Ever wonder who is talking about Fedora?

The Marketing team surely does.

Our crack team of marketeers keep their eyes and ears open for the latest news articles and blogs reviewing the newest, and even upcoming, releases of Fedora, plus other news about Fedora — anything from people taking on new roles (hmmmmm) to hot community governance issues.  Interested in what people have been saying about Fedora? Everything we find, in addition to going to our epic-awesome mailing list so that everyone can read articles while they’re still hot off the proverbial press, gets listed in the Fedora press archive.

Why keep track, you ask? Good question.  It’s always great to see what people are saying about us, of course — but we also like to be sure that we can take the opportunity to gently guide reporters the right way if they have misinformation, make sure that the messaging we are putting out is the messaging that the public and media are actually receiving, and more generally, make sure that people are continuing to *talk* about Fedora, because one of the best ways for new users and contributors to find out about Fedora is to read what someone else has to say about Fedora.

Seen an article that we don’t have archived? It’s a wiki — Be Bold! [1] Feel free to add what you’ve seen, or if you want to have a more interactive discussion about it, join the marketing mailing list.

And in case you’re curious: We’ve had 57 articles [2] come in about Fedora since we started keeping track of F14 news back in late July.  Want to see them? Check them out here.  And yes, we have them available for F13 and F12 as well!

[1] Phrase stolen from Ian Weller

[2] Yes, I counted. Manually. Seriously.

Fedora 13 Press, Dear Lazyweb, and MOAR!

First, some weekend storytelling:

Ryan Rix came up to my lovely town of Flagstaff, Arizona on Saturday and we were able to go grab lunch together at Sakura, the lone teppanyaki place in town.  After I went home (“HONEY!!! Lauryn has a bloody nose!!”) he meandered over to the local Barnes and Noble.  Apparently our discussion of whuffie inspired him to pick up some Cory Doctorow-authored reading materials, and he also took a moment to send me this picture, with the attached txtmsg of “Have you read this yet? It’s by jzb.”:

Fedora vs. Ubuntu? By jzb?? I'm so there.

What?? Fedora vs. Ubuntu on a glossy magazine cover? Written by zonker?? I’m SO THERE!  I dashed over to the bookstore, grabbed the magazine, came home… promptly had magazine stolen from me by the boyfriend… finally got to the article late last night.  (And by the way: the article is very good, and I encourage everyone to read it if they have access to a copy of Linux User and Developer, issue #87.  There is also a clip of the article, Ubuntu 10.04 vs Fedora 13, online.  Zonker invokes one of the most awesome analogies ever at the end, loved it.)

Moving along to the actual meat of this blog post: I got to thinking that, along with the aforementioned magazine article and online links, I should probably add the most recent [in the news] postings to the marketing mailing list onto the Fedora 13 Press Archive page.  (More on this… tedious work in a minute.) So I did, and it’s a great list we have this time around – right now, we have 65 articles in the archive, up from 44 in the F12 cycle.  (My favorite article title: “Oh My Goddard! An Early Look at Fedora 13,” btw – that should win a pony right there for the lulz.)

And I’d like to give props to Rahul Sundaram, Kara Schiltz, Jonathan Nalley, Ryan Rix, Robert Scheck, Paul Frields, and Henrik Heigl for contributing these items to the list.  It is awesome to have people keeping on top of the press articles that come out, making sure they are accurate, and passing them along for others to read. THANK YOU!


Dear Lazyweb,

I love getting all these links to stories from people on the marketing mailing list – but entering them into the wiki really is kind of a bummer.

Is there a way to have a web form where people can add links, author name, etc. and have it add those items to a table in the wiki – and then perhaps have a Comments area that doesn’t get added to the wiki, but instead gets copied to the marketing mailing list for further discussion?

Perhaps it would be wise to also convert these things into some sort of Blog-of-its-own, RSS Feed, or similar so that people can subscribe and see these articles, without having to keep up with the wiki page or marketing list? (Even though I know EVERYONE wants to subscribe to the marketing list… I know it!)

Thoughts welcome. And appreciated.  Adding 20+ articles to the wiki in table format is kind of a bummer, although it is great to see so much press.

Cloudy with an excellent chance of AWESOME. And possibly ponies.

Okay. Here’s the situation (and my apologies to those of you who now have DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince stuck in your head for the duration of Friday, HAH!):

The Marketing Team has been looking for awesome things going on in Fedora that we can produce marketing content for – stories, magazine articles, blog pieces, podcasts, you name it. (If you’ve got ideas, btw – not to distract from this particular blog post, of course – you can read one of my previous blogs on this topic, or catch up on this mailing list thread, to find out how to contribute to that cause.)   Now, as I’m sure you know, we have no shortage of Cool Things going on in Fedora to write about, which is excellent.  However, I keep hearing things along this line:

“Can we do something about Cloud?” “How about a marketing campaign about what Fedora is doing in the Cloud?” “Maybe we can do a piece on Fedora on Amazon?”  In summary: I get it. We want to see a story on Cloud and what Fedora is doing in that space.

But here’s the catch: I don’t want to write a bunch of fluff (no pun intended, sorry) about our Cloud story.  I want to have a solid, compelling Cloud story to write about.  And part of that means this: We need to be more proactive in this space.

The Master Plan.

I’m just going to be blunt here: This is Fedora.  This is a community of talented people who consistently churn out amazing, innovative things.  From coding to infrastructure to marketing to design – and docs and translations and awesome packagers and testers and ambassadors and websites folks, and plowers and ponies, and everyone I’ve unintentionally left out but still love dearly – We, generally, Kick Ass.  We are constantly at the leading edge of technology.  We do new things – First.  And we are completely, without a doubt capable of doing anything we put our minds to.  And that includes having a solid plan in place for what we want to do in the Cloud space – and the ability to follow up on that plan by DELIVERING.

Despite being an incredibly nebulous term, I don’t think that anyone can disagree with the fact that Cloud is HOT right now. It’s buzzwordy and sexy and everywhere.  This week’s Red Hat Summit has a whole Cloud track; the upcoming O’Reilly Open Source Convention (usually referred to as OSCON) also has a full-day track on Cloud “stuff,” not to mention lots of other sessions during other days of the conference.  While this may be indicative of someone, somewhere, being really good at marketing, it more likely means that people are interested in doing Cloud stuff in FLOSS-land.  People want to participate, contribute, try it out.  We should want those people to be doing these things in Fedora.  Whether they’re developing things that run in or manage the cloud, are system administrators who want to try Cloudy things out at home, or people who want to have an awesome OS image to load up in their cloud – Fedora should be the place they want to go when they want to scratch those Cloud itches.   And I know, know, know, in my heart (yes, I have one – don’t believe the rumors!), that there are many of you, reading this RIGHT NOW, who fall into those categories I just listed.

And so, I call upon YOU.  Many of you know that we’ve been trying to get things going on Amazon for some time now (you can check out David Nalley’s post from yesterday on this subject, as I’m sure his explanation is far better than mine could be about this topic).  We need to see that through, and get it done.  Beyond that – I think that there is no better time than NOW to start talking about long-term goals.  The awesome thing here is this: Cloud SIG long-term planning is really undefined right now.  This means there exists a plethora of opportunities for people who are interested in Cloud – both for people who want to contribute but aren’t sure how, and for people who have ideas about EXACTLY what they want to do.  And those people include YOU, dear reader.  Things like:

  • Cloud SIG needs a freakin’ task list of what needs to happen.
  • Participate in discussion about what packages would be advisable to have on an image.
  • If those packages aren’t packaged – let’s get with the packaging.  If we need to all get together and have Weekend Cloud Packaging FAD to knock it out, let’s do that.  Better yet – start engaging with other cloud projects and encourage them to start packing their own stuff, get involved. etc.
  • Documentation.  WTB. Let’s start making a list of what to do.
  • – Would be a great thing to have when we arrive at the “F13 is up on Amazon” goal.
  • Images for private cloud deployment.
  • Coordinating getting images going on other cloud provider’s infrastructure.
  • Oh, yes, Marketing!

And yes: There is a Cloud SIG.  And a mailing list. This week’s Cloud SIG meeting on IRC had an awesome uptick in participation – and I expect this to keep growing. The bottom line is this: Cloud SIG is going places – and you can be part of the plan.  If you’re looking for something exciting and innovative to work on, this is a fabulous project to get involved in.  So sign up for that mailing list, come to the weekly IRC meetings, and get involved. Let’s step up and show the world what Fedora can do.

The Triangle of Fedora User Zen… or perhaps the Bermuda Triangle of Robyn’s Very Tired Mind

So….. I did a lot of thinking this evening on the discussions of the NOT YET SOLIDIFIED OR SET IN STONE User Base Triangle, as discussed earlier this week during a FAB meeting.  Of course, I’m totally wiped out from all the work we plowed through at the Marketing FAD, so who knows if any of this is even coherent.  I think it is – maybe some of my definitions are off, but it’s a start.

Basically – it comes from the User Base work the FAB SWG has been drafting up.  Rather than have these folks as Horizontal Layers of addressable markets – which, it seems, makes a lot of people think that what is defined as the “absolute bare minimum type of user” will actually be the only people we market to (NOT TRUE) – I decided that the Horizontal categories should actually be the Fedora Foundations – Freedom, Friends, Features, First.   And that the User Base people should actually be vertical groups, overlaid onto the Foundations – the higher their understanding / experience of those foundations are, the more likely they are to become serious contributors, over time.  There are 4 user base “buckets” – I added a fifth one to the diagram, Developers (there’s a longer name, actually, but that’s the short version).

  • Features: This is what gets the User Base in the door.
  • Friends: After being in the door, individual Users can become Friends via various paths.  Reaching out to someone tweeting about their experience, good or bad; responding to help requests on forums; commenting on blog posts; for some users, IRC, mailing lists, etc. Getting local users to attend FUDCons.   Reaching out and basically doing one of the many things that the Fedora community excels at already: being a Friend to those new users, starting the dialogue, and helping users not just understand Fedora the Distro, but also Fedora the Community.
  • Freedom: This is where users are aware of how they can contribute to Fedora – whether it’s submitting a bug, being willing to discuss and/or document an experience, working on the wiki to contribute thoughts, coming to a meeting, supporting other Newer Users who are going through what they went through.  They realize that they have the Freedom to change things for the better.  Further along in their path up this horizontal bracket, they start to learn about things like F/LOSS, TOSW, and perhaps even the concepts of how licensing affects them, and how being an open community helps to better the very product they are currently using – and they become participants in that community.
  • First: This level is truly about innovation.  It’s about doing the things that make Fedora the Distro, AND Fedora the Project, a true leader.  This is about empowering contributors who may have been working on helper tasks to embark on bigger projects; getting engineers to do New Things that nobody has done before; anything that is a new way of thinking.  These New Things become Features – and those features head down to the bottom of the triangle, paving the way for a new group of Users to discover Fedora.

This is all about moving people UP the triangle in their understanding of the Foundations – living by the Foundations make Fedora the Community a great place to be, and encourages users to stick around.  Some users, perhaps a portion of some of those on the edges in this diagram, may never do more than be friends, and that’s okay; other users, as they discover Freedom, will move up.

Robyn's User Triangle Draft

Draft goodness, yo... might want to click for larger version for readability's sake

There is quite a bit of redundancy between the diagram and what I’m saying here; but, there is also quite a bit of additional context built into the User Base Triangle draft I wrote.  For all I know, this may not be what the Board has in mind.  But the bottom line is that I think we shouldn’t think that these users are stagnant, and we shouldn’t think ourselves, internally, that we’re only targeting a certain group of people with a certain level of expertise.  That’s not the case at all.  We should be doing everything we can to move people who are reaching out from being Friends to Friends who know what Freedom is – and helping them use that Freedom to do New Things.

Anyway… HOLY CRAP, I’m tired.  Link to my fp.o page with my personal draft is here. I just realized that the “inexperienced computer users” box seems to span the triangle in a way that says, “I’m all of these groups,” and that’s not it at all; it’s more like… those guys are outside the triangle, and unlikely to move UP the triangle in their self-actualization of Fedoraness. I realize this picture is like… completely miniature / miniscule, but a larger version appears on the previously mentioned fp.o wiki page; also, I provided the Inkscape .svg file so that you can take what I’ve done and recraft your own version…. or alternately, you can take it, delete everything and create your VERY OWN! That’s right folks. I’m just -that generous-. So generous, I’ll link you to that .svg directly. (It actually seems, at least for me, that if you click on that link it will still open a picture; I’m not sure if you download it, that it will actually work in the magical ways that I sort of implied. I think it should, though, be able to be downloaded, opened in inkscape, and turned into further goodness. I’m sure someone who actually knows what they’re doing could inform us all of this!)

Speaking of generous: I would love your generous feedback. I love the nice kind, and mostly love the flame kind.  If anyone is thinking I may be on to something here (other than thinking that what I’m on is drugs, and it’s a bad idea, of course!) – I’ll refine this in a few days and throw out version 2.0, which could be new and improved with gradients, better colors, layers that are locked together, fonts that are slightly larger, and words that are more concise.  And if not – Believe Me, I have a little notebook brimming with ideas on all sorts of things, which I’m sure you’d love to read about in yet another one of my fabulous, rambling blog posts.

I may write / modify this blog post tomorrow as I clarify things more. Or as others clarify things for me. I say tomorrow; I mean later today, it’s 2am.  I’m completely wiped from the awesomeness that was Marketing FAD (thumbs up!) and the flight home yesterday from RDU to PHX next to the lady who barfed TWICE and also was a total space invader with her elbows crossing my personal space area… over the armrest… into my ribs (thumbs down!).

On a different note: I went from Inkscape Noob to Okay Inkscape Novice in a few hours this evening. Not bad! (Note to self: instead of spending 30 minutes trying to figure out how to do $simpletask, several times, CONSULT MANUAL ONLINE. Seriously. It’s all in there, Robyn.)

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!