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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 Giannis Konstantinidis (giannisk)

  • Fedora Account: giannisk
  • IRC: giannisk (found in #fedora-famsco, #fedora-mentors, #fedora-ambassadors)
  • Fedora Wiki User Page

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

I have been a Fedora ambassador for seven (7) years so far. I joined in December 2009, when I was fourteen (14) years old at that time. This probably makes me one of the youngest people to ever join the project, and especially the Fedora ambassadors.

Over the years, I have attended and/or organized numerous Fedora events, both domestically and abroad. I have had the chance to represent the project at some key free and open-source software-related conferences, namely FOSDEM, LinuxCon, CCC, OSCAL, DORS/CLUC, SFK and others.

I used to chair the EMEA Ambassadors IRC meetings. During the Nov/Dec 2015 Elections, the community entrusted me with representing them at FAmSCo – the Fedora Ambassadors Steering Committee. I served as the FAmSCo chair for the first three (3) months. For the remainder of my term, I joined forces with many Fedora contributors to work on budgets and ways to support the community.

I am the most recently appointed Fedora Ambassador Mentor for EMEA. I help Fedora contributors onboard the ambassadors sub-project. At the same time I also assist in community building. When traveling abroad, I never miss the opportunity to meet local community members.

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

We have one of the most amazing free and open-source communities out there. Hundreds of people, investing their time, effort and skills in the project. Our contributors come from different backgrounds, making our community diverse.

While we have been making progress in terms of diversity, I personally believe there is still a long road ahead. Community gatherings, such as Flock, prove we can do better. All people must feel welcome to participate at the project, regardless of background and/or skills. Everyone can have a place in our community. I would love to see the Fedora Diversity Team further expanding their activities and increasing their impact. We need to help, too. Let’s embrace being different.

Conflicts within the community frequently arise. While I am personally in favor of publicly experessing any disagreements during brainstorming and decision making, toxicity and off-topic personal attacks should not be tolerated. We shouldn’t be afraid to exclude toxic people. Failure to do so often leads to counterproductivity and demotivation.

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

The Fedora Outreach Steering Committee (FOSCo) is meant to improve communication and collaboration among Fedora sub-projects, teams, and Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Discussions have been taking place for more than two (2) years now, however there hasn’t been any consensus yet regarding FOSCo’s structure and objectives.

Futhermore, I think of Fedora Hubs as a social network exclusive to Fedora contributors and aficionados, significantly increasing cross-project communications. I look forward to the development and delivery of the platform.

The Fedora Council should help resume the efforts in formulating those initiatives and facilitate development.

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

I have an extensive experience working with free and open-source contributors, both inside and outside the Fedora Project. My involvement with free and open-source projects spans almost one decade now – I am currently twenty one (21) years old. To find out more about my activities, see next question.

I believe my wekeast point is my occasional lack of patience. I would say this is mostly caused by my enthusiasm to get things done as soon as possible.

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

I work as Brand Evangelist at Ura Design, an open source design agency; we collaborate with many free and open-source projects and provide them with beautiful design.

Recently I joined the SitePoint authorship. I mostly focus on free and open-source software and emerging technologies.

Meanwhile, for the last three (3) years, I have been studying Information & Communication Systems Engineering at the University of the Aegean in Samos island, Greece. Within my university I help lead fossaegean, the local free and open-source software student community.

I have been part of the Mozilla Reps for almost four (4) years now, promoting an open and accessible Internet. I served as a Mozilla Reps Regional Coach, focusing on local community development. I am also one of the seventy (70) Mozilla Tech Speakers worldwide; I advocate for open web technologies.

In the past, I have made contributions to several other free and open-source projects, including (but not limited to) Apertium, GNOME, Haiku, KDE, LimeSurvey, MoinMoin, OpenIntents, openSUSE, Tux4Kids, Wikipedia and others.

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

Organizing packaging workshops has proved an effective way of gaining new packagers. Likewise, maintaining Fedora presence at technical events will aid in engaging with developers and engineers.

Those activities are mostly carried out by existing Fedora ambassadors and packagers. The Council can work with FAmSCo and local groups to help co-ordinate our presence durings conferences as well as set event goals and metrics.

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

When reaching out to new audiences, it’s important to make it explicitly clear there are plenty of contribution opportunities and that non-technical contributions are not only welcome, but also very much appriciated.

Increased Fedora presence at grassroots free and open-source conferences can be considered helpful when moving to that direction. It’s not only the technical events we should be aiming at.

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

I would personally like to see improved collaboration between Fedora and free and open-source communities. I don’t necessarily see other GNU/Linux distributions as competitors to Fedora. After all, most of us share similar values. Why not exchanges experiences and best practices?

Last July, during Fedora Women Day, the hackerspaces of Thessaloniki and Tirana held an open video call, where contributors from Fedora, Mozilla, openSUSE, the Document Foundation and Wikipedia participated. We ended up with some really interesting discussions related to Diversity & Inclusion at free and open-source projects. That could potentially be replicated on a large scale.

Closing words

Supporting the Fedora community is an exciting, yet very responsible task. Let’s work together to foster an enhanced environment for all contributors to enjoy.

I wish good luck to all candidates.