Fedora Board run-off election

If you’ve followed my blog for long, you probably know that I tend to blog a lot about my favorite distribution (and community), Fedora.  And, as you probably well know, in Fedora we have elections for many things such as seats on the leadership committees and release names. In the most recent round of Fedora elections, we had a tie vote in the elections for a seat on the Fedora Board, so we’re now in the middle of a run-off election.  If you have a Fedora account and haven’t yet voted, please do your civic duty and vote in the run-off election.  The voting ends Tuesday at the end of the day UTC time, so you have roughly twenty-four hours to get your votes in.  As always, I encourage you to vote for the candidate that you think will best represent Fedora and its values.

More details on the run-off election can be found at https://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/announce/2012-June/003085.html.  To vote, login to the Fedora Accounts System and place your votes at https://admin.fedoraproject.org/voting.

Let me also add a quick thank you to everyone who has already voted or who has stood up and run for public office.  Leadership in Fedora takes time and effort, and I’m always grateful to those who are willing to put their time and energy and passion into doing a fantastic job.

A few things that I’m thankful for

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.


A few notes on FUDCon Blacksburg

Yes, it’s that time again.  Another Fedora Users and Developers Conference (or FUDCon, as they are affectionately known) is just around the corner.  Part of my job is to make sure everyone in Fedora knows the essential details for FUDCon Blacksburg.  I know that the middle of January sounds like a long way away, but we’re now less than a month away from FUDCon Blacksburg.   If you’re interested in attending, here’s what you need to know:

When? Where?

FUDCon Blacksburg will take place January 13th through 15th, 2012 in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA — a beautiful community in southwestern Virginia, nestled in the Appalachians and near the Jefferson National Forest.

How much does it cost?

Like all FUDCon events, there is no charge to attend FUDCon Blacksburg.  Simply show up and enjoy the conference!

Where do I pre-register?

Please register online by adding your name to the wiki at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/FUDCon:Blacksburg_2012#Pre-registration so that we can plan appropriately for the number of people attending FUDCon.

What about hotel rooms?

We’ve arranged a special rate with the Inn at Virginia Tech. Click this link for reservations or call the Hotel directly at +1-540-231-8000 or toll free at +1-877-200-3360 and ask for the Fedora room block. Our block expires on December 28, 2011, so don’t delay!

I’m flying to FUDCon.  What airport do I fly into?

The closest commercial airport is Roanoke Regional Airport, approximately 40 miles from Blacksburg. A shuttle bus is available Monday through Saturday (but not on Sunday) from http://www.smartwaybus.com/schedule.htm.  Please consult that website for a detailed schedule and map.  There will be a few people with cars to help shuttle people to the airport if you happen to fly out on Sunday.

Where do I find more information?

The main website for FUDCon Blacksburg is at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/FUDCon:Blacksburg_2012. I hope to see you at the conference.

Alpha is a go, and so is a short break for me

I just wanted to write a quick blog post to publicly thank our Fedora QA team for their awesome work on getting our Fedora 16 Alpha release candidate image tested and validated before yesterday’s Go/No-Go meeting. To everyone who contributed (QA team members, bug reporters, and developers who all went above and beyond the call of duty to get the release candidate in shape), I tip my hat to you.

The result of the Go/No-Go meeting is that the latest Fedora 16 Alpha release candidate was declared “GOLD”. That means we’ll be shipping the Fedora 16 Alpha on Tuesday, August 23rd.

I’m going to take this opportunity to take a short break for a couple of days. I’ll be taking off work tomorrow (Friday) and at least part of the day on Monday to make a long weekend to relax and spend time with some friends. I’ll leave my contact information with the members of the Fedora Board in case something urgent comes up while I’m away.

Reflections on Change and Flexibility

One of the topics I’ve been pondering lately is the dual-edged nature of change.  As a long-time systems administrator, I dislike change at a basic level.  I want systems to stay static, to work tomorrow the exact same way they worked yesterday, and so on.  On the other hand, as the Fedora Project Leader it’s my job to continue to drive innovation and progress (and therefore, change) through the Fedora release process.  And, as I look back at the past year, most of the conflict and friction inside of Fedora can be boiled down to a debate about what is an acceptable rate of change, whether that be in desktop environments, initialization systems, or translation infrastructure.  I’ve got a larger, more in-depth blog post in the works about the lessons I’ve learned over my first year as the FPL, so I won’t bore you with the details now, but I’d like the readers of my blog to think about where they lie on the spectrum between “totally static” and “completely flexible to change”.  (And, at least for me, my location on that continuum is distinct for different parts of my life.)

As you may have already read this morning, my good friend and mentor (and former FPL) Max Spevack has decided to make some changes in his career.  I’m a bit sad to see Max go and I’ll miss the opportunity to interact with him on a regular basis, but I’m also happy for Max and his new opportunity and wish him the best as he pursues his dreams. (Max, don’t be a stranger.  Even if you move across the country, you can still hang out in Fedora.  We won’t razz you too much!) I know in my heart that changes in leadership can be a healthy thing for a community, even if it is a bit chaotic in the short term. I want to publicly express my support for Harish Pillay as he takes over Max’s responsibilities inside of the Community Architecture and Leadership team within Red Hat.  I’ve known Harish for a while, and I have absolute confidence in his abilities.  The CommArch team is of the Red Hat teams that has the most interaction with our Fedora community, and I’ll work with Harish to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible and that Fedora continues to receive the support and encouragement it deserves.

If you have any questions or concerns about the transition, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.  You know where to find me. 🙂


SELF, Day 1

The first day of SELF was busy and productive.  I started the day by attending David Nalley’s presentation as part of “Build your own Open Source cloud day” here at SELF.  I had to leave after the first hour, however, as we had a FAD (FADs are Fedora Activity Days — small group meetings where we try to focus on one or two particular problems and come up with better solutions) focused on improving FUDCons.  In particular, we wanted to focus on:

  • Clarifying the process for FUDCon finances and the purchase of tickets for travel subsidies
  • Clarifying the bid selection process, and brainstorming ideas to make it better
  • Improve the FUDCon planning process, and ensure that there is an overabundance of transparency and detail-oriented organization

We had some fairly good discussions on each of the three topics, and I’ll be writing follow-up blog posts to address these items over the next couple of weeks.  It is imperative that we make the FUDCon process as transparent and smooth as possible, as we’ll essentially have three FUDCons in four months (FUDCon EMEA in September/October, FUDCon APAC in November/December, and FUDCon North America in January).

As the Fedora crew was winding down the discussion in the FAD, I had to run give my presentation (the first stand-alone presentation of the day) entitled “Swimming Against the Current”, which was a fairly high-level overview of the software development model, the river of functionality that starts with upstream software developers and flows downstream to end users, the unique role that software distributions such as Fedora play, and why it’s vital both to build strong relationships of trust with upstream software communities, as well as improve the communications within the distribution itself.  The talk seemed to be very well received, and we had a great Q and A session afterword where we discussed strategies for improving the mentoring process within communities.

After wolfing down a sandwich for lunch, I spent some time talking with former Docs Project lead Eric Christensen (Sparks on IRC) discussing some of the ins and outs of the documentation team in Fedora.  We worked on fleshing out a quick outline for new guide that Eric is writing, and then dove into brainstorming ideas for improving the docs process workflow.  In the middle of that discussion, Eric and I went to Paul Frields’ talk, which was an introduction to PyGObject programming (Python + GUI + the new GObject hotness). After wrapping up the Docs discussion, it was time to head to the speaker’s dinner, and then retire to my room, make a few phone calls, and crash.

One day remaining for Fedora 16 name suggestions!

One of the most light-hearted parts of the Fedora release process (and the one that often gets complaints) is picking the release name for the next version of Fedora.  For example, Fedora 14 had a release name of “Laughlin” and Fedora 15 has a release name of “Lovelock”.  I need your help coming up with plenty of suggestions so that we have an adequate pool to vote from after the names have been vetted.

You have until the end of the day tomorrow (March 10th) to submit your most creative entries for the release name.  Please follow the instructions at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Name_suggestions_for_Fedora_16 to ensure that you follow the naming guidelines.  The name cannot be picked at random, but must follow a simple set of rules.

For example, Laughlin is the name of a city in Nevada, USA, and so is Lovelock.  Lovelock is also a [new link here], and <your name suggestion here> is also a [new link here].  The new link should be original, and not something already used (cities in Nevada, physicists, kings, names of ships, etc.).  You can find the entire set of rules on the wiki page linked above, and the history of Fedora release names at http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/Names.

Please take a moment and post your most creative suggestion on the wiki at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Name_suggestions_for_Fedora_16.  We’ll open up voting on the release names from March 23th through March 29th.


I updated the links to actually work — sorry about the links not working last time.

Best FUDCon Experience Ever!

I’m hoping to find time over the next few days to do a more complete blog post relating all my recent travels, but for now I wanted to give a quick shout out to everyone who was able to attend FUDCon Tempe and make it the best North American FUDCon I’ve seen. I was impressed by so many things but here are a few that stick out in my mind today:

  • I was impressed with the number of people who were at FUDCon for the first time.  I tried to talk to as many people as I could, and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.  If I didn’t stop and introduce myself and say hi, I’m sorry 🙁
  • I was impressed with the conference venue.  Everything was within walking distance, and the facilities at Arizona State University were top-notch.  And, believe it or not, we had no major problems with internet access!  Thanks to Robyn Bergeron and all the folks at ASU that put time and effort into the logistics behind the conference.
  • I was impressed with the number of people who pitched talks in the BarCamp session.  There is a tremendous amount of knowledge and talent in our community, and the BarCamp sessions really highlighted that.  I also felt that going to fewer tracks (only four simultaneous sessions) made the scheduling easier.
  • I continue to be impressed by how much easier it is to communicate when you’re face to face with a person, especially when the people communicating don’t speak the same native language.  Several of us had a great conversation about that over dinner last night (as we had native English, Spanish, Dutch, German, and French-Canadian speakers in the group).  Sometimes it’s even just cultural differences — one participant mentioned that in his cultural, having walking into a store and having someone ask “How are you today?” would be considered a little bit confrontational, while I wouldn’t think anything of it.  For me, that highlighted the need to get people face to face from time to time.
  • I was impressed by the number of people with nice Canon cameras.  A number of cool people let me borrow their cameras and let me go with them to the camera store, and I have to admit the budding photo geek in me was seriously craving a camera upgrade.  Hopefully we can get community members to share their photos online.

I’m exhausted beyond belief, but I’m very happy about the entire FUDCon experience, and am extremely grateful to play a part in such an awesome community.

Where is Jared headed next?

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.


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!

Stop doodling — I mean, start doodling!

I can’t tell you how many times I heard the phrase “Stop doodling and get to work!” when I was a child.  My teachers were constantly telling me to stop drawing pictures and to focus on the class material.  Now that I have two children who would rather doodle than do their homework, I get to see the perspective that my teachers had.

Today, however, I’m actually going to ask you to get out your favorite pen or pencil or tablet, and start doodling — all for a good cause!  The Fedora Design team is looking for concept ideas for Fedora 15 artwork, and the submission deadline is quickly approaching.  At this point in the Fedora 15 schedule, they’re just looking for basic concepts and ideas, not finished products.  So get to work — you’re doodling might just be the foundation for the Fedora 15 artwork.

(Ok, I know what you may be thinking… you’re wondering about the “default wallpaper” decision that the Fedora Design team is discussing.  Whether or not Fedora decides to use the Gnome wallpaper as the Fedora 15 default wallpaper for the Gnome desktop, Fedora 15 still needs artwork for other desktop environments, Anaconda splash screens, website banners, media sleeves, and things like that.  Please help us come up with the best possible artwork ideas for Fedora 15!)