This is a part of the FESCo Elections Interviews series. Voting is open to all Fedora contributors. The voting period starts on Thursday, June 7th and closes promptly at 23:59:59 UTC on Wednesday, June 13th, 2018.

Interview with Randy Barlow (bowlofeggs)

  • Fedora Account: bowlofeggs
  • IRC: bowlofeggs (found in #fedora-devel, #fedora-apps, #fedora-admin)
  • Fedora User Wiki Page


Describe some of the important technical issues you foresee affecting the Fedora community. What insight do you bring to these issues?

We have a lot of recovery work to do to get our packaging workflows to be as simple as they once were, in light of all the changes that have happened in the past year. This is important in order to retain our existing packagers and to attract new ones. Quite a few things that used to be automated are now manual, or in some cases not possible. As a member of the Infrastructure applications development team, I am able to offer insights around the development efforts required to automate these items.

We also will see at least one more content type added to Fedora during the next year: Flatpaks. As a member of the infrastructure development team, I am able to offer insights around how infrastructure applications can support Flatpaks.

The ongoing efforts to use CI testing to gate packages will bring great benefit to Fedora, but the implementation has been rocky so far. As one of the primary contributors to Bodhi, I am well positioned to have insights about how this should work to aid our packagers rather than to hinder them. I have worked to defend our packagers from the burdensome workflow that has been developed so far by disabling gating, but I also am working to improve the gating so that it is not a burden to our packagers but instead is a valuable aid in their work. Automated testing is a powerful tool.

What objectives or goals should FESCo focus on to help keep Fedora on the cutting edge of open source development?

As stated above, I think Fedora has taken a step backwards in aiding our packagers’ work over the past year. By making our packagers’ work more difficult we have reduced their efficiency and output. We need to set a goal of making packagers’ work even more easy and automated than it had been before all the changes that took place over the last year. The easier we make the jobs of our packagers, the more they can accomplish.

FESCo should also oversee the test gating effort to ensure that it is an aid to packagers rather than an hindrance.

What are the areas of the distribution and our processes that, in your opinion, need improvement the most? Do you have any ideas how FESCo would be able to help in those “trouble spots”?

The packager workflow is especially bothersome to me right now as I stated. Things that used to be automated, such as requesting new branches, now file tickets to wait for a human to process them. We need to get the packager workflow to be at least as easy as it used to be, ideally even easier.

As mentioned above, I think the automated test gating on packages needs huge improvement before it will be useful to Fedora.