Posts tagged Red Hat

Embarking on a New Adventure

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Today I am starting a new job and embarking on a new adventure.  As most of you probably already know, I’ve spent the last couple of years working for Red Hat as the Fedora Project Leader.  I passed the FPL baton on to Robyn Bergeron a few weeks ago, and have spent the time since doing a bit of technical writing for Red Hat and trying to figure out my next role.  I looked for positions both inside and outside of Red Hat where I could exercise my talents and abilities. As much as I loved working for Red Hat, I found another opportunity that is best role for me at this point in my career.

Starting today, I’ll be working for Bluehost — one of the largest web hosting companies in North America.  (Or, more specifically, I’ll be working for Bluehost’s parent company, Endurance International Group.)  My job will be focused on open source outreach and community building, and helping Bluehost build better relationships with open source developers.  I’ll be taking the lessons I’ve learned from the Asterisk community and the Fedora community and applying them to other open source communities.  Don’t worry — I’ll still be actively involved in most of the same open source communities that I’ve been participating in over the past several years, and I’ll be participating in a few new ones as well.  I’ll still be working remotely from Virginia, so that I don’t have to uproot my family and move across the country.

I’ll share more details of my job over the coming weeks and months.  In the meantime, you know where to find me — trying to make the world a better place, one conversation at a time.

A few things that I’m thankful for

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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.

 

Where is Jared headed next?

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An important (and rewarding, even if it is tiring) part of my job as the Fedora Project Leader is to help spread the word about Fedora in various parts of the world.  The most visible part of this is speaking at conferences and meeting with our ambassadors and contributors. Over the next three weeks I’ll be on a jet-lag-inducing marathon of travel, and I thought it would be helpful to let people know where I’ll be over the next few weeks.

LinuxConf Australia

On Friday, I’ll be flying to Brisbane for the LCA conference.  This is my first time to attend LCA, and I’m very much looking forward to meeting many of our contributors in the Asia-Pacific region while I’m there.  I’m also glad that the flood waters are receding in Brisbane, and that the conference attendees can do their small part to help in the recovery by showing up for the conference, eating in restaurants, staying in hotels, and otherwise helping the local economy.  I’ll be giving a presentation on Thursday the 27th explaining what Fedora is and the unique relationship between Fedora and Red Hat, and how to work effectively with upstream projects.

FUDCon Tempe

After LCA, I’ll be flying from Brisbane to Tempe, Arizona for the North American iteration of our annual Fedora Users and Developers conference, affectionately known as FUDCon.  I always look forward to the FUDCon conferences around the world, as they’re the best opportunity to meet with and work with other Fedora enthusiasts in a fun atmosphere.  I’ll be giving the traditional “State of Fedora” address on Saturday, leading the Board meeting on Monday, and generally doing my best to ensure that the conference runs smoothly.  I’ll also pitch a BarCamp session or two.  As always, FUDCon is a free event and we encourage all Linux enthusiasts to attend regardless of their experience level.

FOSDEM

After FUDCon I’ll be traveling to Belgium for FOSDEM, which is one of the premier free/open source software conferences in Europe.  In particular, I’ll be doing a couple of presentations in the Distributions room, talking about cross-distro collaboration, as well as the roles that distributions play in the free/open source ecosystem.  In addition, I will also be helping out at the Fedora booth.  I’m also hoping to pop over to the Open Telephony room to say hi to some of my telephone-loving friends there as well, if time permits.

If you’re at any of these three conferences, I encourage you to stop by and introduce yourself.  I look forward to meeting with you!

Where is Jared this week?

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I’ve had a bit more travel than is usual this month, which means I’m writing this blog post from a hotel room outside of Boston.  Boston, you ask?  What am I doing in Boston?  I’m here for the rest of the week having some meetings at the Red Hat offices here in Westford, MA this week.  I came up here in June when I was interviewing for the FPL job, but hadn’t been back since, and I thought it was about time to hop back up and spend some time in some meetings with some of my friends and co-workers here.

Today, I caught up with Paul Frields and Kara (from Red Hat’s press team) to talk about press blog entries and video highlights for the Fedora 14 release. I also talked with John Poelstra and Paul and Spot (via phone — poor guy is recovering from a nasty case of the flu) about the hiring process for the Fedora Program Manager job. (If you’re interested in the job, send either John or me your résumé now, before it’s too late!)  I also had the chance to have some very informal meetings in the hallway with folks like Dan Walsh, Luke Macken, and Dave Malcolm.  Since I’m a remote employee, I don’t get the chance to rub shoulders with these folks often enough, so I enjoyed chatting with them.

Tomorrow, I’ve got a higher-level meeting with several Red Hat managers to get some feedback from them on how they think Fedora is working as an upstream for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, as well as how I’m doing as the new FPL.  My primary role in the meetings is to listen, and to gather feedback as we near the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, while the experience is fresh in everyone’s minds.

This meeting is a mechanism to gather ideas and comments from folks in Red Hat who aren’t necessarily engaged in Fedora on a day-to-day basis. In a way, Red Hat is not just an active participant and heavy contributor in Fedora, but is also somewhat of a customer, in that Fedora is an upstream from which Red Hat Enterprise Linux draws. It’s a helpful learning experience to hear firsthand accounts from a customer, and I hope this meeting will be no exception.

That feedback becomes part of the larger fabric of possibilities that can inform our future strategies. If there are opportunities for improvement that might interest the community, the entire Fedora team will collaborate to address those items, just as we would on any feedback. For example, FUDCon Tempe in January will be a great opportunity to discuss ideas for improvement in Fedora in a high-bandwidth fashion, and I’m looking forward to the ideas that come out of the time there.  Another key goal for my meeting tomorrow is to give some of my thoughts and ideas back to Red Hat about the things I’ve seen during my first few months on the job.  I’m a big fan of continual improvement, and I think these feedback sessions are one healthy and important way to make sure we’re making progress.

On Thursday, I’m doing a quick (15 minutes or less, I promise!) presentation to the Desktop team inside Red Hat, to let them ask some questions and get to know me a bit better.  Should be pretty informal, but it’s a chance for me to get to know them better and vice versa.  I’m also hoping to track down a few minutes to chat w/ Mo Duffy to tell her what an awesome job the design and website teams are doing on the new design of the Fedora website.  (If you haven’t checked it out yet, you really should.  I can’t tell you how pleased I am with the way it’s shaping up.)

On Friday, I’m doing a podcast with Paul Frields for “This Week in Fedora” from Frostbite Media.  I did an interview with them a few weeks ago, but they invited me back, and I’m sure Paul and I will have an enjoyable time talking about our favorite subject.  I’m also hoping to squeeze in time to shoot a bit of video for one of the Fedora 14 release videos.  (Not that I really want to appear on video, but I do enjoy talking about the upcoming Fedora 14 release…)

Between all the meetings, I’ll be catching up on email, participating in IRC meetings, and helping coordinate all the moving parts of the release so that we can hopefully ship Fedora 14 according to our schedule.  All in all, it’s shaping up to be a busy week here, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

FUDCon Zurich, Day 0

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This morning I arrived in Zurich for the FUDCon conference here, which starts bright and early tomorrow morning.  Getting here was a bit on the interesting side… On my flight from Richmond to Atlanta yesterday, one of the plane’s engines started overheating, so we cut the flight short and landed in Greensboro, NC instead. (Rumor on the plane was that Air Force One was also landing there about the same time, and they had to wait for us — I’m not really sure I believe any of that story.)  After a couple of hours of waiting, they put us on another plane and got us to Atlanta.  Luckily, I had time to catch my connection in Atlanta for Zurich.  The flight was uneventful, and I spent the time typing on my laptop and sleeping for a few hours.

I arrived here in Zurich about 8:00am this morning, and quickly caught the hotel shuttle to the hotel.  The hotel didn’t have my room ready yet, so I hung out in the lobby for a few hours and worked on some presentation slides I’ve been meaning to touch up.  By noon Jesse Keating had arrived, and Tom and Mo showed up soon after that as well.  After a shower, I felt human again.

A bit later this afternoon, the four of us met up with Adam Williamson (who was already here) and went out for lunch.  Sandro had recommended we try a traditional Swiss restaurant called “Swiss Chuchi” which is right outside the Hotel Adler fairly close to the central train station.  We took the S7 train from right next to the hotel (in the direction of Rapperswil) to the main train station (Zurich HB or “Central”), then caught a tram from there to area of the restaurant.  It took us a few minutes to find the right street from there, but soon we were eating.  Several of us tried different flavors of fondue.  It was delicious.  While there, we ran into Bert from Belgium.

After finishing lunch, we caught a tram towards the ETH Zurich campus to check in with Sandro and Marcus and see if we could help get things setup.  I read the map wrong and took us several blocks out of the way, and then we had a hard time finding the right building.  In the end, we found where we were supposed to be, and helped setup power and network for the conference.  (For the record, we’re in the CHB building, on floor D.) From there, we took the #10 tram back to the central station and the S7 train (in the direction of Winterthur) back to the hotel.

I’ve now caught up on a few more emails, made a quick call home to my wife, typed this blog post. Now I’m ready to call it a night.  The conference begins at 9:00 in the morning, so I’d better get some sleep.

First day on the job

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My Lenovo T510 laptop

My T510 laptop

As many of you may well know, today was my first day as a new employee of Red Hat and as the new Fedora Project Leader.  I spent the day today in “new hire orientation” meetings at Raleigh, which were interesting.  I was impressed by how much time Red Hat took to make sure the new recruits understood the open source way, and where Fedora fits in the mix of things. Some of the highlights for me were Max Spevack explaining open source communities and their importance, and Michael Tiemann (one of my favorite speakers to listen to) giving an excellent presentation on how open source can be a transforming tool for information technology departments.  We also spent time filling out paperwork and making sure we had all our ducks in a row, and ended the day with an ice-cream social.  I’ll be in new hire orientation tomorrow as well, and then head directly to FUDCon Santiago tomorrow evening. Paul Frields has graciously agreed to help me get up to speed in my new role, which I especially appreciate since I’ll spend the next two weeks on the road.

This evening I also was able to start getting Fedora installed on my new laptop.  I opted for a Lenovo T510, mostly because it had been years since I’d used a new ThinkPad, and I wanted to try something that was likely to be a bit outside of the mainstream.  (I have this weird habit of finding the oddball hardware bugs in Fedora.  Some people go out of their way to make sure their hardware is going to be compatible.  As for me, I throw Fedora on weird hardware and see what breaks.  Call me crazy…)  This laptop is a bit bigger than most people would want to carry around, but I’m happy with it.

Paul Frields was kind enough to take a first stab at getting the laptop setup while I was still in my meetings.  Apparently there’s an issue with the new VT-d feature (Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O) of the Intel chipsets, as Paul had to disable it in the BIOS to keep anaconda from crashing with what appeared to be memory-corruption issues. Once we got that tracked down and disabled in the BIOS, I threw Fedora on the machine and it’s been running great ever since.  So far, everything has worked great.  I was a little worried about how well this new wirless chip would be supported, but it’s working very well.  I was even able to setup a quick ad-hoc wireless network for Paul to be able to connect his laptop through mine.  Suspend/resume worked out of the box, as did the Nouveau driver.  There’s a bit of funkiness with the reporting of the second battery, but I’ll do some more troubleshooting on that over the next few days and file a bug.

The day ended with an excellent sushi dinner (thanks Paul!), and now I’m back at the hotel getting more software installed on the laptop and working on presentations for FUDCon Chile and FISL.  All in all, I can’t complain about my first day on the job!

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