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 Giannis Konstantinidis
- Fedora Account: giannisk
- IRC: giannisk (usually in #fedora-ambassadors, #fedora-el)
- Fedora User Wiki 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 six (6) 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. But more importantly, I have had the chance to represent the Project at some key free and open-source software-related conferences.
Lately, I have focused my attention on community building. We have seen the launch of the Albanian Fedora community, which is very well-connected and organized, with many noteworthy activities. It has been my pleasure to support these community members.
Last but not least, for the last few months I have also been leading the EMEA Ambassadors IRC meetings, held every two weeks.
What are the most pressing issues facing Fedora today? What should we do about them?
The feedback I’m getting from new users is that Fedora is not so friendly for people that are just getting started using Linux.
Now, we might have some solid documentation and other means where one can find support (e.g. Ask Fedora, etc.), but I do not believe that this helps much. Not everyone has the time to search through the Docs, nor do they know how to use the support channels. We need to find alternative ways to engage with new users. For example, the folks from the Czech Fedora Community had this great idea of producing small booklets as Fedora guides for new users. This has huge potential and could actually work very well in our case.
It is crucial to broaden our user base in general, not just focus on specific types of users.
What are the most pressing issues facing the Fedora Ambassadors today? What should we do about them?
Not so many communities are connected to each other, speaking for EMEA at least. They are isolated. It is important to improve and promote the collaboration between them. We can begin by doing simple little things. For example, about three weeks ago the Albanian and the Greek communities happened to hold a F23 Release Party at the same day, the same time. What we did was to organize a video call, so that contributors and participants got to talk to each other, introduce themselves, and exchange experiences. The result? Everyone loved it.
Younger Ambassadors who are just getting started feel as if they don’t have enough guidance and resources available. This can be frustrating. Mentors can be busy sometimes and we cannot expect them to do all the work. What can be done is to update Ambassadors-related content on the wiki and introduce SOPs that will make the lives of everyone easier. Let me be honest with you: currently, in order to become a good Ambassador, you have to learn as you go. There isn’t any standard protocol. Why not improve this procedure?
Another important thing is that we need more leaders. And not just leaders, we need people to do stuff. There have been great contributors that have done some amazing work in the past, but lately they have stepped down. That is totally understandable. Younger Ambassadors should be inspired to assume new roles and lead on.
Interest in traditional Linux events seem to be stagnating or even declining. How should the Ambassadors respond to this change?
Fedora itself is a very well-known and recognizable GNU/Linux distribution. The Fedora Project as a whole is one of the largest free and open-source software communities out there.
We should maintain some solid presence in these, let’s say, traditional events. Let us not forget that there is always a good chance of gaining several power users and potentially experienced contributors.
Don’t get me wrong, however – I’m not saying that we should concentrate on these kind of events. It should be quite the opposite, actually. There needs to be a focus on other types of events as well, particularly on those where we can promote Fedora to people that have never heard about it or perhaps even to people that are not even familiar to Linux.
It’s crucial to cover all kinds of people. We would like everyone to benefit.
What are your future plans? Is there anything you can consider a “Mission Statement” in this role?
“To support and represent the Fedora Ambassadors wherever needed, to inspire contributors to undertake new roles and emerge as leaders, and to develop new strategies for the betterment of the sub-project.”
That would explain everything we need to do.
What is your take on the recent governance reorganization (Council, working groups, budget, etc.)?
They are in our best interests.
Once again: the Fedora Project is huge and it’s one of the largest free and open-source projects out there. Same goes for the community behind it.
New changes in governance are meant to give us a better overview (a better “management”, let’s say) of the project and to be more efficient during the process.
It seems the Ambassador activities are disconnected to the rest of the project; what is your way for fixing the issue?
Let me highlight one important issue: we, currently, cannot measure these activities. Event reports are not enough for that.
Take the Events page for example: it is not up-to-date, it looks messy, and we haven’t done anything about it. We don’t have a clear overview of what Ambassadors are doing. We have never had any overview for the last few years.
So, my suggestion would be to start finding ways in order to track the Ambassadors’ progress, first. And once we have taken care of that, a discussion about connecting those activities to the rest of the project can follow. 🙂
What kind of information should be exchanged between Ambassadors and the other Project groups?
There cannot be a standard definition for this. The point would be that Ambassadors can benefit from the information exchanged between them and other sub-projects, and also vice-versa. They could be so many things, literally.
However, to be more specific, I would love to see Ambassadors and Marketing working even closer. These sub-projects have to stick together, in some way. Release notes, marketing strategies, new promotional campaigns, all of these could have great impact.
Are the Ambassadors really up to date with new features of the releases? If not, what are you planning to do to keep them up to date?
It certainly depends. I’m afraid there is a certain percentage of Ambassadors that are not up-to-date, not only with the features of new releases, but also with important things that are happening around the community.
We should keep in mind though that we cannot expect everyone to be knowledgeable about everything. And to me, that is fine. After all, people are doing this during their free time.
There are can be several ways to support these Ambassadors. It would be great if some members from Marketing could step in and organize a few Fedora Classrooms related to that.
My goal is to bring some fresh new energy to the project. I would be more than happy to help shape something that I have been part of during these years.
I wish good luck to all candidates.