Fedora Ambassador Steering Committee badge

Fedora Ambassador Steering Committee badge

This is a part of the FAmSCo 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 Dan Mossor

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

I have experience with Fedora as far back as Fedora Core 1, occasionally coming back throughout the years just to see what was new. I was primarily a Red Hat Linux, then CentOS user until Fedora 14 when I installed it on a workstation in my home network. I first became a contributor to the Fedora Project in late 2013 when searching for an open source community to join. I looked into other communities, but found Fedora to be the most welcoming. Since I am not a developer or an artist, my contributions are limited to what I can do – Adam Williamson encouraged me to fire up an IRC client for the first time in nearly 20 years and join the -qa channel, and I have been here ever since. Since that time, I have also joined the KDE Working Group, the Server Working Group, and was an Infrastructure Apprentice for a while before I had to give that up due to lack of time. I became an Ambassador this past summer with the intent of representing Fedora at Texas Linux Fest which went as well as we could expect, and I promote Fedora heavily on my university campus within our Computer Information Systems department.

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

One of the most prevalent issues I see is the intense promotion of one certain technology seeming to relegate alternatives to the “also ran” category – case in point, the Plasma desktop for Fedora 23 gets less (press) coverage than the Cinnamon desktop, but Plasma is a blocking desktop. Fedora is also deeply invested in Docker and Atomic – while both of these show great promise, there are other competing technologies that deserve to be considered, and not practically excluded from the project.

As for what we should do about them, if there is an active community within the Fedora Project for a certain technology, more Fedora Project resources need to be allocated to it. Otherwise, we face the real possibility of that community falling apart and leaving the Project due to a perceived “lack of support” from Fedora.

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

The Fedora Ambassadors seem to be out of the loop when it comes to events, project activities, or changes within the products unless it lies specifically within their area of interest. One way to fix this is through a central communications portal where items of interest can be tagged as such for Ambassadors. For instance, Ambassadors could subscribe to an RSS feed from this blog and the Fedora Magazine for everything tagged with “Ambassador” and be kept abreast of changes and events. It would fall to the poster or an admin to set the tag when appropriate, however, which may require a team to watch and administer this.

Another issue facing the Ambassadors is the budget process. My limited experience with it so far has shown it to be unwieldy and cumbersome to both request monies for an event and to file for reimbursement. I realize there is work underway to fix the budget process, but reimbursements needs to have a long, hard look and some research and analysis done on a more modern take on this process.

Interest in traditional Linux events seem to be stagnating or even declining. How should the Ambassadors respond to this change?

As Ambassadors, it is incumbent upon us to promote Fedora, and open source, not only at official events, but in our daily lives.  Many of us are active within a university environment – let us use those environments to spark the flame of curiosity through local campus events. We should have a presence at local MeetUp groups and local tech events that don’t require a full Ambassador complement, just one or two people with a table, some DVDs, and some print media. We, as Fedora Ambassadors, don’t have the ability to promote true Linux events at scale, but we can consistently promote Fedora in our every-day activities, and through this drive interest towards the Linux events.

What are your future plans? Is there anything you can consider a “Mission Statement” in this role?

My future plans are to develop the required skill set to become a contributor to the code. My goal is to gain employment with a company that produces or supports open source software. A mission statement would be, “To be an active, full-time contributor to open source software through the development and testing of software, and maintaining the  stability of systems.”

What is your take on the recent governance reorganization (Council, working groups, budget, etc.)?

The recent reorganization was simply a change in the way we do business, but it was a needed change. The previous incarnation hadn’t changed much since Fedora was created out of Red Hat Linux. This new organization truly shows that it is a modern organization that is settling in for the long haul. The changes unearthed some issues within the community (i.e. budget) that will be solved, and added clarity to other functions (i.e. Council).

It seems the Ambassador activities are disconnected from the rest of the project. What is your way of fixing the issue?

As mentioned above – this is something I consider to be a pressing issue for Ambassadors. Simply put, we need input from the subprojects. As a member of the QA, Server and KDE projects, I hope to be able to communicate the changes from within those realms. I depend on others within Workstation, Cloud, Marketing, Docs, Admin, and Development to communicate major changes to the Ambassadors so we can incorporate this into our sphere of knowledge and be more suited to communicating these changes to the public.

Which kind of information should be exchanged between Ambassadors and the other Project groups?

Changes. New technologies. New solutions. New directions. New frameworks. The Ambassadors need to be able to not only explain that Fedora 23 ships with GNOME 3.18, but what new features are buried in GNOME 3.18? What is different under the hood, and how does that influence daily workflow?  For example, how many Ambassadors knew that F23 shipped with unbound as the DNS resolver? How many knew how that would affect local resolution? How many knew how to communicate this, and how to mitigate any problems it would introduce?

There is a plethora of things like this in every release. The Ambassadors need to be educated on these changes and what the impact and/or workarounds are, if any.

Are Ambassadors really up to date about new features of the releases? If not, what are you planning to do to keep them up to date?

That depends on what other subprojects the Ambassador belongs to, and how well Marketing publicized certain features. Like I mentioned above, I don’t recall unbound being mentioned in the release notes (as an example). The easy solution here is for a summary to be written up based on the FESCo “Approved Changes” for the release, and updates to the Ambassadors published/presented throughout the release cycle.