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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 Sirko Kemter

  • Fedora Account: gnokii
  • IRC: gnokii (usually in #fedora-ambassadors,  #fedora-design, #fedora-de, #fedora-apac)
  • Fedora User Wiki Page

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

For five years now, I have been a Fedora Ambassador and during this time, I have been the event owner of many events in Germany and Austria. I also have organized some events for Fedora. Besides that, I am a member of Fedora’s Design Team. Since Fedora 18, I am handling the Supplemental Wallpaper Contest and made it more popular during that time.

I am working on the tasks I have in the Design Team, and besides that, I am helping the APAC community to grow. Last year, I started to build a community in Cambodia, and it has grown from zero to eight FAS accounts, and now has now six active contributors. Furthermore, I am trying to make it a sustainable community. There are also plans on restarting a community of contributors in Thailand.

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

The role of a distribution is different today. Once it was thought to bundle all the software together and make it easily installable. Today, there is more expected from a distribution. The different flavors of workstation, server and cloud are just the beginning. Today, users expect more solutions for all their needs. We should find other ways to get feedback from our users and we should also ask them for features in a better way than Bugzilla.

We want to be the leading distribution, and for that we always have to adopt to the situation on the “market”.

Implementing all those changes adds work and it would be necessary to have more helping hands for its implementation process. This means that we have to improve the way we find new contributors. This is mostly the task for the Ambassadors as they are our connection to the public.

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

The Ambassadors have to undertake massive changes in the next few years. We are still a growing project with a limited budget, which means that we have to plan carefully on which events we are present and what the budget is for those events. There are also questions about the media. On the one hand, the industry builds less machines which have a DVD drive; on the other hand, can we not afford USB sticks in the amounts needed. There are also changes coming up on how the budget is going to be handled. This will make the job for the Ambassadors more complicated and we have to make sure that this process is introduced properly to the Ambassadors and mentored to newcomers.

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

It is more that there are too many Linux events right now, or at least in North America and the EMEA region. In other regions, it’s a different picture. We have to re-think our strategy in general. Right now, we serve “traditional” Linux events just to be present and keep our users happy, but normally we don’t win new users or contributors there. This can be done only from the regions itself. The task for FAmSCo is to assure that there will be a strategy.

Let me visualize that in an example. BarCamps were always open to free and open source software and were born out of the free software movement. So let’s look at one.

From its start in 2010 with 1,700 participants and to 6,400 participants in 2013, BarCamp is still growing. They have around 9,000 participants now. The BarCamps in Bangkok, Phnom Penh and Ho-Chi-Minh City are not that big, but reach similar numbers of participants.

So saying the interest in Linux events would be stagnating or even declining is, from my point of view, lopsided. The point is that we have to locate these events, go there, and the presentation should be different from the average. Just having a booth and handing out DVDs and stickers isn’t enough.

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

There is one primary goal I have, and that is translating FAmSCo to FOSCo (or however we name it). For me, it was not enough that the last FAmSCo just said they find the idea good and it should be done and then waiting for somebody else to do it. To transform FAmSCo to FOSCo gives not just the Ambassadors a possibility to influence the project in their own way, but then Translation, Documentation, Marketing and Design have a voice.

This gremium should be formed until the next election, since we already lost a year.

There are some secondary goals like starting the process to evaluate if the process we choose mentors is right and if we could not do it better. We might also rethink the regulation on how to become an Ambassador and enforce the membership in another group before anybody can request to become an Ambassador. That should connect the Ambassadors better to the rest of the project.

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

I took part in the discussions. 😉

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?

The problem is less if they are up to date on features of releases. A good Ambassador will have an eye on the release notes. The question is more if they are well informed what is going on at the project itself. The answer for that is no. Only full time workers can keep up with all the information.

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

I think that question is answered already with the answers of other questions. Also there is something called CommOps, whose task is especially to connect the different parts of the project better. So the connections between the different groups within the project should become better with this changes.