[Ambassadors] Red Hat's investments (was Re: Going passive)

Max Spevack mspevack at fedoraproject.org
Wed Nov 10 17:35:44 UTC 2010

I don't even know what mailing list this belongs on anymore, so I'm 
leaving it to both.

On Wed, 10 Nov 2010, Christoph Wickert wrote:

>     1. Fedora EMEA e.V. is being closed down.
>     2. Fedora France will likely need to follow.
>     3. Long time contributors like Gerold are stepping down.

I'm been contributing to Fedora for almost 5 years now, and in that time 
I have participated in different roles within Fedora, and made a lot of 
different decisions.  Most of them, if I had to do again, I would, 
because I think a lot of good things happened for Fedora over that time.

But the one thing that I wish I could go back in time and change is the 
way things have happened in the Europe community over the past few 

Some of the first people who I really got to know personally within 
Fedora were folks in Europe.  The first FOSDEM and LinuxTag that I went 
to, in 2007, was one of the best times that I had as a Fedora 
contributor.  People became close friends in addition to being 

I also knew that the community in Europe really wanted more attention, 
and a greater presence from Red Hat people for whom Fedora and community 
was part of their job.

It wasn't possible to hire a brand new person specifically do that, but 
when I was no longer the FPL, the opportunity did present itself (and 
let's be honest, I helped to create that opportunity) for me to have a 
chance to spend some time in Europe and try to fill that need.

If I had to do it all over again, though, I wouldn't have done it.  Not 
because we didn't do some good things, or not because I didn't living in 
a different place, but because it was always temporary, and there was no 
way to *guarantee* that things wouldn't take a step backward when that 
resource (me) had its attention drawn elsewhere.  And that's exactly 
what happened.

Add to this the fundamental disagreement betweeen Red Hat's legal folks 
and the community in Europe regarding what is acceptable for a 
non-profit entity's status regarding the Fedora trademark, and I don't 
fault folks in Europe for being angry -- maybe not angry at INDIVIDUAL 
PEOPLE -- but angry at the entity which is Red Hat.

I blame myself.  I feel tremendous guilt and sorrow for the current 
situation in EMEA.  Not because of anything that I did, but rather 
because I was unable to stop this bad result from taking place, because 
a bad situation has been the result of nothing but good intentions, and 
because I feel powerless to fix it.

I know that there is a FAD EMEA next weekend, and I know that there will 
be some emotional discussions held at that FAD.  I'm not able to attend 
that FAD -- not because I don't want to, but because I've had some 
personal travel planned for a few months now that same weekend, and it's 
impossible to reschedule or change.

I've already told Jared that I'll be in my car and driving for large 
chunks of Friday November 19 and Saturday November 20, especially in the 
late morning and early afternoon UTC-5, and that if there are any 
conversations happening at the FAD that I can participate in from my 
phone and that people would like me to participate in, I'll do it.


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