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What is The Fedora Project?

Red Hat Linux now has two descendents, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and The Fedora Project. The Fedora Project is an openly-developed project designed by Red Hat, open for general participation, led by a meritocracy, following a set of project objectives.

The goal of The Fedora Project is to work with the Linux community to build a complete, general purpose operating system exclusively from open source software. Development will be done in a public forum. The project will produce time-based releases of Fedora Core about 2-3 times a year, with a public release schedule. The Red Hat engineering team will continue to participate in building Fedora Core and will invite and encourage more outside participation than in past releases. By using this more open process, we hope to provide an operating system more in line with the ideals of free software and more appealing to the open source community.

Fedora Core is intended to be a logical upgrade path for previous users of Red Hat Linux whose needs are consistent with the objectives of the Fedora Project. It is a return to Red Hat's roots; 2-3 releases per year, and freely-available downloads that can be called by name even when media containing those bits are sold by third parties (within the constraints of trademark guidelines).

The community is defined as those who not only consume but also produce for the good of other community members. Community users may:

  • Participate in development of open source software
  • Report bugs
  • Test software
  • Advocate Open Source, Linux
  • Participate in mailing lists
  • Experiment with the technology
  • Help others in the community
  • Educate students

Community developers may:

  • Interactively contribute and maintain code (Red Hat does not consider "throwing code over the wall" — releasing code but participating neither in maintenance nor support — to be participation in the community)
  • Interactively contribute and maintain documentation
  • Translate programs and documentation
  • Contribute interaction design and usability testing

Who Leads?

Red Hat will retain editorial control over The Fedora Project but will explicitly include external developers in the process of making technical decisions that align with the project objectives. This is an evolutionary, not revolutionary change; by depending on and contributing to Open Source software since the inception of Red Hat Linux, Red Hat has always shared control over the software with external developers. Red Hat will now more explicitly share control for packaging with external developers in our new project: The Fedora Project.

The developers who make up the project will create a process for organizing project decision-making. Possible models include Python's Python Enhancement Proposals, Apache's descriptions of project roles, and The GNOME Foundation. We want to see a policy that promotes meritocracy and allows the project to make hard decisions that need to be made, such as selecting good defaults. The policy should give anyone who makes quality contributions a fair say in project decisions.

What Support is Available?

No formal Web or phone support for The Fedora Project will be available from Red Hat. Red Hat's supported product line will be based in part on The Fedora Project, and our development will be done externally as part of the project as much as possible. Each new release of our supported products will be based in part on a recent release of Fedora Core.

Red Hat will create, manage, and participate in forums where community members can support each other. This level of support is opportunistic — no guarantees, warranties, or Service Level Agreements apply.

These forums will only be a success if they are community projects — if community members not only ask for help but also provide help in them. There are lots of ways to participate:

  • Join the mailing list. Ask questions, provide answers. Remember when asking questions to be polite and to include detailed information about your problem. Then, after you post, read the list diligently so that you can respond quickly to requests for more information. The faster you respond, the more likely someone is to want and be able to help you. Once you have received help, keep an eye out for other people who experience the same problem, and help them out in turn.
  • Filing bug reports in Red Hat's Bugzilla database. This is not really a support mechanism, but does mean that your bugs are more likely to be fixed. Anyone can help by searching the database and trying to replicate bug reports and put in additional information. Developers can help by posting fixes for reported bugs.
  • Join with other users on IRC to discuss The Fedora Project. Halfway between a mailing list and a conversation, IRC can be a friendly place to learn or like drinking from the proverbial firehose.