Decision-Making, Governance, Council, Red Hat — a breakout topic for the F40 Change Request on Privacy-preserving telemetry for Fedora Workstation

The change proposal F40 Change Request: Privacy-preserving Telemetry for Fedora Workstation (System-Wide) is — as is appropriate for such a big, important topic! — getting a lot of discussion. In order to keep the conversation from becoming one long list, I’m making a number of break-out topics for various important sub-topics that are emerging in the discussion.

This topic is for related discussion about how Fedora makes decisions, about how this decision should be made (including things like “is this a forgone conclusion?”). Post in the main thread that are primarily about this will be moved here.[1] If you have more to add on this particular topic, this is the best place for that.

Note that posts that are entirely off-topic may be moved to our space for off-topic conversations or removed entirely if they are not constructive, in line with our moderation policy.

  1. Some posts which cover this but also other points will remain in the main topic, to avoid breaking the flow. ↩︎

Who would have access to the data in the metrics server? Is it public to all community members?

I really don’t like this either. This sounds like Red Hat trying to productize Fedora. I’m especially conflicted about this proposal in light of recent cuts in Red Hat contributions to Fedora (libreoffice and other desktop packages, the program manager).

Whose objective is this? Red Hat’s? FESCo? Counsel? I’m not saying I don’t agree with this objective. I’m just asking who we is :slightly_smiling_face:.

Regardless of yes or no: my proposal would be to make a decision about this also dependent on the Council. I think we can agree that the outreach/impact of that goes beyond FESCO? Especially since the outreach/impact is hard to foresee.

@mattdm what do you think?

Supplement: I took the liberty of pinning the topic. Regardless of yes or no, it is a decision that many will consider serious (be it in a positive or negative way).


Sure, I’m fine with requiring that this change proposal be approved by Council in addition to FESCo.

That said, Fedora Council is controlled by Red Hat, and Fedora community representation on the Council is rather limited. FESCo is stacked with Red Hatters too, but at least they are all community-elected and can be replaced by the Fedora community if the community is dissatisfied with the decisions they are making. So I don’t think the Council is the best body to be making telemetry-related decisions in the long term.


I wouldn’t conflate Red Hatters being on the council and in FESco with them automatically supporting proposals put forth by other Red Hatters and I hope others don’t do so either :slight_smile:


If there is strong indication that a Council decision is needed here, we can certainly add that to our agenda. I’d like to let the decision play out a bit more, though.

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The council has two generally-elected members, two that are selected Mindshare and FESCo specifically, and a variable number representing initiatives. Because the Council works by consensus, the specific numbers don’t really matter — an elected representative cannot be outvoted.

All that said, I think those of us who work for Red Hat — including, you, Michael, by the way — take privacy concerns very seriously. I know there’s a matter of optics and all that (and as someone has noted, the corporate optics aren’t exactly shiny right now), but pragmatically I trust the Council — and FESCo — to make a fair decision here. This is based on my experience with the people who choose to work on Fedora, and because I do happen to specifically know that there’s no Big Corporate Agenda pushing this down on the team (other than the general ones specifically given in the proposal — " justify additional time spent on contributing to Fedora or additional investment in Fedora".


I understand emotions are a bit higher than usual but let’s discuss this change proposal on its own premise.

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Honestly, what redhat wants to do with other projects is more or less important in this specific change request thread. I get your point, but let’s try to stay on topic.


Few opt-in because no one wants it. To suggest you are trying to implement ‘privacy-preserving telemetry’ by starting out attempting to do something you know people don’t want shows exactly how much you are dedicated to doing the right thing. The absolute arrogance like you are entitled to any data because someone uses something given freely also betrays exactly how trustworthy the plan is.

I have little doubt this is the path Red Hat is going to take; I also believe this discussion will mean nothing to that end. I will say that I will be replacing my Fedora systems with something else when this is accepted.

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Hey, let’s please keep accusations like “absolute arrogance” and “entitled” so on … toned down. I don’t think that’s constructive at all. Everyone is here because we want Fedora to be better. We can disagree about how, but please keep the personal attacks out of it. Thank you.


This is not a “path Red Hat is going to take” decision. This is a Fedora decision.

Not that it likely matters, but I didn’t personally read that as a personal attack towards any individual. It’s just a guess on my part, but the responses on social media once it gets picked up there will be far more pointed. Not to try and monopolize the conversation as I already posted, but it’s a bad idea and in truth not a particularly well worded proposal either considering the topic.

“The Red Hat Display Systems Team (which develops the desktop) proposes to enable limited data collection of anonymous Fedora Workstation usage metrics.”

It very clearly is Red Hat driving it.

And you might not like it but arrogance and entitlement are correct words as a response to “We are not interested in opt-in metrics.”

Everybody who proposes telemetry knows that no one want’s it, but they want that data now and in the future. So you turn it on automatically betting that most either don’t know it’s there or are not motivated enough to remove it, if it even really can be.


Yes, the wording of the original proposal is catastrophic

A general note:

I do not understand where these undirected grievances against Red Hat are coming from. But be aware that despite the high percentage of Red Hat people in most teams/elements (which might also be related that many community members are interested in applying at Red Hat by the way), in most teams/elements you also have non-Red Haters contained. Thus, undermining the decision making or imposing will on the community would be hard to implement but easy to identify because in nearly all cases, non-Red Haters would be involved as well.

Of course our goals and structures are complementary to Red Hat (… and vice versa), so the decisions will also often positively correlate. But we had already decisions that were against the “corporate path” of Red Hat (e.g., BTRFS). Red Hat might be able to provide stronger incentives to the community than other corporate entities, but they cannot impose. Btw, neither the Council nor FESCo do contain only RH people - and decisions are consensus driven.

Of course perception matters, and if anyone has an explicit case/action/development that makes you suspicious and that makes you feel that Fedora looses or lost its independence, feel free to open a topic and try to emotionless elaborate the very issue and make a proposal how to solve it, or allow us to explain if something is unclear: the community should be sufficiently transparent to reproduce how decisions have been made - we can help to disentangle.

But please avoid the undirected grievances here. This is only about a proposal that can be accepted only by the consensus of elements that both are not Red Hat-only.


AFAIK, 9/10 of the FESCo members and 6/7 of the Council members are Hatters. I agree that this shouldn’t be characterized as a RH decision, because Fedora is a community project with its own governing bodies. However, it is worth recognizing that these bodies are dominated by Red Hat employees, even if their job isn’t to speak for Red Hat.

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It was and is up to the community to decide whom to vote in a public process: we have two elected representatives at Council. If you follow the CVs of the Council, you will also find out that at least two of the RH-Council members started with Fedora and joined RH after that, not vice versa. Be also aware that reputation is much (if not everything) in software development, Open Source, research and so on: people with a well reputation have strong incentives to not let others undermine their decisions since they are held accountable (this can be worse than what your employer can do). RH people might have more working time to invest in Fedora, increasing their chances to get voted through their contributions (“incentives”), but the community decides whom to vote. And from ballots up to decisions, things are transparent and reproducible. Please open a new topic if you want to get deeper in this.


Yes, let’s be very clear on that: if Fedora rejects this, Red Hat Display Systems Team (the team behind Fedora Workstation) will be quite disappointed, but we’ll move on. “Forcing things through” does not and will not work in Fedora.

That said, I do hope to convince as many of you as possible that telemetry is a good idea. :wink:


I don’t think we can have a meaningful policy for Fedora until we clean this up. It may be possible to side-step this issue by making it clear that this is a Red Hat effort, and that any potential opt-out only applies to Red Hat data collection. This still requires some work across Red Hat to validate, of course. It won’t look great because of the required weasel wording many places that policy and opt-ins/opt-outs do not apply to all Fedora software, but some (unspecified?) subset.