Earlier this month I attended the first Fedora Flock, in Charleston, SC. This replaced the older Fedora Users and Developers conferences, none of which I had participated in prior. Other than certain difficulties with my return flight, this was a fun and interesting event, and I do hope Fedora has more of them going forward.
Fedora is a GNU/Linux distribution that has a genuine community that is also focused on questions of software ethics and freedom. The Fedora community actively supports efforts to eliminate software patents. Fedora policies are not all that different from those proposed by the FSF for model free software distributions, including excluding restricted applications and patent encumbered codecs from the main repositories.
One of the more interesting presentations at flock was the lulzbot 3d printer. 3d printing to me offers many of the possibilities for freedom and participation in mechanics and art that software freedom offers for software development.
I actively maintain two packages in Fedora; GNU uCommon and GNU SIP Witch. I offered to run a VoIP sprint for flock. This was an interesting choice, as I never ran a sprint before, and the few I had seen were multi-day events, rather than just a few hours. However, I think this was an effective sprint in that we had achieved some consensus on a number of issues with Fedora and VoIP within it.
One of these was to do something more in Fedora than simply having the current Fedora VoIP sig, which really is just a wiki page old VoIP specific package requests. In particular the people present wanted to make the Fedora VoIP sig something much more active and relevant to Fedora going forward.
In my mind Fedora VoIP should be about security and interoperability. Certainly given that Fedora offers a secure out of the box desktop configuration, this makes sense with the larger context. Actually Fedora already has libzrtpcpp enabled VoIP applications. Interoperability, to me, means use of standards compliant protocols and services.
One of the things people wanted to do was to package freepbx for Fedora and produce an Asterisk server spin. While I am doing something different, as is becoming clear with emerging work in both sipwitch and antisipate, I do also favor this idea as well. In some interesting ways this actually aligns well with some proposed ideas going forward for Fedora itself.
The broader context of this is a proposal, presented by Steve Gallaghar, about refocusing Fedora by producing a Desktop, Server, and Cloud Image, perhaps even on different release schedules, rather than the single do-everything okay but nothing spectacular Fedora distro we do have now. Part of this is also about defining clearer policies for what packages are core to delivery of Fedora releases. I will write about this more at a later time.