This is a part of the FESCo Elections Interviews series. Voting is open to all Fedora contributors. The voting period starts on Friday, 21 May and closes promptly at 23:59:59 UTC on Thursday, 3 June 2021.

Interview with Neal Gompa

  • Fedora Account: ngompa
  • IRC: Conan_Kudo, Pharaoh_Atem, King_InuYasha, Eighth_Doctor (found in #bugzilla, #bugzilla-ux-nextgen-devel, #centos-devel, #fedora-aaa, #fedora-admin, #fedora-apps, #fedora-arm, #fedora-buildsys, #fedora-ci, #fedora-cloud, #fedora-commops, #fedora-containers, #fedora-coreos, #fedora-council, #fedora-devel, #fedora-games, #fedora-golang, #fedora-java, #fedora-kde, #fedora-live, #fedora-modularity, #fedora-noc, #fedora-python, #fedora-qa, #fedora-releng, #fedora-respins, #fedora-riscv, #fedora-ruby, #fedora-rust, #fedora-server, #fedora-workstation, #flatpak, #koji, #kubic, #mageia-dev, #mageia-meeting, #mageia-qa, #mageia-sysadm, #mer, #microos-desktop, #midipix, #musl, #openmandriva-cooker, #opensuse-admin, #opensuse-buildservice, #opensuse-factory, #PackageKit, #pagure, #reactos, #redhat-cpe, #rpm-ecosystem,, #rpmfusion, #silverblue, #snappy, #uyuni, #yum)
  • 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?

As a long-time member of the Fedora community as a user and a contributor, I have benefited from the excellent work of many FESCo members before me to ensure Fedora continues to evolve as an amazing platform for innovation. For the past year, I have had the wonderful privilege of serving as a member of FESCo for the first time, and I enjoyed my time serving to steer Fedora into the future, and I wish to continue to contribute my expertise to help analyze and make good decisions on evolving the Fedora platform.

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

The bulk of my contributions to Fedora are in programming language and system management stacks. I’ve been involved in RPM and DNF development for over five years now. I do a lot of work on packager and package management tooling as part of the various language SIGs (Python, Rust, Go, etc.). I also maintain a lot of random packages. 🙂

A lot of the work I do in Fedora is behind-the-scenes, often working with Fedora Infrastructure or upstream projects. I try to closely follow an ethos of staying close to upstream projects, and one of the results of that is that I personally believe that I’ve helped bring (positive!) exposure to Fedora to the broader FOSS community. I also work to establish bonds across distributions to collaborate and help make better solutions for everyone.

I also have been helping to establish sustainably growing communities around many of the application and service projects within Fedora, such as Pagure, the new AAA solution, Koji, and so on. A milestone in this effort last year was the introduction of openSUSE’s Pagure instance ( to the growing number of public instances.

Over the past year, I have increasingly been focusing on driving improvements in the desktop Linux platform we provide in a manner that has encouraged more stakeholders using Fedora to become active contributors to Fedora. For example, with the much-lauded switch to Btrfs by default for desktop flavors, I helped bring Facebook into the Fedora community and contribute their expertise and package their open source software for Fedora and EPEL. Recently, I have become actively involved in the KDE community as part of my work in the Fedora KDE SIG to drive innovation in collaboration with them.

My hope is that the work I do helps with making the experience using and contributing to Fedora better than it was ever before and that Fedora’s technical leadership in open source draws in more users and contributors.

How should we handle cases where Fedora’s and Red Hat Enterprise Linux’s needs conflict in an incompatible way?

To some extent, there’s an inherent conflict between Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, given the differing missions. However, I would hope that the folks who manage and develop Red Hat Enterprise Linux would feel welcome to participate in the Fedora community.

My point of view on this is that Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a stakeholder in Fedora and we should have the ability to fully engage with them on their needs. If and when there is a case that there is a conflict, I would personally like to be able to reach out to the folks involved in the conflict on both the RHEL side and the Fedora side to get to the core of the issue and see if there’s a compromise that could work. Ideally, it should be possible for all technologies that Red Hat offers to its customers to have their upstreams integrated into Fedora.

This not only would benefit the community in increasing the availablity of quality solutions, it would help Red Hat in moving to the future and being more capable to adapting to changes in the broader ecosystem. It’s not hard to see examples of failures and difficulties caused by lack of integration within the Fedora community. Everything that Red Hat offers is built on RHEL, and RHEL is built on Fedora. That doesn’t mean that Fedora is just a “test bed for RHEL”, but we should acknowledge that Fedora can be and currently is a valuable part of the RHEL development pipeline.

In the last year, Fedora launched a new initiative in partnership with Red Hat called “Enterprise Linux Next” (ELN). This project allows Red Hat Enterprise Linux developers to directly leverage Fedora to continuously develop the future of RHEL in an open, collaborative manner. My hope is that this will reduce the chance that conflicts between Fedora and RHEL will arise.

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

To me, the most important thing about Fedora is that we’re a community with a bias for innovation. Our community looks to solve problems and make solutions available as FOSS, and this is something that Fedora uniquely does when many others take the easy path to ship old software or nonfree software everywhere. We work with tens of thousands of projects to deliver an amazing platform in an easily accessible and open fashion, built on FOSS infrastructure and tools. This makes Fedora special to me, and we should continue to hold ourselves to that high standard.

I’m also a big believer in community bonds and collaboration, which is why people tend to find me all over the place. I’m involved in CentOS, openSUSE, OpenMandriva, Mageia, and several other similar projects in leadership roles as well as a contributor in order to demonstrate my commitment to this philosophy.