The user base of Fedora has many aspects. Many people who contribute to Fedora representative of only a small cross-section of this user base. Fedora contributors understand that, while they are valued and important as Fedora community members, they may not be representative of a very large class of users who may find free software serves their needs as well. By understanding the nature of this larger class we can make good decisions about how to make Fedora work well for others besides ourselves.
The following sections describe the characteristics of this large class of users, and the Fedora Project will make process changes where appropriate to ensure we are meeting the needs of as many members of this class as possible. You may find yourself fitting into one or more of these categories, in which case, welcome to our user base!
Voluntary Linux consumer
We expect that a large number of people are switching to a Linux operating system by choice. They may do so for any of a number of reasons, including:
- Recommendations from people they know
- Free of cost
- Liberal software licensing
- Availability of high-quality software
- Free and open source ideals
- Desire to join a community
The processes of our community in producing a Fedora release, including the way we conduct its lifecycle, should not disappoint people against these expectations.
Our community is made up of people, by and large, who are very tech savvy. The longer people have been involved in the Fedora community, typically the more expertise they accrue on Linux and specifically Fedora. However, our user base does not necessarily share this level of expertise.
Users can be expected to be comfortable with installing an operating system, which means they have skills and knowledge that allows them to perform simple tasks including:
- Locate and identify system components
- Download and save files
- Locate existing software to write optical or USB media
- Boot their system to alternative optical or USB media
- Follow instructions and prompts
Users cannot be expected to have certain skills and knowledge that many Fedora contributors have, including:
- Understand operating system internals
- Know how programs and libraries are related or interact
- Evaluate new releases of existing software without context
- Mitigate unexpected changes in existing software
- Debug software crashes
- Diagnose system hardware problems
This does not mean that users are incapable of learning these skills. In fact, part of the process of becoming a collaborator and contributor is acquiring them. However, we cannot assume that a user already possesses these skills. We assume the software we propagate to users has no context to them other than they may use it.