Monday, August 06, 2007

To Infinity and Beyond

I know some of my blog reading faithful will be shocked. I've deviated from my standard of titling posts after alterna-rock lyrics. What is this dude thinking? Well listen up, its with good reason.

Today, I'm at LinuxWorld in San Francisco and I've just wrapped up a set of press interviews along with our very good friends from the Creative Commons. Whats the skinny you ask? I'll tell you, but only because I like you. Today we have announced (link to press release) the first step in what is a long term partnership between Fedora and he Creative Commons. That first step is the CC LiveContent Distribution (available off the Fedora torrent site), built on Fedora, available to all.

The story is as follows. After we broke our backs getting Fedora 7 and all the little bits and pieces in place to let people remix it out the door, we were wondering who would come knocking at our door. That's the beauty of the culture in which we operate, you never known from whence innovation will come, all you can do release something that will hopefully be useful to someone and marvel at the results of what they come back to you with. Anyway, luckily enough Creative Commons had been fishing around for a while for a platform upon which they could build a distribution that will be used to proliferate and educate people about Open Content. They had already been looking at using Fedora for this and then I met Jon Philips, and the rest as they say, is history.

Around a month and a half ago we sat down and defined what needed to be done, why, and how we were going to go about doing it. The result is CC LiveContent v1.0 (direct torrent link), a Fedora-based live-cd distro jam packed with educational material about CC, CC licensed content and a set of applications with which you can manipulate that content. Remix your OS, your content. As I'm known for saying, it's all good in the hood. Don't just sit there, make something, dammit!

I am personally proud to be standing here. One reason is because I have been busting my ass to make sure this happens. (Well not really, the credit really goes to Tim Vollmer and Scott Shawcroft of CC, but I tried!) The second reason is that with the release of Fedora 7 and the opening up of our build process and tools such as pungi and revisor, we have really tried to position Fedora as more than just a Linux distro and the reason we have been encouraging the masses to "Remix" their fedora is that we have tried and pushed over the past 3 years to transform Fedora into a true platform for innovation.

That innovation occurs on a number of levels, there is of course the technical excellence which we always strive to live up to and which we are well-known for. Then there is innovation in other areas which need a viable platform through which to deliver their message to the masses. There is also innovation in unexplored areas that we will only find out when we afford the community the ability to go about and explore those themselves. We have positioned Fedora to act as a platform for whatever it is you are interested in and to that effect, we have done well.

Obviously, as members of the open source community, one of the causes which we are passionate about is Open Content and as such we are proud to partner with Creative Commons who have, for the same reasons described above, chosen Fedora to server as the basis for their LiveConent Distribution.

The purpose of the LiveContent Distribution is to act as as tool and an enabler to both educate people about what Creative Commons is and does, and to provide them the tools and a selection of content with which they can begin to explore the remix culture and how endless the possibilities really are when a culture of collaboration is fostered, not detested.

Clearly not everyone understands computer software, so trying to reach out to people about freedom, democracy and rights at a software level alone would be a huge fallacy.

Open Software, Open Content, Free Culture and the hope for a better tomorrow side-by-side, forging a brighter future for tomorrow's programmers AND artists, children, educators, creators and consumers, society in general.

Code or content, pick whichever one you want to explore; they are both there on one handy disc.

That being said, there are many people who deserve thanks. First and foremost, Max Spevack, for being the greatest leader Fedora has ever had and a true champion of everything we believe in. Max busts his ass all day every day through thick and thin to make sure this machine keeps on rolling. Greg DeKeonigsberg, for well, being Greg and constantly reminding us that thinking is a good thing and to always push the boundary. The Fedora Board and the Fedora crew within Red Hat who really have thankless jobs and yet give it their all on a daily basis. The Fedora community who won't ever stop harassing us to fix whats broken and make things even better for them all the time and especially those who contribute back, we all owe you thanks. Jesse for pungi. Jon, Jeroen and Bob and the Fedora Unity folks for spearheading the Revisor project. The NYC interns, Mo, Yankee, Arjun, Hunter, Ben, James and Bobby for doing some awesome work over this summer and who still aren't sure that I don't work for Creative Commons, I hope you guys can stay part of the Fedora family. The Red Hat PR team who so gracefully handled all of the press stuff for this, including Caroline, Kerri and Leigh. Last but not least, I think a huge thank you of the largest proportions needs to go out to Matthew Szulik, who really works himself to the bone every day trying to run a company which can at the same time be public, profitable, accountable and yet so righteous and benevolent and who affords Fedora the freedoms with which it operates. The whole concept of Fedora was such a radical idea and here we are years later still going strong and it is only due to the dedication, persistence and wisdom of great people. For giving of yourselves to make this life just a little better for ourselves and others. For that, thanks.