Fedora Core 5 is a truly amazing OS and one I think has the potential to really do great things. Looking forward to what the Fedora Project has the potential to do, especially with its new focus I decided to give some suggestions as to what could possibly be done starting with Fedora 6 and onward. Some of my suggestions are definitely based on the OS itself but others are also concerning the general focus and outlook of the Fedora Project itself. I hope my suggestion are not regarded as offensive in anyway and they are only meant to highlight the greatness of Fedora as well as to reflect my strong desire to see this project take off and propel the Linux OS to new heights.
First suggestions has to do with the software side of things. We users need a competent software installer which is graphical based. One that functions much the same way that the windows installer works. This installer should track dependencies naturally and place icons on the desktop or give the option to have icons for the software just installed to be placed on the desktop of the user as well as in the applications menu. Also when watching the Boston Linux conference the suggestion was made to offer a hard disc manager much like windows offers for formating and receiving hard drivers etc after installation.
My second set of suggestions will deal with the over all focus and structure of the fedora project. I was listening to a pod cast interview with the head of the fedora project where in, the topic came up of some how generating revenue to put back into the project and make it more self sufficient. So I have a few suggestions which I think the Redhat company itself should take note of. Firstly Redhat while promoting Linux among enthusiast is also in the business of making money. On that front I believe that they should not only attempt to evangelize Linux in the government, education, and corporate sectors; they should also attempt to get Linux in each and every home. The reason being is if people are starting to use Linux in their homes and they are comfortable with it, employers will be more likely and willing to deploy a operating system which is different in many ways to windows on the interactive level. Reason being is when people have to stop to learn new technology this cuts down on productivity and as a person who works for a IT department in a major university I can also vouch for the fact a IT team will not be willing to suggest an infrastructure restructuring when they know, supporting users on something foreign to them is going to increase their workload 10 fold. So bottom line, more users both advanced, intermediate and beginners need to be converted to the Linux faithful but now the question becomes how?
The Fedora project is the perfect tool for this and here is how. The fedora team should focus SOLELY on making the operating system run as smoothly and as fast as possible, interacting with a HUGE number of hardware configurations. Installation needs to be as smooth as silk and upgrading needs to be fail proof from version to version. Previously installed drives with personal user data needs to be able to be retained without fail from upgrade to upgrade if the user isn't doing a clean install. Now I would like to move on to "partnerships" Fedora project should look into making "partners" or some other creative term to define other Linux projects and organizations. In this partnership Fedora will tightly enforce standards which will ensure that any software created to run on fedora is following say the OIN and the GPL standards to the letter to ensure an user friendly and secure/stable operating system that runs smoothly. Many people in the Linux community may grumble about this suggestion however life is about progression and when things do not change and evolve and progress to new levels then they are doomed to become extinct (think dinosaurs here) or at the very least remain niche applications. If Fedora project implements such a model, they do not have to worry about making certain software for the OS which would take far to much time and man power to create. Prime example would be the hard disk manager or even the software installer. This sort of work could be left to groups who's soul purpose is to make such software and by following strict guidelines they would become Fedora project "partners" and in turn they would be promised that their software will be included in the fedora core release. Also by following strict guidelines this software could be implemented in other Linux distributions which are also following said guidelines. This would take the pressure off of Fedora and they can then focus on whats important which is making their OS run like silk. Again let me stress this approach is keeping in mind that projects such as Fedora and other Linux distributions desire to penetrate more into the home desktop market, which then also means more users will or could eventually equate to greater adoption of the platform in other industries as a result of user awareness and user comfort with the Linux platform. I should also mention that those software development groups that do not comply could be offered as Fedora extras so the community still has choices which is really part of the appeal of Linux.
Okay so with all that said how could this generate income? Well lets say Fedora project comes up with one of the first 100% standard enforced distributions which is as user friendly or even more so than MS windows. Now say a "ambassador" from Fedora can start making the rounds to Dell and other companies and attempt to get them to start offering this FREE Linux distribution on some of their PC models, which would also allow for lower prices on the retail side for them (ie Dell, Gateway etc.) as the OS is FREE and that cuts down on cost which the end user ends up incurring. But we still have not addressed revenue for the Fedora project, and this can be done by following the Redhat model of offering technical support. Fedora project could basically offer technical support certification and training to Dell staff as an example so they (the PC manufacturer) can then take over supporting the platform for their end users, which also equates to revenue for these companies in the long run because they can offer extended tech support to end users at a premium. Fedora core could charge a VERY minimal fee for this training, so say charge enough that it would generate revenue that can then be pumped back into the project and at the same time would still make it cheaper for Dell and other companies to go with Linux on some desktop offerings as opposed to having a windows only offering.
The future of Linux if to be taken seriously should not be relegated to just the business, government, and education world as far as standards, reliability, and software / hardware vendor support is concerned. The brand will grow far more rapidly if consumers are adopting the standard at home and at work so basically this is a bottom up approach. This of this, more desktop users in the home also means more software sales for major companies because you will have more people buying video games and other such things which will also mean more companies willing to adopt the platform because software offering become greater.
There needs to be a consorted effort on the parts of all parties involved to take Linux to that next phase of existence other wise Linux as a brand, while it may grow some what will not see its full potential. With the software being a open and free model we still have to realize with a flurry of hodge podge coding and no standards insight the end user ends up losing at least as far as the home front is concerned. Most people are forced to run duel boot Windows and Linux systems because software makers and hardware manufactures have not fully bought into the Linux model and we as a community only have ourselves to blame for that. This approach will also take some evangelizing to the software makers of such things as yum and KDE however I believe that those who do not see the need and importants of doing such things will render themselves obsolete in the long run. Just look at the Unix model, and we can see what the disasters of not doing this can incur.