Fedora’s third Flock conference kicked off Wednesday morning with a keynote by Matthew Miller, the Fedora Project Leader (FPL). How’s Fedora doing? Says Miller, “The actual state of Fedora is awesome, we’re doing very well as a project and it’s thanks to all of you.”
Miller says that the project is doing very well, and brought out some stats to prove it – with the caveat that stats can be misinterpreted and “dangerous” if used wrong. After a period of “disconcerting down releases” the Yum connection stats for Fedora 21 and 22 are showing that those releases are back up to the same levels as Fedora 14. Miller also walked through a number of other stats on downloads, and which releases are in use currently.
According to Yum connection stats, Fedora 22 is in the lead with Fedora 21 nearly as popular, and Fedora 20 sporting almost as many users as F21. Other releases and Rawhide make up just a little bit of the active user base today, according to Yum connection stats.
Fedora Workstation has about 68% of the downloads, Fedora Server carries about 14%, with Cloud clocking in at about 4%. The KDE spin is getting about 5% of downloads, and LXDE and Xfce each have about 2.5%. Of course, as Miller pointed out, we don’t know how many people use a release based on downloads. For example, folks could be spinning up hundreds of instances of the Cloud image – or they may be using Amazon Web Services and AMIs, which aren’t counted as downloads at all.
Another trend is sharply away from 32-bit x86 CPUs. Miller brought up a chart that displayed the decline of downloads for 32-bit images from 2009 to 2015. Does that mean that Fedora should be dropping 32-bit? Maybe not yet, but it’s worth discussing where 32-bit x86 fits in Fedora’s future.
Another area of the project that’s doing well is Fedora Magazine, which had an all-time high in May of this year. The most popular posts are for user-facing topics, like GNOME and other desktop topics. “In the future we’re working on a separate contributor blog, and make the magazine more and more user focused.”
If you look at visitors to the magazine by region, the United States leads by a large margin. The next countries are Germany, United Kingdom, India, Brazil, France, Italy, Canada, and Russia.
Fedorans do like to work together. Last year there were 1,066 IRC meetings (official meetings, not just being in IRC talking), and 765 IRC meetings in 2015 alone. “This shows how vibrant we are, but also is buried in IRC. There’s a lot of Fedora activity you don’t see on the Fedora Web site… I want to look at ways to make that more visible,” says Miller.
There are efforts to make the activity more visible, says Miller. “If I want to interact with the project, is somebody there? Yes, but we have millions of dead pages on the wiki… we need to make this more visible.”
IRC is “definitely a measure of engagement” but it’s also a high barrier of entry, says Miller. “Wow that’s complicated. Wow, that’s still around?” is a common response from new contributors to IRC. The technology, and “culture” can be confusing.
Again, there are many caveats with using the statistics we do gather as an accurate measure of Fedora’s health, or a clear picture of the existing Fedora user base. To that end, Miller says he’d like to have a more accurate census of Fedora users and usage, but is aware that previous efforts have met limited success and there’s privacy concerns with automatically surveying users.
Miller says he’d like to have an opt-out system that takes care of privacy concerns, but still gives better information about counting the popularity of spins, architectures, etc. He’d like to address this over the next “release or so.”
Copr vs. Koji
For some time now, Fedora has been providing Copr as a build system for packages outside the main Fedora build system (Koji). In the last year, Copr has become very popular amongst the Fedora community. “We’re sure doing a lot more in Koji, but Copr is taking off even more,” says Miller.
Koji’s increase can be attributed to a few factors, but one major factor is the mass rebuild being done due to GCC 5 for Fedora 23 this year. Last year, Fedora didn’t have a mass rebuild of packages.
Looking ahead to Fedora 23
“We’re nominally on track for a Halloween release of Fedora 23,” says Miller. Fedora 23 alpha was released on time, though Miller cautioned against “looking at how the sausage is made” for the alpha readiness.
Though the release is on track, Miller noted that we’re still working on the “story” for the release – above and beyond “this is an improvement on the last release.” He encouraged Fedorans to help craft the message for the release, and to work with the marketing team to surface themes for work that’s going into the Fedora 23 release that might not be obvious.
“Last Flock we had an awesome meeting about how we were going to reform Fedora top-level governance. Over the last year, we’ve done it.” The new governance model (Fedora Council) is in place, and is responding to requests for resources and providing leadership for direction.
The Council uses a “consensus-based model” to operate, rather than holding on approval from all folks unless there’s a specific objection. “A lot of this is set up so the FPL doesn’t get burned out as much,” and Miller pointed to the Council and the new Community Impact Lead Remy DeCausemaker helping to keep the project day to day activities going as well as putting on events like Flock. Miller also says that the search is continuing for the Fedora Diversity Lead.
On the council we have objectives, select those and move towards making those happen. Would like to use those in the future, to decide where funding goes for “all sorts of things,” focus marketing efforts, and more. The current objectives are the editions, university outreach, Fedora “rings”/modularization, and then … what’s next? We have empty objectives, so where do we want to go in the next year or 18 months? Miller says he wants to grow the user base, improve visibility into the project, but he also wants to get input from the larger community.
With that, and a few housekeeping comments from Flock organizers, the “state of Fedora” wrapped for 2015.
The full slides for this talk are available from http://mattdm.org/fedora/.