Interview with Matthew Williams
- Fedora Account: lorddrachenblut
- IRC: Lord_Drachenblut (primarily active in #fedora-ambassadors)
- Fedora User Wiki Page
What is your background in Fedora? What have you worked on and what are you doing now?
I have been an active Fedora user since Leonidas or so. My involvement has largely been in promoting the use of Fedora directly to users. I’ve helped people get systems up and running, showing them how to use them, and helping maintain them. I’m also the owner and maintainer of the Fedora Project Google+ page. I started it in 2011 with the goal of using it as a social media platform for reaching out to people. Now, I’m deciding what is NEXT for me and that is trying to step up and become more directly involved with Fedora.
Interest in traditional Linux events seems to be stagnating or even declining. How should the Ambassadors respond to this change?
Honestly, I’m not sure that I see traditional Linux events stagnating. I will admit that, to some extent, LUGs seem to be dying off some extent, but large-scale events seem to be doing well. I think we need to increase our online presence through efforts such as the Fedora Magazine and social networks. The reason I think LUGs are slowing down is because the Linux desktop is reaching a state that is far easier for the new user to get up and going. With the Linux desktop becoming easier to use, the need for LUGs as a central place for help has decreased. Also, YouTube has greatly reduced the need for LUGs. So, again: I think we need to adapt to this and start creating and pushing content to YouTube to help enable people interested in Fedora to get started.
I think something we need to do is start considering going to other venues, beyond traditional Linux conferences. While many might not consider it as feature complete compared to Kali Linux, we do have the Security Lab that we should consider going to Security Conferences with to reach out to that community. In fact, I believe we should look at reaching out to any conference in which we aren’t already attending to reach out to those communities.
It seems the Ambassador activities are disconnected from the rest of the project. What is your way of fixing the issue?
This, I think, is a problem that many projects suffer from. I think we need to work on opening up communication between different parts of the Fedora Project. We need to create positions with a core focus on inter-project communication. We need people whose responsibility is to coordinate with other parts of the project and to help figure out how to best move forward with new information. For example, such a team working together when Cockpit was nearing release in Fedora could have found the best way to present Cockpit to different audiences. As a result, the Marketing team and Ambassadors would have been better armed on how to present this information to the greater community.
Are 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?
I think Ambassadors as a whole are up to date with new features of releases but what we don’t often have is what are really the key new features we want to present to the community. This goes back to the inter-project communication. We need to have a team that works together to help figure out what the newest features are and how we want to present them to the community as a whole. As for getting this information out to Ambassadors, we just need to leverage the infrastructure we already have in place such as the wiki and mailing lists to get the news out there.
Perhaps one thing we need to do is in the weeks leading up to the launch of a release, we dedicate a week at a time to covering a single new hot feature in Fedora. Going back to Cockpit, we could have spent a week’s time on all fronts showing off how to use it with articles on Fedora Magazine, videos on YouTube, and similar services to highlight its use to help introduce Ambassadors to it so that they can present it at local events.
What are your future plans? Is there anything you can consider a “Mission Statement” in this role?
My future plans, as the owner and maintainer of the Google+ page, is to try to achieve better coordination for pushing information forward about Fedora. Realistically, my biggest goal is to try to improve communication inside of the Fedora Project as a whole. Also, I think there are some perceptions that exist about Fedora that I would like to see changed.
One thing I want to try to help bring back is if we can find a way to avoid what some considered the “Beefy Miracle mistake” of naming releases. To many, this may seem to be a non-issue, but I believe it was something that at its core was important to the community.
Sticking with my main theme through all of this regarding communication, I think we not only need to improve communication inside of the Project, but we also need to improve communication with our downstream derivatives. There are many projects which base off of Fedora from the Spins to Labs inside of Fedora but also to other distributions such as Korora and Chapeau, to name just a few. I believe it’s in our best interest to improve the communication between all of these. Just as we rely heavily on upstream providers, these projects rely on us.
Is there anything else you would like people to know?
I highly welcome anyone who has questions to reach out to me through my contact info on my Fedora Wiki Page. Email is the most reliable way to reach me. As a community, let us decide what is truly NEXT for Fedora.