The user base of Fedora has many aspects. The Board clarified in October 2009 a set of four characteristics that describe the minimum level of consumer for whom we'll design the default offering. This type of consumer is someone we think can immediately benefit from the usefulness and elegance of free software. This type of consumer is also someone who can be persuaded to participate or contribute to Fedora. Consumers who don't fit this minimum profile, though, might very well be pleased with what we provide. We tend to favor consumers who are interested in taking a step toward collaboration.
Our contributors are numbered among this user base. This class is not a statement of our present Project membership, but is rather a goal we are instituting for the Fedora distribution in the future.
The Board considers these aspects applicable to the work of the entire Fedora Project. The Board will encourage process changes where appropriate to ensure we are meeting the needs of as many members of this class as possible.
Fedora contributors understand that they may not be representative of a very large class of users who may find free software serves their needs as well. By setting the bounds of this larger class, we can make good decisions about how to make Fedora work well for as many people as possible, including ourselves.
For example, package maintainers who contribute actively and regularly to Fedora are more than just computer-friendly. A package maintainer has a high level of technical skill beyond that of the general user base, she is not only likely but in fact a frequent collaborator, and while she may use her systems for general productivity use, she also uses them for specific technical domain work.
Another example of a different kind of contributor is someone on Fedora's marketing team. This person might much more closely resemble the baseline characteristics above. He may not have a high level of technical skill, and uses general productivity tools to complete his personal work in addition to Fedora specific tasks, although he is a frequent collaborator.
By tailoring our processes to appeal to this wide superset of users, we can ensure Fedora's ongoing relevance and appeal, and thereby encourage more people to become interested in free software and participate in the Fedora Project.