We were asked by Neowin.com a while ago to provide information for an upcoming article. We decided that this request would be best answered by the marketing team as a display of our ability to take care of such requests.
Below is the original email...
Hi, I am on the news staff at Neowin.net, a technology site with a large community of over 800,000 members as well as our own Linux distro (Shift Linux).
I am going to be writing a comparison editorial piece about Ubuntu 8.10 and the upcoming Fedora 10 and openSuse 11.1, to appear on the front page of Neowin.net. Basically I will be installing each of the distros, doing a quick review with things I like and dislike, and also a section on how each aims to compete with Windows 7. I was wondering if a member of the development team would be able to answer the following questions as I know our members would be extremely interested to hear of anything new about your Linux distro.
1. Can you tell me what new features users could see in the next release, Fedora 11?
2. Microsoft is currently aiming for a 2009 Holiday release for Windows 7 and it has been said their main rival now is Linux. Are there any concerns about how Fedora can compete with Windows 7 in the future and can you give any hints as to what features you hope to include to rival Windows?
3. One of the reasons behind the popularity of Ubuntu, Fedora and openSuse is their improved ease-of-use, howeverLinux as a whole is still criticized for being too "techie/geeky". What else is being done to further improve the usability and ease-of-use of Fedora in the future?
I look forward to hearing from you and thank-you, in advance, for taking the time. -- Matthew Hopson News Staff Neowin.net
Paul Frields had suggested that we use these guidelines in answering the questions:
To frame the answers I would suggest some of the following key points:
- We don't "compete" with other Linux distributions; we advance free software in cooperation with upstream in a way that benefits everyone
- Windows 7 is (presumably) aimed at an extremely large audience, much of which falls outside our target audience of free software enthusiasts, developers, and remixers. Nevertheless, the stability and features in Fedora are loved by millions.
- Features are found on the wiki Feature List.
- We have lots of desktop features for ease of use that do not get in users' way and help people get things done quickly, securely, and with respect for users' freedom.
Whoever emails the answers back to Neowin (I recommend JackAboutboul) needs to include a brief introduction, which should include the following points:
- Apology for the delay in getting these answers to him.
- Mention that the answers were worked on by members of the Fedora Marketing team.
- Offer to answer any follow-up questions that Neowin might have.
(MaxSpevack -- minor tweaks to paragraph one, and added a paragraph about Fedora 10's features.)
( Paul W. Frields -- added the paragraph about F10 features.)
Fedora strives to be on the cutting edge of open source software technology and development. As such, we are constantly working on improving current technology in Fedora to ensure it reaches maturity as well as developing new technologies. The feature list, found here, is updated frequently as the development cycle progresses. At the beginning of January, the Fedora Project will be holding its next Fedora Users and Developers conference in Boston, and it is there that we expect to see some of the specifics around Fedora 11 begin to take shape.
Many of the technical features in Fedora 10 were written by our contributors, in collaboration with upstream software communities so they can benefit all Linux users. Examples include our NetworkManager improvements for mobile broadband cards and connection sharing, so users can collaborate anywhere they go with a laptop; PackageKit's new capability to search for and install codecs that support media files; significantly faster boot times using the new Plymouth boot loader; and convenient new remote installation and storage management features in virtualization, thanks to our libvirt and virt-manager tools. As has been the case in previous releases of Fedora, the capabilities we write and contribute to open source are often adopted by other Linux distributions, which is proof of the effectiveness of the open community development model.
(MaxSpevack -- rewrote the answer to sound less "marketing" and more authentic in its voice.)
Fedora and Windows have dramatically different target audiences, so we do not spend too much time worrying about "competing" with Windows -- whether it is Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7. Fedora's target audience is free software enthusiasts, developers, and remixers. Fedora is built by people who work on adding features and fixing issues in which they, and other users, have a passionate interest. By leveraging that community drive and focusing on providing the best experience possible, we believe that we produce an operating system that closely resembles the vision and desires that our users have. Competition with Windows is not one of Fedora's mandates, and while it could be a future goal, it is not being actively pursued at this time.
(MaxSpevack -- The answer to this question needs to first try to address what the author says as "too techie/geeky". Complaint number one about Linux desktops is always the audio/video codec experience. This answer should mention that Fedora's default behavior is to maintain its commitment to free software, as well as to obey all the laws regarding patents that apply in the United States, which is where Red Hat (which bears the legal responsibility for Fedora) is located. Next, the answer should indicate that respecting the freedom of choice of our users is important, and this is the place to talk about PackageKit, both as a simple updating mechanism, and also the current status of accessing third-party repositories and codec searching that is in Fedora 10. From there, go into some of the other topics discussed in the IRC chat, and/or highlight some of the desktop changes that have been made in Fedora, or that Fedora has led: printer configuration, NetworkManager, etc.)
(JackAboutboul -- Added Answer to #3)
The average desktop computer user's main complaint about Linux, more often than not, refers to issues surrounding media playback. Often the problem is simply finding and installing codecs for media playback which distributions sometimes do not include by default. As members of the free and open software community, we clearly and unequivocally support the creation and use of non-patent encumbered codecs and media. Likewise, since Red Hat, a US-based corporation, is legally responsible for Fedora, we must make sure that as good citizens we uphold intellectual property law, while lobbying for reform.
However, we do respect our users' freedom and right to choose. Fedora therefore provides hooks into PackageKit, the new software installation and management utility, to search and install media codecs in any configured repository. In most cases, users can easily configure repository support by simply clicking on a web page, and choose software that is appropriate for them. When users open a media file, PackageKit automatically detects the media type and offers to install any available codec support based on a user's system configuration. This is a step along a larger road map in which PackageKit and other technologies will provide on-demand application support and other capabilities. As a result of Fedora's efforts, the Linux desktop will be able to do what proprietary desktop's can't, thanks to software freedom.
Otherwise, there has been and continues to be a tremendous amount of effort contributed to making the common Linux desktop experience very user friendly. Fedora has been pioneering many of these efforts, always pushing our work upstream so that others can benefit. Some examples from recent releases include creation and/or integration and ongoing improvement of technologies such as SELinux, PolicyKit, sectool, and upgrades to RPM, which make the back end more robust. These technologies therefore enable us to deliver a great wealth of increased usability on the front end, such as PackageKit, NetworkManager, and vastly improved interfaces and utilities for printing, as well as our continuing work on virtualization tools and utilities.
So in a sentence, the Fedora community works under the hood to provide a superior desktop experience for everyday users. Linux, and Fedora specifically, have come a long way -- not just for technical enthusiasts, but for everyone.
IRC Transcript for #3
Answer 3 is not yet completed, below you will find the IRC log of what we kicked around so far.
<EvilBob> 3. One of the reasons behind the popularity of Ubuntu, Fedora and openSuse is their improved ease-of-use, howeverLinux as a whole is still criticized for being too "techie/geeky". What else is being done to further improve the usability and ease-of-use of Fedora in the future?
<themayor> I think your last answer was great, do you want to put it up?
<EvilBob> I did
<EvilBob> Paul suggested this for 3
<EvilBob> * We have lots of desktop features for ease of use that do not get in users' way and help people get things done quickly, securely, and with respect for users' freedom.
<fugolini> Improve the communication with the users and show them how Fedora is just easy to use and full of interesting features.
- Sparks (n=christen@fedora/Sparks) has joined #Fedora-mktg
<EvilBob> I put a call out to #fedora-docs to make sure our grammar is acceptable
<rharrison> We will continue to improve the usability of existing features as well as develop new tools to make users' lives simpler.
<EvilBob> as I stated I have unpopular views on this issue
<EvilBob> so I will let you guys hack this one out
<rharrison> I know my grammar is terrible. Its probably a good idea to have them review anything I write. ;-)
<fugolini> As Paul suggested we have to underline we have just those feautures, we have just to promote/improve them
- fugolini is italian, he really knows nothing about english, he is trying to make his sentences with sense
<rharrison> Yeah, talking about how easy it is to set up a printer or download pictures off your cammera...
<rharrison> EvilBob, I take it you're in the "fedora is targeted at more technical people" camp?
<EvilBob> rharrison: if you can't read a man page you are in the wrong place
<fugolini> The design of Fedora allow simple users like developers to fit their interest
<EvilBob> rharrison: in #fedora I take user's questions and paste them in to google and give them the resulting URL
<EvilBob> rharrison: 75% of the time they could "get lucky" and win
<rharrison> Rodger, that. Although I tend to like it when things are easy for my own selfish reasons. ;-)
<EvilBob> Sparks is going to paste an edited paragraph below our initial answer
<rharrison> although that lends very well to the need for communication. If we do a better job telling people about what's there some of those questions would go away.
<EvilBob> so when editing the wiki page make sure you choose only the answer you are working on to edit
<fugolini> Fedora is designed to fit a variety of user types, from the developer to the home user.
<EvilBob> rharrison: the roadblocks from a legal point have prevented that communication of most answers users ask for years
<fugolini> *developers *users
<rharrison> ah, yes. frustrating it is. Necessary but frustrating.
<EvilBob> fugolini: BTW "user types" is correct
<fugolini> Fedora is designed to fit a variety of users types, from developers to home users. The high constumization level and the presence of simple configuration tools, remove the past limits and put an end to "linux only for geek" myth.
<fugolini> EvilBob: ok, tell me whenever you see something, I'm learning english day by day thanks to your collaboration
<fugolini> Fedora is designed to fit a variety of user types, from developers to home users. The high constumization level and the presence of simple configuration tools removed the past limits and put an end to "linux only for geek" myth.
<fugolini> Change it to best fit english grammar rules
<EvilBob> fugolini: I think I said it before your have grown leaps and bounds from the day we first encountered each other.
<themayor> i like that answer alot
<fugolini> EvilBob: thanks
<EvilBob> constumization I do not know this word
<fugolini> yes, this one
<EvilBob> Fedora is designed to fit a variety of user types, from developers to home users. The high customization level of the OS itself and the presence of simple configuration tools removed the past limits and put an end to "linux only for geek" myth.
<fugolini> it sounds better, thank you
<EvilBob> I hate to say "high customization level of the OS" as long as we keep producing LiveMedia
<themayor> We should also mention something about our continued work on both major desktop environments as usual
<themayor> actually, i dont know, do you thin?
<EvilBob> Choice has not been mentioned yet at all
<EvilBob> and I think that Choice and freedom are the most important parts of Fedora
<fugolini> themayor: yes, i think too
<themayor> so add that to what we have now, and something about remixing and choice, right?
<EvilBob> themayor: Freedom to choose <Gnome>, <KDE> or any other Desktop Environment is a Feature in Fedora. With all our software being <blurb about free> we enable many to remix or respin their own distribution using Fedora sources.
<EvilBob> Not sure of the proper name for Gnome and KDE
<EvilBob> "Free and not patent encumbered"
<EvilBob> for the blurb
<themayor> freedom to choose between desktop environements
<themayor> that should be sufficient i think
<themayor> people will know what we man
<EvilBob> Hey KDE and gnome deserve props being upstream projects to work with
<Sparks> I have created a couple of edits to questions one and two on the wiki. They aren't perfect but will hopefully help smooth the language a bit.
<EvilBob> that is a goal of Fedora
<EvilBob> thanks Eric
<EvilBob> we have been at this an hour and 20 minutes
<EvilBob> we should try to wrap this question up
<fugolini> next time we could try a gobby session or something similar
<rharrison> yeah, I'd be happy to work more on this later but right now I really need to get some other things done before the end of the day.
<rharrison> Oh, yeah that would have been a great idea.
<EvilBob> I am going to copy all the question 3 stuff in to a log for later I think