Fedora is a diverse environment of packages, contributors, and spins. In most situations, it is possible for these elements to coexist without conflict, however, on occasion, these factors can come into conflict with each other, usually unintentionally. This proposal is an attempt to clarify and document the resolution path for such conflicts.
A discussion of Target Audiences
For some time, the target audience of Fedora has been unclear, or to be precise, has been different for many people, depending on who you ask. Some benefits of this approach have been:
- The widest possible audience of users and contributors
- The opportunity to create almost infinite spins off of the Fedora packageset
Contrast this with the model where the target audience is explicitly stated as being new Linux Desktop users. Some benefits of choosing a specific target audience are:
- A clear focus for improvements for all contributors
- A simplified message of "Who is $DISTRO for"
There are some disadvantages to this approach as well:
- Contributors who do not have interests in that target audience will likely go elsewhere
- Users who "grow out" of the target audience leave the $DISTRO community before becoming contributors
I believe that it is possible for Fedora to leverage the best of both approaches.
Fedora already has a natural division amongst multiple "Spins", both official and unofficial. Each Spin should have its own "Special Interest Group" that is responsible for determining the content of what packages are selected for the Spin. I propose that each Spin also be given the responsibility (and requirement) to identify the target audience for that Spin. For some Spins, that may be easier than others, and there may even be a wide range of opinions within each individual Spin SIG.
However, by clarifiying that the target audiences of each Spin may be (and almost certainly will be) different, we still have to deal with the cases where the interests of the various Spins (and their SIGs) come into conflict with each other.
At this point in time, the de-facto "default" version of Fedora is the "Desktop Spin", which is our GNOME based Desktop spin. I feel strongly that there is significant benefit in having the target audience for the default "Desktop Spin" to be new Linux Desktop users, while consciously making an attempt to ensure that it continues to be useful for "Power" users. It is important that this default Spin continues to be available (as the default choice) for new Fedora users, who know nothing about GNOME, KDE, or any of the other finer distinguishing details of the spins.
However, the fact that the "Desktop Spin" targetted at new Linux Desktop users is the default choice should in no way discourage other Spins, nor does it make other Spins "second class citizens" of Fedora.
Conflicts between Spins
It is realistic to expect that with differing target audiences (or even with similar/identical target audiences), the individual Spin SIGs may want to make choices with the Fedora packagebase that will affect other Spins. Each individual Spin SIG should make every possible effort to avoid making such changes (including the Desktop Spin SIG), unless absolutely necessary. In addition, whenever possible, if a change can be implemented in a way that minimizes its effect on other Spins, it is the responsibility of that Spin SIG to do so. When an individual Spin SIG decides that a change that may cause conflicts with other SIGs is necessary (or, inherits such a change from upstream), it is the responsibility of that SIG to notify the other individual Spin SIGs (authors note: finalize how this has to happen, perhaps using the new logistics mailing list, or a cross-SIG discussion list) of that impending change, in as timely a manner as possible.
If any of the affected individual Spin SIGs feel that an announced change from any other individual Spin SIG causes unacceptable conflict, they should request that the issue be presented to FESCo for arbitration, with the guidance that the Default Desktop Spin is considered "first among equals" for the purposes of conflict resolution (if applicable). If FESCo is unable to determine a resolution to the conflicting change, the issue should be escalated to the Fedora Board for a final decision.
Our Download Website
We should design the download page on the website with two focuses, in this order:
- New Fedora users should be able to easily and quickly download the Default Desktop Spin.
- Users who know what they are looking for should be able to find information about the specifics of all official (and available) Fedora Spins, including intended target audience, in a concise and clean fashion, then make their choice with a minimal amount of "clicks".
We should look to similar "download" pages on other distributions websites for inspiration. Apart from that guidance, the decisions on implementation are left to the Design and Web teams.