Fedora Magazine Planning & Design

draft logo for Fedora Magazine
Draft logo for Fedora Magazine

The Fedora marketing team is working on launching a Fedora-focused online magazine for the Fedora users and developers.
The idea first came when some folks on the team had a discussion about FWN (Fedora Weekly News) and its future. They determined that it might be a cool thing to revive FWN and the Fedora Insight project (which was meant to be a Drupal-based online Fedora community) with a new site that features, as Ruth explained:

  • Short, informative content like you might think of FWN for
  • Longer form stories, interviews, and articles
  • The technical content that Fedora used to create to some extent for Red Hat Magazine (which is in high demand but no longer exists)
  • Cultivated content from Planet
  • The content that Insight was already meant for, like Board meeting minutes or announcements

(You can read more about the thinking on the Fedora marketing list thread that kicked off the discussion.)

Tech Decisions

So we started a discussion about how to move forward on this idea at last Thursday’s Fedora Marketing Team meeting. On the original mailing list thread, we seemed to have pretty wide agreement that WordPress would be a good platform to build this on. The next decision was where / how to host it. Some options that were thrown out:

  • Fedora Infrastructure – too hard to maintain.
  • WordPress.com hosting – annual hosting fee around $100 ($13 for only domain mapping)
  • Dreamhost – annual fee around $100, Debian-based… a little weird to host a Fedora site on a non-Fedora related system.
  • OpenShift – open source system, Red Hat based, but only 1 GB storage

One of the considerations we also had was that this had to be pretty darn easy to maintain. Happily. WordPress itself as an application is very easy to maintain – it has a built-in dashboard where you can install themes, plugins, and core software updates. We worked out a storage solution with the OpenShift folks, and decided that would be the way to go.

Initial Prototyping

Fedora Logo Ideas Draft 1
Fedora Logo Ideas Draft 1

Kevin hooked us up with an admin email address, and using that I signed up and configured WordPress on a new Fedora Magazine OpenShift account. It was really easy to set up – I literally logged into OpenShift, clicked on new application, clicked on WordPress, and it spit back a url where our running WordPress instance lives:
http://wp-fedoramag.rhcloud.com
I wrote a little explanation of how I set it up on the marketing-list – the gist is:

  • After installing WordPress on OpenShift, you need to update the security keys since the initial install comes from the shared OpenShift WordPress git repo.
  • There’s a particular workflow to follow when updating WordPress on OpenShift. If you make updates to WordPress from the admin panel in the app itself, those changes won’t be reflected in your OpenShift repo for the app. You have to use the rhc snapshot command to pull those changes down, and then commit them to your repo. (I had an odd moment where I pushed the changes after updating WordPress and watched all the updates and plugins I’d installed disappear. But the #openshift folks were really helpful in explaining what to do.)
  • I installed the WordPress OpenID plugin so that Fedora folks can log into Fedora Magazine and contribute to it using their Fedora OpenID linked to their FAS account.
  • I also installed a whole boatload of themes to evaluate as potential starting points for the Fedora Magazine theme we’d like to create. We came up with a list of free and/or open ones here, and they among a few other themes are now installed on our Fedora Magazine WordPress instance.

We’re working on getting a better domain name than the OpenShift default domain name, by the way. 🙂

Theming & Branding

Fedora Magazine Mockup #1
Fedora Magazine Mockup #1

So next, we kicked off a design discussion on the Fedora Design Team mailing list about the design of Fedora Magazine. I started another related thread afterwards on logo design for Fedora Magazine.
The design discussions are still ongoing, but we’ve had some pretty lively discussion about logo ideas with several folks throwing ideas out and contributing mockups. I just finished putting together an initial stab at a front page mockup using one of the logo ideas generated so far (you can see it above) and I’m hoping another productive & fruitful discussion will come to bear from the design-team thread on that mockup.

Want to Help?

We can totally use your help getting this magazine launched. There’s a lot of different ways you can get started:

  • You’ll first want to subscribe to the Fedora ‘news’ mailing list, which we decided will be our main Fedora Magazine logistics/planning list going forward in today’s marketing meeting.
  • I’ve pointed out various mailing list threads across both Fedora’s marketing list and design team list. Those threads are good to read through and dive into if you’ve got ideas, questions, or feedback and want to get involved.
  • If you want to get involved in the design of Fedora Magazine in particular, please speak up on the Fedora Design Team mailing list. We’re all posting links to our mockups and the source files, so you can grab one of our source files and go or start from scratch and submit and discuss your ideas with us.
  • The marketing team meetings are weekly on Thursdays (3 PM US ET), and Fedora Magazine is a topic that comes up during those meetings, so it’s another good way to meet the folks working on this project and to get involved.
  • If you want to get involved in the administration of WordPress, let me know and I can explain more about how we have it set up. If you have experience in maintaining and securing WordPress instances, I would love to talk to you about this. 🙂
  • If you want to help develop articles and contribute content to Fedora Magazine, please speak up on the Fedora Marketing list and we can hook you up with an account on our WordPress install with editor privileges!

Anyway, I hope this is a good background that gives you an understanding about where we are with this project, what we’re currently working on, and how you can help. 🙂 Thoughts, feedback, and ideas are welcome in the comments!

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  1. Pingback: Chystá se Fedora Magazine | Fedora.cz

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