This is a part of the Council Elections Interviews series. Voting is open to all Fedora contributors. The voting period starts on Tuesday, July 19 and closes promptly at 23:59:59 UTC on Monday, July 25th. 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 Langdon White
- Fedora Account: langdon
- IRC: langdon
- Fedora Wiki User Page
What is your background in Fedora? What have you worked on and what are you doing now?
Simply put, I have been actively involved and an active user of Fedora for about 4.5 years. I have been, almost exclusively, a Linux user for 10 years and I had dabbled in Linux before that. I have been a Linux sysadmin and a Linux developer (mostly a developer) for approximately 15 years.
Over the past few years, I have learned what an astonishingly complex beast a Linux distro is. Not only the distro itself, but also the infrastructure it takes to create one. Not only from a purely technical perspective, but also in the vast number of contributors who provide things like packaging, tooling, infrastructure, and the softer things like marketing and advocacy (aka ambassadors). I am amazed by how regularly Fedora ships with a shockingly low failure rate and with very little drama given how huge and complex it is.
I have also learned that the type of system architecture that I have been doing for the last fifteen years is becoming increasingly important to Fedora’s evolution into Fedora.next. With the advent of containers and microservices, ignoring the specific technologies employed, we see demands on the Linux distro to evolve into something that is significantly more “service-oriented.” By that I mean, not just what microservices and SOA promise, but also the usage of computer systems in ways that are significantly more focused on enabling users to accomplish their goals with a minimum of fuss over the details. Office users, developers, admins, whatever — they deal with multiple systems (office computers, laptops, servers, phones, tablets, etc) and they want to manage them simply, but with control over the details when necessary. They also want more automation and more flexibility.
Day to day, I am working on driving the Modularity Objective (phase 3 of Fedora.next) in Fedora with the team from the Modularity WG. We are going to have some cool demos at Flock, so I hope you can attend, if not, check out our YouTube channel where we will post videos of the demos.
What are the most pressing issues facing Fedora today? What should we do about them?
Fedora’s impact on the Linux and software world(s) has diminished greatly over the years. However, Fedora continues to enable some of the most innovative work going on in software today. Obviously, this dichotomy is bad for everyone.
How do we fix it? Through outreach and by embracing all comers. Now, I know that sounds like a job solely for the Marketing and Ambassador teams, which don’t get me wrong, is no small part. However, the technology also has to change. We need to encourage clear, guided pathways for open source projects to be part of Fedora when the apps are young, when they “do things differently”, and when they operate at a different cadence from our Editions.
What are your interests and experience outside of Fedora? What of those things will help you in this role?
Well, I play soccer once a week with a team of people who are also old. We are regularly trounced by teams with people who are younger and in better shape :). I also read a fair amount, and in order to not re-read books, I use goodreads to track them, which has a cool stats feature. So far this year, I’ve read 21 books, mostly fiction. I also have three kids, so I spend a lot of time supporting their interests: soccer, track, softball, chess, singing and acting to name a few.
I have a lot of experience managing teams and working with customers as a long time consultant. These days, most of my experience is working with the Fedora and Red Hat communities to drive the changes related to Fedora.next and modularity.
Working with teams, from soccer to work, even theater productions many years ago, is kinda what I do. I try to bring that experience to the Council in order to drive discussions to mutually beneficial conclusions. I also think I reflect the viewpoint of a career developer which is sometimes different than many of the Fedora contributors.
What can the Council do to attract more packagers and other contributors? How should Fedora change in this regard?
So, I didn’t read all the questions first, and I kinda answered this above (question 2). 🙂 Essentially, the pressing concern is to attract more people to Fedora. We are on the right track.
I would also add, Fedora.next is unlike anything any other distro is doing, really any other operating system. I truly believe we can change the world if we can pull it off. If we do, we will provide such a positive experience for contributors and users alike that Fedora will be most people’s first choice. We even have some proof, see the steady climb in impact as evidenced in Matthew Miller’s various “State of Fedora” talks (just one example).
What’s the area where you would most like to see improved collaboration among the Linux distributions? What would you do to help?
As with most software, I find diversity of participants/contributors to be a huge issue. I would like to see a multi-distro, diversity effort move forward. We have dedicated some effort to addressing diversity in Fedora, however, we could do more and collaboration with other distros might be an interesting method.
While not strictly what this question is asking, I also would like to see an increased feedback loop from CentOS to Fedora. In other words, more regularly gather feedback on how new features have landed and performed in CentOS after appearing in Fedora. In a related way, with the increase of advanced CentOS SIGs, a tighter collaboration between those SIGs and Fedora would probably also be beneficial. I would encourage the Council to adopt an Objective to actively drive a stronger relationship.
I want to mention how much I appreciated Justin’s nice remark in his post. I was searching for my name, trying to find my last Q&A answers. I, surprisingly, came across his post, which I’m not planning on reading until after I submit these questions to avoid skewing my answers, but I searched for my, pretty unique name and his closing came up so I did read that part!
Justin has been incredibly visible in Fedora and has been fantastic to me in particular. You, the voters, can’t lose in this election!
And, in the tradition of every American politician ever, “Don’t forget to vote!”