This is part one of a four-part series recapping the Fedora Council’s face-to-face meeting in November 2019.
A few years ago, the Fedora Council set out to update the project’s guiding statements. At the time, we were particularly focused on the mission statement, because we felt that what we had previously was too broad to be actionable. The result of that is:
Fedora creates an innovative platform for hardware, clouds, and containers that enables software developers and community members to build tailored solutions for their users.
… which we quite like. But, this focus has somewhat of a downside: it’s functional but not particularly inspiring. It talks about what we’re doing, but not much about the why. So, this year, we worked on a new vision statement to serve as the proverbial “banner on a hilltop” that we can use to rally our existing community and to attract new contributors.
Because this statement needs to reflect the actual vision of the collective Fedora community, the Council sees the draft we came up with as a starting point for a conversation as we work towards a final version. Our draft is:
We envision a world where free and open source software is accessible and usable. In this world, software is built by communities that are inclusive, welcoming, and encourage experimentation. The Fedora Project will be a reference for everyone who shares this vision.
This statement reflects our values, the four foundations of Freedom, Friends, Features, and First.
We talked a lot about Fedora’s Freedom foundation. As a project, we want everyone to live in a universe of free and open source software; the user should be in control of their computing. But we also recognize the reality that we have to lead people there, not push them. People have hardware that requires closed drivers, and sometimes the software they need for their jobs or life isn’t open either. We want people to be able to use open source for everything, but often the real world doesn’t let them. We need to provide a path so people can get to the ideal, not demand that they teleport there or else. We want our vision statement to encourage a productive approach rather than to act as a weapon.
We also want the statement to reflect our community approach — the Friends foundation. Fedora isn’t bits and bytes. Fedora is our people, and we want the statement to include our vision of a healthy community. As the saying goes, none of us is as smart as all of us. A welcoming and inclusive project produces better results.
And finally, we want to keep our focus on innovation, both by incorporating the latest upstream code and in the work we do to build our releases. While long-term support is important, it’s not our focus — and many other communities do a great job providing this already. Fedora advances the state of the art in Linux operating systems. We try new things, many of them succeed, but some do not — we learn from those and move on.
So, what do you think? Does this statement accomplish these goals? Is there something big that’s missing? Is there wording we can improve? Let’s work together to refine this draft and define Fedora’s vision for the 2020s! Give us your feedback on the council-discuss thread in the next few weeks. We want to ratify a final statement in February.