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Re: "What is the Fedora Project?"

On 10/08/2009 01:29 PM, Seth Vidal wrote:
Let me see if I can sum up the differences in this thread to a couple of

1. pick a target audience and follow down that path, as rigidly as we
possibly can, excluding and removing things which distract us from the

2. Don't pick a target, cast out as large a number as possible of
directions and see who we pick up. Then cast out more.

I'm seeing a third:

3. Pick a primary target audience and cater to their needs as the highest priority, others a secondary priority, in a default spin, as the main focus of the project. Continue to enable other communities to build other spins with differing targets. Clearly delineate between the default spin and secondary spins - the default is more 'the product', the secondary spins more the 'innovation / research lab.'

If you take away the spins space (and it doesn't need to be in the form of producing spins, eg. there are cool things in spins I'd like to be able to install on top of a default install) then you take away the ability to experiment & learn. Perhaps I'm just re-posing #1 in a softer way, though.

Looking at things in terms of spins poses Fedora as a platform; looking in terms of the default spin you're viewing it more as a single product. I think a platform is complicated and hard to sell to anyone but technical users & developers which is why I tend to think the folks who support that as our target userbase are very supportive of promoting spins.

Fedora-as-platform vs. Fedora-as-desktop-product also makes folks unfamiliar with Fedora wonder what the heck it is, which I think is why the question 'What is Fedora' keeps coming up. I don't think the question should be 'What is Fedora' because we know at a great depth what Fedora is. The question should be perhaps, 'What should we tell someone in an elevator what Fedora is?'

E.g., let me pose a few different strategies based on potential answers to the elevator pitch question.

1) "Fedora is a desktop operating system that you can use as an alternative to Microsoft Windows or Apple's OS X."

The resulting strategy would be a default Desktop or Simple Fedora spin being productized as the *Fedora* itself. You go to the website, perhaps not fedoraproject.org, maybe something like fedoralinux.org or getfedora.org or fedoraos.org, and you see a site solely focused on extolling the virtues of using Fedora, obtaining Fedora, and getting help with using Fedora. The platform and community get branded as 'the Fedora community' or 'the Fedora Project' and are no longer branded as being Fedora itself. There's a website likely fedoraproject.org (but maybe based on Fedora Community) geared far more towards joining the project, starting a new group or project, finding tasks to work on to help out, filing bugs, etc. etc. etc.

2) "Fedora is a family of operating systems. These operating systems are tailored versions of an operating system with different goals and specific target uses. For example, we have the Fedora Electronic Lab and the Fedora Art Studio. We throw them at the wall and see what sticks and promote the strongest ones."

The resulting strategy would likely result in individual spins having their own websites. E.g., fedoraelectroniclab.org, fedoraartstudio.org. They may have light overarching Fedora branding to keep a common thread between them and to link back to the mothership fedoraproject.org, but they'll have a lot of latitude besides that in tailoring their branding and messaging to attract their target audience (which may differ wildly from the target audiences of other spins.) Your fedoraproject.org here would serve as a directory of spins, supporting heavily both the downloading and usage of individual spins. It would keep the most well-established / successful ones front and center. It would also promotes the creation of new spins and provides workflow for anybody to come in an do this. Maybe it'd have some kind of 'spin creation lab.' You'd probably have rating systems and forums for the different spins and it would result in a large community of sub-communities around individual spins.

3) "Fedora is a desktop operating system for free & open source software developers and highly-technical folks."

Here you'd probably end up with a default spin with a ton of complex features in it with a high level of customization - KDE would probably make a better choice for default desktop here since it tends to be a lot more customizable than GNOME. You'd have the development tools package group installed by default, or maybe have different primary spins, eg. OS Developer, Java Application Developer, LAMP developer, etc. On the website, you'd probably end up putting a lot more focus and polish on working with Fedora Hosted, since we're supporting developers in making FOSS. You would keep spins around and they would be really important, but you would be able to get by with just the tools we have in place for them rather than having a nice interactive website for creating them and rating them and such.

I don't know that any of this really changes the ingredients we've got, just the recipe we're making with them. And I think the vision is the recipe we need to decide on.


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