This is a part of the FESCo Elections Interviews series. The voting period starts on Thursday, 28 May and closes promptly at 23:59:59 UTC on Thursday, 11 June.

Interview with Neal Gompa (ngompa)

  • Fedora account: ngompa
  • IRC nick: Conan_Kudo (also: Eighth_Doctor, Pharaoh_Atem, King_InuYasha) (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, #mageia-dev, #mageia-meeting, #mageia-qa, #mageia-sysadm, #mer, #midipix, #musl, #openmandriva-cooker, #opensuse-admin, #opensuse-buildservice, #opensuse-factory, #PackageKit, #pagure, #reactos, #redhat-cpe, #rpm-ecosystem,, #rpmfusion, #silverblue, #snappy, #spacewalk, #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. I want to give back and contribute my expertise to help with analyzing and making good decisions about how Fedora evolves as a platform.

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

While I dabble a bit in video games and Windows cross-compilation, 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.

Some of the most recent work I’ve been doing is to help 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.

My hope is that the work I do helps with making the experience using and contributing to Fedora better than it was ever before.

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.

I’ve had to do this quite a bit in the past as part of working on the DNF project, and in general, I think Red Hat folks want to provide great solutions to everyone. Not just their customers but to the greater community too. But if we push them away, they’ll play in their sandbox and things may not develop as well as they could have otherwise. The diversity of the Fedora community is an excellent microcosm to represent their broader customer base, and when things are firing on all cylinders, the results are amazing.

And while it wasn’t specifically asked here, I would also say that the same applies to any downstream of Fedora: Amazon Linux from AWS, Nokia’s WadersOS, Arista’s EOS, and so on. All of these folks should feel welcome to contribute and build upon Fedora in the open within our community.

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 principles (the four F’s) mean that 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 openSUSE, OpenMandriva, Mageia, and several other similar projects. As a wider community, we should be collaborating to make the best solutions available to everyone, and I try my best to build those bonds and connect people to make that happen.