This is a part of the FESCo Elections Interviews series. Voting is open to all Fedora contributors. The voting period starts on Tuesday, January 10th and closes promptly at 23:59:59 UTC on Monday, January 16th. Please read the responses from candidates and make your choices carefully. Feel free to ask questions to the candidates here (preferred) or elsewhere!
Interview with Justin Forbes (jforbes)
- Fedora Account: jforbes
- IRC: jforbes (found in #fedora-kernel, #fedora-devel, #fedora-cloud)
- Fedora User Wiki Page
What is your background in engineering?
While I have been a linux user and developer in the community since 1995, I started my career in IT doing systems administration and engineering for large companies. It was about 14 years ago that I made the switch to full time linux development. So I came in with a lot of perspective into the types of problems that plague the server administrator, and a good idea of how things should work in the real world.
I was involved in Fedora at the very beginning, and worked to get the port of Fedora Core 1 to x86_64 done. Shortly before the Fedora Core 2 release, I took a break to go work for rPath for a few years. I returned in the Fedora 11 development era and have been active ever since. Previously, I was the Red Hat point person for Fedora virtualization efforts, helped to get the Cloud SIG up an running, and have been a Fedora kernel maintainer for a few years now. I am both a contributor and a user of Fedora, and while I am happy to put effort into the pieces where I contribute, I also want Fedora to “just work” without a lot of effort as a user.
Describe some of the important technical issues you foresee affecting the Fedora community. What insight do you bring to these issues?
One of the biggest issues I see, is how we are going to evolve to meet the needs of various communities. Fedora has historically been pretty strong on baremetal, and recently on virtualized guests as well. Now we also need to serve the container communities. We have to embrace modularity while continuing to improve desktop and the cloud/virt/baremetal server story. There are a number of problems to work out to make that happen. This happens to be a lot of the same issues that we spent a few years trying to solve while I was at rPath, so I believe I have some insight and perspective that may be a bit unique in that regard.
What are three personal qualities that you feel would benefit FESCo if you are elected?
- I am fairly empathetic. While I can form my own opinions, I also try to understand where people who disagree with them are coming from.
- I have a strong connection with Fedora. While there are a lot of things that might make Fedora better for me personally, I am more concerned with what is best for Fedora at large.
- I think I am pretty easily approachable.
What is your strongest point as a candidate? What is your weakest point?
I think for strength, I am a fairly good at trying to see things from other people’s perspective. By understanding where people are coming from, it makes it easier to determine the merit of an idea, or suggest a more suitable alternative if necessary.
Weakest point would probably be a lack of patience. I like to get things done.
Why do you want to be a member of FESCo?
I believe I can bring a unique perspective on some issues that come across, and it is another way to contribute to the Fedora community that I have benefit so much from over the years. I am not looking to come in with some sort of an agenda, FESCo exists to serve Fedora.
Currently, how do you contribute to Fedora? How does that contribution benefit the community?
I am one of the Fedora kernel maintainers, and my role is 100% dedicated to Fedora. I am willing to pitch in where necessary to get things done.
In your own words, how is pursuing the modularity objective important to Fedora’s success? Is there anything in this area you wish to bring?
Modularity takes us one step closer to making Fedora more suitable for a larger audience. Different users have different use cases, even for an individual user, different environments can have different requirements. Modularity takes us a step closer to that, in a reproduceable and consistent manner. It allows us to deliver specific targets while minimizing risks to the end user. There are still many questions to be answered around approach, tooling, process, and QA here. As I mentioned above, I worked for rPath for a few years trying to solve some of these very same problems. While Fedora might have to take a different approach, I believe there are plenty of lessons learned from that time which can be a benefit.
What objectives or goals should FESCo focus on to help keep Fedora on the cutting edge of open source development?
Modularity is important, and probably the next big step forward for Fedora, but we need to approach it in such a way as to not alienate our existing user base. We need to make things better for containers and cloud and devops while continuing to improve the desktop and bare metal user experience as well.
If a past member of FESCo, identify a negative factor you noticed while serving in FESCo. How would you propose to improve on that for the next cycle?
I have never been a member of FESCo.
What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
African or European?
Fedora has a lot of opportunity ahead. I would love the chance to serve the community further by participating as a FESCo member.