Fedora, in a word. (Actually: I’ll take multiple words, too. Paragraphs, even.)

Marketing FAD, Day 4: We’re going to be doing lots of videotaping today. Actually, I guess it’s probably not called videotaping these days; I wonder if people have started referring to it as “video-disking” or some such thing. We’ve got plans to pull together content for an F13-specific video, some along the lines of a “friends” video / individual profile highlight movie, and then, what we’re hoping will be… a more timeless video on “What is Fedora.”

One of the recurring themes that we’ve been discussing is how people outside the community – who are potential contributors, or even, potential users – perceive Fedora.  How would they describe it, in one word?

Turns out that asking people for just One Word is not a simple task.  We posted two large white sheets here on the Red Hat campus in the elevators of the building we’re in, with accompanying markers, and wrote, “What word do you think of when you think of Fedora?”

Hours later, we went to the elevator and discovered…. that people apparently don’t like brainstorming in elevators, because the pieces of paper were GONE, without a trace.  And the markers!

And so, in the hopes of gathering other results, I conducted a highly scientific poll of a group of friends I have on a mailing list. (By highly scientific, I mean a pool of sysadmins, programmer-types, geeks, tinkerers, experimenters, and awesomeness in general… mostly male, about 30 people…. realllllly scientific. I hope the readers are gathering my sarcasm here.)  To be a little more serious, though, most of these people are people who have used Fedora at some point, are familiar with multiple Linux distros, and in some cases, are more than just casually familiar with the Open Source Way.

The results were — and continue to be — interesting, surprising, and more than one word.  I originally asked for one word, and people started saying, “oops, that was a sentence….” — and eventually it evolved into me saying, “Okay, just dump your thoughts on me.”

One-word (or, “few word,” answers) —

Feature rich.  Green. Bleeding edge.  Unstable. “Yum”…ish. “Pain. Physical and emotional.” Fat. Incubator. Indy.

Another thing I discovered is that a lot of people have used Fedora — Many, Many years ago.  And that is their last impression of Fedora — and despite the fact that, obviously, Fedora (and other distros) has made significant improvements over the several years, they’re not interested in coming back.

This was my experience too (extensive RPM troubles) as a linux user.
I suppose I had one RPM difficulty as a linux administrator as well,
though the source was not RH (it was the annoying people @ Plesk).  I
was happy to settle on Ubuntu in 2005.  My last RH was RHEL 5.  Can’t
remember the version number of my last Fedora.

At least some people recognize that what’s gone on between now and then has probably changed things…

I don’t know how to describe fedora anymore because it wouldn’t be
fair. The last time I tried RHEL was 4 years ago, and fedora maybe 1
year before that.

last time I dealt with it was like release 8 or 9 and thinking ZOMG, 6

And yeah.. I’ve recommended Ubuntu desktop for some of my friends
that are totally sick of Windows.  The feedback I’ve been getting
has been along the lines of “wow, why didn’t I do this years ago?”

The Ubuntu desktop gui environment is really quite nice.  Install
is super easy as well.  You don’t have to be a Linux-pro to move
around in it, do updates, copy files, install new hardware, etc..

That being said, I would never use Ubuntu as a server platform…

Sometimes, just HAVING the discussion does some good….

Ubuntu has the momentum and word of mouth.  I don’t know much about Fedora and have not been motivated to try it because Ubuntu makes me happy.  That being said I am downloading it now to get a feel for it.

And other times, people just get it (more or less):

Personally I don’t do Fedora because of the short support lifecycle.
When I install a box, I don’t want to have to reinstall it 1-2 years
from now just to keep getting security updates and fixes.  So, I use
centos…   If I want a sneak peek at the tech that may make it into
rhel next year, I install the latest Fedora and play with it.
However, that’s what Fedora is for — I don’t think it is something
that needs fixed by extending Fedora’s support lifecycle.

You shouldn’t pick Fedora for imporant shit that matters to an
enterprise — it’s not what it is for.  Fedora is the leading/bleeding
edge proving grounds and development grounds for RedHat Enterprise
Linux (RHEL), which is the slower, more stable, more robust, longer
support life option that is designed for your super important shit
that matters to your enterprise.

IMO, the reason to use Fedora (in places where it is appropriate, like
in R&D situations or a desktop env) is if your enterprise systems are
running RHEL/CentOS and you want something that is familiar and
similar to what you know and use already, but you want newer stuff for
a particular situation.  Also, as an added bonus, anything new you
learn in Fedora may apply to future versions of RHEL/CentOS.   less
crap to learn and remember ftw.

So, yeah.  Lots of input.  I think the one thing that is clear is that people aren’t necessarily getting the message – or that they’ve started elsewhere, and will never even try Fedora, simply because they’re Happy now.  How can we convince them to make the switch — or try Fedora as their first, or try it again?

How about you? If you ask people at your local LUG meeting what the one word is that comes to mind when they think about Fedora, what are you hearing? How about in a paragraph or less?

Marketing FAD Day 1: Midnight ADD Post-Hockey blogging at its finest.

Fedora logo in front of a red hat building

Fedora view from a window.

Started reading a new book on the airplane en route to Raleigh for the Marketing FAD — Purple Cow, by Seth Godin.  There was a quote at the beginning of the book which I thought was particularly poignant:

“Create remarkable products that the right people seek out.” – Seth Godin, “Purple Cow”

Day 1 of Marketing-FAD-Goodness involved a number of things in terms of deliverables – but one of the most important things, at least in my humble opinion, that we’re working on is developing a solid marketing plan that we can use moving forward. We did a lot of talking – and writing, and typing, and hashing out, as well – today about… who are the Right People? What are the things that Marketing is doing – or perhaps, should be doing – to reach those people, and what are the qualities of Fedora that make it remarkable that we should be talking about, promoting, and so forth?  We came up with a solid of strategies to reach the Right People – and to go along with it, a tactical list of executable things to do.

Another thing we’ve been talking about a lot — which, actually, isn’t restricted to Marketing, btw — is the process of getting rid of the fear of doing things, and instead, just doing SOMETHING.  We started the afternoon today with a Marketing Plan that was a plan in the most traditional sense; i.e., something that one would actually look at and learn how to produce in a college-level marketing course.  Unfortunately, those marketing plans have been, for years and years, geared towards traditional companies, who do traditional things; Fedora is none of these.  So we are, in a sense, sort of re-writing how to do a Marketing plan, for an open source project, in an open fashion.  None of this comes easy.  And for a long time, it hasn’t come at all.  So I think it’s great that today, we took the first steps towards actually solidifying a Marketing plan that is actually actionable for the Fedora project as a whole; we are going Somewhere, which, frankly, is better than Nowhere.  Even if we start walking and we run into a wall, or some sort of blocker, at least we know that that route is bad.  And we can try, try again in a different direction.  It’s sort of like Wombat. 😀  Except, you know, with ponies. And the Right People. And a remarkable product.

Oh, how ’bout them Phoenix Coyotes? 🙂

Marketing FAD Day 0. Pickups, Ponies, Pickles, and, um, Pwaffles.

Marketing FAD is almost here. Woot! We’ll be meeting in the lobby around 9ish to head out around 9:15 to get to the Red Hat office in Raleigh around 9:30.

Ryan Rix and I had a fairly uneventful trip on de plane, de plane from PHX to RDU.  Minus the awesome turbulence as we flew into the Raleigh area, which I do believe rivaled some of the more awesome landings I’ve had at the Denver airport.  We’re talking the kind where your laptop actually hovers, momentarily, in the air, as the plane drops 75 feet like a rock.

We met up with Ben, grabbed my luggage (because I did bring 45 pairs of shoes… that’s the rumor, anyway), and picked up Mel from her terminal.  Headed over to our hotel, where Mel and I checked in to our room.

We got in our hotel room… and there is a bag on the table. Mel checked it out and said… “That’s weird. Someone left fried pickles. They are sooooooooooo gooooooood, but… really, who knows where these pickles came from???”

We found out later that Stickster and Ben had left them for us as a present.  Mel promptly went back to the room and grabbed the Pickles. Pickles!!

Then it was off to the Waffle House for… well, I had a BLT with a side of bacon. Ryan, Mel, David, Henrik, and myself got ourselves a cute little booth and ordered away.  Hash browns are popular.  We had a pleasant discussion about if one could possibly invent a waffle syrup that was infused with Red Bull, or some other energy drink, or just… the energy part of that equation.  I probably just gave away a billion dollar idea; if you make money on this, be sure to ask me for my address, so you know where to send the check. 🙂  Lots of waffles, at that Waffle House. Yum.

I was going to work Ponies into this story somehow, but unfortunately, the trip between the hotel and Waffle House (distance: maybe 200 feet?) did not involve a pony ride. Will work on figuring out the pony aspect tomorrow. For now, I need to get to bed.

Raleigh is lovely, at least from what I can see in the dark; this weekend should be awesome. I’ll see y’all in the morning!

Can you dig it?

I’m totally jazzed about the upcoming Marketing FAD which kicks off this weekend.  The Marketeers will be meeting in Raleigh, Friday (late-late Friday, probably starting at zee Waffle House!) and ending Tuesday; I’ll be headed out of town Wednesday.  We have a boatload of deliverables we plan on knocking out, and on top of that, well, FUN STUFF.  We’re going to a hockey game, for one – and, coincidentally, It will be the Carolina Hurricanes vs. Phoenix Coyotes.

So for background: Ryan Rix and I are both traveling to RDU from… you guessed it, Phoenix.  I am not exactly the world’s biggest sports nut, but of course I have to root for my hometown, so I’ve been cracking jokes about how I’m going to be decked out in my full Coyotes gear (which, of course, I don’t actually have).  Here’s a fun clip from the marketing meeting yesterday on IRC, where we were discussing any last-minute items we needed to wrap up before our FAD:

20:06:35 <spevack> so I think we're in pretty decent shape.
20:06:46 <spevack> That's really about it from my end.
20:06:47 <spevack> HOCKEY
20:06:48 <spevack> :)
20:06:48 <spevack> EOF
20:06:50 <rbergeron> oh
20:07:09 * rbergeron and rrix are bringin yotes gear
20:07:27 * rrix has a jersey :)
20:07:31 * mchua chuckles
20:07:35 <rbergeron> oh, you do? ergh
20:07:43 * rbergeron has... facepaint?

In any case: I’m somewhat packed, I’m only bringing 2 pairs of shoes (zomg, I know, right?!) because I have to make room for…


I’m up to my ears in promises. ke4qqq may be going home from the FAD with 10 boxes of girl scout cookies because of his limesurvey awesomeness (plz see my ongoing tale of luv for survey-goodness on the fp.o market research wiki page).

But seriously: I had a point to this blog post. And I’m getting to it…. right… now. 🙂

A Rockin’ New Slogan for Fedora 13

The countdown to liftoff for the Fedora 13 Alpha release is on. This means a flurry of fun marketing activities are going on, not the least of which is the selection of the F13 slogan.

Like everything else we do, the process for picking the the slogan is completely open, and anyone can join in with a proposal.  As some of you may already know, the release name for Fedora 13 is “Goddard,” named for Robert H. Goddard, one of the pioneers of modern rocketry. (If you’re interested in reading about how Fedora chooses a release name, you can check it out here.)

One of the great things about the “Goddard” name is that it opens Fedora up to a universe of awesome slogan and theme possibilities – space, rockets, science fiction, you name it. The call was put out to the Fedora community to propose slogan names, and the field of creative and amazing entries was narrowed down to one final slogan: “Rock It!”

The slogan, of course, says so much on its own; when you combine it with the pun on the word “rocket,” it gets even cooler.

Speaking of rockets… Fedora 13 Alpha launches very, very soon. (In fact, I believe it may have reached liftoff while I’ve been writing this entry.) Stay tuned!

Inspirational quote of the day

Seen on my friend’s wall in facebookland:

“Imagine what we could accomplish if we disregarded patents, profits and intellectual property. Give access to the whole of our current knowledge and understanding to our best collaborative minds. If you knew everything in your field and so did your peers we could triumph so many things.

Had a great conversation with some top people in my field tonight. I can’t imagine what could be accomplished with their shared knowledge alone.”

Oh, Tony! Love the thinking. Somedays I think you should disregard this whole 27th year of medical school and come to FOSS-land.  On the other hand, you’re going into Dermatology and, frankly, I’m not getting any younger. 😀  But in all honesty: spreading that thought in other fields is a good thing.  Even when you get lambasted by your classmates for 15 comments.