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fudcon tempe 2011, day -4

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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upcoming fedora travel

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

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

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 14

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

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

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

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.