Monday, November 09, 2009

Community and the Loyalty that follows.

I would like to start with a statement: I eat, sleep, and breath Fedora.

In my time within the Fedora community I've grown to love everything that the project is and stands for. Its offered me opportunities to learn new things and give back to the community as I am able to. I've also grown a large amount of loyalty to the project. There's another aspect of the Fedora world that is disjoint but still very closely related: RedHat.

I am a RedHat Enterprise Linux administrator by day, this is how I pay the bills. Though there is another part of that which I have grown into, the community. The RHEL and Fedora communities definitely merge at some point and its amazing to see. We see projects like EPEL[0] that attempt to broaden RHEL's horizons and past projects like Fedora Legacy[1] that attempted to bring the Fedora world a longer life span much like RHEL's. Disjoint but very much related.

Back to loyalty, I recently made a post[2] about RHEV being a failure becuase it required Windows in order to run the RHEV-M portion of the product and I was promptly chastised for it as you would expect any loyal community to do. I was spoken to by both RedHat community members as well as Fedora community members, including but not exclusive to some of those that bridge the gap, and at first I was defensive.

I had to step back and ask myself though, why be defensive? Have I not faught this fight before? Have I not defended the decisions of those within my community have made, just as these members are doing?

Then it dawned on me, I'm not being flamed or shunned. This is my community, these are my people and as I am theirs and they are simply trying to show me that I'm making a mockery of nothing.

I was upset because RedHat had released a product that required a Windows box in order to use the full feature set, but this is a temporary issue and there was no revert in functionality and nothing was being taken away from me. This was simply another example of the tried and true methods of RedHat purchasing an emerging company and opening their once closed software such that the world of F/OSS may benefit.

As our favorite Hello Kitty touting community member put it: "if Red Hat had never released the product you would not have access to the feature AT ALL. now you can access it with windows, and a little later with linux." She is absolutely correct.

Did I over react? Yeah, probably. Should I have? No, probably not.

This is where I find myself, as a loyal community member to both Fedora and RedHat. Even though I stand within these divides I somehow overlooked the processes I know and understand that must be taken. In my dayjob I know these enterprise decisions well, our vendors paint us the picture of the race to market constantly. So why do I get angry when RedHat does something that every other company does? I sometimes forget RedHat is a company and companies need to make money for themselves, for their shareholders, and just in general to move forward. I forget sometimes RedHat is a company because of their embrace into this community, their shared loyalty with their community, and their epic (yeah, that's right... I said epic) list of contributions to this community.

For sake of my loyalty, I apologize for my oversight towards the process.

In Fedora we trust.

-Adam


[0] https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/EPEL
[1] http://www.fedoralegacy.org/
[2] http://pseudogen.blogspot.com/2009/09/rhve-redhat-failure-not-soon-to-be.html

3 comments:

CelloFellow said...

Still have that Debian tatoo?

Adam Miller said...

CelloFellow: Yeah, I do and I still respect their project but I have a much larger and more publicly viewable Fedora tattoo planned as soon as I have the spare cash. :)

gregdek said...

Never apologize for questioning our decisions. There's a difference between loyalty and blind allegiance.

If you're not occasionally asking the hard questions, you're probably not paying close enough attention. :)