JohnBabich/SimplifyingOnboarding

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Making it Easier to Join the Fedora Project

Formerly entitled: "Simplifying the Onboarding Process for the Fedora Project"

Onboarding can be defined as the process of getting people integrated into an organization in a well-defined and organized manner. It probably derives from the phrase "getting on board". It most often refers to "new hires". Of course, the Fedora Project is staffed by volunteers.

This is a FUDCon 2008 Session Proposal submitted by JohnBabich

What is Broken

Disclaimer: I am anal-retentive, but IANAL.

All too often, potential contributors are tripped up, and some are even ultimately discouraged, in attempting to contribute to the Fedora Project due to the current procedure needed to gain access to CVS or simply to edit the wiki.

This is not a new issue, but one that has been discussed at length by various sub-projects like the Fedora Documentation Project.

Great improvements have been made in some areas, like documenting the process(*), but there are still potential contributors who find it difficult, if not impossible, to join the Fedora Project officially.

There is definitely room for improvement. Let's put our heads together and come up with a world-class solution. One promising solution is the proposal of the "click-through CLA". The pros and cons of this approach need to be understood and discussed.

It is understood that there is a need for proper legal compliance on the part of both the Fedora Project and Red Hat.

What we need is a streamlined and easily-understood procedure for people to get on board simply and within a safe legal framework, both for the contributor and for the Project and its sponsor, Red Hat.

What is the Solution

A clear-cut procedure that

  • is implemented in as painless a manner as possible
  • is easily explained and understood by all
  • is as automated as possible and easily maintained
  • complies fully with the legal and licensing requirements
  • encourages new contributors, coders, maintainers, writers, artists, testers, ambassadors, etc.

What is Slowing Us Down

  • Complicated sign-up process with numerous steps
  • Confusion concerning compatibility among licenses
  • SSH key generation can be intimidating for people unfamiliar with the technology
  • People can be put off by the CLA (Contributor License Agreement)
  • Potential contributors have misconceptions concerning the legal protection needed to ensure the future success of the Fedora Project (and Red Hat, for that matter).

How Do We Fix It

  • Implementation of click-through CLA
  • Better explanation of the OPL, its advantages and why it was chosen over its alternatives
  • Seahorse, or better yet, click-through CLA
  • Improved communications on why we (both contributors and the Project) need legal protection
  • Same as above

Who is Needed

  • Fedora Project members who are familiar with the current procedures
  • Someone who understands the legal and licensing issues
  • Someone who knows OpenSSH and security well
  • Someone familiar with the Fedora Project Infrastructure

Related Topics

  • Easier submission of bug reports
  • Current efforts to automate the Release Notes authoring and publication process
  • Mentoring
  • Any other topic designed to make the contributor experience as enjoyable as possible
  • Life is too short

References

Joining the Fedora Documentation Project

Checklist

Creating GPG Keys

How to Sign the CLA

The Fedora Account System

Open Publication License



(*) Shameless plug for the Fedora Docs Project