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The State of Fedora: We're Not Just for Fanboys
Cheap, Easy, and Sustainable
December 7, 2009
TORONTO -- With over 20 million installations, Fedora is among the most world's popular Linux distributions. While that kind of success has been due to a rapid base of supporters, the distro originally launched by Red Hat as a community Linux project is having to bridge the divide between targeting a mass audience and keeping hardcore enthusiasts in the fold.
That's no easy task, but for Fedora Project Leader Paul Frields, it's key to the distro's continued growth.
"I'm not interested in a shotgun approach where we reach every single person on the planet, though that wouldn't be a bad thing," Frields said during a session at the FUDCon Fedora conference here this weekend. "At Fedora, we're not interested in 'fanboy'-ism. What we're interested in is people that want to contribute."
Speaking before an a standing-room-only audience of users and developers, Frields described his vision of what the Fedora project is and what it isn't. And to Frields, it's not about cultivating a purely fanatical following.
Instead, the distro relies on what he described as a sustainable community -- as much about code as about collaboration. And it needs to continue being that sort of community to keep growing, he added.
To spread the message of sustainability and grow its community, Frields said that Fedora needs more participation from outside of its usual target who spends their days on IRC and developer mailing lists.
"We want to make opportunities in the project more seamless for people," Frields said. "From the time you first visit our site, we want people to know that being a part of this community is just a s--tload of fun."
Frields added that he wants to expose that fun to others and get out the message that Fedora is about sustainability, in line with such large efforts as Habitat for Humanity, the nonprofit organization that builds affordable, sustainable housing for those in need.
Similarly, he sees encouraging contribution and collaboration in Fedora's community as crucial to keeping the effort alive and well, but also about fostering the idea of sustainability in a larger sense.
"There is a cost to cheap and easy, and that's sustainability," Frields
said. "We care about sustainability in Fedora."