Fedora Engineering Steering Council badge, awarded after Fedora Elections - read the Interviews to learn more about candidates

Fedora Engineering Steering Council badge

This is a part of the FESCo Elections Interviews series. Voting is open to all Fedora contributors. The voting period starts on Tuesday, July 19 and closes promptly at 23:59:59 UTC on Monday, July 25th. 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 Stephen Gallagher (sgallagh)

  • Fedora Account: sgallagh
  • IRC: sgallagh (usually in #fedora-devel, #fedora-server, #sssd and #openshift-dev)
  • Fedora User Wiki Page

What is your background in engineering?

I’ve been a software developer working on applications and services for Linux-based systems since around the turn of the millennium. For the last eight years, I’ve been working for Red Hat in various software development roles. During that time, I’ve contributed to a number of open source projects; in particular: Fedora Server, the System Security Services Daemon, and OpenShift Origin.

Prior to working for Red Hat, I developed control software for Linux-powered enterprise WiFi setups, worked on the Apache web-agent for Netegrity/CA SiteMinder and wrote the Linux port of a static code analysis tool.

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

We are entering a brave new world of containerization technology that unsurprisingly looks an awful lot like the Wild West of the late-90s in terms of how software is developed and deployed. Having lived through the last major deployment shift (virtualization), I think I have a reasonably good handle on the issues that this new mechanism is facing and how to try to avoid some of the classic pitfalls inherent in new approaches (such as bundle-vs-system-libraries questions). In addition, my day-job at Red Hat is working on OpenShift, which is Red Hat’s container-management PaaS solution, so I’m in a good position to help direct any such issues that come up.

I think another major technical issue that we face today isn’t really new, but we’re starting to explore new potential solutions: the “Too Fast/Too Slow Problem”. Fedora’s traditional policy of attempting to ship the latest stable version of software available at the time of release tends to put it at odds with two different mindsets of people; there are people who want guarantees about API and ABI stability in the OS that the rate of change often makes impossible, while on the other side of things the six-month release cycle means that people who are trying to co-develop new projects atop very recent (sometimes bleeding-edge) technologies feels that waiting for the next release is too long. Fedora is now trying to approach things by breaking the distribution up into “modules” that are larger than individual packages, separately-updateable and tested as a coherent whole. The hope is that by being able to deliver individual pieces of Fedora at different rates from the distribution as a whole, we will be able to address both of these use-cases. I think there is a lot of work still to be done here, but I’ve been watching the progress and intend to keep myself involved in those efforts.

What are three personal qualities that you feel would benefit FESCo if you are elected?

  • Dedication: Fedora is in my blood. I spend much of my spare time evangelizing Fedora (in specific) and the open source philosophy (in general) wherever I go. I will always look after Fedora’s interests first.
  • Experience: I have been serving as a member of FESCo for years now; I know how it works (and when it doesn’t) and I have contacts with most of the major constituencies in the Fedora Project.
  • Mediation: I have been serving as a mediator and coordinator between projects for many years now and I am skilled at bringing people to workable compromises.

Why do you want to be a member of FESCo?

I’ve been serving on FESCo for years now and I feel that I’ve made a positive contribution to the Fedora Project in that time. Beyond that, I enjoy the opportunity it provides me to interact with a wider set of people in the Fedora Community and learn about projects I might otherwise be unaware of.

Currently, how do you contribute to Fedora? How does that contribution benefit the community?

As noted previously, I currently serve on FESCo. In a direct technical role, I am a developer on the OpenShift Origin project and still contribute to the System Security Services Daemon from time to time. I evangelize the Fedora Project wherever I go, hopefully helping to bring new people into the community. Also this past year I spent part of my time acting as a mentor to the Rensselaer Center for Open Source, which (through a partnership with Red Hat) was developing tools for universities atop Fedora.