I’ve been mentioning that we should start this conversation for a while, but haven’t actually, you know, started it, so here we go!
The Fedora.next initiative was our most recent big effort in intentionally shaping the future of the project. In the time since then, we’ve worked on an updated mission statement, vision statement, and guiding strategy which support the overall work we set out for ourselves.
But that was in 2013 and 2014, and at the time, we talked about the next five years — and overall, the second decade of the project. Now (waving aside the time lost to the global pandemic and all…), it’s five years later. I think we’re doing awesome things and have great momentum — but it’s time to kick things up again.
Here’s a chart I’ve often shown — this is from the “old” mirror statistics system, not the newer DNF counting, so don’t pay too much attention to the absolute numbers, but the relative amounts tell us a lot:
The color-groupings here are largely arbitrary, but the green area roughly represents the Fedora.next time period — 2014 to 2019. You can see that we had really steep growth … and then, more recently, still a lot of growth, but a much more… pedestrian slope. Things are slowing down again. If we coast on where we were, it’ll just keep slowing. So itt’s time to discuss, and come up with a plan for … let’s say, from now until 2025.
But, rather than focusing on number of systems (and the user growth that represents), let me start by planting a different flag on the horizon for us to strive towards:
Let’s double the number of people who are active every week in Fedora.
We have a nice mission, and a great vision. But if user numbers keep growing even at a slow, steady pace, we need to make sure we have a contributor community that’s there and ready to keep up, creating software, packaging and polishing it, writing docs, doing tests, making translations, creating designs, facilitating community and communication, helping people out, spreading the word, trying new ideas… all of the things.
What do we need to do to that? What do we need to focus on? Where are we doing awesome? Where do we need to improve? What things should we stop doing? What big changes are there in the distro landscape — and the technology world, and the world as whole do we need to adapt to, and how should we do that in a way that brings the best Fedora has to offer to a new set of people? What big changes to technology might we need? What about cultural and social changes?
And, of course — what other big goals should we strive for in building the world where everyone benefits from free and open source software built by inclusive, welcoming, and open-minded communities?