03:00:01 <nirik> #startmeeting Fedora-Board-Town-Hall-2009-12-01
03:00:01 <zodbot> Meeting started Tue Dec  1 03:00:01 2009 UTC.  The chair is nirik. Information about MeetBot at http://wiki.debian.org/MeetBot.
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03:00:09 <nirik> #meetingname Fedora-Board-Town-Hall-2009-12-01
03:00:09 <zodbot> The meeting name has been set to 'fedora-board-town-hall-2009-12-01'
03:00:27 <nirik> Welcome everyone to a town hall meeting for Fedora Board Candidates.
03:01:01 <nirik> I'd like to start out by asking each of the candidates in turn to introduce themselves and say any intro remarks that they would care to.
03:01:27 <nirik> As always folks are free to ask questions over in #fedora-townhall-public and I will queue them up and ask them
03:02:20 <walters> Hi, I'm Colin Walters.  I've been contributing to various free software projects for a long time, am currently a Red Hat desktop team member.
03:02:25 <mdomsch> I'm Matt Domsch.  I've been a Board member for 3.5 years, am the Mirror Wrangler, member of Infrastructure, and when I have time, work for Dell doing Linux strategy.
03:02:54 <nirik> ctyler ? SMParrish? are you guys around?
03:03:59 <ctyler> I'm Chris Tyler; I teach at Seneca College, Toronto, was on the board F10-F11, and have been involved in open source since '96.
03:05:44 <nirik> ok, welcome everyone.
03:05:57 <nirik> 1. <PhrkOnLsh> If elected, what is the biggest thing about the FPB you would improve?
03:07:32 <nirik> to clarify on question 1:  this is more of a "what would you bring to the board" question.
03:07:37 <mdomsch> I think it's doing exactly what it should be doing...
03:08:40 <walters> 1. I'd bring to the board a fairly broad set of skills, such as strong technical knowledge, good communication skills, as well as a good understanding of the larger free software ecosystem and the part we play in it
03:08:42 <mdomsch> ah.  a) industry perspective.  I get to have insight into a wide range of users and use cases, which helps guide my thinking when it comes to directional conversations.
03:09:56 <nirik> welcome SMParrish_mobile. If you could do a quick introduction that would be great.
03:10:27 <nirik> then we have question 1:  If elected, what is the biggest thing about the FPB you would improve? / What would you bring to the Board?
03:11:12 <SMParrish_mobile> Sure.
03:11:15 <ctyler> 1. I bring to the board the experience of repeatedly taking newcomers through the learning curve of joining the community. I'd like to apply that experience to improving the on-ramps, not just to the edge of the community, but to deeper involvement. I have also been consulting for many years, and bring practical experience (especially from an SME perspective).
03:11:30 <mdomsch> b) many of our challenges simply need more elbow grease and less naval gazing.  I'm pretty good at knowing which is which.
03:14:27 <SMParrish_mobile> I've been a member of the KDE-SIG and primary triage person for almost 2 years, also involved in packaging , and work on bringing Fedora to the OLPC
03:15:35 <nirik> 2. from <notting>: what do you think fedora should be doing that it's not doing now, if anything?
03:16:20 <mdomsch> more on Fedora as the best Guest OS regardless of underlying Virt technology
03:16:33 <SMParrish_mobile> What I hope to bring to the board is a fresh perspective and hunger to push Fedora to the next level
03:16:37 <walters> 2. Fedora is a big project, but I think there are two big picture answers to this question; focus on better defined "consumables" instead of RPM packaging, and consistency of execution on them.  Secondly, less flaming on the lists, more "rough consensus and working code" culture
03:16:54 <mdomsch> e.g. Amazon EC2 AMIs
03:17:07 <walters> ^ example consumable =)
03:17:13 <mdomsch> yep
03:18:37 <ctyler> 2. Our expanding package set leaves us increasingly vulnerable to several issues including security problems, interop problems, QA issues. We need to refine our processes especially in QA areas to head off potential problems.
03:19:13 <mdomsch> 2.  spins  and remixes have been a great start at that; there are infinite more cases where a targeted use case can drive new spins/remixes, but still based on a common heritage
03:19:57 <nirik> ok, let me toss out the next one...
03:20:01 <nirik> 3. from <brunowolff>: What do you think being on the board helps you accomplish, that you wouldn't be able to do outside of the board?
03:20:12 <SMParrish_mobile> I would like to see us do a top to bottom review of current packages to make sure they still adhere to the packaging guidelines
03:20:23 <ctyler> (Note: my answer above wasn't saying that QA is a problem, but rather that it needs strong support across the community).
03:20:42 <mdomsch> SMParrish_mobile, we haven't even completed the full Core/Extras -> Fedora merge reviews :-(
03:20:54 <mdomsch> and that was 3 years ago
03:21:21 <ctyler> Which speaks to the need to either streamline (partially automate?) the review process, or attract more people to that work.
03:21:51 <mdomsch> ctyler, automate indeed.  it's unglamorous work.
03:22:08 <SMParrish_mobile> lol I know, thats still in issue.  Fedora's package base is expanding wildly and maybe its time to step bck and make sure the quality is still there in the older packages
03:22:24 <SMParrish_mobile> s/bck/back
03:22:30 <walters> 3. If things go well - not a lot.  Ideally I'm spending most of my time working on code instead of deliberating =)  However, when there are conflicts or things that need board deliberation, I believe I bring a good collection of strengths to bear.
03:23:31 <mdomsch> 3.  While you can reach a slightly different audience pulling out your Board card (mostly managers), the Board itself doesn't have a lot of power to direct the day-to-day activities of Fedora contributors.  In that respect, being in the Board doesn't help get more code written, more reviews done, better QA, directly...
03:25:34 <mdomsch> being on the  board is more a service to Fedora, rather than what you yourself can get out of it
03:25:40 <ctyler> 3. The board is responsible for general policy and direction. As I noted before, I've been working with open source for a long time, but I'm repeatedly taking new contributors (students) through the start-up curve, and have some perspective on the issues there. I think I can usefully apply that perspective to help shape general direction and policy decisions in a positive way.
03:26:53 <nirik> ok, next question...
03:26:58 <SMParrish_mobile> 3.  Being on the board does not give one powers to make major changes immediatley but to be able to help plot a course to where we want to go
03:27:08 <nirik> 4. from <EvilBob>: I would ask, what will you being on the board take away from you contributing to the community in other ways.
03:27:09 <ctyler> (In other words, you won't get newbies on the board, but I'm an oldtimer that can bring some of the newbie perspective to the board).
03:27:51 <mdomsch> ctyler, that's valuable, especially as we try to grow our contributor base
03:28:39 <mdomsch> 4.  I've found that being on the Board actually has increased the time I spend on Fedora activities in general
03:29:05 <ctyler> 4. I think that, fortunately, the board has set up a manageable workload for itself, and participating in the board doesn't contribute massively to one's workload -- so I don't think that board participation significantly hinders other contribution to the community.
03:29:33 <mdomsch> I'm not sure I would have done the ftbfs runs, or mirrormanager, if it weren't also for Board discussions that planted the seeds of those ideas
03:30:01 <SMParrish_mobile> 4.  I dont want it taking away anything I currently do.  I enjoy what I work on both in Fedora and with the oLPC & Sugar.  If anything I expect it will broaden my contributions
03:30:01 <ctyler> I agree with mdomsch, seeing the issues increases contribution if anything.
03:30:35 <walters> 4. I'd probably take a chunk of the time out of my fedora-devel-list reading allocation, and try to pick out only the most important threads there.  There might be slightly less time for upstream work, but as mentioned before ideally we avoid issues before they get to the board level
03:30:57 <mdomsch> if ctyler wasn't on the board before, would he have worked as hard to run a FUDCon? :-)
03:31:18 <nirik> thanks folks... question 5 coming up:
03:31:22 <nirik> 5. from <inode0>: Recent boards have made efforts to have their work and deliberations be more transparent to the broader community. Is there a good balance now? Is there more that would be worth doing?
03:32:10 <ctyler> 5. I think the transparency is there, but I'm not sure the visibility is. "What the heck does the board do?" is still a question echoing in the community sometimes, I think.
03:32:23 <mdomsch> I think we have a good balance; the collaborative  note taking during phone meetings has helped
03:32:43 <walters> 5. It seems pretty good to me now.
03:33:12 <SMParrish_mobile> ctyler: I agree, you can attend the monthly public IRC meetings but besixes meetings what does the board do. We need to let people know
03:33:35 <SMParrish_mobile> s/besixes/besides
03:33:38 <mdomsch> 5.  aside from the legal/trademark items, there haven't been a ton of "I want the board to decide on..." topics raised lately
03:33:56 <SMParrish_mobile> typing on an olpc is not always easy
03:33:58 <mdomsch> and the board doesn't go looking for items just to pad a meeting agenda
03:34:46 <ctyler> mdomsch: Right, although it is (and should be) proactive and not simply reactive.
03:35:07 <SMParrish_mobile> mdomsch: That's true but they should always be on the lookout for issues that might need attention
03:35:29 <mdomsch> the "What is Fedora" discussion has been crazy long.  It's a hard question to answer, and there's no single "right answer" that will please everyone
03:36:40 <mdomsch> SMParrish_mobile, ctyler: take the latest PackageKit challenge...  The board call where that came up, we intentionally said "that's FESCo's purvue, they're handling it in the next day's meeting, we won't jump into it unless a) they ask; or b) it's clear no progress is being made."
03:37:14 <mdomsch> so on the lookout, yes.  Ready to jump in if needed, yes.  But letting the other bodies do their job without constantly looking over their shoulder.
03:37:32 <nirik> clarification on 5: inode0 notes his question was more motivated by the level of transparency in the how and why as opposed to the what
03:37:39 <ctyler> yes, the board leaves a lot of issues to FESCo (and others), and rightly so.
03:38:17 <nirik> ready for next question? or anyone have further on 5?
03:38:48 <mdomsch> as for how, it's a rough-n-tumble discussion to arrive at concensus
03:39:26 <ctyler> involving bruises, and bad voip
03:39:35 <mdomsch> and we have enough strong personalities that people don't just "give in" to make the discussion end.
03:40:03 <ctyler> (nb: bad voip is *not* Fedora Talk)
03:40:16 <nirik> 6. from <jds2001>: so expanding on ctyler's idea for easing on-ramp to new contributors, what specific actions can be taken along those lines, and how will be on the board help you do that?
03:41:46 <ctyler> 6. We've made the start of the on-ramp very accessible: getting a FAS account and "signing" the CLA is far, far easier than before. But then what? We have thousands and thousands of FAS account holders that are not active. We need a specific focus on moving those people from the edge towards the middle.
03:42:07 <SMParrish_mobile> 6.  Come up with some good enty level jobs, ie KDE's junior jobs, to introduce them to Fedora and show them how they can contribute from day 1
03:42:35 <walters> 6. Less hostility on the lists; better promotion of what people do.  The former is fairly self explanatory, we just need to crack down on the extremes.  For the latter, I'd really like to expand the Rawhide report to show contributors over time, better get peoples names' up in lights, so to speak.
03:43:23 <ctyler> That includes supporting initiatives such as Fedora Community, but also developing things such as internal ambassadors (not just on the edges facing out). Improving the lists, taking a close look at the barriers to entry to some of the sub-communities within Fedora.
03:43:51 <mdomsch> 6.  For my part, I specifically sponsor/mentor quite a few people from Dell who use Fedora as an initial target distribution for their development work.
03:43:52 <SMParrish_mobile> also give them contacts who can mentor them along the way.  The board can help with the framework for this but each individual group would be responsible for the implementatiom
03:44:38 <mdomsch> the Board can help put resources and programs in place, but in the end, it's the one-on-one interaction with good sponsors that is necessary
03:44:49 <ctyler> Getting more people onto Rawhide (if even in a VM), participating in test days. Getting people more deeply involved is not rocket science, but it needs intentionality, planning, and broad support.
03:44:58 <nirik> ok, anything further on 6? or shall we move along?
03:45:32 <nirik> 7. from <jds2001>: what do you see as the ideal line of delineation of responsibility between FESCo and the board. Also, should a person be allowed to serve on both bodies at once (may as well expand that last one to include FAMsCO as well)
03:46:56 <mdomsch> 7.  both (or more) bodies, yes.
03:48:20 <ctyler> 7. Policy and overall direction is the board's purview; technical matters and policy are FESCo's; outreach is FAMsCO's. I think the lines are fairly clear. We have had people serve on multiple committees and this has worked out fine to this point, I see no reason not to continue (the community can decide whether this is a good idea with its votes).
03:48:47 <mdomsch> 7.  FESCo oversees the technical guidelines, processes, workflows, for the bits that become Fedora the distribution and tools to expand the scope of software.  The Board oversees the wider Project efforts, only stepping into FESCo or other team affairs when it must.
03:49:39 <walters> 7. I see FESCo as the "implementation details" level, and the board is more "vision and direction", "scope".  Taking the PackageKit example, a FESCo issue might be decreeing that the policies must be locked down in RPMs, opened in -policy packages.  A board issue might be agreeing on the policies for the default desktop image download.  I think it's valid for a person to serve on both at once, though perhaps slightly discou
03:49:39 <walters> raged.
03:50:07 <SMParrish_mobile> 7. IMO the board is responsible  for guidance of Fedora, while Fesco's purvue is technical issues and related policies.  I see no reason someone cannot serve on both, ultimately it is the community who decides
03:50:48 <nirik> 8. from <brunowolff>: Another question: Do you have any plans or see a need to do more to recruit non-code people (artists, writers, triagers, etc) into Fedora?
03:52:36 <SMParrish_mobile> 8.  Most certainly.  Developers and coders are the easiest to attract, we need to be able to show others that not only can they contribute but that their contributions are just as important. This is  big area that needs work
03:52:47 <mdomsch> 8.  I want Fedora to be a place where both code and non-code people are welcome, and to use their talents, but I don't have a specific list of "we could accomplish X if only we had more people with Y skills"
03:53:27 <ctyler> 8. I think "non-code person" might be a bit problematic (is a packager a non-code person? some might be :-)  But certainly, the community has roles for everyone, including anthropologists, writers, artists. There's a limit to how many people of a given skill set we can use, obviously -- all artists with no coders does not produce a distribution -- but the ratios will work themselves out naturally, and as the project matures, there are more
03:53:27 <ctyler> and more opportunities for "non-code people".
03:54:15 <SMParrish_mobile> There is alot more to Fedora than just the bits on a disk, and alot of opportunities for someone to contribute
03:54:49 * nirik notes we have 2 more questions queued and about 5 minutes left.
03:54:49 <ctyler> Variety brings balance.
03:54:52 <walters> 8. I don't have any plans personally; for these areas I think we need to be ensuring people can find the relevant SIG and get started.  The way I would look at it is what is the experience of trying to contribute; what are the barriers?  But the only Board related issues I see here might be around the CLA or licenses.
03:55:03 <nirik> 9. from <nirik>: "How much do you think the Board should be 'Deciders' of things brought before them by others, and how much should they be initiating themselves?"
03:56:39 <mdomsch> 9.  I don't care for the distinction. :-)  The Board tends to operate the same way either way; either someone not on the board has a proposal for something; or a board member drafts a proposal for something.  The board deliberation process proceeds the same way regardless.
03:56:48 <ctyler> 9. A significant part of the board's activity is reactive (dealing with issues as they arise), but the board is most effective if it anticipates issues as or before they surface, so they need to have their eyes on the horizon. Or, put another way, the more proactive the board is (if done right), the less reactive it will need to be.
03:56:53 <walters> 9. A good question.  I think if there's an issue that needs input from the strategic/vision level, then it makes sense to jump in before it could get brought before the board more formally.
03:57:36 <walters> 9 (cont): By "jump in", I mean in a semi-official capacity.  Not quite "personal opinion", but not "I am speaking for the board" either
03:57:46 <SMParrish_mobile> 9.  As I mentioned earlier the board should be on the lookout for issues that might need their attention.  Its always better to be prepard and informed than surprised at the last minute
03:58:02 <mdomsch> 9.  that said, the Board has taken activist roles before; the Core+Extras merge, the encouragement of Spins and remixes to broaden our use cases.
03:58:30 <mdomsch> and will again as we expand what is possible
03:58:32 <nirik> we have one more question, but little time... shall we defer it to next time and let each of you make a closing statement then?
03:59:05 <mdomsch> nirik, bring it on :-)
03:59:14 <ctyler> nirik: I don't think a couple of minutes over will hurt anyone :-)
03:59:22 <nirik> ok, thats cool too.
03:59:29 <nirik> 10. from <abadger1999> What is a Linux distribution to you and how important is it that the fedora project creates one?
04:00:19 <ctyler> I think we can mix the answers to 8+9: a board that represents the various areas of the community well -- one which is diverse -- can better anticipate issues and set positive direction/policy.
04:01:44 <nirik> if 10 is too open for a short answer you could start next townhall off with it. ;)
04:01:58 <walters> i have a long answer to that one
04:02:09 <mdomsch> 10.  The distribution is Fedora's reason for existance, the focal point and tangible fruit of our efforts.  The community grows around that, encouraging each other, helping each other solve our individual problems, collectively.
04:02:12 <ctyler> 10. A Linux distribution provides a complete open source stack (vs, say, running open source on a proprietary base). This brings the full measure of the benefits of open source to the end user. Producing a Linux distribution (or equivalent, to keep the BSDers from crying foul) is critically important to anyone who deeply values open source.
04:03:18 <walters> 10. I don't much care for the term; I think we should focus on primary consumables (desktop image, amazon AMI), and that's pretty separate from the packaging stuff on top
04:03:50 <ctyler> 10+. And Fedora the distro is the premiere example of what a leading-edge Linux distribution can be.
04:03:55 <SMParrish_mobile> 10.  The distro is just a collection of software, but it is what brings us all together.  It is the base of our community, but it does not need to be the sole focus of the community
04:04:45 <SMParrish_mobile> Its our combined vision of what a great Linux OS can be
04:05:08 <nirik> Sorry we went over time, but if anyone has a closing statement, go ahead.
04:05:42 <mdomsch> read the questionnaire answers, and thanks to knurd for pulling that all together
04:06:08 <ctyler> mdomsch: absolutely, our focal point and raison d'être
04:06:47 <walters> In closing, I think Fedora is producing things that people want, and we have a role to play in the ecosystem.  Our biggest challenge is execution; we need to do better what we do, and be the de-facto general purpose free software operating system, consistently getting better.
04:08:02 <SMParrish_mobile> Thanks to nirik and inode0 for hosting and arranging this.  I look forward to my continuing and evolving role in Fedora and appreciate the opportunity to be involved in this community
04:08:17 <nirik> I would like to thank all the candidates for their time and excellent answers. Please join us for the next town hall for 22:00 UTC today for FESCo candidates.
04:08:26 <ctyler> Fedora has come a long way, and is a strong community delivering a great product. We need to keep raising the bar, challenging ourselves to better do what we do.
04:08:37 * inode0 would like to express his thanks to the candidates for their thoughtful answers, to the community for their questions, and to nirik for helping it all run smoothly
04:09:02 <ctyler> Thank you Kevin and everyone who joined us tonight!
04:09:40 <mdomsch> for more insight, see the questionnaire answers at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Elections/F13_Questionnaire
04:10:05 <nirik> Also see https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Elections for the schedule of upcoming town hall meetings.
04:10:16 <nirik> #endmeeting