#252 Status of Free Media program
Closed: Complete 2 months ago by riecatnor. Opened 3 months ago by bcotton.

While cleaning old content, @misc noticed we still have a page for the Free Media program. The request form says:

The Fedora Free Media form is temporarily CLOSED while we move our infrastructure over to Pagure.

The wiki page hasn't been edited since 2018. Is this program retired?


It's certainly inactive. The work required to migrate the whole system to pagure is not trivial. I've given up myself but from time to time a few people do ping some of the tickets to try and move things along. Not much progress has been made, unfortunately.

There are tickets here for anyone that wants to get more info on what needs to be done:

https://pagure.io/Free-Media/Housekeeping/issues

I guess the question is: what value do we see it bringing to users in 2020? I know that there are plenty of places not well-served by broadband access at home — and in the pandemic, not-at-home access is hard.

I think the demand was always quite localised even back when it was active---some regions had lots of requests, and others didn't have any sometimes---and in general we did struggle to serve requests. With DVDs going out of fashion too, it is now a lot more expensive for volunteers to ship USB keys out of their own pockets. They're not as easy nor as cheap as installation DVDs for volunteers to mass produce.

I always thought that the Local Contacts programme would work better, but with the ambassadors programme slowing down, it didn't get a lot of love either.

https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/LocalContacts

Next, keeping the online vendors page up to date to make it easy for people to order cheap installation media themselves would perhaps be another way of making Fedora easy to obtain where downloading is a problem:

https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Distribution/OnlineVendors

It's inarguably of value to people who don't have access to the bandwidth necessary to download ISOs. That said, we've gone years without it at this point, and it sounds like it's not trivial to revive it. I'd argue that the effort we'd put into reviving this program could be better spent elsewhere.

I propose it be officially retired.

That doesn't prevent us from starting a replacement program in the future, but it at least makes it clear that we're not doing it now.

Next, keeping the online vendors page up to date to make it easy for people to order cheap installation media themselves would perhaps be another way of making Fedora easy to obtain where downloading is a problem:

Agreed. The first five or six links I spot-checked were all bad. I've put an audit of that on my todo list, but if someone gets to it before I do, I won't complain. :-)

+1 to retire the free media program as it stands currently.

That doesn't prevent us from starting a replacement program in the future, but it at least makes it clear that we're not doing it now.

+1, I have brought this ticket to the attention of the co-leads for the ongoing outreach revamp to incorporate into the mix.

Can we point would-be free media program users to smtg where they can pay a nominal fee to get media shipped to them via a 3rd party?

This looks exactly like what I am thinking of:
https://www.shoplinuxonline.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=fedora

I do not know if they have trademark perms tho (I don't remember this business going thru the logo queue but they could have gone direct to the council/board i suppose) - I would double check that they are legit with us before providing a pointer to them. But does this make sense?

ed. this particular folks only ship to US and canada which defeats the point I think. But it would be nice to have something like this:

https://www.debian.org/CD/vendors/

Maybe some of the same vendors would do Fedora.

I started going thru the Debian list from the bottom and most of the vendors appear to offer Fedora too.

So what might be a helpful task is for someone to crib off the full list, then replace the FreeMedia page(s) with a pointer to the list of vendors currently offering Fedora media.

Russia
https://linuxcenter.shop/collection/distributivy-na-usb-i-dvd

United Kingdom
https://thelinuxshop.co.uk/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=fedora&osCsid=em73fh629vk6f0csfs3oqi4dk1&debug=false

United States
https://www.shoplinuxonline.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=fedora
https://www.linuxcollections.com/products/fedora/fedora.htm?id=54830

Uruguay
http://tienda.pmc.com.uy/product_info.php?cPath=2_21&products_id=65

If the Freemedia initiative is not working, did anyone actually get a Fedora DVD recently from this? If not, then there should be no users and we don't need to maintain a list of vendors for them.

Uruguay
http://tienda.pmc.com.uy/product_info.php?cPath=2_21&products_id=65

Did not check the others but this one seems to offer only Fedora 28 so it does not seem to be a good choice.

Another idea/option here. Bc of the lack of Flock in 2020 we came to the end of the year with budget to be spent, and we made various efforts to use that across the project. (swag, hardware for ARM development, participation in the winter session of Outreachy). One of the things we ordered wrt swag is a printed 3.0 USB. This order is in progress and we will not have the USB's for some time still (March is my guess).

If the number of request will be low generally, my proposal is this:
Update the free media program to be a USB that uses the Mindshare swag fulfillment process.
Write up that this was financially possible bc of the lack of traveling in 2020 and that we cannot promise to uphold the program indefinitely. Retire the program when we run out of inventory.
OR
Estimate how many we will use per year, and build it into our budget to keep a set number of USBs with bootable media on hand.

I'm not pretty sure.
The aim of Free Media Program was also the community involvement.
Do you remember (I don't know if it is still in place) ham radio people used to send postcards around the world when they got in touch on some radio frequency with another person living in another continent.
I mean, I didn't participate in the program, but I imagine that the spirit of the Free Media Program was also the involvement of simple people, and not a mass CD distribution.
I mean, the spirit is that a simple Fedora enthusiast had the pleasure to spread the word and help someone living in another place. It was a matter of involvement of community members.

@alciregi the scope of the Freemedia programme was limited to providing Fedora to people who could not download it themselves. There was no follow up to ensure that these people followed up and joined Fedora to contribute---that was not a goal of Freemedia.

@riecatnor : that sounds good. The one issue I see is that Freemedia was intended to make Fedora available to people outside the community---so they wouldn't have a FAS account, for example. Each individual would get one media. Would the Mindshare swag fulfilment process do this? I thought it was intended to make media available to community members for use at events and so on?

@ankursinha Yeah, it wasn't a goal to get the people receiving the media to participate, but it was also a community-building activity for the people involved in it. But I think that only really has value if those involved people feel confident that the work has meaningful impact — and that it's the best fit for their own community involvement.

Hi, this came up in the D&I Team meeting today. I'll try to summarize the point I raised there.

The innovative play is figuring out how to design and scale decentralized distribution. Or, person-to-person support like @ankursinha and @mattdm described above. I might be biased but I think this is somewhere Fedora can be innovative in line with the Four Foundations.

Buying USBs centrally and distributing is a short-term fix for 2021 but will have trouble scaling. There will always be a central bottleneck. The short-term view though could be to allow USB requests for this fiscal year only. It needs communication that this may not always be an option though. That may also have an impact on demand (i.e. people who have a genuine need, and people who want a Fedora-branded USB key).

Some thoughts...

I'd consider providing free media to be an outreach thing that shouldn't be limited to people with FAS. After all, if you want to try Fedora for the first time, having to register an account (even if making one in FAS is easy) will put people off. However, we still need someone with a FAS to open a ticket requesting the media - so how about this:

Ambassadors are all active Fedora Project members* who have FAS accounts. They could serve as a first "point of contact" for this, I think it fits the role pretty well. If someone needs install media shipped to them, they can find an ambassador on a list that we maintain somewhere on our docs site, contact them, and ask for a USB stick. The ambassador opens a Pagure ticket and requests one on their behalf - maybe after talking a bit first to see if it's really necessary. We either explain this on the same page as the ambassador list, or we keep a separate page just for the free media offer and link to the list (probably better SEO that way).

Regarding @riecatnor's comment, I think it would be better to keep some stock on hand going forward and keep this program going. However I have zero experience with the program and I have no idea how much it was used when it was active.


* After the revamp, anyway :)

What arguments/data do we have to justify spending more resources on this? How big is the demand for a replacement program? Who will ensure it will be a success in bringing in more contributors? This was already unclear at the beginning of this ticket and it seems the only reason that this ticket was not closed is because we have money to spend.
I would really like to have someone to own this and bring good arguments/estimations why this would be a good idea. Some good questions for this are:
- Which reasons would benefit from this the most?
- How may engaging Ambassadors do we have in that region?
- How many new contributors do we expect to get there?

Hey folks!

We have continued to discuss this in the Mindshare meetings, and we still don't feel this is relevant enough to spend our limited resources on.

I also brought this to the attention of the TTF/co-leads of the Community Revamp. There was the same general feeling, mixed with a feeling that although this would be a nice thing to do, we are currently trying to focus, simplify, and modernize the outreach programs/teams. Continuing this program under Ambassadors seems counterproductive to that.

Based on these convos, I am still +1 to retire.

+1 to retire, We always can provide some help through the ambassadors, We are here to help

Hi there,

We reviewed this in the regular MIndshare Committee meeting today and we are closing this as complete, with a decision to retire the Free Media program for the time being. @duffy is updating the wiki page to reflect this.

Metadata Update from @riecatnor:
- Issue close_status updated to: Complete
- Issue status updated to: Closed (was: Open)

2 months ago

Hi, updated page:
https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/FreeMedia

Copy/pasta text below for the curious:

The Fedora Free Media Program was a volunteer initiative by local Fedora Ambassadors and contributors to distribute Fedora Media (DVDs) for free to individuals who can't afford to buy or download Fedora.

This program was retired in February 2021 due to a lack of participation for some time. You can read more about the background of this decision in the Fedora Mindshare Team ticket #252.

If you would like to obtain physical Fedora Media, please consult the following list of vendors from whom you may obtain copies for a nominal fee:

Online Vendors List
Local Vendors List

If your current circumstances would make purchasing media a hardship at this time, you are most welcome to open a public or private ticket with the Fedora Mindshare team for assistance.
🔗 History

The last version of this page before retirement may be viewed here.
For historical records, visit Fedora Free Media Program Archive page.

The Translation team advised the following wrt the wiki page & translations:

Hello,
please delete the existing translation if English content changed
drastically.
Authors will understand (it is what happen for whatever software we
translate for which content changes).
Have a nice day,
Jean-Baptiste

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