Passing the baton
Paul W. Frields
stickster at gmail.com
Tue Jun 29 18:34:20 UTC 2010
A leadership change is always momentous, and the Fedora Project is no
exception to this rule. I wanted to share some thoughts about being
the Fedora Project Leader, tell the community about the person who
will be taking over that role soon, and to let you know what to expect
over the next few weeks and months.
* * *
I joined the Fedora Project in 2003 so I could give something back to
a free software community from whose work I had benefited for a long
time. Fedora gave me the chance to bring my skills and experience and
use them to help people I'd never get a chance to meet personally. I
had no inkling at the time that one day I'd have the opportunity to
serve the community beyond helping write some documentation.
When Max Spevack called me in late 2007 to let me know he was
considering stepping down, and was interested in having me succeed him
as the Fedora Project Leader, I was surprised and humbled. It was a
once in a lifetime opportunity to both serve the community and to
contribute as an employee at Red Hat, where I had already made many
friends while working on Fedora -- an opportunity I was happy to take.
Over the past two and a half years, through many challenges and
changes, not once have I regretted that decision.
* * *
One of the hallmarks of Fedora leadership is that it's open to change.
The FPL is not a semi-benevolent dictator for life, but rather a
position to which new people can regularly bring their passion for
making Fedora better. And so, just as previous FPLs announced their
readiness to search for the next leader, I did so a few months ago, in
the spirit of openness and transparency that's a hallmark of the
The FPL job is a salaried position at Red Hat, and the Fedora Board
members as well as many other stakeholders have been informed and
involved with the process of selecting a new FPL. The job posting
brought in numerous applicants from throughout the community. Through
the hiring process we identified a few best qualified candidates.
>From them the next FPL was selected, based on the qualifications and
experience our entire community expects. At every juncture during
that process, the panels were focused on the needs of the Fedora
Project, to ensure the next FPL would be a good listener, speaker, and
writer; thoughtfully consider solutions to difficult problems; and
most importantly, lead effectively.
So it's with great pleasure that I announce Jared Smith will be
joining Red Hat in a few weeks as the new Fedora Project Leader.
* * *
Some of our community already knows Jared, but I want to take a moment
to tell everyone a little more about his background. He doesn't like
to trumpet his own qualifications, but since he happens to be away on
personal business this week, I'll just do that for him. :-)
Jared's been a long-time user of both Red Hat and Fedora, and an
active participant in the the Fedora community since 2007. He's
primarily spent his time working with the infrastructure and
documentation teams. He's helped with the development of Fedora Talk,
our community VoIP telephony system. Fedora Talk allows various
Fedora developers and contributors to communicate verbally for free
across the internet.
Jared has also participated in community events such as various
FUDCons and Fedora Activity Days. In addition, he has assisted with
toolchain development, release materials, and steering duties as a
member of the Fedora Docs team.
Jared also brings a wealth of of both technical and community
relations expertise from his prior job history. His previous employer
is Digium, the commercial sponsor of the open source Asterisk
software. While at Digium, Jared worked as Community Relations
Manager, as well as an instructor, lecturer, and training department
Before working for Digium, Jared was a Network Operations Manager for
the web analytics company Omniture (since acquired by Adobe Systems),
where he managed a network of over 6,500 Linux machines. These
experiences as a speaker, evangelist, practitioner, and collaborator
make Jared exceptionally well suited for the position of FPL.
On a more personal note, I've come to know Jared well over the past
several years. He cares deeply about community and family, not the
least part of which is the Fedora community and family. His honesty,
integrity, good humor, patience, intelligence, and good old-fashioned
common sense will serve him and our growing community well, as we try
to take Fedora to the next level.
* * *
Although Jared is away on personal travel right now, Max and I have
already started including him in some important conversations, and the
community can expect additional exciting news shortly. Over the next
few months, part of my changing responsibilities in Red Hat will be to
ensure a smooth runway for Jared, as he takes over the duties of the
FPL job. Max Spevack will also continue to assist, especially where
his role as the manager of Red Hat's Community Architecture team
brings strategic benefits to the Fedora Project.
Over time, I expect to spend more time on work that's internal to Red
Hat, but I will continue to be involved in Fedora to some extent as an
individual contributor. That transition will allow Jared to
effectively bring his own vision and energy to Fedora, and I look
forward to helping him in whatever ways I can.
I hope the entire community will join me in welcoming Jared to Red Hat
as the FPL, and that you'll gift him with the support and friendship
I've enjoyed and treasured over the past two and a half years.
Paul W. Frields http://paul.frields.org/
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