Interview with Robert Mayr
- Fedora Account: robyduck
- IRC: robyduck (mainly in #fedora-websites, #fedora-ambassadors, #fedora-design, #fedora-admin, #fedora-apps but hanging around almost everywhere)
- Fedora User Wiki Page
What is your background in Fedora? What have you worked on and what are you doing now?
I have been using Fedora since release 1b as my only operating system, and in 2005, I founded the Italian web community Fedora Online. Soon, it turned into the place where local users discuss Fedora, get help, and find guides. After a few years, I decided to join the Ambassadors group (I’m also one of the mentors for EMEA). With Gabriele Trombini (mailga), I wrote a book for newbies about Fedora 9 with moderate success, and with Fedora 20, I wrote a similar guide again, that time as an e-book.
I’m currently contributing as the main lead in the Websites Team where I work very close with the Design folks. Lately, we redesigned all our websites to have a more modern layout. I’m also handling the stuff related directly to websites: builds, scripts and modules on Infrastructure. On Zanata, I’m administrating the source files for all the L10n teams in order to have our web content translated. Speaking about web stuff, I’m one of the admins of Fedora Magazine, and when I have time, I also do some packaging.
Finally, I served on the Ambassadors Steering Committee (FAmSCo) for the last four release cycles, and I am now leaving FAmSCo to run for the Council.
What are the most pressing issues facing Fedora today? What should we do about them?
Fedora has faced a lot of new projects over the last couple of years: Fedora.next is still new to many people and we need to continue advertising and explaining its advantages. We have new bodies, from the Council to the upcoming FOSCo, and one of the most pressing issues for sure is to make these bodies work well together and to give clear messages of what their responsibilities are to all contributors. This will help bring out the best in all the subgroups in the most effective way. CommOps for sure can help to achieve this goal, but all bodies need to play together if we want to have success with the reorganization.
Speaking about Fedora outside of the Community, the most important issue we are going to deal with is to have a distribution continue its characteristic of being bleeding edge. In the same moment, Fedora should try to be more innovative when speaking about effective user penetration. Working together more often with local communities could help here if we want to win this challenge.
What are your interests and experience outside of Fedora? Which of those things will help you in this role?
I did a lot of sports and fortunately have several working experiences. Normally I want to win my “race”, whatever I’m going to do. In my day job, I’m used to coordinating and organizing many people in order to reach business goals. I’m used to creating and optimizing teamwork and don’t like just giving orders to others. This helps (and helped) me a lot when working with others in the Fedora Project, whatever the activity is or was.
Anything else voters should know about you?
I’m doing all the stuff for Fedora because I really have fun working on it and I also met a lot of new friends all over the world. I went to main events in all our four regions and realized we can do much more in some parts of the world. Fedora is not only in the US or Europe, and sometimes I feel we forget about that. Personally, I want to bring more volunteers’ ideas and suggestions to the Council’s activity, because in that way, we will be able to represent the whole community and not only part of it.
How do you plan to facilitate solid communication between the Working Groups?
That’s one of the issues I faced personally while working on the new websites. Actually, there really is not a good and clear communication between the WGs. In my opinion, we should have someone (or better, a team), work as the gateway to all the other groups but also to the other WGs and SIGs. I’m thinking about CommOps, although it is probably not its main responsibility. Communication is not too much technical, it has to be easy to understand, and CommOps could be a solution to this missing part in the puzzle we have between our working groups.
What can the Council do to attract more packagers and other contributors? How should Fedora change in this regard?
The question should be about contributors, not just packagers. We have many packagers, and most of them are really good in what they are doing. I don’t see lack of contributors in that group, while I see other teams which really need fresh blood.
What can I do for Fedora and moreover Fedora Hubs are for sure two projects which will help us considerably with gaining new contributors and sending out all the news to specific targets and groups; however, a nice web presence alone is not enough. We need a better and more focused Ambassador’s activity and we can probably do more with some kind of ‘DOCons’, an event where contributors do workshops or practical talks to show end users what we are doing. FUDCons could work like that and I would be in favor of changing the actual target of FUDCons to do more practical stuff where people can get directly involved.
What area would you most like to see improved collaboration among the Linux distributions? What would you do to help increase collaboration?
Collaboration between distributions is not that easy because they have different business models, targets and philosophies. If we want to improve the Linux world as a whole, then we should focus on marketing and Ambassador’s activities. Joining this manpower could probably help to enforce the position of Linux distributions in relation to other operating systems; as a side effect, it would also improve communication itself across the distributions.
Having more presence of volunteers in the Council could (not will) improve the effectiveness of the body itself. I have done and am doing many things for Fedora, and I’m happy with the latest changes the project has taken. On the other hand, we should never forget our four foundations and should always think about our main customers, the end users. Experience from someone who is also the founder of a big, local community can be a plus for all, but mainly for Fedora. Have fun!