When the Fedora Project was announced, Red Hat issued a roadmap for the project that included openness, community and participation as part of the plans for Fedora.
Community involvement in Fedora Core development, however, has mostly been limited to using the distribution and providing feedback via the project's mailing lists. The direction and development for the project have come almost exclusively from Red Hat. This isn't such a terrible thing for many Fedora users, given that they have free access to a fairly solid Linux distribution, developed on a predictable schedule that provides access to a lot of cutting-edge software.
Other folks, however, were hoping Fedora might become a Red Hat-based version of the Debian Project, albeit one that hits the release schedule in a somewhat more timely fashion.
The project is still centrally-managed by Red Hat, but the Fedora folks have finally come through with the long-promised CVS (Concurrent Versions System) repository for Fedora Core and the Fedora Extras. Contributor access is still restricted, but interested developers can finally get their hands on the Fedora Core CVS tree and track development.
According to Red Hat Magazine, the build system should be accessible to contributors "on a more general basis" towards the end of January, 2005.
It's been a long time in coming, but it looks like Red Hat is finally taking steps towards giving the community a bigger hand in developing Fedora Core. No doubt, some will complain about the choice of CVS over the increasingly-popular Subversion version control system, but CVS is still the standard for most projects.
The question is, whether this will change Fedora's development model significantly, or if the distribution will continue to be primarily led by Red Hat's team with the community largely left to beta-test technology before it winds up in Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Any thoughts?