As we start into 2010 and development of Fedora 13, it seemed like a good time to reflect on the the first half of my term as a Fedora board member.  I would be interested to see other board members blog their thoughts too.  The first half of my appointed seat on the Fedora board is over and I’m looking forward to finishing the rest of my term as strongly as possible.

Two topics stand out to me.  The first is the new trademark policy and the dedication that Paul Frields showed towards driving this topic to its conclusion while improving and molding the policy to the needs of the community along the way.  The second is the board’s attempt to bring clarity to the Fedora Project’s mission and vision.

I feel good about the work I have done championing clarity around Fedora’s target audience and what Fedora is.  A few of the threads I have started on fedora-advisory-board list have sparked long discussions.  This was good, but my perception was that only half of the board substantively participated in the discussion.  As a result I did not feel that we were unified in our beliefs and actions on this important issue to Fedora.

I am disappointed that the board has not made a more concerted effort to bring closure to the topic of Fedora’s Target Audience.  This is a complicated and tedious issue to work through, but without extra time put in outside our three scheduled conference calls each  month, this topic will never be brought to proper closure, particularly when there are other topics on the agenda.

I believe it is the job of the Fedora board to provide vision and leadership.  Right now a big part of this vision needs to be who the Fedora distribution is for.  This isn’t to say these ideas and leadership can’t come from others in Fedora.  It is great when they do.  Ultimately though, the Fedora Board is accountable for providing a vision for the future, conveying that vision in a compelling way to Fedora, making changes to that vision based on feedback from other project members, and making sure the right things are in place for success.

It is what we have been appointed or elected to do.

We are coming up on one year of the “What is Fedora/Target Audience” topic being on the board’s agenda as an unfinished issue.  There are any number of valid explanations for why this has happened and why progress has been slower than anyone would have desired.  It is time to make the “past the past” and set a clear game plan for resolving this issue by the end of the first quarter of 2010.

Another year will expire unless the board makes a concerted effort to refine this issue into actionable pieces and put it to rest.  This will require more time outside of our weekly conference calls, but like most good things that happen in Fedora, they usually require extra time and effort.  It is time to make this issue a priority even if it means meeting more than one time each week.

I am preparing to propose to the board that we meet at a special session each week on a separate day from our regular meeting day.  Our discussion as a board on the topic of Fedora’s target audience each week has been spotty from week to week with less than active participation from every board member in the discussion.  This has spanned two board terms which removed some of the original board members from the discussion and added new ones.  Now we are about to do that for a third time as the composition of the board changes again.

This last reason is reason enough that this topic should be resolved before Fedora 13 is released.