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expanding Fedora user base



I've followed these marketing discussions for a couple of months now. I've
been into Linux for about 4 months now. I'm older, single parent, got two
teenagers, a business and a total of 4 machines to think about.
I love Fedora; after looking at a number of distributions I consider it to
be the premier distribution. And it appeals to the "geeky" side of my
nature. Unfortunately, I just don't know that I have time for it.
The reasons are the ones that you've heard a million times before: "lab
rat", "crash test dummy", too many kernal changes.

Now to turn to my marketing and sales experience:
I've got a pretty good idea of what Fedora is. Question is: Where's it
going? Here are some observations from listening here and hanging around
the forums.

1. Fedora will remain developmental. Seems to be fundamental to
management's mission.
2. Fedora is not "warm and fuzzy" to newbies. I really love the parrot but
efforts toward a masot may lead to a sense of "misrepresentation" by
newcomers. Not a good long-term strategy.
Further, I think the marketing team has done a great job of
differentiating Fedora from the rest of the distros. You don't want to
give that away.
3.  What's happening in Linux is fantastic and important. I know of no
other international, cross-cultural effort that's produced such positive
results. All involved should be proud and work to preserve it.
4. It's probably going to explode across the world. You've been "under the
radar" so far. As you get larger you'll likely attract a lot of intention
from big business that tries to own everything. Staying legally "clean" is
imperative.
5. With expansion things will change. The newer folks on the team want to
run with that. Maybe some of the older guys are not so sure; maybe they're
content that it stay in their private world.

Of course I don't know all your issues. I'm an outsider looking in but
here's a loose suggestion.
With expansion (if that's what you want) will come an expanded workload
for everyone. Go ahead and organize that into defined entities.
Perhaps you could split off FC6 (or FC7) as a separate entity. It's
clearly powerful enough as it stands. Freeze the kernal. Give it its own
site, documentation, and forum. Make it simple. Make it clean. Make it
work all the time.
Find community members who are willing and able to support the concept.
Turn them loose on the "warm and fuzzy" stuff and the tools that newer
users want and need. Make it sort of an "entry level Fedora" (bad choice
of words but you get the idea).
Now that's not a misrepresentation. It imparts new users with the idea:
"Whoa! This is the most powerful distro out there and they've got even
hotter stuff coming."

Enough said. Good luck.

Rick Rushing
President
Liberty Rubber Co., Inc.



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