ZDNet has a story on Red Hat's changes to the Fedora development model. Specifically, Red Hat is finally starting to focus on community involvement:
"One of the mistakes we made early on when we made the split between RHEL and Fedora was we told everybody that Fedora was public, come help us out," said Greg Dekoenigsberg, Red Hat's community relations manager. "We got lots of people responding," but Red Hat couldn't accept much beyond simple bug reports.
Now that we're on the third release of Fedora, Red Hat is getting around to addressing the community. From where I'm sitting, this is a bit late in the game to try to bring in outside help, but better late than never.
Linux users and developers looking for a strong community model have Debian, Gentoo, Ubuntu and Mandrake Linux, just to name a few. Whether Red Hat can really turn Fedora into a true community project, rather than a testing ground for their enterprise products, is anybody's guess.
Red Hat has a strong motivation to see to it that Fedora remains not-quite-ready for prime time. Ubuntu, Gentoo, Debian, etc all of these distributions are designed for long-term use, whereas FC is geared around a very short life-span. Debian Woody is going on nearly three years as the stable release. Fedora releases are only "supported" for about a year, which is not really suitable for use on servers.
It's pointless for developers who use Linux in a production environment to spend money on Red Hat's enterprise products and do development for Fedora. Using Fedora Core in a production environment is iffy, when you know that the most current version of Fedora will be obsolete in about a year. There is the legacy project, but there's no guarantee that updates will be timely. Organizations that really want support for Fedora would probably be best off looking to Tummy.com's KRUD.
The irony of the situation is that the community put Red Hat where it is in the first place. Well, the community plus a mad infusion of cash back when the stock market was still bubbly. But Red Hat made inroads into corporate environments largely because a lot of geeks used it at home and wanted to use it at work. Fewer of those geeks are using Red Hat at home these days, and there are plenty of viable alternatives.