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fudcon tempe 2011, day 2 [Feb. 3rd, 2011|04:10 am]
Max
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[Location |brussels, belgium]

The morning started with the Ambassadors and Fedora Finance session, which was led by Joerg, but included Ambassadors from the USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Germany, and a few other countries. For me, there were several important takeaways:

* FAMSCO must continue to push accountability and decision making as far to the edges as possible. I suggested that each region pick an amount of money -- I suggested $500 USD in NA and asked people to use their judgement in other parts of the world -- for which no Fedora contributor needs to ask permission before spending that money on behalf of Fedora. The only way a global community like Fedora can continue to grow successfully is if we build a culture of trust and action, and continue to ensure we have solid processes that allow people to get reimbursed.

* I've spent a lot of time the past year worrying about the bureaucracy and bottlenecks in Fedora's finance system, and even though I feel like we have a lot of improvement, I had a few conversations this weekend that helped me to realize that we do a lot of things well, and that while we should strive to improve, the currents tate of things is by no means doom and gloom. This was a bit encouraging.

* I reaffirmed my commitment to following up on the idea of getting some regional credit cards in place, with Joerg, John, and Neville volunteering to be the first people to help bring this idea into their regions. The goal here is not for these people to become bottlenecks either, but rather for all contributors in the regions (Ambassadors working on events or anyone working on a FAD or a FUDCon) to know that they have a local contact who has the ability to help get money spent on behalf of the Fedora project. I have given myself a March 1 deadline for this.

Following this session, I did a few other things before making my way back to the airport and back to Raleigh:

* An interview with Amber from Linux New Media regarding Red Hat's Community Architecture team and our focal points of Fedora, education, and providing value to Red Hat's business beyond simply the Linux platform.

* Served once more as Colby's "producer", helping to get a video made with Mike and Jeff, as well as helping to prep David and Chris for their video.

* Made my third trip to In-n-Out en route to the airport.
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fudcon tempe 2011, day 1 [Feb. 3rd, 2011|04:05 am]
Max
[Tags|]
[Location |brussels, belgium]

It was a pleasure to start off FUDCon by having a chance to give the welcome/intro-to-BarCamp speech, and I generally helped out with logistics in the morning, and making sure we were all set for lunch and for tshirt distribution.

I met a bunch of Fedora contibutors for the first time this FUDCon, and it was great to put faces to names and shake some new hands. The person with whom I'd collaborated the most virtually without having ever previously met was Maria, and it was especially nice to finally meet her face to face. I was too shy to ask her to speak to me entirely in Spanish, though. Hopefully next time!

The FUDVan was used frequently on both Saturday and Sunday for the transport of beverages and the acquisition of tremendous amounts of ice. My expense reports will look interesting, as always.

I attended the Fedora Board's goals and strategy session -- which my talk about reducing bureaucracy in Fedora was merged with -- and while I didn't get to talk too much about specific ideas, I did throw out one idea related to the release engineering team, which could also be generalized to apply to other groups within Fedora.

Every time we do a task, each team should strive to appoint a different person as the owner of that task for the particular release or milestone, with novices shadowing before they take accountability, and experts providing both mentoring and backup as novices gain experience. My example (because it was the first to come to mind) was having a different person be the primary doer of the Alpha, Beta, and Gold releases of each version of Fedora. This sort of thing improves both collaboration and documentation, which were two of the Board's high level goals.

I helped Colby out as the "producer" for his video of Jeroen and Christoph, as they talked about the value of FUDCon, as well as how being deeply embedded in both the Fedora and RHEL ecosystems are useful to their dayjobs at Kolab Systems.

FUDPub was a great success. There's a video out there somewhere of me demonstrating some excellent bowling skills, and a second video of me demonstrating some truly abysmal Dance Dance Revolution skills.

It's impossible to give enough thanks to the FUDCon organization team, which really outdid itself. Robyn ran point on the whole operation, Paul was indispensible, Ryan helped out on the ground, Spot helped out with the money end of things by providing a second credit card, and Ian did a truly superb job with the welcome booklets.
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fudcon tempe 2011, day 0 [Feb. 3rd, 2011|04:02 am]
Max
[Tags|]
[Location |brussels, belgium]

I reported for duty on Friday morning as Robyn's last-minute-FUDCon-organization minion, and spent the day doing various things in support of the mission:

* Getting a bunch of hotel rooms at the primary and secondary venue on my credit card, in accordance with our FUDCon sponsorships.

* Scoped out the BarCamp venue, plotted how to avoid the congestion pitfalls of FUDCon Toronto's BarCamp, and made sure I knew how to get to the building where the sessions would be held.

* Went to Wal-Mart with Harish, where he and I purchased a total of 984 cans of soda and 200 bottles of water, which would be used by FUDCon attendees over the next 72 hours. The FUDVan officially became a low-rider following this purchase.

* Made my second trip to In-n-Out.

Friday night was the OpenSource.com 1-year anniversary party and FUDCon mixer/mini-game night. We had some pizza, I passed out a bunch of Fedora swag including all of my leftover CDs and DVDs dating back to Fedora Core 5, and played a very humorous game called Red Dragon Inn.
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fudcon tempe 2011, days -3, -2, and -1 [Feb. 3rd, 2011|03:59 am]
Max
[Tags|]
[Location |brussels, belgium]

I arrived in Phoenix on Tuesday afternoon, and picked up my blue (but not Fedora blue) minivan, which I referred to as the FUDVan but which everyone else insisted upon calling the Spevan.

It was really easy to get from the airport to downtown Tempe and to the primary FUDCon hotel. The proximity to Red Hat's Phoenix datacenter made the network connectivity over VPN faster than when I'm sitting in the Red Hat office in Raleigh, and I briefly contemplated remaining in Phoenix for the duration of my Red Hat career.

We drove over to the secondary hotel where we picked up Harish, and then a small group of us walked to a nearby restaurant for an early dinner, followed by final preparations for our two day team meetings and an early night.

It only happens about twice per year that all of the members of the Community Architecture team are able to gather face to face, and we used Wednesday and Thursday to hold our 2011 and Red Hat FY12 initial planning meetings.

External to Red Hat, our team is heavily involved with two communities of practice -- the Fedora Project and the Teaching Open Source community. I'm eager to share the details of our meetings with both of these communities, but that will have to wait until some future blog posts, because I still need to do the work of properly summarzing and recapping the two days of meetings.

Some color, though:

* We met at a collaboration space called Gangplank, which was similar to NextSpace that we met at in Santa Cruz last summer. Sadly, we missed out on the brownbag lunch debate about the GPL, which probably would have been really fun to attend and participate in.

* Our first day's team lunch was a trip to In-n-Out, which was decided in a vote by acclamation.

* Wednesday's dinner was at a Thai restauarant with several other Red Hatters and Fedora contributors. The talk at my end of the table purposefully focused around various cloud-related topics that are ongoing in Red Hat and within the Fedora Project, because it looks increasingly certain that one of Community Architecture's major goals this year will be to assist with Red Hat and Fedora's cloud activities at a greater depth.

* On Thursday evening, a number of us (Red Hatters and Fedora contributors) had dinner at a decent-enough Mexican restaurant, and then Harish, Robyn, Jeroen, and I went to a dueling piano bar. The band there consisted of 4 guys who were all excellent on piano, drums, and guitar. I know some of the other FUDConners made their way to this same bar over the course of the weekend, on our recommendation.
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fosdem 2011 talks that i'd like to attend [Jan. 31st, 2011|11:55 pm]
Max
[Tags|]
[Location |garner, nc]

I haven't written my FUDCon Tempe trip report yet, but I'm heading to Brussels tomorrow, so here is a list of the FOSDEM 2011 talks that I'm hoping to attend:

Jared Smith - Swimming Upstream: How Distributions Help Open Source Communities - Organizational responsibilities prevented me from listening to Jared's talk at FUDCon last week, so I want to make sure I hear his talk in Brussels.

Hans de Goede - A presentation of SPICE an opensource remote virtual desktop protocol - Hans is another of my Red Hat co-workers, and his talk is a subject about which I have much to learn.

Eben Moglen - Why Political Liberty Depends on Software Freedom More Than Ever - I heard Eben Moglen speak at the Red Hat Summit several years ago, and he was a fantastic speaker with a great message.

Lennart Poettering - systemd: Beyond init - systemd has been a big topic in Fedora recently, and I'm interested to hear Lennart talk about its current status.

Michael Meeks - Liberating Open Office Development

Dave Neary - Community Anti-patterns
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fudcon tempe 2011, day -4 [Jan. 24th, 2011|02:02 pm]
Max
[Tags|]
[Location |garner, nc]

10,000 Fedora case badges just showed up at my front door, half of which will come with me to FUDCon Tempe and the other half of which will go with me to FOSDEM.

Red Hat's Community Architecture team is making its way out to Tempe tomorrow. We'll spend Wednesday and Thursday having our 2011 and Red Hat FY12 planning meetings, and Friday will be devoted to final FUDCon preparations and setup.

More updates as the week progresses.
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schadenfreude [Jan. 16th, 2011|07:45 pm]
Max
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[troll] Tom Brady and I have both won the same number of NFL playoff games in the past two seasons. [/troll]
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upcoming fedora travel [Jan. 4th, 2011|05:03 pm]
Max
[Tags|]
[Location |garner, nc]

I'll be in Phoenix from January 25 - 30 for Community Architecture team meetings and FUDCon Tempe.

After 2 days back in Raleigh, I'll fly to Brussels on February 2 (arriving on the 3rd) for FOSDEM, returning to Raleigh on February 7. Among other things, I will fulfill my yearly tradition of cutting up stickers for the booth.

All kidding aside, it's incredibly important to me that Red Hat's Community Architecture team continue to provide value to Fedora. I'd like to personally devote more time to Fedora this year than I was able to last year, and I also want to make sure that other folks on the team have sufficient time and resources to help out in different parts of the Fedora community.
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fear the tree [Jan. 4th, 2011|12:35 am]
Max
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[Location |garner, nc]

As much as I hate the BCS, under the deeply flawed system that we have, this was a great night for my alma mater.

Zero credit to the Orange Bowl for banning the Stanford Band from a halftime performance. Just because they aren't a "traditional" college marching band is no reason to discriminate.

Always be trolling.

UPDATE: The band wasn't actually banned from playing at halftime. That's good to know!
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odds and ends [Dec. 6th, 2010|06:36 pm]
Max
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[Location |garner, nc]

My blog has been a bit quiet for a few weeks, with Thanksgiving break taking up some time, as well as just being busy.

Here's a bit of what I've been up to lately.

On the internal to Red Hat side, I've been getting together the first draft of the team's budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on March 1. I mention this because most of the Fedora Project's discretionary funding is part of that budget, and we're on pace for it to be about the same as it was this past year. That amount was sufficient -- we didn't quite spend all of it -- which means that we should be able to add a full-fledged FUDCon somewhere in India or Asia next year in addition to maintaining the level of funding that everyone is used to.

In our team's non-Fedora set of goals, Mel and I have spent quite a bit of time putting together an end-of-2010 update for Red Hat's management about the Professors' Open Source Summer Experience and working to also figure out what our growth model and metrics should be for 2011 and 2012. Mel and I both want to share much of that thinking with the Teaching Open Source mailing list before the Christmas break.

No more work-related travel for me until January, when I'm going to be at FUDCon Tempe as well as FOSDEM. I wasn't able to attend the FAD EMEA in November, so I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone again in Brussels. Hopefully this year we can get space for more people to watch the Super Bowl. I've just emailed the restaurant that Pierros and I went to last year.

I'll be in some all-day meetings at Red Hat on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and Thursday and Friday will be spent catching up on team stuff as well as Fedora stuff. In particular, there are a ton of financial loose ends that all need to get sorted out prior to Christmas vacation, including this year's Fedora Scholarship payments, additional plane tickets for various community members, etc.
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fedora finance friday [Nov. 10th, 2010|01:30 pm]
Max
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[Location |garner, nc]

I will be devoting the entirety of my Friday to finance stuff for Fedora Ambassadors, the upcoming FUDCon Tempe, and (though non-Fedora) Red Hat expenses related to Teaching Open Source and POSSE.
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fedora 14 [Nov. 2nd, 2010|11:01 pm]
Max
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[Location |garner, nc]

My congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make Fedora 14 a reality. Development, packaging, translations, worldwide evangelism, documentation, infrastructure, feature and schedule management, testing, artwork and design, and whomever I'm forgetting.

It's been a release cycle filled with change, passionate debate, FUDCons in Chile and Switzerland, a new Fedora website, and more. There's always a lot happening in Fedora, but these past few months have seemed particularly hectic from my little-bit-of-an-outsider point of view. As such, the community deserves an extra pat on the back for getting another quality release out the door, and doing so as early in November as we've seen in the "modern" era of Fedora.

I'd like to highlight in particular the work of the Fedora Marketing team and the Fedora Cloud SIG. The Marketing team has really matured in the past two release cycles, and the Cloud SIG has grown from nothing into having achieved its initial goal of up-to-date Fedora images available for Amazon EC2.

Congrats and thanks to the entire Fedora community.
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my prosper.com experiment is over [Oct. 29th, 2010|04:40 pm]
Max
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[Location |raleigh, nc]

In the spring of 2007, while on a plane to LinuxTag and getting ready for the release of Fedora 7, I read this article about Prosper.com.

I thought it was a clever idea, and I took a little bit of money and tried it out from the lender perspective, winning bids on parts of sixteen different loans. Three and a half years later, all of the loans that I was a part of have been repaid or defaulted, and my return was -9.7%. Ten of sixteen loans were repaid in full, and the other six defaulted at some point in their three year period.

Given the Great Financial Beatdown that came in the middle of that time period, it doesn't surprise me that the experiment ended up being a loss. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was -18.6% over the same stretch.

That said, I'm not planning on using Prosper in the future. It was a one-off experiment, and I don't see the value in trying it again. The risk is too high, and the maximum upside can be similarly achieved via more traditional investment vehicles.
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fedora community working group [Oct. 27th, 2010|11:55 pm]
Max
[Tags|]
[Location |garner, nc]

One of the things that has come up this week is a proposal for a Fedora Community Working Group (CWG). This has been proposed as a five-person team, appointed by the Fedora Board.

I've got a few thoughts that I'd like to share, for consideration by the folks who are actually leading this process forward.

(1) Part of the charter/goals states that the CWG "aims to act as a central point of contact by being available to communicate needs between various groups". How will this be different than the Fedora Logistics List? Is it meant to discuss less-technical collaboration needs between groups? Make sure that this is clear before you get started.

(2) Will the CWG only be making recommendations, or will it also be rallying the troops to implement? There are opportunities here to ressurect ideas like the wiki challenge and harness resources like the Fedora Engineering Services team, which seems under-utilized and also seems like something that could easily be grown, given the number of smart engineers in our community who are looking for short-term, high impact projects.

(3) Make a concerted effort to bring in some new voices. I think that the Fedora Project finds itself in the midst of a generational shift. This must be embraced, and not feared. I'd suggest that no more than two of the initial five members on the CWG should be folks who have a history of serving in high-visibility or leadership roles within Fedora. Let's make sure that we're giving newer members of our community opportunities to step up into important roles.

(4) Make a bold decision about the question of how Fedora wants to handle "poisonous" people, and give it a one-release-cycle trial period. Make it clear that Fedora remains a community that is open to many voices, and that will always respond most favorably to the people who are actually stepping up to contribute any sort of work to the bottom line. But also make it clear that there is a right and a wrong way to disagree. Just because we're a community of volunteers doesn't mean we don't have to treat each other professionally. If people spoke to their co-workers the same way they sometimes speak to each other on Fedora lists, there would be consequences, and justifiably so. I've always thought that Fedora's "code of conduct" could be as simple as "don't be a jerk", but I support the mandate of the soon-to-be-formed CWG to decide otherwise.
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fudcon zurich arrives [Sep. 15th, 2010|09:04 pm]
Max
[Tags|]
[Location |garner, nc]

As folks from all over the world head to FUDCon Zurich 2010, I have a few things that I'd like to say:

First and foremost, the entire Fedora community should give a tremendous round of applause to Sandro and Marcus, for whom FUDCon Zurich has been a true labor of love. For over a year, they have wanted to make FUDCon happen in Zurich, and though I haven't shown it enough, I hope they know how grateful I am for all of their work. I hope all the attendees will give them a hearty handshake and make sure they don't buy themselves a beverage all weekend.

Secondly, I think it's great to see about 100 folks signed up for the event, as well as a bunch of great sessions already scheduled, which includes Fedora contributors from multiple continents, multiple companies, and a really diverse group. It's been great to watch FUDCons grow in the EMEA region, especially in the last three years, as we went from Brno (thanks to Radek Vokal) to Berlin (thanks to Gerold Kassube) to Zurich.

Finally, I think it's great for Fedora overall that Jared has made it to two FUDCons in his first 3 months as FPL.

I hope everyone has a great weekend at FUDCon, and my best wishes to all my friends in EMEA whom I haven't seen for over a year now.
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