The most important Flock Talk

I was just voting on FLOCK talks and happened upon this talk proposal:

What does Red Hat Want?

It’s no secret that many Fedora participants work for Red Hat. Or that Red Hat provides funding for the Fedora Infrastructure. There have been many conspiracy theories over the years centering on what, exactly, does Red Hat want out of Fedora in return. This talk, by the Red Hat VP who runs the RHEL engineering team, proposes to address that eternal question. What does Red Hat want? Join Denise Dumas to learn what Red Hat is working on next and how we would like to work with the Fedora community

In my time working for Red Hat on Fedora I often found that the Fedora Community was operating in a vacuum.  We wanted to run a Linux Distribution that we had a stake in and a chance to modify to our needs.  We also knew that Red Hat invested a considerable amount of money into Fedora to support our being able to do that.  But what we were in the dark about was what Red Hat expected to get out of this partnership and what they wanted us to do to justify their continued investment.  Although over time we did get our hands dirty maintaining more of the packages that made up the distribution, in a lot of ways we never graduated beyond mricon’s 2004 tongue-in-cheek posting about Red Hat’s relationship to its community (and its own internal divisions at the time).

In the last few years, Red Hat’s portfolio of products and future directions have greatly expanded.  No longer just a producer of a Linux distribution, Red Hat is pursuing revenue sources in application middleware, both IaaS and PaaS pieces of the cloud, and containers.  They also have engineers working on a multitude of open source solutions that enhance these basic products, adding flesh to the framework they set up.  But where does the Fedora Community fit into this expanded roster of technologies?  The Fedora Product has been very focused on “A Linux Distro” for a number of years but the Fedora Community is very broad and multi-talented.  I’m hoping that Denise’s talk will provide an entrypoint for Fedora Contributors to start talking about what new directions they can take the Project in that would align with Red Hat’s needs.  There’s a number of difficulties to work out (for instance, how does Fedora keep its identity while at the same time doing more work on these things that have traditionally been “Upstream Projects”) but we can’t even begin to solve those problems until we understand where our partner in this endeavour wants to go.