What should the "PRD" process for editions look like going forward?

I think it’s good to have some wider conversations going into the planned planning plan. :classic_smiley:

I guess this all falls under the Why.

To me at least, the goals of the editions aspect of Fedora.next are still good. There’s a bunch of that in the links above, but basically as I’m thinking of it now:

One part of our mission is to empower our community to build tailored solutions for users. Emphasis on tailored — specifically fashioned and fitted. I was watching one of the Linus Tech Tips episodes where they’re trying Linux distros as “daily drivers” (thanks, @ngompa). From that episide:

Customization gets billed as a major selling point for Linux, and fair enough if that’s your thing, but speaking on behalf of “normies”, I don’t want a dozen novel ways to do the same thing. I want one, fast easy one.

Of course, Fedora Linux as a whole provides almost endless opportunities for customization — and like the quote says, that’s great for people who want that (and in fact, that’s really another part of our mission — we build a platform for that!). But, in order to reach a broader, bigger audience, we need products ¹ that are ready to go out of the box.

The original Products — Editions — idea was basically: there are three broad areas we’re already working on in Fedora which could reach that bigger audience if

  • we put in the basic product-marketing work to express the user needs in each area,
  • determine solutions to those needs, and
  • make a technical plan to approach each solution; and
  • empower dedicated teams to make independent technical decisions where necessary,
  • while still keeping to the fundamental Fedora foundations and addressing the broader mission.

This hasn’t been a perfect success, but it’s been a significant one. Honestly, I don’t think we’d be where we are today, talking about a surge in positive energy, if we hadn’t taken this approach.

Now, when we launched it, we knew that it meant some trade-offs. One that definitely frustrated a lot of people (hello, KDE SIG) was that making opinionated decisions (like, “we’re best equipped to deliver a polished Workstation experience on GNOME”) means people working on providing solutions in other ways, or working on other areas don’t get the same resources: top billing on the website and release announcements, quality assurance time, prioritization of Red Hat-invested work asked for by the Council², and more. I think part of our plan for the next five years — in which I modestly intend to call for doubling the number of active Fedora contributors — needs to address the areas we left behind.³

I don’t think we were wrong to make that call then. We were in actually pretty bad shape in terms of morale, resources, Red Hat confidence as a sponsor, and more. And just plain “hey QA and Rel-Eng, want to add all of this on top of everything else” wasn’t really an option. But now that we’ve gotten to where we are, I think we can do more.

Going forward, do we still need the big, broad, flagship areas at which we targeted Editions⁴ covered in the same way? Not necessarily (and certainly not necessarily the same target areas), but, going back to the quote I started with, I think it’s still a good way to grow the distro and the project with it. So, I think we should have something like it, at least.

Or, let me put it in negative terms. I think we should have the above, but I’m open to other ideas. I don’t think we can succeed with a “we give you options, you build it” model for users.⁵ I don’t think we should solely do "we build what we want and you can take it or leave it"⁶ — we’re only going to grow by caring about user needs, for users that aren’t just a mirror of ourselves. And I don’t think we should present users with an undifferentiated list of dozens offerings with no guidance on where to start, or on what’s best supported, what’s best tested, and so on.

So, we need some way to identify those user needs, and a way to empower our teams to deliver matching solutions. If that’s not Editions, what is it?


  1. The RH folks who told me this said they don’t mind if we use the word in our planning and development, they would just appreciate it not getting into our marketing and user conversations. Since Fedora doesn’t have a stark line between the two, it’s often easier to just always use “Editions”. But it’s not an edict to always contort our language or anything. So, I’m sayin’ products here.
  2. By the way, @bcotton, @amoloney, and I are working on a proposal for better feeding work requests and requirements to the CPE team. Stay tuned for more on this
  3. This footnote grew so long I’m making it into a separate thread, "Labs" and "Spins" — in the shadow of Editions?
  4. I know the other thread is long, but for context on the three areas see @sgallagh’s reply, comment #18.
  5. For users, no. But for Fedora project contributors and developers, yes. That is in fact our strategy of record.
  6. Again, in general. For some parts of the project, go wild with your personal vision and it’s okay if no one else cares!
  7. I really wish we had the Footnotes plugin for Discourse. If we decide to self-host or convince our sponsor to fund the enterprise hosting plan, that’s first on my list.