Council Elections: Interview with Joe Brockmeier (jzb)

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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, December 08 and closes promptly at 23:59:59 UTC on Monday, December 14th. 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 Joe Brockmeier

  • Fedora Account: jzb
  • IRC: jzb (mainly in #fedora-cloud, #fedora-mktg, and the Fedora meeting rooms)
  • Fedora Wiki User Page

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

I’ve used Fedora on the desktop consistently for about four years now, though I have used Fedora off and on since the first Fedora release.

I’m currently working with the Fedora Cloud Working Group, specifically interested in Fedora’s “Atomic” story and improving our user experience around using Linux containers. Have also worked with the Fedora Marketing Group extensively, particularly in writing talking points and the release announcements for several Fedora release cycles.

My goal for the next few release cycles is to help revitalize the Fedora Marketing team, and ensure that we’re doing all we can to gather data to make decisions about Fedora and promoting the work we’re doing! I also plan to continue being involved with the Cloud Working Group, of course.

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

Communication, execution, and finding our path as technology and user needs evolve.

  • Communication between contributors can be difficult for a number of reasons, and there’s often confusion about “who do I speak to if…?” We also fall down a bit on including folks outside our given “silos” (e.g., the working groups, the devel list, council, etc.) and it can be very hard to coordinate between two or more groups. We also need to improve how we communicate to the rest of the world about what we’re doing, where we’re going, and the value of what Fedora produces.
  • Execution: As an open source project, we often lack enough folks putting cycles into areas where we really need help: Marketing, documentation, testing, and so forth. We need to find better ways to attract more contributors, and to help folks contribute effectively to make the most of the time people can put into Fedora.
  • Finding our Path: Fedora.Next is definitely part of this, but we will continue to need to evolve to match user needs and remain relevant.

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

A lot of my interests are sort of outside the scope of Fedora. I’m an amateur artist, avid music fan, heavy reader, and just wrapped up a once-in-a-lifetime polar bear trip. Not sure those things quite dovetail with ways to improve Fedora.

My experience outside Fedora may be more useful, though. I have been using Linux and open source for almost 20 years, and have been involved in open source in one way or another since 1999. I’ve done a great deal of writing and reporting about open source, and have worked with numerous communities before coming to Fedora, such as Apache CloudStack, the Apache Incubator, and openSUSE. I think I can help improve our communications between contributors and with our intended audience. Whether or not I’m elected, I plan to devote a significant amount of time to marketing and the Cloud / Atomic projects within Fedora over the next few release cycles.

How do you plan to facilitate solid communication between the Working Groups?

The best way to go about this is to help “lead by example” and facilitate conversations between groups initially until they become routine. This means doing some of the legwork personally, and finding liasons within each group to carry the conversation longer-term.

It also means providing better documentation to workgroups about what’s expected and providing a bit of a roadmap to do better here.

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

I’m not sure this rests mostly on the council. For folks to contribute to Fedora, we need to be key to their success in some way – few people are going to stick with contributing out of sheer altruism. Fedora needs to be important to users, and provide a platform that they can improve on to meet their specific needs. At that point we need to figure out what the barriers to contribution are and work on removing them wherever possible.

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

This is an area near and dear my heart, and I fear we’re in far worse shape today with regard to cross-distribution collaboration than we were ten years ago.

The first thing we need to do is have better cross-distribution communication. Whether or not I’m elected to the council, I’d like to reach out to other projects and see if we can have a track at Flock on ways where we can cooperate/coordinate on projects of mutual interest.

Closing Words

Fedora is a fantastic project, and produces a top-notch distribution. We talk a lot about where Fedora can improve, and rightly so, but we also need to do better about talking about our successes and how to build on them. We have some challenges ahead of us, but I’m very optimistic and excited about working with the project for Fedora 24 and beyond – whether or not I’m elected to the open council seat. If you’re reading this, I hope you too are planning to dig in and help the project reach its full potential!

Categories: CommOps, Elections, Fedora Project Community

1 Comment

  1. Joe,

    I’m glad to see that me and you have some similar goals as far as communication goes. I also think we could work on improving communication with other distro’s. While I had focused on trying to improve communication with downstream distributions. Hopefully we can work together whether or not either of us get elected to try to improve communications in the arenas that it needs to be improved in.

    Cheers

    Matthew “Lord Drachenblut” Williams

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