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Fedora Council Elections begin soon

This is a part of the Council Elections Interviews series. Voting is open to all Fedora contributors. The voting period starts on Tuesday, January 10th and closes promptly at 23:59:59 UTC on Monday, January 16th. Please read the responses from candidates and make your choices carefully. Feel free to ask questions to the candidates here (preferred) or elsewhere!

Interview with Charles Profitt (cprofitt)

What is your background in Fedora? What have you worked on and what are you doing now?

I have been a Fedora Ambassador since March of 2009.  A year ago I became more involved in the Fedora Project after talking to Remy DeCausemaker and Justin Flory. I involved with the Community Operations and Marketing teams. Most of energy is directed toward writing the How Do You Fedora series of articles on Fedora Magazine. I also represented Fedora, as an ambassador and mentor, at HackMIT and BrickHack.

Outside of Fedora I served on the Ubuntu Community Council from January 2012 until November 2015. In December of 2008 I started organizing meetings for the Ubuntu New York Local Team and in June of 2009 I started organizing meetings for the Linux User Group of Rochester. In those roles I organized over 60 meetings promoting Linux and Open Source Software. As an open source advocate I have spoken at EdTech Day at Ithaca College, NYSCATE, RCSI, FOSSCON, and local schools.

My involvement over the last year has given me a good view of the Fedora Project. I have truly come to appreciate the four foundations; Freedom, Friends, Features and First. I have been truly impressed and inspired by the people involved in Fedora. The focus of the community in supporting collaboration and freedom.

What are the most pressing issues facing Fedora today? What should we do about them?


Developers can invest their time in desktop, mobile, server or cloud computing platforms. The success of any platform is driven by developers willing to invest in it. Fedora must continue to attract developers. Fedora must make it easy for developers to make their applications available to Fedora users. In particular open source projects should have a clear path for being included in the Fedora ecosystem.

I have seen Fedora make amazing strides in user experience since 2009. As an example the upgrade process is now relied on and trusted by users. Converting users to contributors is an important component of continuing to move the Fedora Project forward. As projects age there is an ever increasing amount of old documentation that ends up being a barrier to new users. Google searches can send interested users to old and out of date pages that lead to frustration. I believe, with the appropriate guidance, there is a tremendous opportunity for new contributors in this area.

What should the Council do to help improve communication and openness across Fedora sub-projects, teams, and SIGs?

The Council has three main roles.

  • The first is to identify areas to target for improvement.
  • The second is to encourage development of solutions while ensuring that there is minimal duplication of effort.
  • The third, and potentially most important, is to create a collaborative and flexible environment that encourages innovation and growth in the community.

What is your strongest point as a candidate? What is your weakest point?

My strongest point as a candidate is that I always approach things with an open mind. My weakest point is that I have a relatively short period of activity with the Fedora Community.

What are your interests and experience outside of Fedora? What of those things will help you in this role?

As a professional I am a systems administrator / architect for a K-12 school district. I manage a multitude of infrastructure systems including wireless, storage and identity management. As a life-time fan of Doctor Who I always seek ways to overcome challenges using cleverness, ingenuity and technology. I am currently a volunteer adult leader for the Boy Scouts of America functioning as a leader of the monthly round table meetings (Round Table Commissioner) and an adviser to three units (Unit Commissioner). I am a dedicated husband and father of three children.

The key to all of these roles is to listen. I think it is this skill that would be most beneficial if I were to be elected to serve on the Fedora Council.

What can the Council do to attract more packagers and other contributors? How should Fedora change in this regard?

I do not feel the Council should directly attract more packagers or other contributors, but the council can assist other groups to do so. Supporting CommOps, Fedora Magazine and FedoraHubs are examples of what the council can do in this area. The primary role of the council should be to ensure a positive welcoming environment for new packagers and contributors.

What can the Council do to attract more people to non-technical roles? Does Fedora need to adapt or improve in this regard?

There is a tendency for non-technical users to under value their ability to contribute to open source projects. In addition there is often a cultural bias that devalues non-technical contributors. The Council needs to nurture a culture that values non-technical contributors.

In what area would you most like to see improved collaboration among the Linux distributions? What would you do to help improve collaboration?

The strength of open source is the ability of a person or a project to take a different path to scratch their itch. That strength can become a weakness when people do not remain respectful. Linux Distributions are not sports teams and their users should not act like they are. There are legitimate reasons to fork a project or try something different. Far too often people make technical issues personal. When this happens the process becomes unhealthy. Distributions need to focus on areas of mutual interest and build cross-distribution teams around that interest. The Fedora Community should always be respectful of other projects.

Closing Words

When I first became involved in open source the world was hostile to the concept. When suggesting open source solutions I faced responses such as, “we will never use open source as long as I am here!” Today open source solutions surrounds both professional IT and home computing environments. It is an exciting time to be working with one of the leading open source communities. My goal is to help ensure that the Fedora Project continues to provide an open, diverse and collaborative environment for people to contribute in.