Every year in the days before Flock, the Fedora Council holds a face-to-face meeting. We had expected to do this in Detroit this year, but… you know… COVID. Instead, we held a virtual face-to-face over two half-days. Unlike in past meetings, there was little Big New Idea discussion to have. Instead, this meeting focused on catching up on work in progress. Minutes are available in the Zodbot archives.
We started with updates from our two Objective leads. The Minimization Objective’s goal is to reduce the dependencies that get pulled into our deliverables, and to make sure that these dependencies don’t keep growing organically. This is important for space-sensitive uses like containers, as well as for our downstreams, and in general makes them better building blocks as part of Fedora’s overall strategic approach.
The Council agreed unanimously that the current phase of the Objective is successfully complete. The Content Resolver tool is live, providing a way to view the size of deliverables over time with different workloads. Adam Šamalík will write a summary post for the Community Blog and propose a next phase for the Minimization Objective. This next phase will focus on increasing the community involvement in Minimization. It will also add additional features that will help meet the overall goals—for example: adding gating in Fedora CI that will alert when a build increases the size of dependencies beyond a certain threshold.
We also heard from Peter Robinson, who leads the Fedora IoT Objective. IoT is currently in the process of being promoted to a Fedora Edition. Once that happens as part of the Fedora 33 release, we’ll consider the Objective completed. Peter says he has seen a marked increase in community engagement since the Fedora 32 release. For coming releases, he’d like to work with someone who can help improve the technical and community metrics.
We also spent some time discussing how the Council can give the Objectives more support. In an ideal world, we’d have people at the ready who could jump in to lend a hand towards actually doing work on the approved Objectives — but since we’re all busy with our own things, that’s unlikely. However, we found some ideas for ways we can make Objectives work better.
Aleksandra Fedorova suggested that the Changes process include a check of whether the proposal is in alignment with our Objectives or not. This can be a simple yes-or-no question and the answer won’t cause an immediate decision on the proposal. It’s just a way to help keep the Objectives fresh in people’s minds. The Council has tasked Ben Cotton with making this change.
In addition, not every Objective needs the same help, but most will need something. Even our most successful Objectives tend to be the work of a very small group of people. And while they’re talented and hard-working, they don’t have all of the needed skills. So one thing the Council will start to consider for future Objectives is the areas they need help in—particularly the non-engineering areas—and try to get volunteers lined up at the beginning.
Speaking of future Objectives, we spent a little bit of time brainstorming ideas that we’d like to see as future Objectives. When Fedora 33 rolls around, we’ll be down to one active Objective, so now’s the time to start thinking about the next 12-18 months. Stay tuned for that post.
You may recall having seen a few monthly summaries of project activity. Maybe you even stumbled upon the dashboard page. About a year ago, we started an asynchronous status reporting system to help make sure the Council and community are aware of what’s going on in key areas of the project. With a few exceptions, participation has been low.
We made a few tweaks here and there to try to improve participation, but it has never really caught on. But with new representatives for Engineering, Diversity & Inclusion, and Mindshare, now is a good time to give it one more try. We will also add a review of the status as a regular item on the Council meeting agenda. Big thanks to Dusty Mabe and the Fedora CoreOS team who have been doing a great job of submitting regular updates.
Diversity & Inclusion update
After over a year of service as the Diversity & Inclusion representative, Jona Azizaj recently stepped down. The D&I team selected Justin Flory as the new representative and he joined the Council earlier this month. Justin reported that the D&I team has suffered collective burnout, but has recently had a renewal of energy and new contributors to the team.
In the short term, the D&I team will focus on making sure they do a good job of onboarding the new members. Justin is going to restart regular team meetings with a two-week cadence. He has also set a goal of doubling the size of the D&I team during his term as representative.
Once the new contributors are settled and productive, the team is focusing on conducting a survey to understand the community’s current stance on D&I in Fedora. They view this as the first step to any future work. They’re also going to work on integrating D&I into the broader community, particularly the Join SIG, where they see a lot of overlap.
The Council approved Adam Šamalík’s prototype team directory. As we agreed in our November 2019 face-to-face, the Engineering and Mindshare reps will be tasked with ensuring the listings for teams under their areas are up-to-date. This will help both newcomers and experienced contributors know what teams are active and what they do. Expect to see that start to build out over the coming months.
In addition, Marie Nordin updated us on the progress of the new org chart. Between COVID and Nest, not much has happened on that since our January meeting (in the Before Times), but that will be a priority now. Relatedly, you may have read about the revamp of the Ambassadors program. Mariana Balla and Sumantro Mukherjee are leading that work, which has only gotten started. I’m really looking forward to seeing the revitalized Fedora Ambassadors, and the growth in the Fedora user base and community that will drive!