15:01:58 <quaid> #startmeeting
15:01:58 <zodbot> Meeting started Wed Dec  2 15:01:58 2009 UTC.  The chair is quaid. Information about MeetBot at http://wiki.debian.org/MeetBot.
15:01:58 <zodbot> Useful Commands: #action #agreed #halp #info #idea #link #topic.
15:02:02 <quaid> thx mdomsch
15:02:16 <quaid> OK, folks, welcome to our last townhall with the Board candidates
15:02:26 <quaid> if you have questions, please post them in #fedora-townhall-public
15:02:32 <quaid> I'll queue them and paste them here
15:02:41 <quaid> my other duty is to make sure we are timely in discussion, etc.
15:02:44 <quaid> otherwise ...
15:02:50 <quaid> I have no questions in the queue at this time
15:02:59 <quaid> and I'd like to ask the candidates to intro themselves
15:03:26 <walters> Hi, I'm Colin Walters.  I've been contributing to various free software projects such as Fedora and GNOME for a long time, am currently a Red Hat desktop team member.
15:04:06 * mdomsch is Matt Domsch, Board member for 3.5 years, Mirror Wrangler, and technology strategist at Dell focusing on OSs and virtualization.  I tend to break things.
15:04:30 <SMParrish_mobile> I'm Steven Parrish KDE-SIG member, triager, package maintainer and work on Fedora for the OLPC
15:05:46 <quaid> ctyler: ping
15:06:04 <ctyler> I'm Chris Tyler, longtime free software and open source user and contributor. I teach at Seneca College, Toronto.
15:06:04 <quaid> so we do have one question from the last session, which didn't get a long time for discussion
15:06:23 <quaid> which I'm going to lead with, originally from abadger1999
15:06:55 <quaid> <@abadger1999> What is a Linux distribution to you and how important is it that the fedora project creates one?
15:09:17 <mdomsch> The distribution is the single tangible output that all our contributors rally around.  I think it is highly important.  Regardless of each contributor's reasons for involvement in Fedora, in the end, the results of those contributions take form in the distribution itself.
15:09:37 <ctyler> As I said last time, a Linux distribution is a complete open source stack (vs. open source running on top of proprietary software). It's very important to anyone who really values free software and open source (which describes most of the Fedora community!). It's our raison d'etre, the focal point of our activity.
15:10:00 <SMParrish_mobile> A distro is a collection of software that is put out by the community for the use and enjoyment of the members of the community.  IMO its very important that we create one as it can be used to showcase the talents of the community and can be used to help spread the beliefs of the community
15:10:27 <mdomsch> Sure, artwork and translations and software development can happen without that final output, but the distro itself, with its release cadence, provides structure to the efforts of all the contributors.
15:10:32 <walters> 1. I think the Fedora Project should be producing a Free Software general purpose operating system, supporting applications on top, encouraging Free Software applications, and distributing those through the package system ("the Linux distribution").  But we need to do better at providing a clear line to developers as to what the operating system is, and stability of the various libraries; constraints not necessarily express
15:10:32 <walters> ible in the dependency system.
15:11:48 <ctyler> quaid: would you number the questions, and we'll number the replies, in case there's overlap?
15:11:53 <SMParrish_mobile> The distro brings us all together in a tangible way.  Its the reason we all got involved, but may not be the reason we are all still here
15:11:57 <quaid> ctyler: +1
15:12:38 <quaid> ok, no disagreements in those answers
15:13:03 <mdomsch> groupthink :-)
15:13:29 <quaid> what the original question made me ponder is, how important are "ancillary to making a Linux" the various activities in the Fedora Project?  Is it fair to consider them ancillary or are they actually primary?
15:14:05 <quaid> ctyler: call that a continuation on 1.
15:15:51 <mdomsch> 1.  most of the activities are directly related in some fashion.  artwork, translations, infrastructure, feature planning, development, marketing, evangelism, ambassadors.  Not all directly "bits in the distro", but very closely related, and all necessary functions for the health of the project overall.
15:16:00 <SMParrish_mobile> [1] well you could put out a distro without artwork,  not worry about bugs or the infrastructure but would anyone use it.  We need everyone in all groups working together to put out Fedora.  I don't think we can rank the various groups in importance that would just tend to seperate us when infact we are a team
15:17:07 <ctyler> The scope of the Fedora Project has naturally grown. Initial focus was plainly on technical issues, but with a larger community and some stability and solid functionality in the core, we need people with other skills -- art, design, UI expertise, translation skills, doc writing -- to move forward.
15:17:43 <ctyler> (Which is to say, they've become primary)
15:18:33 <quaid> walters asked for clarification, such as examples of an activity
15:18:44 <quaid> I said, "Making t-shirts"
15:19:08 <walters> 1 (cont): If it helps the production of either the operating system, or the applications on top, I wouldn't consider it ancillary.  For the given example of t-shirts, that would seem to fall under "marketing" to me, which is extremely important
15:19:22 <SMParrish_mobile> lol for those of us going to FUDCon thats very important 8-)
15:19:23 <mdomsch> t-shirts are marketing
15:19:37 <mdomsch> even if it's marketing within our community
15:19:49 <quaid> [2] <inode0> Question: Aside from a distribution, what other sorts of "deliverables" are important to the Fedora Project? Are there any deliverables that the Project should be producing that it isn't?
15:19:58 * quaid goes on that one as related ...
15:19:59 <ctyler> Well, at first blush, making T-shirts would seem "less primary", but it's part of building community, solidifying identification with that community, and marketing -- all essential as the community grows.
15:22:03 <quaid> "Is an open source education curriculum ancillary or primary to Fedora Project?"
15:22:27 <mdomsch> 2.  there are more deliverables than just the distribution.  Each of the separate upstream projects that originate in Fedora but are then picked up by other distributions.  All the translation work that happens in Fedora that's then merged upstream for the benefit of all the distros.
15:23:08 <ctyler> (2) I think the processes and scaffolding for the distribution are also very important. MirrorManager, Transifex, the doc stuff, Koji, Bodhi, Fedora Community, Fedora Talk -- we're evolving open source processes as well as the technology.
15:23:35 <walters> 2. "distribution" is an extremely vague term, but I think Fedora should leave open the possibility of hosting web sites related to project functionality targeted for OS consumers (not developers), under the domain of infrastructure
15:23:39 <SMParrish_mobile> [2] I think we should work on creating an Open Source curriculum that can be used in schools to introduce students not only to Linux and Fedora but open source in general, it should be a focus for the project.  These students will be the next gen of coders, artists etc and we need to involve them early
15:24:28 <SMParrish_mobile> [2] gdk has a great 4 grade math project going on atm, and I would like to see this expanded to other subjects and grades as well
15:24:37 <mdomsch> 2.  at the risk of raising the ire of gdk and ctyler - ancillary.  It absolutely is a tool to help raise the visibility of Fedora's goals, and bring in new contributors.  but the development of the curriculum, and delivery thereof, isn't a primary Fedora goal.
15:25:36 <walters> 2 (cont) Besides that though, I think our core deliverables should remain the operating system and the FOSS application set, and we should focus on making both of them good.
15:26:05 <ctyler> 2b. Actually, mdomsch, I agree with you. That's why I was involved in the creation of TeachingOpenSource.org -- a separate, neutral umbrella for things relating to the teaching of open source.
15:26:20 <SMParrish_mobile> mdomsch: your right currently it is not but I would like to see us move in that direction
15:27:00 <mdomsch> 2. walters re infrastructure: the possibility is there; it's a matter of prioritized resources.  web sites for fedora contributors, would get higher priority than providing web sites for non-contributors.  I have no desire to be the next myspace.
15:28:00 <ctyler> 2b. And the concept of "Curriculum" is nearly useless in an open source context. You can't even publish a book on Fedora before it's out of date, and you really can't teach people how to work in open source through static text. You need a person on the inside to say "Come on in, the water's fine!".
15:28:48 <walters> mdomsch: yes; i think it would have to be clearly in-scope to the project, like an applications catalog
15:29:06 <quaid> any more on this topic?
15:29:45 <walters> mdomsch: but i specifically mention web sites that *aren't* for contributors
15:30:44 <mdomsch> walters, I did misread your statement, sorry about that.
15:30:56 <ctyler> quaid: Q++
15:31:42 <quaid> [3] <brejc8> Question: What do you see as Fedora's greatest failure in the recent years?
15:32:56 <mdomsch> 3.  that we haven't been able to escape the "Fedora is a beta for RHEL" paintbrush that diminishes our visibility and reach
15:34:19 <mdomsch> 3.  and I think the efforts of the website redesign, and new spins.fp.o, along with the marketing messages being developed in support of that, will help.
15:34:20 <SMParrish_mobile> [3] The lack of communication during the security issue last year.  The silence on the issue was not in the spirit of openness and transparency.
15:34:26 * SMParrish_mobile waits for the daggers to fly
15:34:46 <ctyler> 3. The extended shutdown when the server got compromised a while back. It shone the light on some really unclear (and uncomfortable) corners of the RH-Fedora connection, differences due to culture and goals.
15:35:20 <ctyler> 3+. I think it was an instructive experience though -- it provoked some change, and there is more that needs to take place.
15:35:29 <walters> 3. Not a very happy question; I don't want to pick anything in particular.  I'll just say that I think we've generally learned from our problems, and there's been a lot of work going on that should address them.
15:36:58 <mdomsch> 3.  aside from communication on that issue (there wasn't a lot of info _to_ communicate that I can tell), I'm quite proud of how FI and rel-eng reacted.
15:37:39 <mdomsch> in every step, ensuring our users were not adversely impacted came first.
15:38:05 <quaid> [3.a] For a happy question, then :), what do you see as Fedora's greatest triumph in recent years?
15:38:12 <SMParrish_mobile> [3] mdomsch, I agree FI and rel-eng did a great job, but I think letting the community know what happened and to keep them informed is important as well.
15:38:32 <ctyler> 3+. Here's my concern: we're sitting ducks for issues like that security problem, and like the (smaller) brouhaha that developed over PackageKit-command-not-found. The board needs to put energy and focus into planning for these types of occurrences.
15:39:36 <mdomsch> ctyler, reactively, plans for future such FI problems are now in place.  It's hard to plan for every possible problem that may arise. :-)
15:40:03 <SMParrish_mobile> [3a]  1st out the door with KDE4, 1st with plymouth, 1st with ext4, the list goes on.  Fedora greatest triumph is its willingness to be 1st and try new things.  Each release gets better and better
15:40:43 <ctyler> mdomsch: agreed. But as the project grows (mushrooms?), the potential for problems increases. We need to try to identify weak spots, anticipate problems and head them off and plan the response if/when they happen.
15:41:29 <quaid> if anyone wants to answer [3a], feel free to interleave ... otherwise, I'll move on
15:41:32 <mdomsch> 3a.  the spins work, both infra to make that relatively easy, and the growth of the number and types of spins.  This demonstrates our growing utility to a wider set of audiences.
15:41:34 <SMParrish_mobile> ctyler: +1, we need to have contingencies for potential problems
15:41:53 <ctyler> 3a. SMParrish_mobile: agreed. It's fascinating to install, say, Core 3 and see how far we've come in such a short time. We really do drive the rapid advancement of open source.
15:41:53 <walters> 3. I think all of the graphics work appearing in Fedora is really cool, and while there are some regressions there's been an amazing amount of progress
15:41:53 <quaid> [4] <tcpip4000> Q: Is important to you create an official fedora package box: with DVD and manual?
15:42:57 <mdomsch> 4. no.
15:43:18 <mdomsch> but I wouldn't stop anyone else from doing so if it was important to them
15:43:22 <SMParrish_mobile> [4] Unless you planning on charging for it, which I am against, no.  The cost would be extreme and those funds are better used on other things
15:43:30 <ctyler> 4. Not in the age of broadband. There is a need for Fedora discs in geographic areas that are not served by good connectivity, but those areas also need a lightweight, inexpensive solution: the $0.57 (iirc) Live discs that were produced for F11 are a better fit for that need than a boxed set.
15:43:56 <mdomsch> more of a problem than DVD production is shipping costs.
15:44:29 <mdomsch> which is what the FreeMedia program is running up against.  it's hard to give away product and shipping both - unsustainable.
15:45:05 <ctyler> Yes. Local mirroring (thanks mdomsch!) and local distribution partners (schools, freedom toasters, LUGs, install fests, local disc vendors) are important.
15:45:11 <SMParrish_mobile> [4+] and like ctyler mentioned earlier we move to fast for printed docs.  They would be obsolete by the time it shipped
15:45:44 <walters> 4. No, it's better to have online, up to date docs than a manual, and a DVD can be made by off the shelf DVD burners
15:45:47 <mdomsch> and I don't feel bad at all asking someone who doesn't have broadband to download, and don't have other friends who can help get them bits, to pay the cost of media and shipping if they want such.
15:46:07 <quaid> feel free to add to [4], and to continue ...
15:46:19 <quaid> [5] <inode0> Ok, an education program of some sort seems to fall when within the boundaries set in the project's mission statement. What factors should go into deciding what activities get to ride in the front seat of the Fedora bus? Or does the primary distinction really not matter much?
15:46:37 <ctyler> 4+. mdomsch: Which is probably better handled by partners.
15:47:20 <mdomsch> ctyler, agreed
15:48:43 <ctyler> 5. It's not a bus, it's a swarm of Mini Coopers. The people who drive get to set direction, so if we have a group of people that really want to do X, and doing X won't harm the rest of the community, let's do it! I think the most valuable educational effort we can put forward is a strong on-ramp and mentorship system.
15:48:47 <SMParrish_mobile> [5] I don't think the distinction matters that much.  The people involved in this type of project will be doing all the heavy lifting.  The board will be there to support them in what ever way it can. It doesn't matter where you are in the bus, you all get there at the same time
15:50:03 <walters> 5. I don't think Fedora should branch out from producing an OS and a set of applications on top; if an education project fits as an application, then that works out well.
15:50:08 <ctyler> 5+. I think we should remove the "student" distinction and think in terms of bringing community members on the edge into the core. That strengthens our community overall.
15:51:04 <mdomsch> 5. the distinction can only set up a false dichotomy, to the detriment of the project as a whole.  Look at our release notes - they cover tons of stuff that I personally might not think is the most important, but it clearly is for someone.  There is no reason to categorize efforts, until you get to the point where you're making them compete for scarce resources.  and so far we've been able to grow our resources to match our needs quite well.
15:52:00 * quaid , mindful of time, moves on to the second-to-last Q
15:52:13 <quaid> [6] <DiscordianUK> How do the candidates feel about the changes occured regarding PackageKit during the F12 launch and the ensuing bad publicity? How could it have been avoided?
15:52:44 <quaid> [5a] Is there really a Fedora the Project and a Fedora the distribution or are they the same thing in reality?
15:54:15 <ctyler> 6. That was a testplan issue. The unsigned packages in Rawhide caused a different behavior from the released product. The solution, in this specific case, is a better testplan, and maybe a security policy step in the package review process.
15:54:20 <walters> 6. I've posted my thoughts on the policy itself to fedora-devel-list; anyone interested can find where I joined in the conversation.  As for how it could have been avoided, I think the desktop group needs to do a better job talking about what they do, and changes we're planning on making; this is something I plan to push on.
15:55:45 <SMParrish_mobile> [6] the PK dev team discussed this openly on the mailing lists, which is a big plus, it was not decided behind closed doors. The issue is that no one really took note of it and raised any objections at that time.  More opinions should have been solicited from the various boards and groups
15:55:53 <walters> 5a. Fedora the project is the halo of people and infrastructure to produce Fedora the OS+apps
15:56:41 <SMParrish_mobile> [5a] They are not the same thing, the Fedora project produces the distro but it also does much more
15:57:40 <mdomsch> we don't, as a rule, do code-wise security audits of the 8500 SRPMs currently in fedora.  we tend to trust our packagers and our upstreams, and that trust is widely appropriate across these contributors.  but sometimes we get bit, and we have to react.
15:57:55 <quaid> ok, I'm going to ask the last question, and let you all ramble on through the hour, as you wish and are able
15:58:02 <quaid> [7] <maxamillion> Q: What do you think the Board could do in order to help efforts such as https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/SIGs/Store that would allow for more brand recognition by allowing more people to obtain Fedora branded gear?
15:58:46 <ctyler> 5a. There's definitely a Fedora Community with is distinct from Fedora the Linux distribution. If the ambassador role disappeared, would F13 still get out the door? Yes. But it would get in to the hands of fewer people, the community growth would slow, and so forth. We need the full community, not just the product itself.
15:59:52 <mdomsch> SMParrish_mobile, there is a balancing act between widely looking for input and feedback (a good thing), making timely forward progress (also a good thing), and using either a lack of timely feedback, or the "ask enough times, someone will say NO" excuse for not making progress.  Sometimes people err in that balancing act.
15:59:53 <SMParrish_mobile> [7] I think if people want to show their pride in Fedora and have Fedora branded gear thats great.  The once caveat is the Fedora must protect its trademark, if it doesn't it could lose it.  So items would have to be approved by the board to make sure they are appropriate and in keeping with our philosophy
16:00:15 <walters> 7. I think the Board's role would be to resolve big-picture issues such as what happens to the money we're taking in, what partner we'd choose to process credit cards, etc.
16:00:43 * SMParrish_mobile would hate to see a Fedora thong 8-)
16:01:13 <SMParrish_mobile> mdomsch: I agree
16:02:30 <ctyler> 7. We absolutely need more Fedora swag! Man, I see the Mozilla guys in FF fleece jackets and with FF FatHeads covering their wall, and we can't even get Fedora shirts out the door. The problem we're having really is money, and we need to just solve that. The sort of 'non-profit only' policy we've been trying to use needs another look, because it's blocking the availability of essential marketing swag.
16:03:51 <mdomsch> 7.  there are competing interests in generating swag.  quality, cost, and geographic availability being the biggest ones.  The board has been supportive of a SIG trying to develop the list of options and make recommendations, there is a lot of legwork to be done there.
16:04:52 <mdomsch> ctyler, not only non-profit-only, but "we must buy stuff to give away to as many people as possible".
16:05:14 <mdomsch> while software may be Free, product is not zero-cost
16:05:44 <ctyler> mdomsch: Yes -- I meant in terms of a swag store people could buy from.
16:05:50 * quaid notes no more questions and he can wrap-up at any time you all are finished
16:05:56 * inode0 would again like to thank everyone who participated in the town hall today, candidates, community members, quaid
16:06:25 <quaid> aye, and if candidates have anything to say in closing, now is a good time
16:06:57 <SMParrish_mobile> I would just like to remind people that the most important thing you can do now is VOTE.
16:07:10 <walters> I'll just refer to my previous closing statement, and say thanks everyone for all of the good questions, and hope to see a large turnout.
16:07:21 <ctyler> Aye, don't forget to VOTE next week! Thanks to everyone who participated today, and especially to Karsten for moderating.
16:07:51 <quaid> and bug people to vote - blog, dent/tweet, irc, mailing list
16:07:58 <SMParrish_mobile> Thanks to the organizers for arranging this and the communithy for the great questions
16:09:07 <SMParrish_mobile> Got to run back to work.  Thanks again and be safe all
16:10:23 <quaid> ok, on that note
16:10:26 <quaid> if there is nothing more?
16:10:35 <mdomsch> and we'll see you at FUDCon this weekend!
16:10:42 * quaid does the countdown in his head
16:10:52 <mdomsch> poke us individually there if you have more questions
16:11:26 <quaid> #endmeeting