning, and is 
probably true for Red Hat's customers, but it is not true in general.

Fedora and Red Hat serve vastly different purposes, and for many 
purposes, RHEL is the inferior product. To whom is Fedora the better 
quality product and do those users read the inquirer?

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