The Fedora Project has a large number of talented contributors, and these contributors are always looking for new and innovative ways to advance the Project as a whole. Ideas often arise for new sub-projects and initiatives. It is these ideas that eventually result in our biggest and best programs, but they must endure some vetting before they are truly ready to be introduced to the public and branded as a Fedora project.
To establish guidelines to aid contributors in working out the details of their ideas and possibly developing a new program, the Fedora Project must establish rules and processes for project formation, including every step from the formation of a new idea to the opening of a project to the general public. This document represents the thoughts and deliberations that have gone into forming those rules and processes.
A new initiative may take one of many forms, but to have any hope of success, it must start with a solid, well-defined idea. A well-defined idea gives rise to discussion on its merits. This raw idea can come from any contributor or team of contributors, and may undergo very little, if any, review. In this early stage, the only substance is likely to be a thought on a mailing list or web page.
If they seek to have the initiative supported by other groups within the Fedora Project, the contributors should present their idea to the relevant contributors or committees for review and feedback. They should also prepare and maintain a proper mission statement and plan of action. That information should be updated to reflect the outcome of any discussions or feedback.
A general mission statement will cover the following:
- Who the new project would serve and who will lead the project
- What the goals and scope of the new project would be
- When the project can be considered a success
- Where the project will lead and where it will fit into the Fedora Project
- Why the idea warrants the creation of a new project within the Fedora Project
- How the project will benefit the Fedora Project and the Fedora Community
Even though the mission statement is somewhat general, it should avoid using catchphrases or buzzwords in place of meaningful, simple language. If your mission statement cannot be boiled down into uncomplicated terms, or if it does not logically lead to actionable goals and objectives, it and its precedent idea likely need to be better defined. The goals and objectives that follow from the mission statement constitute a plan of action.
A plan of action will include:
- A list of immediate requirements to establish the project
- A short-term strategy for the formation and governing of the project
- A mid-term outlook of how the project will be made a permanent fixture of the Fedora Project
- A long-term set of goals to make the project a true success
If you can define the mission and plan of action, you may be ready to form a Special Interest Group, or SIG.
Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
An SIG is the incubatory stage of life for a new project. At this point, you should have a solid plan, and the appropriate members of the community should be ready to support the new project and see to its success.
If your idea involves the support of existing groups within the Fedora Project, it is a good idea to seek input from any supporting bodies before you form a SIG. As an example, a top-level project, such as Fedora Packaging or Fedora Documentation, needs the approval and support of the Fedora Project Board, while a sub-project of an existing project, such as Fedora Ambassadors under Fedora Marketing, needs approval from that existing project's leads or committee.
It is not necessary, however, for contributors to receive the approval of any existing body to form a SIG. Some ideas may not even involve support from existing Fedora Project bodies. The Fedora Project Board retains the right, however, to provide oversight over any SIG if necessary, to appoint a body to that end, or to move a SIG under the umbrella of an existing body. Such actions should rarely be necessary, though, given a SIG with a well-defined mission and objectives.
During this stage, contributors should establish a governing model and set up the necessary resources for the long-term success of the initiative. Setup tasks might include the creation of a website section, a mailing list, an IRC channel, and a source repository if applicable. During this phase a new project must demonstrate its potential for success. It can begin gathering contributors and an audience, but must still prove its long-term viability. In some senses, this is a probationary period for the SIG. The SIG moves beyond this stage by becoming a success, and failure to live up to its goals may result in termination. During this stage, the SIG must submit regular progress reports to its parent project or the Fedora Project Board.
The SIG must be able to provide regular progress reports with the following:
- The number of active contributors
- The state of the project compared to its goals
- Documentation of how the project is working for the community
- The current method of governing the project
- A schedule and plan to achieve remaining goals and milestones
It is possible for SIGs to exist indefinitely in this manner if the contributors feel there is no need for official project status. Indeed, many SIGs are sufficiently narrow in focus that they do not require project status to fulfill their missions.
A SIG earns official project status through successful accomplishment of objectives that warrant more prominence in the Fedora Project. If contributors request it, the parent project or the Fedora Project Board will evaluate the SIG's progress reports and make a determination of readiness for this stage. At this point, it may be branded with the Fedora name and promoted to the full status of a Fedora project. It can join the ranks of the most valuable initiatives currently leading the Fedora Project.
To reach this stage, the initiative must demonstrate long-term viability. This means it must have a full governing strategy, possibly including an election or selection scheme. It must also have a demonstrated following, up-to-date and well-maintained materials, full communication strategies and a documented process of operations. Projects at this stage are expected to provide regular progress reports and to maintain an active state.
Only the Fedora Project Board announces new Fedora projects.