wtogami (wtogami) wrote,

Fedora Will Never Compromise

(Disclaimer: These are my personal feelings and opinions.)

The Primary Goal of the Fedora Project:
Rapid Progress of Free & Open Source Software.

Red Hat engineering invests millions every year in FOSS development. These developers contribute in a great many ways to stimulate growth in the FOSS ecosystem and the community itself. Red Hat makes this investment for three key reasons:

  • It makes business sense: A healthy relationship with community builds quality products faster, and with lower expense. It is indeed possible to make money and not compromise on values.
  • Perhaps the technology leaders who made many of these key FOSS improvements are best able to support business customers.
  • Many of the people at Red Hat believe in the ethical values of FOSS and the benefit that it brings to society.
As long as I work on the Fedora Project, Fedora will never compromise on the essential liberties of FOSS nor will it betray the community. But the price of liberty is not free, nor is it comfortable. And unfortunately, some "leaders" of our community are willing to compromise liberty for short-term convenience. I am disgusted by people like this, and by Novell's betrayal of the community today.

Novell has effectively traded Long-Term Liberty for Short-Term Safety.

Red Hat supports causes that matter like providing the original seed money for Creative Commons. Or being a key partner in the anti-software patent movement during the miraculous last-minute turnaround at the European Parliament last year. I am proud to be part of an organization that demonstrates such moral and ethical commitment.

But ultimately, Red Hat cannot change the world alone. That is why the Fedora Project exists. We want to enable the community to work together to improve FOSS at a rapid pace, in partnership with the large and consistent contributions from our engineers. We strongly believe that this is the most effective way for the entire FOSS movement to advance. Yes, we made some big mistakes in our community relationship earlier, but we are learning, and continue to improve at an ever accelerating pace.

For these reasons that I urge the FOSS community to support the Fedora Project through volunteer contributions of time and effort. Or if you lack time to contribute, please consider monetary donations toward any of the shared causes that we are fighting for.

Contribute to Fedora
The Fedora Project needs your contributions in many ways. If you know how to make RPM packages, you can become a maintainer in Fedora Extras where you can contribute your favorite FOSS software into the central repository for all to benefit. We have many opportunities for even non-developers to get involved. We need help with things like Documentation, Artwork, or promoting Fedora in the Ambassadors team. Even simply using Fedora, responsibly reporting bugs in Bugzilla, and helping each other helps the entire community.

The Fedora Project does not need your money[1], but I hope that you would consider donating to one of the major charities that fight for your liberty. The Electronic Frontier Foundation fights for technology and online liberties. Creative Commons protects the future of culture in our society.[2] And of course, none of us would be here defending FOSS if it were not for the Free Software Foundation.

Warren Togami
Founder, Fedora Project
Software Engineer,
Red Hat, Inc.

[1] Although it would be cool if you wore this super cool T-shirt. =)
[2] If you have not yet done so, please watch the Narrated Slide-Show of Lawrence Lessig's 2002 talk "Free Culture" where he explains the threat of the media industry poses to the technology industry and to the future of culture in society itself. If you are intrigued by his ideas, I also highly recommend his book.

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