If anyone has used Ubuntu in its early years, they might remember using one of many tools like Automatix. The rest of us hardcore Debian users knew simply to just add a third party repository, and install a bunch of packages. But for the uninitiated, these tools would basically install support for every third party repo one might want, every media format, and even break your system for you. It was a known fact that the tools didn't work perfectly and weren't supported, but nevertheless links to them got passed like wildfire from forum to forum. People wanted to believe a warm brown Linux Distribution with bundled nudie pics would change the world, much in the same way many people believe an upstart senator is going to change the world in the next four years. I think Fedora is missing that edge.
When Fedora first came out, my impression of it was to stay away. It was this bundle of bits locked up by Red Hat missing all the little bits I needed to make my computer do what I could do in other OSes. I'm not suggesting that this is the impression one gets from Fedora today, quite the contrary, but I still don't see people trading lots of hints around amateur Linux user forums and such. In fact, if I need technical support on something trivial, the number one source has been the Ubuntu Forums.
Even so, it strikes me as odd, that when we gave the users the tools to actually patch in the bits they needed to play media in proprietary formats, they used it less than the tools Ubuntu's community had to offer. Overall, we were lacking a clear idea how far we wanted to take the concept of 'auto-downloading', and we tripped over it big time.
One of the biggest criticisms I heard (read actually) is that Codeina didn't take into account the international community, nor even the american community. I can't officially comment, but I understand that there is a question that if Fedora moves to distribute something that might have patent or other questions on them, Red Hat might be able to be sued. This doesn't make it outright illegal for Americans to posses those same bits that Fedora can't distribute. In fact, with a strong enough community, there would be a million guides on the web about how one can install Fedora, go to Livna's website, click on the RPM they need, type in their root password, and then go to some menu to a graphical utility to pick certain packages, or even a helping utility that Livna provides. Then no one would care that Fedora doesn't distribute anything. But the community has yet to come out with this.
Now I feel like we are floundering about with very little legal guidance from either the Board or Red Hat, other than an outright no. I also feel that people expect us to be the authority, and tell everyone the correct way to get the bits we need to play our music collections.
I'm afraid I can't think of any solution outright better than anyone else can. If I were good at marketing, I probably would have a nice cushy job for some marketing agency, instead of doing Fedora work. But I do think the solution has to come from the outside, and it has to take the world by storm. Ubuntu-seeking missiles might be useful too.