Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Re: What is success for Fedora?

On 2 July 2014 03:01, Christian Schaller <> wrote:
To me any definition of success needs to be tied to popular adoption of the
products we make, any measure of success that doesn't take that into account
becomes to me a version of congratulating yourself for having achieved
freedom of speech by putting yourself in a situation where there is
nobody around to listen to what you have to say.

So if we for instance define long term success as having a 50%+ marketshare
among our target audiences, then I think a per release success criteria would
be that each product release sees a significant userbase bump. how we define
significant and how we measure the growth is of course another question, but
I am sure that if we agree that this is a good way to do it then I am sure we
can find some indicators to use for measurement and decide on ambitious but
realistic goal for each release.

My problem with this definition is that what do you 'git blame' for the reason that user levels either fall or don't grow.  I mean its easy to blame whatever big change happened in that release.. but its a knee-jerk reaction. It has as much as basis as the person who made the change defending it. [We have had big dropoffs of users in the past which could be linked to us dropping Xen, moving to GNOME3,  beefy miracle offended vegeterians, aliens invaded new york, etc but is it really that? Did other distributions see an increase in their usage or did they see drops at the same time? How do we get a reasonable guess and how do we fix it? [Uninvade New York? Add Xen back? etc]

Also when do you measure usage of a release and say 'yay we met our growth metric'. Because what happens is that a release doesn't go from 19 -> 20 on the day of the release. N usually gets to the number of users of N-1 just as N+1 is released. Our overall growth is in people keep using old old releases (we have a lot of Fedora 12, 14, and 17 users which don't seem to shrink which means our 'usage' curve goes up but not in the latest release). 

Finally, how do we measure what the size of our target audience is? It is just as hard to count as counting who our 'contributors' and 'users' are. Is it a subset of the 1.9% of current non-MacOSx/Windows users? Is it the MacOSx/Windows market? We say everyone and we can basically fold up shop now because that doesn't look feasible, we say 20,000 people we can say have "Mission Accomplished" and go home.

We will hopefully be better able to measure usage of workstation/server/cloud/everything better in the next release if each release will give some indication to yum or dnf that the person is updating from that 'platform'.

Stephen J Smoogen.

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