Embarking on a New Adventure

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.

Please step away from the computer!

It’s getting closer to the end of the year, and that little voice in the back of my brain is telling me that I need to step away from the computer and try to fit in a little rest and relaxation.  I’m not sure about the rest and relaxation part, but I’m am going to take a break from the computer by going on a vacation to Ireland and England with my family over the holidays.  I’ll most likely be away from email and the internet most of the time from tomorrow until January 1st.  If and when I do find internet access, I’m most likely to check a dedicated email address (vacation (at) jaredsmith (d0t) net) first.

I’ll also point out that the end of the year adds an interesting dynamic to open source communities.  For some, the holiday season gives them extra time to work on their favorite projects and try new things, while for others the holidays mean taking a break from working on their projects.  Please keep that in mind over the next couple of weeks.  (As an example, almost all of Red Hat is off work the week of December 27th.)

If you need to contact me while I’m away, I’ve left a UK cell phone number with each member of the Fedora Board, which should be able to reach me while I’m on my adventure.

I wish each and every one of you a happy holiday season, however you choose to celebrate the season.

Wearing a new hat

Well, it appears that the news is out about my new role in the Fedora community. (I apologize for the slow response — I was at Scout Camp with my son last week when Paul made the announcement, and have been busy tying up loose ends at my current employer.)  I’m very humbled to be able to follow in the footsteps of some very fine leaders such as Greg and Max and Paul.  I’m sure many of you are wondering “Who is this guy?” and “What is his vision for Fedora?”

First, let me introduce myself.  My name is Jared.  In short, I’m a big Linux nerd.  (How does that analogy go?  “Nerd is to geek as Star Trek is to Star Wars.”  Or did I get it backward again?)  I’ve been very lucky to have been employed by some great companies over the past several years — companies that had the vision of how to both use and contribute to open ecosystems.  Most recently, I’ve been working for a company called Digium, which is the benevolent corporate sponsor of the Asterisk open source telecommunications platform.  I’ve done both community relations and training work for Digium, and I learned many valuable lessons that I hope to use in my new role.  Before working full-time on Asterisk, I spent a number of years doing large-scale Linux systems administration and network operations for a large web analytics company.  When I’m not on the road, I’ll be working remotely from my home in Virginia.  My wife and I used to joke that maybe I’d get lucky and get to work on free software when I retire; luckily for me, the opportunities came much sooner!

I’ve been using Fedora ever since it was announced, and was using Red Hat Linux before then. I very passionately believe in the freedom and community that Fedora represents, and want to do everything I can to further the cause. Over the past few years, I’ve gone from being an end user of Fedora to being a contributing member of the Fedora team.  I’ve come to learn that our greatest asset within Fedora is our vibrant community of users and contributors. More specifically, I love the way our community can help individuals rise to their fullest potential and become leaders.  I’m a firm believer that if you give someone the tools they need and a little bit of vision and then get out of their way, they’ll come up with solutions you never dreamed of.  I’ve seen it happen time and time again in different open source communities, and each time it gives me more hope for the future.

Please bear with me over the next few weeks as I wrap my head around this job and start to articulate my goals and visions for Fedora. I’m sure there are a lot of things for me to learn, and I look forward to sharing some of my knowledge along the way as well. I’ll be on the road for the next few weeks (another blog post about that shortly!), but I’ll be blogging more while on the road.  You can also catch me via email or IRC.  (My IRC nick is “jsmith”.)

Here’s to a bright future for Fedora!

Weight loss update

I’ve had an unpublished draft post here for several months, talking about a weight loss challenge my wife helped organize.  Since the challenge is over and I’m happy with the results, I might as well publish the details 🙂

My wife and some of her friends decided to start their own “biggest loser” weight-loss contest in January.  Of course, all the husbands got their arms twisted into joining the contest as well.  I was definitely in the “heavier than I ought to be category” in January, so I gave it a shot.  The contest ended in the middle of May (and thankfully right before a business trip to Brazil, so that I could enjoy lots of good churrasco there).  While I didn’t win the contest, I was very happy with results.  I was able to drop over eight percent of my body weight, and even more importantly I’ve maintained a good weight since then.

Just goes to show that a little hard work really can pay off!  Now if I could just figure out how to stop craving donuts…

Time to update the ol’ blog

It’s not like I don’t have a plethora of perfectly valid excuses for not writing in my blog. It’s just not something that comes easily or naturally to me. But since I’ve updated a few things on my server (including the software that powers this blog), I might as well at least post something to make sure ye ol’ blog is working as it should.

In other news, it’s been a very crazy spring. I’ve been doing entirely too much travel for work, and I’m a bit road weary. I thoroughly enjoy what I do (and love interacting with open source enthusiasts all around the world!), but it takes me away from my family too much. And when I finally roll into bed at yet another hotel after a long day of teaching class or speaking at conferences, the last thing I feel like doing is tooting my own horn on my blog.

OK, time to stop complaining! Here’s to a happy (and hopefully less stressful) summer!

Alas, it’s about time I got this going…

So, it’s been about three years since I last blogged on my personal blog. Why, you might ask? I don’t really have any wonderful excuses… it all boils down to the fact that I let other things take priority in my life. (And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing — haven’t you got anything better to do that read my random ramblings?) Anyhoo — the blog is back up and running, so with any luck I’ll post some thoughts here from time to time.