Let’s talk about Fedora Project objectives — why, how, and eventually what. Featuring thrilling ASCII diagrams!

Fedora Governance Logo

Fedora Magazine is written for a general Fedora audience and typically focuses on content for users rather than for contributors. This article is aimed primarily at contributors, but covers an important topic which ultimately affects everyone: the practical goals we aim for as a project, and how (and why) we select them.

One of the crucial duties of the new Fedora Council will be the selection of two to four 18-month objectives (and then finding people to own and drive each of them). Although the new body is not yet in place, this is to be a community conversation, so there’s no need to wait to start talking about what we want. (If this is new to you, you might want to read the Fedora Council charter and about upcoming community elections.)

A few months ago, the Fedora Board Discuss mailing list (which is for everyone including the board to discuss high-level policies, not just the the board talking amongst ourselves) had a good discussion about “winning”… that is, what success means for Fedora. Here, I’m presenting a structure intended to bring that to a more concrete level, so we have some things we can plan around and act on.

Presenting the Logic Model

Please bear with me for a minute while I bust out an ASCII diagram:

 /============+============+=============++=============+=============\
 |            |            |             ||             |             |
 | Resources  | Activities |  Outputs    || Outcomes    |   Impact    |
 |            |            |             ||             |             |
 +------------+------------+-------------++-------------+-------------+
 |What we     |What we do  |The direct   ||The specific | Mission and |
 |have: time, |with our    |products of  ||change in the| vision; our |
 |money, code,|resources   |our          ||world due to | long term   |
 |hardware... |            |activities   ||those outputs| effect      |
 +============+============+=============++=============+=============+
 | Things we can affect directly         || Out of our direct control |
 +============+============+=============++=============+=============+
 |           <----- planning flows right to left ---------<           |
 +============+============+=============++=============+=============+
 |           >------ effort flows left to right ---------->           |
 \+===================================================================/
Of course, in a largely volunteer organization like Fedora, we don’t just declare goals at the top and expect people to line up at the bottom. The goals have to align with what the community actually wants to do. But, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t — or don’t! — have goals, and it’s the role of the council to help discern and articulate those, and to inspire more people to join in work on them. Having a framework for this might even be more important than in a “command and control” organization.

Beautiful! This is what’s called an organizational logic model. I like it a lot, because it draws a meaningful connection from what we’re doing to what we want to achieve — and from what we want to achieve to what we’re doing. When we need resources for something, we can show stakeholders (sponsors for funding, volunteers for time, donors for hardware) the clear line to the expected big-picture result.

Mission and Vision

A lot of times, organizations draw up beautiful mission and vision statements, put them on the wall, and then do whatever makes tactical sense based on the feeling in the moment. Fedora may be guilty of that to some degree — I think we tend to focus on our outputs — the Fedora distribution, documentation, websites, etc., and skip the connecting step. If we don’t skip it, though, we’ll be able to accomplish even more with our limited resources.

Over on the right hand side, we have our long-term impact: the project mission and vision. These are defined on the project wiki: Mission and Vision Statement. The Fedora Project’s mission is to lead the advancement of free and open source software and content as a collaborative community, while the vision asks us to create a world where free culture is welcoming and widespread, collaboration is commonplace, and people control their content and devices.

Of course, we can revisit these whenever we like, but I think they’re basically sound and I don’t think we need to overdo the fundamental soul-searching.

That said, there are few updates to the current objectives which we might consider. For example, the create-a-distro objective could include description of new Fedora.next ideas, and I think that we should focus on building one Fedora community rather than on building communities in general. And I’m not sure that “developing the science and practice of building communities” is something we’ve been concerned with much lately — maybe that too should be folded into building our own community; or alternatively, something we need to expand work on. But, anyway, this is really a tangent. Like the mission and vision, I don’t think we need to mess with this much.

Objectives and Outcomes

We do have an existing list of project Objectives, which are further to the left (that is, the more concrete side of the chart) in the model. There are about three dozen specifics, falling under three high-level categories:

  • Creating a Free (as in Freedom) distribution
  • Building open source software communities
  • Developing the science and practice of building communities

These are pretty decent, but none have a timeframe attached — they are things we want to do continuously, and guidelines for how we want to do them, rather than things we want to accomplish. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we also need targets for “how much of what will be achieved by when“.

So, in the logic model framework, when we talk about our 18 month goals, we’re talking about Outcomes. Sometimes people break that box down into short-, medium-, and long-term goals, and we could do some of that if we want. For this conversation, the target is medium scale, and I think it’s fine to not overburden our own model with too many boxes.

Let’s zoom in on the top-right corner of the (did I mention, gorgeously-drawn?) ASCII diagram from above and fill in what we have:

 ====+===================================+============================\
 ... |              Outcomes             |            Impact          |
     +-----------------------------------+----------------------------+
 ... | 18 Month Goals:                   | Mission: to lead the       |
     |                                   |   advancement of free and  |
 ... |    1. _________________________   |   open source software and |
     |                                   |   content as a             |
 ... |    2. _________________________   |   collaborative community. |
     |                                   |. . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
 ... |    3. _________________________   | Vision: the Fedora Project |
     |                                   |   creates a world where:   |
 ... |. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .|  * free culture is         |
     |Ongoing Objectives:                |   welcoming and widespread,|
 ... | * Creating a Free (as in Freedom) |  * collaboration is        |
     |   distribution                    |   commonplace, and         |
 ... | * Building a open source software |  * people control their    |
     |   community                       |   content and devices.     |
 ====+===================================+============================+
 ... |                ...                |           ...              | 

Filling in those blanks is what this is all about. As explained in the Council charter, these will be refreshed on a continuous basis. Typically, we will make Flock, our annual planning conference, the “centerpiece” of this discussion (but always being mindful that final decisions can’t be made in a conference limited by time and space). However, with Flock just past, we don’t want this to drift in limbo until next year.

Next: Community Discussion

As I’ve mentioned previously, I have some ideas in mind for where to start (none of them surprising). I’ll post about those in individual threads on the Board Discuss mailing list over the next few days (and, given busyness with getting the F21 beta out the door, weeks). I encourage you to do the same, and comment and help improve everyone’s ideas. That way, by the time we have the initial Council in place, we’ll have a good collective idea of where to start and can seat a few of the Objective Leads quickly.

 


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20 Comments

  1. Cory Hilliard

    I know this is out of scope of the “Fedora project” but I’m kind of sick of Ubuntu stealing all of the thunder and lightening that the Fedora project has generated. Most of the innovation happens within this group. Some I agree with some I don’t, but it happens here for the most part.

    What I would like to see is a “Fedora-Like” distro that is funded by Red Hat that brings all the brilliance of the work created here to the desktop. (And not Fedora Workstation, because that isn’t the same thing I am talking about).

    Red Hat is losing massive marketshare to Ubuntu. People all over the place are building Ubuntu servers and Ubuntu whatever… but there is not a lot of contributions going back into Linux from the Ubuntu crowds.

    I see a major issues happening in the future. All these home users and newbie linux wannabe geeks will get used to Ubuntu then eventually all servers will be running Ubuntu and the thousands of people that have only used Ubuntu will continue to only use Ubuntu. This creates a huge issue in contributions and FUNDING loss to Red Hat.

    Someone needs to step up and give some direction to this major issue that is coming so fast you’re not going to even understand why Red Hat has lost it’s #1 position in the server arena.

    • Bill Chatfield

      I agree with this. Most people are going to Ubuntu, but Ubuntu is not innovative and does not give back to the community like Fedora does. But, what’s wrong with Fedora Workstation? One needs to build on one’s assets, not start over from scratch with something new. Fedora Workstation is good. What Ubuntu has is more polish, meaning that it looks prettier, more consistent, and you can change the colors of the desktop. Gnome follows Henry Ford’s quote in that customers can have any color as long as it’s black. Ubuntu is easier to use. Fedora Workstation needs to do user experience testing and act on the results of those tests, not force feed people things that do not work. The Ubuntu forums are also friendlier and have more information. So there are the problems that need to be solved.

    • I agree with what Nick says below about Ubuntu (although I do think Fedora everywhere would be great, of course).

      However, I do want to ask: can you articulate the specifics of your suggestion a little more? In what way isn’t Fedora Workstation the same thing?

  2. J. Smith

    I see Fedora/RedHat losing share because of lack of concentration on the current market mover, namely hand-held devices. Ubuntu understood that was where the momentum had shifted and moved their product into that space early. RedHat might be leading in cloud deployments, but in doing so has chosen a largely invisible market space.

    Fedora might be better served by changing the focus of its distributions to:
    1.) Cloud
    2.) Workstation
    3.) Handheld

    instead of
    1.) Workstation
    2.) Cloud
    3.) Server

  3. Canonical are not the enemy. Note the mission: “lead the advancement of free and open source software and content as a collaborative community”. The word “Fedora” isn’t in there – if that advancement ultimately happens through Debian, or Ubuntu, CentOS, or Android, or FirefoxOS, or ChromeOS, or openSuSE, or SuSE Enterprise Linux, or Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or Oracle Enterprise Linux, or Project Atomic, or CoreOS then that’s still *great*. The status quo in the vast majority of cases is still for folks to pay for proprietary hardware and software – open hasn’t won yet, not by a long shot.

    Winning doesn’t look like “everyone uses Fedora or Red Hat or CentOS, and all other distros disappear forever”. Winning looks like a thriving open source community, where users can choose to use open source software in a way that is well suited to their specific needs (as one size definitely doesn’t fit all), and where there are plenty of opportunities for developers to make a living contributing back to the infinitely replicable software commons.

    Yes, Ubuntu provided some new ideas for what a Linux distro could be. Give them credit for that, adopt the ideas that make sense (as Fedora.next does in some cases), and then keep working on building the commons for the benefit of the entire open source community, trying out different models to see what works and what doesn’t.

    • Cory Hilliard

      My point wasn’t in making Ubuntu the enemy (Although I’m not exactly a fan of the way Mark Shuttleworth deals with things)… my point is Red Hat puts money and resources into Linux and Open Source. If Ubuntu ends up winning the hearts and minds of the millions of users that are just learning Linux, then later on when those users become tomorrow’s computer geeks, all of the server business with then move to Ubuntu and Red Hat will lose money. Red Hat losing money means we all lose. All this freedom has a price tag on it and Red Hat year after year is the number one contributor to all this freedom we have… from what Mark Shuttleworth has shown he isn’t really interested in making Linux better, he’s more interested in spending money on his own pleasures and I’ve even read articles where he brags about taking all the Linux innovation and not having to pay anything for it.

  4. Cory Hilliard

    OK well… Fedora is a pure open sourced project. So having proprietary software has to be installed though 3rd party repos and usually for “beginners” this isn’t easy to do unless they know how. So even proprietary drivers installations are difficult too.

    Gnome 3 is a highly experimental GUI and it has been said to be difficult to use for the Windows converts. Cinnamon is a better choice. (still remains within the GTK3 family).

    Fedora still has a reputation of being unstable and experimental == bad for end user confidence and mocked by media for the longest time.

    RPM vs. DEB stupidity still exists most organizations are doing a DEB only release. Either RPM needs to catch up or something else needs to happen.

    The name “Workstation” makes it seem like it is a business only distro. So it seems like it doesn’t care about the home user/gamer… and I don’t think they actually do.

    I mean, there are tons of reasons why Fedora’s 3xdistro doesn’t fit a grampy/grammy end user distro.

    • Bill Chatfield

      Those are all good points!

      Proprietary software is still needed. But, it should not be in Fedora because that dilutes the principles on which it is based. What is needed is a user-organized effort to make it easier to add the needed proprietary software to a base Fedora install. We have that somewhat with 3rd party repositories. But, it needs to be easier for the new user to find and install. There is an opportunity there to provide a solution.

      Gnome3 is a problem. What is required here is to follow proper engineering processes. Do user experience/acceptance testing. Determine where the problems are and fix them. User interfaces are not to be dictated. User interfaces should enable users to do their work. That requires that the developers understand what their users are doing and testing the outcomes of their development with users, as opposed to ignoring their users.

      Fedora’s reputation as being unstable is unfortunately deserved. Gnome3 still crashes on my Fedora 20 system. I tolerate this because Fedora is cutting-edge and that’s what I want. I don’t think creating a new product will solve this. Building something completely new will involve even more instability. It is better to improve on what already exists because that is the shorter path to stability.

      I think rather than rpm vs deb, it is yum vs apt. I see that apt is more popular but at the same time, it is the worst choice. Yum has a much cleaner user interface. I think we’re getting distributions that use apt only because they’re based on Debian, not because they favor the apt tools.

      I agree that “Workstation” carries the wrong connotation. It is corporate-focused and that’s not what open source users are looking for. They want a personal system that is designed for personal use, like gaming, as you mentioned. Red Hat/Fedora seems to care more about corporate users than the people that actually use open source. This is a problem. Ubuntu understands this and is more individual-user focused than corporate focused.

      • Leslie Satenstein

        I have been a Fedora user since 2006. Fedora is a made and supported in USA product. Fedora cannot and will not mention all the add-ons that convert Fedora xx from a hobby system to Fedora xx+, a user system for accountants, writers, graphic designers, engineers, acutuaries, and so forth.

        Fedora 21 workstation, from what I understand, will have no net-install, where the base and the extras are listed for installation. This is a step backwards in trying to move Fedora from hobby system to a fully non-commercial respected product.

        Ubuntu is off-shore, Ubuntu includes copyrighted software, and from where Ubuntu originates, there are no applicable software patent laws. Software in the USA is patentable, and copyrightable, Software is not patentable in many non USA countries where RedHat is not incorporated. RedHat/Fedora act to not invite lawsuits.

        I for one have tested and standardized on using two offshore Fedora remixes, which have all the goodies that Fedora does not include. These two foreign remixes are subject to the laws in their incorporated countries whose laws that do not recognize software patents.

        The workspace is a good start for a desktop system, and I hope that the Fedora 21 remix that I use will be updated for December 2014, immediately following the day when Fedora21 is officially released.

        What needs to be done to allow goodies, is to incorporate a hands-off Fedora organization that is off-shore, say in Ubuntu’s backyard. What is good for Ubuntu will be good for Fedora.

        Until some software add-on rules improve, I consider Fedora a hobby system. If Red/Hat is losing clients to Ubuntu, they, Red/Hat directors know what to consider doing as a remedy.

    • Red Hat does a significant amount of market research and usability studies, and that research is largely directed at the vast majority of people who are not technology enthusiasts and may not even know any technology enthusiasts. While it’s not an outcome of that research per se, it makes sense for Fedora Workstation to be aimed primarily at software developers, as the home PC and even laptop markets are levelling out, with the prospect of significant further growth curtailed by the popularity of phones, tablets and gaming consoles.

      As a result, the non-technical users you’re concerned about here generally won’t be using Ubuntu either – they’ll be using platforms like Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, ChromeOS, or FirefoxOS, or the operating systems underpinning the XBox, Playstation and Wii gaming consoles. The consumer electronics market is a world that is largely dominated by the hardware manufacturers and cloud service providers – the vast majority of users buy devices and use whatever software and integrated services they come with rather than tinkering with it. Making “after market modifications” (like installing a new operating system) is the equivalent of making after market modifications to your car – the vast majority of folks won’t go anywhere near the idea not only because it will void their warranty, but also because the prospect simply isn’t attractive to them.

      Following the failure of “Ubuntu Phone” to garner sufficient interest, Canonical are still trying to play in this market as a pure software vendor (through Ubuntu Touch), and that’s their call, but the rise of open source and open communication protocols means that all the leverage lies with the hardware vendors (Apple, Samsung, etc) and cloud service providers (Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc), not the folks focused solely on providing the interface software that runs on the end user devices. Even Microsoft, with all their engineering resources, marketing might and installed user base, have barely made a dent in the market share of Android and iOS when it comes to touch based devices.

      This proliferation of client environments decoupled from server environments by standardised network protocols also plays a significant part in why the Environments & Stacks Working Group includes in its scope more involvement in hybrid development environments, where the platform used for development (e.g. Fedora, Ubuntu, Mac OS X, Windows) typically won’t match that used for continuous integration and deployment (e.g. CentOS, RHEL, OpenShift, Debian, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer).

      The idea of “develop on the same platform you’re deploying to” is a historical relic – local testing by developers is becoming a mere confidence test, before they push their code to the continuous integration systems that will check it against an environment much closer to the deployment target. This means that “Bring your own device” is now the preferred model for software development environements, and Fedora Workstation is aimed squarely at that audience, not at folks that would prefer to just buy a preintegrated device, rather than build their own from parts.

      In terms of what a Linux desktop focused on end users would look like, then it’s worth remembering that the general public have voted with their feet and made it clear that they genuinely like the preintegrated “device + operating system + app store” model, where the operating system provider takes care of providing a rich set of platform services and controlled interaction between applications, while developers focus on pushing applications up into a platform provider operated store.

      That’s where Valve’s upcoming SteamOS is actually one of the more interesting Linux based offerings currently under development – the games available on Steam for Linux help break the chicken-and-egg problem where users won’t adopt a system without applications they want, and developers won’t target a system without users they want to reach. Valve’s interest in managing the risks associated with Microsoft’s strangehold on PC gaming provides them with the incentives they need to invest in making Linux an attractive target for game developers. The creation of dedicated Steam Machines also means that more high end components are likely to work with Linux out of the box.

      Along those lines, folks that are really keen to see a Fedora product focused on non-technical users may want to consider submitting a “Fedora for Gaming” proposal. I’m not saying that would be an easy thing to pitch within the context of Fedora, but even if it ended up happening outside the scope of the main Fedora project, the notion of a system that relaxes some of the rules against closed source components in order to come preconfigured as a full-fledged Linux gaming platform is one that would likely garner some attention. That more focused vision also helps answers questions about who the target users are (i.e. a similar target audience to SteamOS), rather than having to balance those interests against the interests of the software developers targeted by Fedora Workstation.

  5. Cory Hilliard

    OK now that I have a bit more time I’ll explain everything I need to do when I install Fedora for a new convert from Windows.

    -Install Fedora
    -Update Fedora
    -Install rpmfusion-free-release-stable.noarch.rpm
    -Install rpmfusion-nonfree-release-stable.noarch.rpm
    -Install cinnamon-desktop
    -Install fedora-icon-theme <-Why you guys stopped using this I'll never understand
    -Install games, office tools, Adobe crap (that isn't even supported anymore, so screw those guys)
    -Install Google stuff, Chome, Drive, Remote Desktop

    Then I go through and do all the gsettings stuff
    gsettings set org.cinnamon.desktop.wm.preferences theme Fedora_Theme
    gsettings set org.cinnamon.desktop.interface icon-theme Fedora
    gsettings set org.cinnamon.calendar date-format '%a %b %e, %I:%M %p'
    gsettings set org.cinnamon menu-text ''

    I'm a semi-experienced user I know where to look and how to write scripts to do what I want. Most of this stuff isn't easy to Google. Gnome people seem to keep pushing "If you don't like it, gsettings and plugins" well most of these settings are very difficult to set up for most people and new users wouldn't know how to. I've simplified it for myself with some scripts. What I would find worse than people not switching to Linux is someone that tired to switch and then switched back.

    I'm not sure that the Workstation group has this kind of focus in mind when they make decisions.

    I just know that since Gnome 3 the distros have grown further and further apart. We are reliving the Unix days of incompatibility, where one Linux user's experience isn't the same as another's… so we will never dominate the desktop, there are far too many individual forks to be able to effectively write support/documentation. If all this keeps up, we're either going to see one or two distros/GUIs win or we're going to see Apple win. Windows I doubt will be able to recover from the decline it has started down.

    • Bill Chatfield

      I agree completely. I would add that the issues you bring up would be brought to light by the minimalist of user experience/acceptance testing, if that were being done by Fedora. The proper way to practice engineering (software or otherwise) is to build a product, collect data about it’s use/performance in the field and the feed that data back into the improvement of the product. Then repeat the same process. It is an iterative or cyclical process of improvement. It is obvious that Fedora is not doing this because the usability of the product is consistently quite bad and they ignore our efforts to alert them to this fact. The main example of this is Gnome3 where people who bring up issues are thought of as just complainers who don’t like change, rather than legitimate users to are calling out serious usability barriers.

      • I understand that many people are dissatisfied with GNOME, for various reasons, and often with a lot of passion. But keep also in mind that there are people equally passionate about it in a positive way — and even more importantly, a very large userbase happily and interestedly using it but without much interest in arguing about it online. This is evidenced right here on Fedora Magazine — short of the Shellshock hoopla, the post on getting GNOME 3.12 to run on Fedora 20 is by far our most popular article.

        That said, I think it is true that the vitriolic complaints combined with strong developer passion for what they are doing have made for a breakdown in conversation. It’s not enjoyable to work on something you really care about and then come online and be greeted with a constant stream of negativity from what really is a vocal minority. There is legitimate feedback in there, but it gets lost because the tone of the conversation isn’t constructive.

        Fedora isn’t GNOME upstream, but we do work with GNOME upstream closely. We are< ./i> going to do real, meaningful user testing, and we will feed those changes upstream (and if necessary, make changes that don’t make it upstream, but hopefully we can keep that minimal and make any improvements benefit everyone). And upstream’s reputation for not listening to user feedback is actually a skewed caricature of reality. You can see some of this in action at this gnome bug about a design change affecting wired network status.

        All of that said, we realize that there are plenty of free software desktops that people love and want to use and to work on. As long as people are interested in maintaining them, that’s welcome and encouraged in Fedora, and we’re going to work on ways to give those groups more autonomy and visibility. If that’s what inspires your passion and loyalty, awesome.

        One last anecdotal datapoint: I get that the GNOME shell is a switch to people coming from classic MS Windows (and probably a little less so for those coming from Mac OS X), or for people who really like the Windows-inspired paradigm of GNOME 2.x. For people who want to replicate that experience, one of the alternatives may be best. But try sitting a kid who doesn’t have all of that history baked in front of GNOME for a while, and just observe. I did this with my 8 year old, and she picked it up in no time, and later declared that it was much better than my wife’s Mac.

        If you haven’t used GNOME in a while, I suggest giving it a fresh look. A lot of the rough edges are a lot more polished (and, again, despite the stereotype, largely due to user feedback). And definitely take a look at GNOME Shell Extensions — the basic experience won’t fit everyone, but it’s actually highly customizable. There are a number of extensions that I find indispensable (but they may or may not be what you care about in your desktop).

        Overall, “GNOME usability is bad” is not helpful feedback. If you have a specific use case that isn’t covered well, we can work to make those things better. But try to focus on the end goal, not on “it doesn’t work like I’m used to” — don’t fall into the classic spacebar trap; for those situations, it is often the case that an extension or special-case solution fits your need best, but maybe there’s a bigger-level change that can actually make things even better than ever before. Keep it focused on “I am a user of type_____, and I am trying to accomplish _____”, and we really can get that iterative cycle of improvement going in a constructive way.

        • Petr S.

          I agree completely. I am one of those happy users who don’t get involved in article discussions about GNOME 3. (This one being my very first.) To keep things balanced, however, I feel I should state I am passionate about the current GNOME design and user experience. I am similarly happy with the direction it has chosen (including e.g. using gsettings for many configuration options as mentioned above). And my primary reason for using Fedora is that it provides excellent GNOME 3 experience. So for me it’s GNOME that pushed me towards Fedora (and Linux for that matter) after not having used RPM-based distribution since RedHat 4.2.

          I see a strong GNOME user base and I also find the “constant stream of negativity” quite concerning as it threatens its future development. It is even more serious as it lacks objective, larger-scale user feedback data.

    • For what it is worth, of the groups of people active in Fedora, I would characterize the Workstation team as by far the most interested in improving the user experience with proprietary software and codecs. There is a general discussion in the project on the best way to grow Linux and free software, and whether making this easy or even seamless helps or hurts us in the long run. I don’t think we have general consensus, although (and here I am grossly oversimplifying) except for the Workstation group and GNOME desktop team, I think that contributor sentiments actually lean mostly towards keeping Fedora on a more purist path. So…. there’s that.

      But issues of educating users about the (very real!) benefits of free software over the popular proprietary options aside, some of this stuff we just can’t do for legal reasons. Other distributions can because they’re not US based, or are not backed by a successful, profitable company with a lot of enemies which could outspend our legal by literally thousands of times without blinking.

      • Cory Hilliard

        I’m all for free software. I am FOR Fedora… which was what my original point was. I’m afraid of Red Hat/CentOS/Fedora losing so much of the usershare/mindshare just because it has so many purist rules… and all of the hard work, innovation and possible FUNDING for these projects are lost to the likes of Ubuntu. So my point is about bringing those people back with another distro that CAN support some proprietary software and pushbutton ease-of-use under the Red Hat umbrella might be a good idea.

        About the Gnome 3 issues. I’ve never said that Gnome 3 sucked. I just think that it sucks for the “winning windows converts” and desktop users. I’m in school taking CSci/CEng and as part of our course, we learn Linux. Some teachers teach Fedora, others teach Ubuntu. I’ve seen first hand the response to a whole class and Gnome 3 compared to a class response to Unity. Everyone in the class ends up LOVING Ubuntu because of Unity. I get upset because again, I’m FOR Fedora and I try to defend Fedora, but everyone sees the distro as a Gnome 3 distro and drops it as soon as they can. If Gnome 3 had said on day one, HEY EVERYONE, we’re building an amazing DE for the touch screen interface… and here it is! I think they would have won the hearts of millions. But they didn’t do that, they said, “Well we know what you love and we know that you can’t handle making your own decisions about how you work… so here’s the solution we are forcing on you. If you don’t like it, then we have some sucky extensions that pretend to work.” They were ugly hacks and a totally different way of working, and I’ve tried… believe me. Every time a new Gnome release happens, and every new Fedora release happens, I try it again. I have made myself use it for weeks, and I still hate it. My screens are side by side, yet they swipe up as if they were stacked vertically. I want to see at least TWO people that stack their screens vertically. That is just one idea that they had that is counter-intuitive.

        I’ve been saying this for a while now. There is Cinnamon which is a perfect desktop interface and Gnome 3 with is a perfect touch screen interface. If they just joined forces and admitted where they would excel, I would have no more argument. …and yes I am passionate about this topic, because I see how much it is chasing away people. It breaks my heart because I know if this keeps up, you’re all going to be out of a job and everything I’ve grown to love as a distro will be a history note on a blog one day.

        • Bill Chatfield

          I unfortunately share your prediction for the future. To summarize:
          1. Gnome3 pushes people away from Fedora to Ubuntu. This is already happening.
          2. Mindshare shifts to Ubuntu. This is already happening.
          3. Red Hat looses market share to Ubuntu, and eventually fails as a company. (Don’t say it can’t happen because I’ve seen Digital, Compaq, Sun and Blackberry fall.)
          4. Fedora shuts down because Red Hat is no longer funding it and everyone has moved to Ubuntu.
          5. Innovation stops in the Linux world because Red Hat is gone and Ubuntu does not innovate or give back to the community.
          6. Linux looses momentum because of lack of innovation.
          7. People switch back to Windows because Linux can’t stay up to date in a world without Red Hat/Fedora.

          • Bill Chatfield

            Let me add that although Red Hat/Fedora is on top now, I really see them in a state of denial, just like Blackberry was before they lost all their market share to iPhone and Android. Ubuntu has a commercial market strategy and it’s starting to take hold. With the majority of Linux users now using Ubuntu, they’re going to decide to switch their servers at the office away from Red Hat to Ubuntu Server. This is exactly how UNIX lost the server market to Windows. Users had Windows at home and on the desktop. They knew how to use it, so they were happy to buy Windows servers to replace their UNIX servers. Red Hat will loose to Ubuntu in the server market if all the Linux users are using Ubuntu on their desktops and at home.

            I’m trying to warn you now so that you can do something to recapture the desktop market. There are a lot of options: switch to Cinnamon, switch to MATE and develop it more, provide a default set of good extensions that make Gnome3 usable, fix the usability problems in Gnome3 itself, provide a Gnome3 setting that puts it into mode where it works just like Windows 7 (but that’s basically Cinnamon). There could be other options, but Gnome3 in its current form is killing Fedora.

  6. Sampson

    I think a distribution that can do out-of-box sync with mobile (Andriod & IOS) will be very powerful.

    I know there is a shift to cloud based sync, but still, there is a lot of users looking for direct device to pc sync.

    • I see a great increase in hand held devices, and desktop have been replaced in house holds. But Desktop have still a long way to go in work places. I really-really want to have a way to sync calendar on my phone, my office desktop and my laptop outside the google as “the big brodther is watching you”.
      In any case, this is a question about what to do.
      1.- I think we need to have a bolder position about Gnome rought edges. I think Gnome will be great when is finished, but as a 8 years gnome user, I am almost dropping it.
      2.- we need to engage our developers with developer communities. Instead of sending people to linux events, send then to robotic, desing, programming … whatever were we can show what we are doing and learn what other are doing
      3.- Have fun. This is a voluntary driven community, if there is no fun then why doing things?

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