"Flavors" over "Solutions"?

Continuing the discussion from "Labs" and "Spins" — in the shadow of Editions?:

Hey @council!

Máirín (@duffy) and I were chatting about the website redesign, and the term “Solution” — see the above thread, and this council meeting summary post from 2018. The council picked this because:

  • We wanted something broad, that captures more than “spins” does
  • We wanted to draw focus towards the unique reason each … thing … might exist, something more than “this software exists so we made Fedora distribution of it”. Who is it for? What unique problems does it address? Why would someone want it?
  • It references our mission statement, Fedora creates an innovative platform for hardware, clouds, and containers that enables software developers and community members to build tailored solutions for their users.

But Mo notes that it seems very corporatespeak, and not really in the Fedora spirit. Long ago, I suggested that we call our “products”[1] Fedora Flavors.

I don’t remember why, but people didn’t love that. I secretly still kind of do, though. It’s cute, it has some history in related ideas in software (“Unix flavors”), and it has our trademark [2] alliteration.

What do y’all think about A) the new website using “Fedora Flavors”, eschewing any use of “solutions”; and B) updating Fedora policies like the Guiding Policy and our upcoming strategy work to use “Flavors” instead?[3]

What do you all think?


  1. Which, of course, are not “products” for sale, so Red Hat marketing has very politely but strongly asked us to not use that term in our marketing — Red Hat has a narrative around making enterprise products based on community projects and they’re concerned we could confuse people (particularly people who may already be confused about how RH and Fedora relate). So we’re avoiding that. But, also, we don’t want people to get the idea that we’re selling things, either as a community or somehow connected to our sponsor.] “Fedora Flavors”. ↩︎

  2. Not in the legal sense! ↩︎

  3. Note that this wouldn’t mean that we’d rename things to, like, “Fedora Xfce Flavor”. A “spin” is still a thing. It’s just one possible implementation of a Flavor. ↩︎

I feel like the “solution” name has been a failure. Whether it’s from a lack of effort on our (the Council’s) part, “solution” being a bad name, or something else, it clearly hasn’t caught on. I agree that “flavor” is probably a better approach. In particular, because what’s the solution that different desktop environments provide? (“Solution” is a good name for what we’ve called “Labs”, but less so for “Spins”).

Alternatively, I’d be in favor of keeping “Spins” to apply to all non-edition variants. We’ve sort of been doing that for the last few years anyway, so it doesn’t require as much of a change for folks.

2 Likes

When I see “Solution” I immediately feel like it’s not something I care about. It’s very business-oriented. Like a bank calling things like checking accounts their “products”. What? I’m just an unfrozen caveman, a product is something I can buy in a store and go home with. A checking account is a service. Or even a solution?

I don’t mind Flavor, but I don’t think it really fits. How different are Flavors? Why don’t we just call them Distributions?

3 Likes

I’ll give a +1 to “Flavor”. To me it suggests a sort of equality in the sense that the difference is a matter of taste. Especially for those editions that differ mainly in the desktop environment that they ship with by default, I think the difference sort of is “just a matter of taste”. :slight_smile:

2 Likes

“Flavours” is the term used by ubuntu for its variants. Even when I could be convinced that one term could contains both “Labs” and “Spins” (I still think that they refer to diferent things), I think neither “Solutions” or “Flavors” are ideal.

Wht do you think about “Blends”? The term “Blends” cover the case (future case) of having e.g.: a Fedora Linux for Design With KDE (hypothetical case I mention in the original trend)

My main concern is that “flavor” is an already-used term in the space. “Blend” is not, and so could be “jargony”. It also doesn’t neatly fit into existing branding/theming that I can see.

Kitchen blenders also spin…

How about we do Official (Workstation, Server, IoT) and Community (Silverblue, Kinoite, KDE, XFCE, Astronomy, soon mobile…)?

Our official deliverables are also community deliverables. I don’t want to draw a line that doesn’t exist.

2 Likes

I am a Solution Provider, and yeah solutions sounds (and feels?) businessy, also more than just a variation of a distribution. The labs are closer to solutions in that they target a specific use case with the intent of providing a solution ootb. While spins are definitely a user preference or style choice, if you will permit the comparison. I think getting hung up on what we call it detracts from the fact that all of it is Fedora Linux and consumed by the Fedora Community. But really, what do the various SiG’s involved have to say on this topic that certainly will impact them?

1 Like

I honestly think we should stick with “Edition” for the main deliverables. I’ve never particularly liked “spin” as a term and I like the idea of changing it, but I think “Flavor” is too informal and (arguably) infantalizes these other deliverables.

How do people feel about “Variant”? (Yes, I’m aware that the term is already in use for internal processes of generating deliverables.)

2 Likes

I’m fine with it. It’s a little…dry…but I think it’s easily understood. More importantly, it’s a term whose meaning is kept when translated. Mo raised a point in chat that in These Uncertain Times™, it might call to mind virus variants, but I don’t think that’s strong enough to reject the term.

Solutions → Fluids or Liquids

1 Like

Worts?

1 Like

“Blend” is (kind of) used by Debian. Debian Pure Blends

I’m honestly fine with our current Spins and Labs!

1 Like

That was also my first spontaneous thought while reading. And I second to avoid this term for Fedora. It is too negatively prejudiced by corporate speech. Maybe not for their employees, but for those who, as customers, have to endure these solutions for years and somehow get around them.

And I’m really not sure whether I want to work on a “Server flavour”. That sounds very fleeting and ephemeral in the short term.

I would like to second that term, too. Linguistically, it has the appropriate meaning and connotation, as a special variant of a work for a special purpose and with a special long term goal. And that is exactly what our current editions (i.e. Workstation, Silverblue, Server, CoreOS, IoT and Cloud, and maybe Kinoite) are. And it sounds “serious” and not just “fashionable” or hype.

Linguistically, blend refers to a slight amendment by changing the composition of the components (tea blends). This would fit very well with the different desktop variations.

And our labs are probably more applications than labs, appliance might be a bit too strong.

I agree “Editiions” for the official releases, but I understand the desire to keep the distinction between the official edition and what are now spins, or labs. For that matter, things like Silverblue and FCOS which are not official editions but are potential future editions, also deserve distinction of some sort. It is all Fedora Linux under the hood, just different iterations per se. It is also all from the Fedora Community, so for what are now Spins, why not forget naming the end result but instead promote the SiG and showing off their “flavour” of Fedora Linux, or the Lab SiG and their excellent toolkit that comes ready to start … For Silverblue/FCOS and their cousin Fedora Linux IoT, the technology difference and lineage from WS and Server could be stressed/explained better possibly.

I have been thinking this through since the thread opened yesterday… Tbh, I don’t have any ground breaking input. I will mention that I have heard folks say things like “what is the difference between spins and labs?” or “I am not even sure what all of these things are, I just care about XYZ thing and focus on that”, so there is definitely some confusion around some of the current terminology… tho a quick search shows enough documentation to get the message across:
https://spins.fedoraproject.org/
https://labs.fedoraproject.org/

I wonder if getting those up onto the main docs site would be helpful? Ik there was some working going on to update that, so maybe that is already in the works for the next version.
https://docs.fedoraproject.org/en-US/docs/

I see they are on the current getfedora site and it’s my understanding they are being worked into the new version of that site, as well.

I never realized “Solutions” was a thing, and as FCAIC for the last 2+ years, I feel like I would have if it were catching on. So I am +1 to removing the “Solutions” term in an official capacity. I am hesitant to bring on the “Flavors” term that might have the same fate, as I think Spins and Labs might have actually caught on, although they probably need a bit more promotion/visibility. I can see the desire to bring on an umbrella term to fit over those, but I am not sure its necessary?

Last but not least, I really like the point that @jakfrost made- what do the various SIGs involved have to say about this topic? I think we need to make sure they know this conversation is happening in order to provide input.

4 Likes

Linguistically, I think flavor is problematic. In BE the spelling of the word is flavour.

However, staying in the kitchen environment, I think recipe could work well. Using different ingredients (from the Fedora set of ingredients) one can come up with new recipes that suit one’s own taste. That certainly applies to the different DE spins, which are variations of the workstation recipe.

For what is now labs, think of it as new recipes catering for a different audience. Audiences with particular requirements/needs - diets if you will.

Carrying this further, without, hopefully, getting carried away, one could envision Fedora as being a restaurant or a cook book catering for all kinds of customers. Choose from the menu what suits your taste and/or diet or come up with an entirely new recipe based on the ingredients Fedora provides - now and in the future. Ingredients can be freely chosen from the store known as repository.

Enjoy your meal!
:falafel: + :green_salad: + :olive: + :garlic: + :flatbread: = :stuffed_flatbread:

1 Like

I’m afraid any terminology that focuses on differences between our deliverables raises a question in one or the other.

Nevertheless

The docs team is working on a refresh of the main docs site (and we still welcome feedback / criticism / new ideas). It will explicitly include spins and labs (see demo - although there is a typo).