Wow… My heart is really full this week, and I’ve been overwhelmed with all the “thank you”s and and other kind wishes from people in the Fedora community as I’ve passed the torch on to Robyn Bergeron as the next Fedora Project Leader.  I always knew that I was only going to be the FPL for a couple of years, but now that the time has come to move on, it’s a bit surreal.  As I’ve said numerous times, the job is a difficult and stressful one, yet it’s very rewarding at the same time.  I couldn’t have done it without the support and hard work of the thousands of Fedora community members who continue to make Fedora an awesome place to participate in free and open source software.

In particular, I’d like to take this opportunity to share several things that I’ve been very thankful for during my tenure as the FPL.

First of all, I’m thankful for my friends… not only friends that made me laugh when I was stressed out, or friends that helped get things done, but also for friends that weren’t afraid to tell me when I made a mistake, or needed to view things from a different perspective.  I’m humbled by friends who have inspired me, and taught me, and set a good example for me, and listened to me when I needed to vent.  I’ve made a lot of new friends over the past couple of years, and I value those friendships as the number one thing I’ve taken aware from the experience.  I look forward to continuing to rub shoulders with my FLOSS friends in the future.  Thank you for your kindness and your support.

Next, I’m thankful for the perspective I’ve gained.  It’s so easy to get “tunnel vision” when working on a program or a project.  Many of us enjoy free and open source software because we learn about so many different things and become experts in many different areas.  Unfortunately, this also means we can assume that our world view is the correct world view, or perhaps even the only world view that matters.  If there’s one lesson I’ve learned from being the Fedora Project Leader, it is that there are many different perspectives on each issue, and that most of them have something valuable to add to the equation.  I’m thankful for the new perspectives I have gained, and for the experiences that have helped me to gain a wider view.

I’m also thankful for the many thousands of hours that hard-working Fedora contributors have put forth to make Fedora better.  In looking back over the past three releases (Fedora 14, 15, and 16), we’ve made a lot of forward progress.  That’s not to say that there hasn’t been some controversy along the way.  Looking to the future, I hope that we can continue to chart new territory in Fedora, while not forgetting the lessons of the past.  As one of my favorite songs puts it, “Fly your mind… fly it like a kite.  But keep your feet on the ground.”  I have no doubt that the Fedora community can continue to add new features and still do the necessary communication and integration work to make the disparate pieces come together to make a more unified whole.  Not only have we made the distribution better, but even more importantly we’ve made the community better and stronger.

Last but not least, I’m also thankful for Red Hat, and their continued support on behalf of Fedora, and for the great trust they place in the Fedora community.  I could go on and on about the relationship between Red Hat and Fedora, but let me just say that I’m thankful for Red Hat’s continued efforts to do the right thing and to practice what it preaches about open source communities.  During my tenure at FPL, I never once felt pressured by Red Hat to do anything that wasn’t in the community’s best interest, and I think that says volumes about a corporate sponsor.