Objective Review: Modernize our communications tooling

We’re working on Fedora Strategy 2028 — our next five-year plan. We are now reviewing those Objectives and their associated Impact. Read this guide for details on the current planning phase.

This Objective is part of the Theme “Fedora leads in Linux distribution development” and the Focus Area Community Sustainability. For general discussion of this focus area, please see the topic Fedora Strategy 2028: Focus area review (Community Sustainability).

Objective and Impact

Objective: Modernize our communications tooling.
Impact: An easier, more friendly face for the project, and higher quality discussion for all, leading to increased involvement and engagement.

I’ve talked about this for a long time. A decade ago, Fedora was in kind of a painful period. Morale was low. And some outside perception was that Fedora was in decline — maybe even dying.[1]

But, we totally weren’t. The project was actually abuzz with activity. We had around one hundred recorded IRC-based meetings every month. Mailing lists had big discussions. Deep parts of the wiki were up to date and useful — if you could find them. And finding them was the problem with all of that. Even for people who love mailing lists, activity on them is not really visible on the modern Internet. All of that IRC discussion… even less so. Our primary website was largely static.

In the following years, we launched several projects to try to address that — including HyperKitty, which gave mailing lists a much better UI for archives and the ability to participate from the web, and our flagship idea of Fedora Hubs — a center both showcasing all of our various teams’ activity and serving as a practical dashboard. (Read more about these ambitions here: Introducing Fedora Hubs - Fedora Magazine). Sadly… this didn’t work out. HyperKitty took a long time to launch, and we didn’t have resources to really continue its evolution — it’s great for what it does, but can’t practically be a primary interface for keeping up with something like the main Fedora devel list. And Hubs, well, the resourcing problems hit us even harder there.

But again… not to dwell on what could have been. Here we are now — and we still really have the same fundamental problems. We now have Matrix for real-time discussions (https://chat.fedoraproject.org), as well as of course this site, and several other big improvements — but we are still largely “below the surface”.

And, for various reasons (including visibility, but also easy of use and functionality) , many conversations end up in little bubbles scattered around Fedora infrastructure and on other systems and services.

Bringing all of this together into modern, intentional communications spaces will make our activity more visible, make it easier for new contributors to connect, and improve our ability to collaborate across the project.

Our goal now

For this Objective and related Impact, validate that:

  1. If the Impact is achieved, it’s reasonable to expect an increase in active Fedora contributors.
  2. Success in the Objective logically results in the intended Impact.
  3. That link is reasonably sufficient — that is, it represents everything needed to have the Impact.
  4. While there might be other ways to have similar Impact, the chosen Objective is the right one for Fedora right now.
  5. The wording is precise and clear. The Objective is concrete, and the Impact is (at least a little bit) inspirational. Together, they fit into this Focus Area.

Bonus. If you can improve the longer explanatory paragraphs at the top of this post, that’s helpful too!

As outlined in the roadmap, this post will close in one month.

  1. Not going to go into this deeply here, but I’m hoping to have a good recording of my “35 Fedora Releases in 30 Minutes” talk available soon, possibly even translated into a long-form document with pictures — that will cover it better than I can in a few paragraphs. ↩︎


One thought I had when writing this post: I think maybe we should expand this to “Modernize our collaboration tooling.”

That would explicitly also include Pagure, Bugzilla, and our wiki.


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