Friday, September 24, 2010

Restructure for the sake of progress.

There has recently been a lot of chatter about the future of Fedora, vision statements, goals, progress and where to go from here. I would like to voice my opinion on the topic and for all who disagree please let me know why and voice your solution because I am always open to new ideas and I am definitely not saying this is the only way to continue or to solve the current issues but its the idea I had.

First off, what's the problem? Well from my perspective there are a few but I only want to focus on a couple right now: There's a lack of focus which makes marketing really difficult as there are so many things to promote and we have such a breadth of innovation wrapped up together offering a multitude of solutions which is confusing for newcomers. This is something I would like to think that we as a project aren't fond of. Others might have opinions of what they think are problems and they might very well be problems, but these are the ones that I personally think I can offer an idea for solution.

Our lack of focus is pure marketing pain: This rounds out a bit of the recent talks about Vision Statement which I'm not against as many appear to be and I think the blog post from Thorwil nails this right on the head. What can we do, where can we go and how do we do it without breaking up the community? My proposal for this is to continue the Fedora Project in a similar manner as it is going now but to migrate a little on how the Fedora Distribution is handled. I think we as a group should focus on the concept of a "Fedora Experience" and ask ourselves "What makes Fedora, Fedora?" I think we need to strip out a lot of our ambiguity for the official Fedora Distribution. Lets get rid of the KDE LiveCD, lets throw out the Spins, and lets let the Fedora Distribution focus purely on the default Gnome offering along with all that entails as a start to finish desktop experience, the "Fedora Experience". Now before you get angry and want to throw me to the sharks please just read on and save the flame mob until the end. I just don't see a way to be able to carry on the way we are while continuing to grow adoption. If we refocus on just one installation of one environment then we are decreasing the strain of the documentation team, the QA team, release engineering, the design team, the marketing team, and others who partake in the wonders of the Fedora Distribution as we've stripped out the ambiguity of "Its Fedora because it came from" or "It's Fedora because its all one package repository" and we just focus on one environment.

"But Adam, you're just pissing people off and they will leave the project"

This is true and this is false, this is inevitable and its completely avoidable, this is heavily a loaded statement. My idea is that we will restructure ourselves into forking off brands who operate under the same parent project, The Fedora Project. The idea is that those of us interested in KDE (or $other) will break off and make "Kepi Linux" (random name I selected for sake of example) and what is Kepi Linux? Kepi Linux is a distribution of linux focused on delivering a KDE centric experience that is based on the Fedora Project, it is a brand. I'd like to take a moment to quickly direct everyone's attention to Steve Yegge's talk at OSCON 2007 it's only about 25 minutes but if you don't have that kind of time the jist is, "The look, feel, packaging, and naming of a product, i.e. the brand, is more powerful than the function." I want people to take that and think about it hard for a moment because as much as you'd like to argue it at first, when you mull it over you know its true in at least some capacity. So back to the Kepi Linux example, now we have this new brand, new identity, and new outlet that packagers and developers can come together an work on that allows the specific group to focus on their own space. Essentially the KDE SIG within the Fedora Project would be the driving force behind Kepi Linux. As long as it is structured such that we are still using the same package repository, still using the same build environment, same bugzilla instance (maybe with some changes for branding), the same account system, continue contributing code, content, and packages to the same project and still share the same over all goal of leading the advancement of free, open software and content then I think we can still as the community at large stick together while being slightly more focused on our own areas (brands).

This idea probably isn't perfect and I understand that a paradigm shift like this would require a *LOT* of work from a lot of people but I think it would be a positive change in the long run. If we were to make Kepi Linux we could even have an "About Us" page that describes how we are the KDE SIG and that Kepi Linux is a sub project of the Fedora Project but is different from the Fedora Distribution, this way we are removing the confusion from new users because if they want Fedora and they go to there is one option, period. We are removing the over saturation of the Fedora brand which I like to think will result positively.

Just my thoughts on the topic, take them for what you will.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Personal Priority Queue

There comes a day when I realize that I've found myself drowning long enough that something has to give. I contain only a certain amount of cycles that can only perform so many instructions within a finite amount of time. Sadly, no matter how much sleep I try and do without, I can't keep up or catch up and its time I enact a priority queue with my time.

Lets take a quick rundown of what gets higher priority and renice what is in need of it. First and foremost is my family, period. Highest priority is obviously set to my family. Then we make our way down the chain to the essential tie between my day job and graduate school. We'll apply them equal priority. Following that we can lump in randomness and hobbies with equal priority but the only thing I really want to discuss is Fedora. I love Fedora, I love working on Fedora and I wish I could work on it all day, everyday but a sad reality is that Fedora doesn't pay the bills and Fedora doesn't land me a Masters Degree (though I do try to incorporate Fedora into my assignments in my graduate courses when ever it is applicable).

What does this mean? Am I leaving Fedora? First off, I don't think I will ever leave Fedora because I believe in it too much and I love the community, what it stands for, and the efforts that are put into the project by it. However, I am going to have to scale back my time allotment which means I'm going to have to be more conservative with my excitement as it has gotten my hands in many pots and stretched me too thin ultimately causing my current predicament. I wanted to be able to contribute to Fedora in every way I am capable but the unfortunate fact is that I just can't pull it off. My problem is that I get too excited about too many different aspects of Fedora and I want to contribute all I can. I want to be a part of Fedora Design, Fedora QA, Fedora Ambassadors, Fedora Python SIG, Fedora Java SIG, Fedora KDE SIG, Fedora XFCE SIG, Fedora Desktop Team, Fedora Cloud SIG, Fedora ARM SIG, and other areas of the Fedora project that I find extremely interesting. Here I sit trying to find a way to keep up and I can't, I just can't. I will continue to maintain my packages and hang out in irc as much as possible but beyond that I am going to have to attempt to gracefully duck out of my other Fedora endeavors until I can find the time to really get back in the mix. I thank you Fedora, as a project and a community for offering such a cultivating and welcoming arena with so many outlets that I find so interesting that I want to dive in head first. I must take care of some other aspects of life right now but you will always be near and dear. In hopes that I am able to dive in full swing at a later date, I bid you all good luck and will continue to lurk around. :)