This is a part of the Elections Interviews series. Voting is open to all Fedora contributors. The voting period starts on Friday, 9 December and closes promptly at 23:59:59 UTC on Thursday, 22 December.

Interview with David Cantrell

  • Fedora Account: dcantrell
  • IRC: dcantrell in wherever is necessary, but I stay connected to #fedora-devel, #fedora-qa, and #fedora-ambassadors on Libera. I have not set up Matrix favorites yet, but it’s on my to do list! You can find me on though as dcantrell.
  • Fedora User Wiki Page


Why do you want to be a member of FESCo and how do you expect to help steer the direction of Fedora?

I want to continue being a part of FESCo because I enjoy the challenge and seeing the project work together to reach decisions that work for everyone. Some changes are easier than others, but I enjoy working with everyone and working through proposals and weighing the technical impacts and arriving at a decision.

I try to approach every proposal objectively and offer my own opinions and questions to really try to understand the impact. Guiding a project like Fedora is difficult at times, but I do genuinely enjoy the work.

How do you currently contribute to Fedora? How does that contribution benefit the community?

I am currently a member of FESCo and the Fedora Council. I maintain a number of packages for which I am either the upstream project as well or have offered to package the project in Fedora. I sponsor new package maintainers and help people get started in the community. And recently I have been able to start attending events again, the most recent was the All Things Open conference in Raleigh, NC. There I co-presented on Fedora moving to SPDX license expressions in its packages. That effort in particular has been something I have been working on for years with Red Hat Legal.

How do you handle disagreements when working as part of a team?

First, I prefer to assume good intent on the part of all involved. We are all working towards a shared goal and we would not be in the discussion if we did not care about the end goal.

If you approach a discussion with this mindset, I find it makes it easier to process the responses from others. You can state a disagreement but in some cases your point may be outweighed by something else the group determines is more important. This is ok and does not mean you are being ignored.

As a second point, I also prefer to not make assumptions about the actions or intent of others. I see this often in all parts of life. But if you go back to assuming good intent and focusing on that, then it makes it easier to have the conversation. Avoiding speculation or motives is really important and sticking to facts helps focus on the actual technical discussion.

One way to help get past disagreements is to try and find a subset of things that everyone in the discussion agrees on. Use that as a new starting point and continue from there.

Lastly, a third point, is to know when to leave the discussion alone. So many times people feel they are not being heard or feel they need to have the final word. This can make the discussion last forever while making no real progress. My personal rule is to try and bring up a concern or point no more than twice before leaving it alone. By then you have stated your position and that is good enough for the purposes of the discussion.

What else should community members know about you or your positions?

For the majority of time I have been part of FESCo the world has been dealing with COVID-19. The last Flock we had in person was in Budapest. I was at that one but not yet part of FESCo. Once I was elected to FESCo, in person events stopped happening. I very much miss the in person gatherings and look forward to seeing people in person next year!