17:01:35 <jsmith> #startmeeting Fedora Board Town Hall Meeting
17:01:35 <zodbot> Meeting started Tue May 29 17:01:35 2012 UTC.  The chair is jsmith. Information about MeetBot at
17:01:35 <zodbot> Useful Commands: #action #agreed #halp #info #idea #link #topic.
17:01:48 <jsmith> #meetingname "Board town hall"
17:01:48 <zodbot> The meeting name has been set to '"board_town_hall"'
17:01:53 <jsmith> #undo
17:01:58 <jsmith> #meetingname Board town hall
17:01:58 <zodbot> The meeting name has been set to 'board_town_hall'
17:02:03 <jsmith> Better :-)
17:02:11 <jsmith> #chair inode0 nirik
17:02:11 <zodbot> Current chairs: inode0 jsmith nirik
17:02:29 <jsmith> #topic Quick introduction
17:02:43 <jsmith> This is the first of two Town Hall meetings for Board nominees
17:03:01 <jsmith> It should give people the opportunity to ask questions of the candidates, and get to know them and their positions a bit better
17:03:15 <jsmith> I've been volunteered to lead today's meeting :-)
17:03:52 <jsmith> Let's start out by having each of the nominees give a very brief introduction.  While they're doing that, please start asking questions in #fedora-townhall-public, and I'll queue them up.
17:04:14 <jsmith> The nominees (in no particular order) are pbrobinson, Sparks, nb, and EvilBob
17:05:07 * EvilBob waits his turn
17:05:20 <jsmith> pbrobinson: Go first, please
17:05:40 <jsmith> EvilBob: You're after pbrobinson
17:05:42 <pbrobinson> I'm Peter Robinson. I've been involved in the Fedora project for a number of years and involved in packaging, Fedora Mobility including MeeGo when it was about, Sugar and OLPC, and currently and a lot more actively Fedora ARM. I'm currently based in London UK, but originally from Australia.
17:05:48 <jsmith> Then Sparks, and then nb
17:06:29 <EvilBob> pbrobinson: You done?
17:06:47 <pbrobinson> yes, I think so :) people can ask any other questions they like
17:06:50 <EvilBob> I'm Robert 'Bob' Jensen, for more information you can see
17:06:51 <EvilBob> EOF
17:07:24 <Sparks> Greetings, my name is Eric and I've been a Fedora contributor since 2007.  Much of my work has been within the Docs project although I have been known to create a package or two.  I'm really interested in getting ARM and other architectures out there.  EOM
17:08:00 <jsmith> nb: You here?
17:08:03 <EvilBob> I believe nb is working today but will be at the next townhall tomorrow.
17:08:12 <jsmith> OK, good to know.
17:08:22 <jsmith> #topic Questions and Answers
17:08:42 <jsmith> Again, as a quick reminder, as questions in #fedora-townhall-public, then look for the answers here
17:08:45 <jsmith> First question:
17:08:55 <jsmith> dgilmore wants to know what the candidates are going to do to help people work better together and to unify things in a central Fedora environment, rather than things being kinda disjoint.
17:09:07 <jsmith> Sparks, then EvilBob, then pbrobinson
17:10:53 <Sparks> Gosh, that's a hard one.  I would think that by making sure everyone has the same common goal in mind would be helpful in directing the work.  There will probably always be a bit of disjointedness as Fedora grows but as long as things stay close to the center Fedora will continue to grow.
17:12:20 <Sparks> EOF
17:12:30 <EvilBob> My focus in the last couple years has been on IRC support, working as part of the irc support sig, to try to make it easier for contributors in that medium to get involved to prevent burn out. I think this kind of effort is important in all areas of Fedora™ we can't afford to lose contributors, we need to focus on retention before we can really look at drawing in more. The existing contributors need to be someone that new contributors can
17:12:31 <EvilBob> approach for help and learning as they get their feet wet.
17:13:10 <EvilBob> With the exiting contributors suffering from burnout I don't think they can be.
17:13:24 <EvilBob> can be approachable that is.
17:13:27 <EvilBob> EOF
17:14:56 <pbrobinson> I like a number of the community communications proposals that have come from Fedora Engineering and other groups such as Mo's mailing list concept. I would like to see less aggressive communications in both IRC and on the mailing lists with people being nicer to each other and more community members standing up to those that aren't.
17:15:00 <pbrobinson> From being on the board currently it's something that has been debated long and hard before and there's no easy fix because so much of our community is about getting on and doing what needs to be done so if people see something they want to do they tend to just get on and do it and don't necessarily look at what would be done centrally and how it affects others. I'm not sure the best way to deal with that without stopping people from bei
17:15:13 <pbrobinson> EOF
17:15:38 <jsmith> pbrobinson: I think the end of your message go chopped off there
17:15:59 * pbrobinson wonders what was the last bit
17:16:34 <pbrobinson> I like a number of the community communications proposals that have come from Fedora Engineering and other groups such as Mo's mailing list concept.
17:16:34 <pbrobinson> I would like to see less aggressive communications in both IRC and on the mailing lists with people being nicer to each other and more community members standing up to those that aren't.
17:16:47 <pbrobinson> From being on the board currently it's something that has been debated long and hard before and there's no easy fix because so much of our community is about getting on and doing what needs to be done
17:16:57 <pbrobinson> so if people see something they want to do they tend to just get on and do it and don't necessarily look at what would be done centrally and how it affects others. I'm not sure the best way to deal with that without stopping people from being innovative. I think providing good comminication tools is a start.
17:17:04 <pbrobinson> EOF. Better?
17:17:08 <jsmith> Better, thanks ;-)
17:17:20 <jsmith> Next question from nirik: Would you like to see the Fedora Board more 'hands on' or less so day-to-day? At what point should a decision come up to the Board?
17:17:26 <jsmith> EvilBob, then pbrobinson, then Sparks
17:17:28 <EvilBob> I don't think that the board necessarily needs to "micro manage" all parts of Fedora™ but I do think they should be observant to places that are having issues not matter what the cause, difficulty getting things done or just difficulty working with others because of communication issues. The board should also acknowledge when things go well so they can be used as working examples.
17:17:36 <EvilBob> EOF
17:18:38 <pbrobinson> I don't think the board needs to be involved in day to day. I like people just to get on with stuff. In terms of the board being more involved I think the recent initiative that came from FUDCon NA for each board member to have a personal project to back
17:19:19 <pbrobinson> has been good, I've been actively invovled in ARM and also involved in the process for ARM (and possibly others) to be promoted to a primary arch
17:19:42 <pbrobinson> and I've seen other board members push forward bits of the project that personally interest them as well
17:20:11 <pbrobinson> so I think it comes down to two pronged attack. 1) let people get on with things 2) the board being involved in other day to day things as well
17:20:15 <pbrobinson> EOF
17:20:19 <Sparks> I don't think it's the Board's place to be in every action and every decision that is made within Fedora.  The Board should set the course and then get out of the way for the projects and SIGs to make everything happen.  The Board should recognize when the direction needs to be tweaked and, most importantly, to recognize contributors when they do a great job.  EOF
17:22:01 <jsmith> Next question (and a reminder that we need more questions in #fedora-townhall-public):
17:22:05 <jsmith> dgilmore would like to know what the candidates think of things like architecture promotion and growing Fedora into places where we have traditionally not gone, things like embracing ARM and working to be _the_ platform for ARM development.
17:22:14 <jsmith> pbrobinson, then Sparks, then EvilBob
17:22:20 <pbrobinson> I've been actively encouraging Fedora to go in other not normal directions, from Moblin/MeeGo to small devices which eventually has evolved into my ARM Secondary arch involvement.
17:23:01 <pbrobinson> OLPC is a great example, it's probably the single biggest deployment of Fedora anywhere in the world with over 2.5 million devices deployed and millions more already committed
17:23:39 <pbrobinson> I think ARM is an amazing opportunity to get Fedora into a massively growing amount of markets that we currently have little penetration into
17:24:50 <pbrobinson> it's not going to be phones and things like that but in the developing world where electicity is still not always the norm I think low powered open source devices are by far the best option for those people to get on line and Fedora should live up to it's four foundations and be First
17:24:54 <pbrobinson> EOF
17:25:06 <Sparks> I would really like to see more architectures made available.  More architectures mean more devices that people are experimenting with which can lead to more contributors.  Fedora on every device isn't difficult to imagine and as technology changes we'll always be ready for the next big thing.  Personally, I'm very excited to be able to put Fedora on my ARM NSLU2!  EOF
17:25:36 <EvilBob> I think that expanding our arch base to ARM for example is very important as long as there is a sub-community behind it, Release Engineering should not be carrying all the ball or expected to pick up the pieces should interest fall short from the community. "The Cloud" is an area that my knowledge is lacking and I look to the community to educate me on this in addition to my own research.
17:25:38 <EvilBob> So the short answer is "Yes, we need to promote them to maintain and expand the contributor base for these new arch opportunities and also the existing arch."
17:25:46 <EvilBob> EOF
17:26:14 * EvilBob has lost track of the "next question" in -public
17:27:29 <jsmith> Next question:
17:27:35 <jsmith> (this one was submitted privately)
17:27:46 <jsmith> AnonymousCoward would like to know what the Board people think about the state of Fedora IRC channels.  Are they working?  Are they friendly?  Should the Board be involved in them in any way?
17:28:03 <jsmith> Sparks, then EvilBob, then pbrobinson
17:28:26 * Sparks isn't ready for that question.
17:28:50 <jsmith> No worries -- take a minute or two to write a response
17:28:53 <jsmith> I don't think we're in any rush
17:31:03 <Sparks> I personally think most IRC channels work for what they are designed to do.  There is quite a bit of self-policing that occurs on these channels.  I have, in the past, been concerned with the activities and attitudes on one particular IRC channel, #fedora, but I have not been on that channel in the recent past.  I would think that if there were a problem that self-policing would be best but if we need to educate someone on the proper wa
17:31:03 <Sparks> y of acting while representing Fedora then I don't have a problem doing so.  EOF
17:31:55 <EvilBob> I refuse to answer any additional questions from "AnonymousCowards." IRC grows and wains as does the "friendliness." Not everyone has a good day all the time and does not feel like helping users for example that refuse to help the helper help them. I know I don't, I am the only one of this group active in the #fedora support channel.
17:32:40 <pbrobinson> I take that as an EOF?
17:32:46 <EvilBob> As such my view is skewed from most. Dealing with end users can be a pain.
17:32:47 <EvilBob> no
17:33:47 <EvilBob> Any contributor who deals with bug reports also knows this. Things continue to change and improve IMO with in the IRC SIG.
17:34:11 <EvilBob> People need to use the trac instance for feedback if they want to work for change
17:34:15 <EvilBob> EOF
17:34:23 <pbrobinson> I'm involved in a small subset of IRC channel that work very effectively BUT it's not unusual I hear of people being rude or even bullies on other IRC channels and that saddens me.
17:34:35 <pbrobinson> I think for those users we need to more actively moderate them but I don't think they always realise what they're doing so it's very hard to draw a line and I've personally not experienced that
17:35:07 <pbrobinson> It came up in the last Board election townhall that I was involved with so clearly there is a problem in some areas of the IRC channels but I hope others in those channels would actively police and remind the people involved what is appropriate and escalate as needed. Ultimately I think it needs to be handled channel by channel and user by user.
17:35:10 <pbrobinson> EOF
17:36:03 <jsmith> OK, next question:
17:36:05 <jsmith> dgilmore asks: What should the board be doing to make sure that Fedora is embracing change, but making sure its a general positive thing, and stepping up to stop chnage when a change for change's sake is a negative thing and not in Fedora's best interests? Should that mean that maybe we have some mechanism to do really disruptive changes on the side somewhere to prove themselves a bit before pushing to the wider world?
17:36:30 <jsmith> EvilBob, then pbrobinson, then Sparks
17:37:32 <EvilBob> Change is a hard for Fedora, things that are going to cause problems for our end users should wait for them to mature. How do we do that? I think it comes down to FESCo, they need to stand up to what is sometimes seen as the "Red Hat Push" a balance between Red Hat employees and non-Red Hat employees should be maintained there.
17:38:54 <EvilBob> The idea of "I work for Red Hat but my work on Fedora™ is separate from that" is BS, IMO anyhow, NO ONE is going to stand up to their manager and risk their job if it comes down to it.
17:39:09 <EvilBob> I'm not say that has been the case.
17:39:13 <EvilBob> EOF
17:40:18 <pbrobinson> I think it's hard to say Fedora isn't embracing change. Just look at gnome-shell, systemd, usr move just to name a few. There's other important distro improvements too that are more under the hood.
17:40:44 <pbrobinson> In terms of change to the community I think it's hard to guage exactly what changes as it's a lot less documented and a lot more fluffy but it does change constantly and in the time I've been involved I've seen massive change
17:40:54 <pbrobinson> The question on how to tell and ensure it's a positive change is interesting. Some people hate systemd with a passion, for me it took a while to get use to but I really like it
17:41:42 <pbrobinson> no one would disagree that the change from Fedora Core+Extras to a combined distro or the move to git from cvs for packages was good, as with the changes to the board over time too
17:42:09 <pbrobinson> so positive is a different opinion for everyone and people's opinions change over time so it's hard to deal with the side of "agreeing  the change is positive"
17:42:23 <pbrobinson> I think the the community is very good at speaking their mind against bad change and either stopping it or pushing it back. This happened with systemd in F-14 for example.
17:42:43 <pbrobinson> I think the term "it tends to all work out in the wash" is pretty apt. EOF
17:44:20 <Sparks> Fedora is quite flexible and I think most contributions would be additive to the Project.  As long as contributors are acting within the Fedora goals and objectives I would let the community accept or reject the act or submission.  This model is not far afield from other FOSS projects that Fedora relies on, including the Kernel, and I feel that it is best to let contributors make decisions on what goes into Fedora while keeping with the
17:44:20 <Sparks> same values and goals.  Negative changes that are outside the values and goals of Fedora should obviously be paused and attempt to bring them back in line with accepted practices.  EOF
17:46:42 <jsmith> Follow-up question from dgilmore : I see Fedora as Fedora, not as Red Hat vs community. How can the Board make sure that is how the rest of the world sees Fedora?
17:46:43 <jsmith> (pbrobinson, Sparks, EvilBob)
17:47:07 <EvilBob> I'm ready if pbrobinson needs more time.
17:47:20 <pbrobinson> no
17:49:44 <pbrobinson> I think the Fedora vs Red Hat thing is complete rubbish. You just need to look at projects like systemd that were employees employed by Red Hat but a project not handed down and what will end up being a massive impact on the next RHEL release and third party products as well as end users like sysadmins to see that they don't necessarily impact each other. Also the gnome desktop involvement of redhat engineers where Red Hat doesn't have a
17:50:38 <pbrobinson> there's all sorts of other things that go to prove it as well. The fact that competitors to Red Hat's cloud interests are getting their products into Fedora and Red Hat has no involvement in stopping them is another exanple.
17:51:32 <pbrobinson> But ultimately it's not the boards job to ensure the rest of the world sees it in a particular way because the world will interpret what they want even if it's not there
17:53:01 <pbrobinson> What the board does is very open and transparent. We obviously have some interest in keeping Red Hat happy because ultimately it's Red Hat that bank roles activities from Infra costs through to FUDCon so they have to continue to see some value in their investment so we don't end up like Mandriva
17:53:07 <pbrobinson> or other similar distros.
17:53:09 <pbrobinson> EOF
17:54:14 <pbrobinson> Red Hat doesn't have a end user desktop.
17:55:23 <Sparks> Fedora is Fedora.  We are upstream for Red Hat, and other projects, and a test bed for thousands of projects and we fill a different set of objectives.  I'm happy that Red Hat sees value in what we do and helps up keep going through funding and other support but we aren't Red Hat.  I think most contributors that happen to be Red Hat employees feel the same way.  While they may work contributing to both projects I don't see why they shou
17:55:23 <Sparks> ld be shunned for that work.  I'm quite happy that Red Hat employees feel that they can contribute to our project *in addition to* their current workload.  Fedora is flexible enough to handle most all contributions and I don't see anything negative from their work.  They are a sponsor but, in a similar manner, so are every other contributor to Fedora that spends their time, energy, effort, and enthusiasm towards making Fedora great.  Fe
17:55:24 <Sparks> dora isn't Red Hat, Fedora is it's contributors.  EOF
17:55:31 <EvilBob> Red Hat as the main, only really, sponsor of Fedora™ makes it hard for the "community" to separate the two. I don't see how it is possible for that to change now or in the near future. Many in the community as end users anyhow don't know of some of the changes until it bites them in an unpleasant place. FESCo needs to think more of the end users a bit more in some of these cases. Should the Board be overseeing Feature changes more? I think
17:55:31 <EvilBob> they should have the "veto" ability.
17:55:33 <EvilBob> As for the "rest of the world" I think we should work more with the "press" to educate them more, heck some still call it Fedora Core, this is not up to the board but up to the community as a whole, the board can only lead. If Fedora™ is not "RHEL Beta" we should not be treating it as such just to please Red Hat.
17:55:37 <EvilBob> EOF
17:56:54 <jsmith> OK, time for two more questions if we hurry
17:56:57 <jsmith> Question from Southern_Gentlem: What changes would you like to see in Fedora?
17:57:05 <jsmith> (Sparks, EvilBob, pbrobinson)
17:57:34 <Sparks> I need a few more seconds if someone else would like to go ahead.
17:58:27 <EvilBob> A more open process for obtaining funding for things, I know this is improving but separating this from Ambassadors I think is vital, FAMSCo does not represent the community as a whole.
17:59:42 <EvilBob> Also more communication from the board about what is being handled I think is important. On the board elections page there is a "should" for the sitting board to do before an election that has not been done in years.
18:01:28 <EvilBob> THe board should report what they have been doing and also open items so the candidates know what to expect before they throw their hat in the ring.
18:01:40 <EvilBob> that is paraphrased
18:01:54 <EvilBob> could not find the link as a reference.
18:01:57 <EvilBob> EOF
18:02:23 <Sparks> In addition to secondary architectures I'd like to see some sort of recognition project designed to help thank those contributors that go above and beyond in their activities within Fedora.  Far too often there are people that make great strides to provide solutions to problems outside of their normal work and we should be thanking them that lets them know that their work has made a difference.  That said I'd hate to miss a contributor
18:02:23 <Sparks> or have them confused that their work is not appreciated.  This will be a little more complex than at first glance.  But recognizing great contributions will hopefully keep contributors working with Fedora.  EOF
18:02:55 <pbrobinson> The first bit is easy, i'd like to see support for ARM to enable Fedora to be more widely used in the developing world to help people where there's less capable infrastructure and a need for cheap devices.
18:03:01 <pbrobinson> I think we could possibly improve language support as came up recently with live images to be able to better support non english speakers
18:03:07 <pbrobinson> Process and open discussion can always get better and improve, it's something that is regularly discussed and different options tried and it's something that evolves constantly
18:04:26 <pbrobinson> I would also like to see more involvement and communications with projects that use Fedora whether it be cloud providers, OLPC or some of the other variants that fork Fedora to find out why they do and why they don't contribute back (or if they do) as Fedora is used by a lot more as an upstream than just RHEL
18:04:33 <pbrobinson> EOF
18:05:35 <jsmith> Last question
18:05:57 <jsmith> Follow-up question from Rastlinux: " and how do you envision enacting these changes?"
18:06:05 <jsmith> (EvilBob, pbrobinson, and then Sparks)
18:07:12 <EvilBob> I'm unsure how all the changes that have potential to improve Fedora™ can be implemented by the Board because in a lot of ways I don't know what the board does 99% of the time if anything.
18:07:14 <EvilBob> EOF
18:08:19 <pbrobinson> The ARM side of things is in motion, the ARM SIG approached FESCo and now has a set of promotion guidelines and we're working towards those now we have them
18:08:31 <pbrobinson> The language improvements likely needs some dev time and certainly needs engagemtn and input from language communities
18:09:09 <pbrobinson> the involvement and communications with other downstreams is something I'll have to think about some more because I only just thought of it
18:09:52 <pbrobinson> and I really like Sparks idea of individual recognition of people that go above and beyond. Kudos for that idea
18:09:56 <pbrobinson> EOF
18:10:22 <Sparks> Support.  The Board shouldn't be part of the solution for enacting many of the projects that are upcoming (except for maybe my idea).  They should, however, be able to support this work by providing whatever projects and SIGs need to be successful.  Being supportive, making sure logistics have been taken care of, and getting out of the way should be the way of the Board without letting things get out of hand.  EOF
18:10:44 <Sparks> pbrobinson: Thanks!
18:12:45 <jsmith> #topic Conclusion
18:13:03 <jsmith> I'd like to thank the candidates for their answers, and also thank all those who submitted questions
18:13:24 <jsmith> Unfortunately, we didn't get to all the questions, but we'll pass them along for the next town hall meeting
18:13:43 <jsmith> Go enjoy F17!
18:13:45 <jsmith> #endmeeting