Welcoming the CentOS Community to the Red Hat family.

Welcome, CentOS community folks, to the wider family of Red Hat sponsored community projects.

Just a short bit ago, Red Hat and the CentOS Project jointly announced the creation of a formal, collaborative relationship, which effectively (for lack of a better metaphor) “adopts” the CentOS project into the family of other Red Hat-sponsored communities such as the Gluster Community, OpenShift Origin, the JBoss Community, and of course, the Fedora Project.

From the perspective of Daddy Shadowman, this is Big News, of course; from a community perspective, frankly, it’s something that I think should have been done long ago.  I know that many people, myself included, have friends contributing in one way or another to CentOS, or contribute themselves, and have long considered CentOS to be part of our ecosystem; having the “blessing,” and support, of Red Hat, is something I see as a Good Thing. More about those Good Things shortly. In the meantime:

If you haven’t read the FAQ, I encourage you to do so. I know that lots of folks generally assume that an FAQ is not going to have a lot of information, but in this case it is actually quite replete (in fact, I have joked that when printed, it weighs approximately 6 pounds), and will likely answer any questions that people might have. For those interested, there is also a webcast with Brian Stevens, our lovely CTO, at 5pm Eastern; and of course you can head on over to the CentOS Project website to get more information. (Or to get acquainted, if you aren’t. But seriously; I know you are. Come on.)

Despite the plethora of available information, I expect that there may be folks within the Fedora Project community who will have questions above and beyond the answers provided in the FAQ. The Fedora Project just recently celebrated its anniversary of 10 years as a community; both Fedora and Red Hat have grown tremendously during those 10 years, and the Fedora Project’s evolution as a community, and what Red Hat has learned during that process, has paved the way for many of Red Hat’s other communities’ successes. But more pertinently: the Fedora Project is a community that deeply cares not just about ourselves, but also about other communities, and about the state of free and open source software in general. And thus, I know some questions that may arise may come not only from our own experiences as a “Red Hat sponsored community project”, but also out of our deep knowledge of “how the sausage is made,” so to speak, and curiosities may be sparked about various technical implementation details. I’m happy to answer those questions where I can, either personally, or on the Fedora Board list; other questions might be more appropriate for other groups, such as the Infrastructure team, or even on the CentOS mailing lists themselves. I trust that most folks within the Fedora Project can figure out where to direct such questions.

That said – I’m happy to provide a bit more Fedora-related context, in the hopes that it might appease curiosities, and also because I would hate to see a perfectly good roll of tin foil go to waste on an unnecessary hat. 🙂 And so, a few points follow:

  1. The new relationship between Red Hat and the CentOS Project changes absolutely nothing about how the Fedora Project will work, or affect the role that Fedora fulfills in Red Hat’s production of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Fedora will continue to set the standard for developing and incorporating the newest technological innovations in the operating system; those innovations will continue to make their way downstream, both into Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, and many other -EL derivatives.
  2. Those of you who are Fedora Package Maintainers are not now suddenly obligated to maintaining anything in the CentOS Community.  Additionally, this does not affect Fedora’s EPEL work; this will continue to be something that the Fedora Project provides, as long as it wishes to do so.
  3. The Fedora and CentOS communities are not going to be “forced” somehow to work together.  Obviously, there exists a number of places where we have overlap in processes, build infrastructure software, and the like, and we certainly have the opportunity ahead of us to cooperate and share when it makes sense. The CentOS folks will be having a more transparent build system, and building out a release and infrastructure community – areas where we have expertise in what is incredibly similar tooling; similarly, they also have deep pockets of expertise in various types of automated build testing that haven’t become a critical part of Fedora’s culture yet. As I said previously – there are already numerous friendships forged between members of these two communities, and I would expect that over time, the things that make sense to collaborate on will become more obvious, and that teams from the two respective communities will gravitate towards one another when it makes sense.

In short: Nothing is really changing for those of us in the Fedora Project, at least in any way that we don’t choose to change ourselves. But 10 years of our own evolution as a project certainly doesn’t mean that we’re done growing, learning, changing over the next 10 years, and beyond. As the CentOS Project continues to nurture and grow its own community, I expect that many of those community members will naturally more interested in understanding how to influence the future of RHEL – the thing that eventually becomes CentOS – which is, of course, the space where we in the Fedora Project shine. While this was possible before, the “blessing” by Red Hat allows the CentOS project latitude that didn’t really exist before as far as “reaching out.” The great opportunity for Fedora now is not only to help those community members make that trip over the bridge from the downstream community to our upstream community, but also to tap into the wealth of end-user expertise and hands-on experience that is had by the collective community of CentOS users – and seriously, THERE ARE A LOT OF THEM – and to really listen, to create a feedback loop from those ultimate end-users back to the developers who are creating what will become the next generation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. And make it even better.

(Those are those Good Things to which I previously referred, BTW.)

I hope that everyone in the Fedora Project can join me in welcoming CentOS to the Big Happy Family.  I talked to Karanbir Singh, my counterpart in the CentOS project, on the phone yesterday, and expressed this, but it’s something I mean from the bottom of my heart, and isn’t just for him, or my other new coworkers (Jim Perrin, Johnny Hughes, Fabian Arrotin – welcome, guys!) — but really, for all of the extended CentOS Community: I really hope that this goes smoothly for you guys. And if you have questions, about anything – I’m here, and I’m sure many others in the Fedora Project will be here too. We’ve been down many of the paths that you guys will see in the future – and hope that you guys can benefit from our past experiences. So don’t hesitate to ask. Really.

Congratulations to all of you.

Because Big Data is Big… according to my data.

That’s right, folks: The Fedora Big Data SIG is here. We’re going to do things. Things that I know that Very Smart People, just like YOU, dear reader, are quite possibly very interested in.

Which things? Oh, Big Data is such a murky term. In true Fedora fashion, we shall do things that people show up to actually do and get done.  Which means YOU can make things happen. Whatever those Big Data-related things might be. Packaging, use cases, feedback, education, this is your spot.

So now that you are TOTALLY psyched: Here’s what you need to do:

  • Join the mailing list.
  • Come hang out on IRC in #fedora-bigdata on freenode.
  • Come to the randomly-assigned-time FIRST MEETING on IRC, Thursday, March 7, at 17:00 UTC. I’ll be the assigned meeting-runner and excitement-gatherer. We’ll be in #fedora-meeting-1 (NOTE THE ONE). Bring ideas and questions and whatnot.
  • Check out the newly-minted Big Data SIG wiki page. And remember: It’s a wiki, be bold, and stuff.

See you all there (in that variety of locations)!

Go on, man. Have a cow. Fedora 18 (Spherical Cow) is here.

Hopefully by now most folks have “herd” the news: Fedora 18 has been officially released, and the Spherical Cow is in the vacuum of the intertubes.

<marketing interlude real quicklike>

If you haven’t read the announcement, I encourage you to take a moment to check it out. Or, take a moment to check out the Feature List for Fedora 18.  But don’t let me stop you if you’re already downloading and just moments away from full-blown F18 glory.

Though I will gently nudge you and recommend that you read the release notes, including details about installation and upgrading. We’ve got a lovely new installer, and a lovely new upgrade tool, so it’s definitely worth reading over. And, hey, checking out the list of common bugs in Fedora 18 is worth a gander as well.

</end marketing interlude>

Moooooving on:

I think I can succinctly, udderly (what, you thought I’d leave the puns behind as we moved beyond Beefy Miracle?) summarize this release event in just a few letters:


Yes, yes, I believe that pretty much covers it. 

No, really, in all seriousness: this release was a heroic undertaking. There are people, many, many people, for which the phrase “above and beyond” doesn’t even begin to cover the amounts of effort, sweat, bugzillas, biting-of-tongues, tears, praise, helpfulness, git-er-done-ness, and general awesomeness that I have seen in this release cycle.

The lovely press folks (hi!) who get me on the phone right around this time tend to, and already have, ask the following question: What did you, Robyn, learn from this release? Well, gee, where to begin? Sure, I can go on about hindsight being 20/20, things of that nature.  But the important thing is this: Even though I knew it inherently already, I discovered what an amazing band of people the folks in the Fedora Project community are.  We didn’t shy away from doing the Hard Things, we didn’t abandon ship in the face of adversity, we didn’t give up or cut corners on the things we believed absolutely needed to be done right, we didn’t waffle on our commitment to freedom, open source, to building a quality distribution for our users and contributors. 

As we’re now in the part of this blog known as “full-on-cheese-land” – I’ll add this following thought: We often talk about Fedora’s core values, aka four Foundations – Freedom, Friends, Features, First – and I’m so glad that what we release continues to embody those foundations, every release. We continue to be committed to freedom, to having cutting-edge features, to being a leader when it comes to introducing new technology.  But most of all: We stick together. We watch out for each other. We tell each other to go to sleep, we recognize good deeds, we help out when we can, where we can.

Or to paraphrase slightly (but only slightly, because I already feel dirty not properly quoting Lennon/McCartney): We get by with a little help from our friends.

FUDCon: Lawrence is coming this weekend. (More on that soon enough.) To more heavily modify the aforementioned lyrics (aagggggh): We get beer and a little fun with our friends. It will be a gathering of getting things done and celebrating the release all at the same time, I suspect, and I look forward to seeing how everyone else around the globe is celebrating the release of Fedora 18, both because it’s just awesome, and because we deserve to celebrate ourselves and our great work as well.

Fedora 16 Alpha to slip by one week.

At yesterday’s Go/No-Go meeting, it was decided that the F16 Alpha release would slip by one week. There are numerous blocker bugs preventing release, preventing the creation of a viable release candidate, per the Alpha Release Criteria.  F16 Alpha is now expected to be released on August 23, 2011.

Adjustments have been made to the overall F16 schedule to allow for the slip. ALL MAJOR MILESTONES, including the Alpha release date and all subsequent milestones, have been pushed out by one week, as have all dependent tasks.  Beta Release is now expected on September 27, 2011, and F16 GA is now scheduled for November 1, 2011.

Today’s (2011-08-11) previously announced Release Readiness meeting will go on AS SCHEDULED.  There will be another Alpha Blocker meeting this Friday, and another Go/No-Go meeting will be scheduled for next Wednesday, August 17, 2011.

You can see all of the details of the Fedora 16 schedule here, but I am including the newly-adjusted dates in this blog post because I am a kind, sweet, thoughtful person. Really. I swear it. Has anyone seen my halo?

o F16 Devel Start                2011-05-24
o Feature Submission Deadline    2011-07-12
o Feature Freeze                 2011-07-26
o Branch From Rawhide            2011-07-26
o Software String Freeze         2011-08-02
o Alpha Change Deadline          2011-08-02
--------------------N O W -----------------
o Alpha Release                  2011-08-23
o Software Translation Deadline  2011-09-06
o Beta Change Deadline           2011-09-13
o Features 100% Complete         2011-09-13
o Beta Release                   2011-09-27
o Final Change Deadline          2011-10-17
o Compose RC                     2011-10-18
o Fedora 16 Final Release        2011-11-01

We might be giants.

There’s a picture opposite me / Of my primitive ancestry / Which stood on rocky shores and kept the beaches shipwreck free

Though I respect that a lot / I’d be fired if that were my job / After killing Jason off and countless screaming argonauts

Bluebird of friendliness / Like guardian angels, it’s always near

Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch / Who watches over you / Make a little birdhouse in your soul.

I’ve been at SCaLE the past few days.  One of the things I love about regional Linux and F/LOSS conferences is the time I get to spend meeting other Fedora contributors that I haven’t met before, new potential contributors, and catching up with some of the people I already know.  Spot and I had a nice chat the other night, talking about Ye Olde High School things, and it reminded me of the blog post I’ve been meaning to write — which, friendly Planet folks, is what you are now reading.

One of my dear high school friends was our class Salutatorian.   His graduation speech: reciting the lyrics to “Birdhouse in your soul,” by the awesome They Might Be Giants.  It was a Totally Awesome Moment.  I still think about it fondly to this day.

I once was combing the Fedora wiki, looking for a banner of some sort or another, and came across some of the Fedora 12 banners, which featured blue birds.  I was immediately reminded of the “blue canary in the outlet by the light switch.”

Since then, I’ve thought a bit about it now and again, whenever the song comes up in my music mix.  The song itself, like so many other songs, is one of those, “What does it mean? Does it mean anything?” types of songs… but of course, now, in this age of intertoobz wonder, there are people who sit around dissecting songs FOR YOU! What a glorious thing.

So while I’m not going to go into gory detail (though you can certainly go read about it yourself if you want), I’ll give the 80-foot-view of what I believe to be the general premise of the passage I quoted above. Yeah, this blog post is TL;DR.  But I know you’re sucked in by now, so keep reading!

The voice of the song is a bathroom nightlight, shaped like a blue canary. Nightlights are friendly little things, particularly when you’re a child; they illuminate things just enough to see, essentially watching over you and protecting you.

The picture opposite the light, of his primitive ancestry? The one that stood on rocky shores and kept the beaches shipwreck free? A lighthouse.  (For some reason, people like the whole beach / lighthouse theme in bathrooms.)   He totally respects the lighthouse, but also understands, he’s not a  lighthouse; if he had to act as one, well, something terrible would happen, like killing off Jason and the Argonauts, since they wouldn’t be able to see by the light of a nightlight. [1]  But the similarity between the two is that they’re both beacons of light – one for the safety of people using the restroom when it’s dark, and one for the safety of sailors when it’s dark.

The metaphor? If Fedora is the Blue Canary nightlight in the outlet by the lightswitch – the picture opposite Fedora, of our primitive ancestry, is Red Hat. [2]  We totally respect them. But if we tried to do what Red Hat does – well, we aren’t designed to do that.  Just as a nightlight isn’t designed to guide sailors.  More importantly – we have our own strengths. And we embrace those strengths, just as the little blue canary nightlight does.

The rest is easier. “Bluebird of friendliness; like guardian angels, it’s always near /  Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch / who watches over you / Build a little birdhouse in your soul.”   Interpret at your own will, really. It speaks for itself.

I have a home for Fedora in my soul. My Birdhouse is filled with all of the things about Fedora that are near and dear to my heart. And I like to think that I continue to build that little birdhouse in my soul every day, in one way or another.   The Cloud SIG, the Marketing team, FUDCon… these are the things that are important to me.  The things I care about, and want to grow, and flourish, and eventually pass off to others to make even better.

I love Fedora because *anyone* can build a little birdhouse in their soul for Fedora.  It’s versatile, it’s flexible, it offers opportunities for people to build that birdhouse in their soul that you won’t find ANYWHERE ELSE.  And for every individual in Fedora, those things are different, and special.  And makes Fedora, Fedora.

A lot of times, we forget about that birdhouse.   I think that nearly every contributor has a reason *why* they’re passionate about Fedora, why they continue to contribute, what brought them to Fedora in the first place.  The birdhouse can tend to get cluttered with a lot of other crap.  You know what I’m talking about: Things you committed to at some point, but your interests have changed; frustrations about disagreements; getting stuck on a problem you can’t solve.  We get so wrapped up in those things that we forget to keep building that birdhouse – we lose sight of the things we love. And the things we love are really what keep us going.

I challenge you (one american dollar, not included): Think about your birdhouse a bit., maybe over the course of a few days.  Have you looked at it lately? What are the things that you are *passionate* about in Fedora? Have they fallen by the wayside? What can you do to get back to doing those things you love to do?

There really should be no “Might” in my blog post title. It’s really just a play on the band name. We are *all* giants.  We all possess the power to do great things in Fedora.  And even when some of the things we work on as individuals seem as though they’re diverging, or maybe don’t seem like they’re on the same general pathway — it all comes back to what Fedora has always been great at, and the reason why so many of us are here today: Fedora the Product is filled with the tools and materials you need to BUILD THAT BIRDHOUSE IN YOUR SOUL.  And as we individually build those birdhouses, we create more materials, more tools, for others to come and remix, and reuse, and build their own birdhouses.  And, in the end,  enable new contributors to stand on the shoulders of giants[3].

[1] This is the one minor detail that puzzles me, as they actually sent a dove between the rocks, and there wasn’t really a lighthouse involved, but, well, this works, I suppose.

[2] This is not an “upstream/downstream” metaphor; in that case, Fedora is really the ancestry of RHEL. What I’m talking about is more of a historical timeline.

[2] I promise that my next blog post will not be an allegorical interpretation of the song “King of Birds,” by R.E.M.  Even if it does say something about “standing on the shoulders of giants,” and “a hundred million birds fly.”

Ever wonder who is talking about Fedora?

The Marketing team surely does.

Our crack team of marketeers keep their eyes and ears open for the latest news articles and blogs reviewing the newest, and even upcoming, releases of Fedora, plus other news about Fedora — anything from people taking on new roles (hmmmmm) to hot community governance issues.  Interested in what people have been saying about Fedora? Everything we find, in addition to going to our epic-awesome mailing list so that everyone can read articles while they’re still hot off the proverbial press, gets listed in the Fedora press archive.

Why keep track, you ask? Good question.  It’s always great to see what people are saying about us, of course — but we also like to be sure that we can take the opportunity to gently guide reporters the right way if they have misinformation, make sure that the messaging we are putting out is the messaging that the public and media are actually receiving, and more generally, make sure that people are continuing to *talk* about Fedora, because one of the best ways for new users and contributors to find out about Fedora is to read what someone else has to say about Fedora.

Seen an article that we don’t have archived? It’s a wiki — Be Bold! [1] Feel free to add what you’ve seen, or if you want to have a more interactive discussion about it, join the marketing mailing list.

And in case you’re curious: We’ve had 57 articles [2] come in about Fedora since we started keeping track of F14 news back in late July.  Want to see them? Check them out here.  And yes, we have them available for F13 and F12 as well!

[1] Phrase stolen from Ian Weller

[2] Yes, I counted. Manually. Seriously.

Talking about Fedora in awesome places.

Events, cons, fests… whatever you want to call them, they’re everywhere, and as we all know, summertime is a great time to have one. (Unless it’s in Phoenix, which is a much more awesome place in the wintertime, and I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about, and YES, for the love of god, there WILL BE DEFINITIVE NEWS on that front very, very soon. Trust me, you will hear it, loud and clear.)

In mid-June, I had the pleasure of attending SouthEast LinuxFest, and getting to hang out with friends like spevack, stickster, sparks, ianweller, ke4qqq, VileGent, threethirty, jzbbethlynn (WOOT FOR GRATUITOUS LINKING), not to mention all my new buddies I picked up.   What was really awesome was the HUGE Fedora presence we had – Max giving a great evening keynote speech, and stickster, ianweller, Dan Walsh, Michael DeHaan, and, yes, my sig0, all presenting – not to mention a great afternoon of hacking on the Docs join wiki, and a lovely FAD on Sunday where we got the opportunity to talk to a number of new contributors, talk about Truths and Myths in Fedora (stickster, where is the napkin o’notes?), and submit some buggy little bugs with the help of newfound friends.  I’d also like to mention that ke4qqq (despite being uncapture-able on film) and his crew put on a hell of a show and I’m not just saying that to kiss up for drink tickets for next year’s event.

It’s always great to hear what people are doing in Fedora; whether it’s Ian talking about Datanommer, or seeing Max talk not just about Fedora but even more about community in general, seeing and hearing people speak passionately and in-depth about what they are doing is not only informational, but also inspiring.  I, for one, would love to see more Fedora friends talking about their projects, views, groups, whatever floats their boat, at these types of events.


Ohio LinuxFest is coming up, September 10 – 12, in Columbus, Ohio.  One of the biggest of its kind.  And you should go. But more importantly: YOU SHOULD CONSIDER SPEAKING.  The Call for Presenters ends, inconveniently timed for my overdue blogpost, on July 7. (That’s right, kids, TOMORROW.)  Stormy Peters and Christopher “Monty” Montgomery will be keynoting, and it’s sure to be an excellent time; additionally, it’s an audience that is very welcoming of first-time speakers, so for those of you who want to get your feet wet, this could be the place to do it.  (Also: Yours Truly is submitting a proposal, so, um, should I be accepted, I expect moral support as I haven’t actually spoken in public since, oh, 2001.  But I’m realllllly entertaining. And informative! Promise.)  I’m hoping to see a plethora (I love that word) of Fedora friends talking about Really Cool Stuff, so please, submit your Fedora, non-Fedora, project, hobby, whatever! for submission.  By Tomorrow Night.  Did I mention that 1300 people turned out last year? It’s just that good.

Next up: Utah Open Source Conference, aka, UTOSC. Motto: “It’s better when it’s free*.” (I encourage everyone looking for a good laugh who also has a good sense of humor to visit the website to find out what the * refers to.)  Their Call for Papers (even though I’m pretty sure you don’t have to WRITE a paper, although, I could be wrong here) ends on July 15. In addition to being in the superior, 4-corners area of the US, this event is guaranteed to be awesome because Clint Savage, one of our trusty shipping clerks excellent regional Ambassador mentors, is part of setting this up.

I’d also like to take a moment to give a shout out to the Ottawa Linux Symposium, which REALLY DOES have papers. (Yours Truly is reportedly an editor of said papers, and will be doing this ALL WEEK LONG.)  While the CFP is long since past, the event is imminent, running July 13-16.  If you’re in the Northeast corner of the US, this is a great event to drive to (not free, though, so bring your wallet, or Register Now!) – I recommend checking out the list of presenters to see what piques your interest.

Feeling more southernly? And I mean Really South – as in south of the equator? FUDCon LATAM is coming up in Santiago, Chile, July 15-17.  Get your quarterly dose of International Fedora Goodness.  Also, rumor has it that a certain new FPL is making his first appearance at this event, making it more awesome, if that is possible.

And really: These are great opportunities for YOU, yes, YOU to go out and speak about something you are truly passionate about. If speaking isn’t your gig –  these are still great events to meet some fellow Friends, learn some new things, and show the world what a great community we have in Fedora.  Not to mention meeting new friends, and getting them to want to be part of the Fedora community too.