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The big What-Why-How
- From: Alex Maier <lxmaier gmail com>
- To: Discussions on expanding the Fedora user base <fedora-marketing-list redhat com>
- Subject: The big What-Why-How
- Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2005 13:21:06 +0200
>From the discussion a few weeks earlier it became evident that the
landing page of FP.org (and possibly F.R.c) needs to be re-worked to
answer three questions:
What is Fedora?
Why use Fedora?
How to get Fedora?
Stuart Ellis, Paul Frields, and I have discussed these questions and
here are the results.
What is Fedora?
What do we want to achieve? To put it in as few words as possible, we
want world domination for Fedora and Open Source software. If we want
more people all over the world to adopt Fedora, we need to focus on
the distro and not on the project when answering this question.
Mozilla project has very wisely decided to let Firefox take the front
page, because the overwhelming majority of the page visits come from
the folks who want to download and install Firefox.
Of course, we also want more people to contribute to the project, so a
link "Want to contribute?" shall be placed prominently on the page for
all those who came to help out. The page to which this link will lead
can elaborate on the project specs and objectives.
Why use Fedora?
While discussing the "Why?", we agreed that the overall desktop
experience is far better this side of the fence for people who just
want to use the computer. So our objective is to make this argument
strongly in order to convince the people who don't want to spend time
fixing stuff that should just run to try out Fedora--and we might
become more popular than we dare to dream now :)
Most folks are tied to Windows by only very few applications, and a
comparative overview like this will help them see that they will not
have to miss their apps if they switched to Fedora.
OO.o <--> MS Office
Evince <--> Acrobat
Inkscape <--> CorelDRAW, Freehand, Illustrator
xchat2 <--> mIRC
GIMP <--> Photoshop, Fireworks
Scribus <--> PageMaker
Archive Manager <--> WinZip
GnuCash <--> Quicken
Then we could also have four boxes with four main selling points for Fedora:
1. Better Desktop Experience
- One-pass Install: from blank machine to fully working desktop in under
an hour - office suite, PDF reader etc. all part of the standard
- No Hassling: No product activation or nagware, no upgrade costs or
other hidden fees.
- Peace of Mind: no AV or anti-spyware required, one update command to
keep your entire system safe (proprietary OSes have multiple updaters
for different apps - major pain).
- Unobtrusive Desktop: all the features you need, without getting in
- Fully Productive: *unrestricted* Office Suite that requires no add-ons
with built-in PDF output, fully-functioning database support included,
XML as standard.
2. Better Admin Experience:
- Instant secure remote access: SSH installed by default, just tick the
box to open the port.
- Elegant config tools that work: designed to help the admin rather than
- One-touch software installation: Install extra software with just a
single command, and no additional setup.
- Advanced Configurations without hassle: Powerful installer.
- Easy and reliable automated deployment: Anaconda beats everything
- As many systems as you need: Xen VMs (current version doesn't work
well on laptop hardware, so cannot be sold too aggressively).
- Easy remote user support: No-hassle desktop sharing.
- Fewer phone calls !: Usable and reliable desktop means less problems.
3. Better Developer Experience:
- Just Right: Cutting-edge but not bleeding edge software.
- Unequivocal Java support: Free Java stuff (GCJ, Eclipse).
- Full AMP ready to go.
- Python-friendly: Fedora tools written in Python, and Python bindings
for system-level stuff.
- Interact directly with the leading Open Source developers of Red Hat
and the Fedora community.
4. Better Linux Dirstribution:
- Fedora v. Ubuntu: every desktop app we ship, apart from Evince.
Doesn't have SELinux or Xen built-in, nor a firewall by default
(strategy is to have no active network services by default).
- Standard PC OEM preload: Windows XP Home SP2 with IE and Media
Player, MS Works and MS Word bundle, probably some form of DVD
play-back, CD writing, Acrobat Reader, AV, a JRE and various crap
utilities few people use.
- Enthusiast/IT Pro build: Windows XP Pro SP2 with IE and Media
Player, MS Office Pro, possibly Firefox, a graphics package, Nero CD
writing software, DVD play-back, some Zip utility, an FTP client, AV,
anti-spyware, Acrobat Reader, a JRE.
- Mac: OS X 10.4 with Safari Web browser plus iTunes and nagware
version of QuickTime, iLife suite, Apple Works office suite, Apple DVD
Player, Zip utility and limited CD writing in the OS, Preview PDF
Reader, Apple-ized JRE, BSD userland.
Usually, if a regular home user like your Mom switches from MS to
Linux, they do it because someone they know (let's call him Johnny)
has recommended Linux to them. If we want Fedora to spread, we need to
reach this guy Johnny who will then make his Mom and Pop finally ditch
We can effectively promote the idea of using Fedora as the main OS to
Johnny by pointing out features that make it less hassle for him to
maintain other people's boxes as well.
Obviously, though, there is also a contingent of people who have run
Linux distributions before, and just want a download link. A side link
stating "Linux user looking to download? Click here" should work.
When we come to media and hardware support, we should make a lot of
positive statements, especially in the media area--say something along
the lines of "We support a number of open media standards and fedora
has media player XYZ in a standard installation. Convert your CDs to
playable media formats such as OGG and WAV all you want with provided
Sound Juicer application!"
How to get Fedora
We decided that the existing page is way too technical (and thus
scary) to the newbie users. This means that all stuff technical should
be removed from the download page, and moved to the specialized
download help pages for those who want to read it.
Here are a few examples of what we mean:
Links like that:
Could be made human-readable like this:
"Fedora for Intel i386 -- if you are not sure what chip your system
has, this is your best bet" -- [pilfered from Ubuntu download page
"Fedora for x64 architecture"
"Fedora for Power PC -- e.g. for your Mac"
We can safely assume that the majority of PC users out there have no
idea there are several processor architectures and which one their
machine has. But we can also assume that they all will be able to
locate an "Intel inside" sticker on their computer.
Here's one more. Instructions like this can scare away the people who
do not know whether they actually know what they are doing:
1. Understand What You Are Doing
2. Make Room on Your System
3. Download the Files You Need
4. Write Files to Media
5. Boot From the CD-ROM or Boot Diskette to Run the Installation Program
6. Check for Updates
7. Get Help If You Need It
We could either move them to the installation help page (to be
created) or rewrite them along these lines:
1. Back up your data
2. Read Installation Help
3. Download the files and write them to media (e.g. burn them on CDs)
4. Boot from your CD-ROM or Boot Diskette to begin installation and
follow instruction on screen
And finally, look at this:
For x86-compatible (32-bit): FC4-i386-DVD.iso (sha1sum:
For x86_64 (64-bit AMD64, EM64T): FC4-x86_64-DVD.iso (sha1sum:
For PowerPC (32-bit and 64-bit Macintosh, 64-bit pSeries):
FC4-ppc-DVD.iso (sha1sum: 7bb39bb530ad0954f8faea585ebea23f40d5a010)
This stuff should most definitely live on a dedicated page. I know
folks who looked at our download page, panicked, and called me for
help. I am kidding you not.
The download links must be placed as far at the top of the page as
possible for the benefit of experienced users, too, who know what they
are doing and just want to grab the ISOs and go.
Another example worth following: on the landing page for
getfirefox.com and on the upper
right most prominently placed they have a link to a package that fits
your OS and architecture. Underneath it there was a text link saying
"Other Systems and Languages."
Now we have so many smart folks in the project, and we trust at least
one of them will be able to write a script which would give people a
link to the download page for their architecture.
Once the person has followed the link, they will get to a page that
gives them a selection of all possible download options for the ISOs
- download from Fedora site (slower, might take hours during peak
- download from mirror in Europe
- download from mirror in Australia
- yadda yadda yadda
Once they are on the right page from which the packages they need are
linked, there will be less confusion, event if we list five or more
alternatives and explain the benefits of using an alternative site.
We should also encourage more people to use BitTorrent and to help out
by hosting. We might consider building a separate page for this
information to live on, in order not to clutter the download page.
We also suggest to create a printer-friendly "cheat sheet" that people
could download along with the ISOs - we could have the same content on
a secondary Web page as well. It will contain basic installation
instructions and some general troubleshooting too, so that if
something goes awfully wrong during the install, they can look up most
So that's basically it.
The floor is open for discussion.
If I distorted the content in any way--Paul and Stuart will correct me.
Visit FUDCon London 2005
Fedora Users and Developers Conference
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