What’s this all about?
The Fedora Council’s primary responsibility is to identify collective Project goals and set things up so they happen. It’s been a long time since our last official big strategic push, and we’re now working on the next one.
This has taken longer than I’d hoped, but after work this summer, discussions on this site, and now a week of intense collaboration at last week’s Fedora Council Hackfest, we have a draft of the high-level part of the plan. From this, we’ll move step by step, to identify specific desired outcomes and design the projects, initiatives, and programs we’ll need to realize them.
Fedora’s basic purpose remains as explained in our Foundations, Mission, and Vision — we envision a world where everyone benefits from free and open source software built by inclusive, welcoming, and open-minded communities , and everything we do is meant to get us there.
Navigate by the North Star…
For the next five years, we’ve chosen a simple target: double the number contributors who are active every week. This serves as a “North Star” metric (or “Guiding Star”, if you prefer) — a basic gauge that what we’re doing is having the results we need. If we accomplish this, we’ll be closer to our vision — and have a stronger base for whatever the next step might be.
Our planning framework
How will we get there? We’re using a framework called a logic model. If this is new to you or you’d like a refresher, see Theory of Change: how we plan (and explain our plans!).
The Council presents our first draft!
Based on the work we’ve done so far, the Council has developed a list of high-level goals — the impact we’re looking for in order to reach the North Star target, which in turn moves towards the ideal world we envision.
At the hackfest, we focused on taking this list and building the Impact column — and we added a new-to-Fedora-process column: Objective. Think of these Objectives as “an important thing we want to achieve as part of this” and Impact as “why we believe this specific Objective will move us towards our North Star”.
By the end of the week, we all felt satisfied with this first draft of this part of the Fedora Strategy 2028 logic model:
I apologize for the tiny text — I couldn’t get the whole thing to format nicely here as a table. Expand the following sections to see the Objectives and Impact areas we worked on:
Fedora is for everyone...
Fedora is for everyone
Focus Area: Accessibility
|Fedora websites and docs use the current best-practices for a11y.||Expanded access to information allows people we were not able to reach before to enter the Fedora world.|
|Fedora Linux Editions use the best-available open source a11y tech||People who benefit from assistive technology can become Fedora Linux users.|
|Our project tooling follows best a11y practices.||Users who benefit from assistive technology can become Fedora Project contributors.|
Focus Area: Reaching the World
|Fedora Linux is available pre-installed on more systems from more vendors.||Reduced barrier to entry lets more people try Fedora.|
|Fedora Linux is widely available in cloud providers and CI services.||Fedora is perceived as the default developer platform.|
|Fedora maintains a strong network of thriving local communities around the world.||As a distributed project, we are more diverse and resilient.|
Fedora leads in Linux distribution development...
Theme: Fedora leads in Linux distribution development
Focus Area: Community Sustainability
|Everyone in Fedora has a mentor, and everyone in Fedora is a mentor.||Better onboarding. Growth for current contributors. Continuity of expertise and reduced lottery factor.|
|We have insight into community health and trends through meaningful metrics.||We know where we’re succeeding — and what needs help. By measuring more than git commits, we can highlight more than coding.|
|Modernize our communications tooling.||An easier, more friendly face for the project, and higher quality discussion for all, leading to increased involvement and engagement.|
Focus Area: Technology Innovation & Leadership
|Fedora is a popular source for containers and Flatpaks.||Fedora is a trusted source of software beyond our own base OS, reaching more users and potential contributors.|
|Immutable variants are the majority of Fedora Linux in use.||New way of doing things brings excitement and new energy.|
|We integrate programming language stack ecosystems.||Developers choose Fedora Linux because we provide a straightforward programming environment that works the way they expect.|
We build on the success of Fedora.next...
Theme: We build on the success of Fedora.next
Focus Area: Editions, Spins, and Interests
|Each Edition has a story for each release.||Better fuel for marketing, leading to more interest and press.|
|It’s trivial to create and maintain a new Fedora Spin or Remix.||Niche environments bring enthusiasm greater than their size — and allow experimentation which may power future growth.|
|More (active) SIGs, fewer images.||We grow strong special-interest teams and networks into other communities — neuroscientists, roboticists, teachers…|
Focus Area: Ecosystem Connections
|Better collaborative workflow with CentOS Stream and RHEL.||More resources for us — and a bigger potential contributor base through EPEL and similar.|
|Get people working on Amazon Linux directly involved in Fedora as an upstream.||More resources for us — and another source of resources and vested-interest paid contributors.|
|Collaborate on tooling, practices, and offerings with peer distros and upstream projects.||Make Fedora less alien to people from other projects. Working collaboratively multiplies our efforts.|
About this draft
Some of these goals are new efforts. Others are about expanding existing work, or revitalizing something that was more active in the past. And some are significant changes in emphasis.
Our chosen objectives are not necessarily perfect right now. That’s okay — we’ve got time to revise and adjust. But I think we have a good start, from which we can work on the rest: filling from the high-level columns on the right to the increasingly-pragmatic columns on the left. If we stay at the abstract level too long, we’ll never get to the real work.
As we do each step, we’ll continually validate: for each item in a column, are the items linked on the column to the left necessary and sufficient? And, are the items on linked on the right the outcomes we want and expect? Are there important things we want to do that don’t connect into something on the right side? If so, we might be missing something!
What if something is missing?
First, it’s important to note that while this plan will give us a focus for our efforts, it isn’t everything. There are (at least) two major categories of project effort that we’ve intentionally left out:
- Regular, fundamental work. Release engineering, marketing, documentation, support, design, etc., etc., etc. Just because these don’t have a row on the plan doesn’t mean they aren’t important. In fact, to the contrary, we’ll need these things to execute on most of the planned initiatives.
- Anything someone wants to do that isn’t really aligned. If this were a business, we’d probably want to shut down efforts that don’t fit the goal. But, since we’re volunteers, we all do what interests us. And if that interest doesn’t particularly fit this plan, that’s perfectly fine. As long as it’s within Fedora’s overall scope (and not harmful in some way!), go for it. The project overall will allocate resources in support of the big plan, but there’s room for exploring in other directions too.
One area the Council discussed in particular: Improving Onboarding. This is clearly important, and directly aligned with the North Star target. We’ve decided for now to consider this one of the fundamentals, something underneath lots of other parts, not an initiative on its own. But I’m open to finding some way of making this in particular more prominent.
There may be some really big things that are missing, and if so, I hope to discover them and correct in the next several weeks.
After the Council meeting, we’ll have time for public discussion and comment, and then the Council will agree on an final version. In the next few weeks, I’ll post topics about each of the Objectives, and we’ll have a month of discussion and adjustment for each. If necessary, we will discuss and make adjustments to the draft during our regular Council meetings or in Council tickets. This should be complete by the end of April.
Next, we’ll find leaders for each initiative — an Executive Sponsor from the Council and a Lead (who does not need to be a council member). We’ll work on defining the Outcomes — the Key Results, and then fill in Actions and Resources — for the latter, both what’s available and gaps that need to be filled for success. This should be done by the end of June.
We’ll then organize this into an overall schedule — with eighteen big areas we’re looking at, we don’t expect everything to happen all at once! We expect that some of these will be Community Initiatives in the formal sense, while others may simply be projects — or ongoing programs.
The entire Logic Mode and overall plan should be finalized in time to present at Flock at the beginning of August.
Fedora Strategy 2028: a topic index for our planning process serves as a central point to keep track of all of the related posts I’ll be making between now and then.
If you’re following along from earlier posts, you might recognize many of these. As we worked, it became clear that what we had was good but not in the right form for Impact. ↩︎
And, in somewhat related news: we’re renaming what were previously “Council Objectives” to “Fedora Community Initiatives” — more on that to come! ↩︎
“Final” doesn’t mean “permanently fixed forever”, of course — over the next five years, we’ll adjust and correct. But final in the sense of “this is the current plan”. ↩︎
formerly known as “Council Objectives” ↩︎