F42 Change Proposal: Fedora Plasma Workstation (System-Wide)

Is it a joke?

I have checked, and I’m assured that this isn’t an April Fools prank, despite the initial date in the wiki.

Wait, wait, hold on a minute please!

I’d like to please put this on hold as a Change as a procedural matter. Under the Fedora.next framework where we established the Fedora Editions, the Workstation working group chose GNOME for implementation. The correct initial venue for this is that working group.

Now, practically speaking, since Fedora Workstation has been GNOME-based for … a decade now, I don’t think it’s hard to guess how a decision there would likely come out (even though not everyone in the WG is primarily a GNOME contributor or partisan). As someone just now said to me on Matrix, “I feel like that’d be like asking the employees of Apple to support changing the iPhone’s default OS to Android…”

Nonetheless, I think that is the correct approach to start. In the very early days of the Workstation Working Group, there were some proposals for that group to act as an umbrella overseeing multiple desktop environments. That is potentially something the group could re-consider.

@joshstrobl, @marcdeop, @tdawson, @farchord, @aleasto — could you please reach out and have that conversation? See Fedora Workstation — getting in touch.

Edition Promotion?

If the Workstation working group doesn’t like that, the next step would be to consider the Fedora Council Process for promoting a Fedora deliverable to an edition.

It is possible that that is a viable route, but I have quite a bit of skepticism that there’s an alternate-desktop proposal that fits the first criterion:

  • addresses a distinct, relevant, and broad use-case or user-base that a Fedora Edition is not currently serving

There was (again, about a decade ago) a proposal for a Fedora Scientific Edition, a desktop to appeal in the academic and research space — and which happened to feature KDE as a desktop. I’d have to look up the exact details, but basically we rejected that 1) as too niche (while still overlapping with the Workstation mandate), and 2) because it was very clearly a “get the specific desktop technology in as an Edition somehow” play (which felt inherently antagonistic to the goals of the Fedora.next plan).

So, while that would make procedural sense, I don’t want to waste everyone’s time with that requirement.

So, what then?

Well, KDE is (and has long been) by far the most popular desktop in Fedora after GNOME. The KDE SIG has been doing good things, and in particular has built great bridges with the upstream project. The change in release cycle in particular catches my eye. I also don’t doubt that the upstream project is healthy and capable of delivering a stack we can use to make a very polished Fedora experience worthy of being a top-level offering.

If the Workstation Working Group is not interested in a dual-desktop Workstation approach, I think we can and should take this up at the Fedora Council level and find an approach that works, and which better highlights the work that the KDE SIG and KDE fans in Fedora have put in. That may be a change to our Edition rules, or a particular exception, or something else — I won’t promise a particular outcome.

I don’t think that demoting the existing GNOME-based Workstation is a likely outcome. (I personally would vote against it — it is overwhelmingly popular and successful, and we have good relationships with GNOME that we don’t need to just throw out.) I know that we ended up with this kind of feeling like a zero-sum game, but it doesn’t have to do that way.

So, I do promise that if something else can’t be worked out, the Fedora Council will give serious and fair consideration to all reasonable options. I promise we’ll listen to all stakeholders and allow room for community input and discussion. And, I think that we can come up with a solution that will be an improvement on the current state.


I’m not going to shut down this discussion topic (at least not immediately!), but I do ask:

  • proposers, please withdraw the Change Proposal, or
  • FESCo, please decline/defer

in favor of the process outlined above (tl;dr: talk to the Workstation WG, and if that does not come to a satisfying outcome, file a Council ticket for next possibilities).

Thank you!