Community News

The Next Generation

LinuxCon Logo The kid was the western suburbs of Pittsburgh, strolling up to the Red Hat booth on day two of LinuxCon North America with his dad in tow. 17 and a senior at West Allegheny High School in Imperial, PA, this young man had an interest in studying computer science and had come to LinuxCon with his father to get the lay of the land.

At this point, you might think the story would be about how we walked this young man through all of the different education options Red Hat participates in, including our University Outreach and Red Hat internship programs, and he left with a glowing confidence about the open source future before him. And indeed, that is pretty much part of what went down: my colleague Tom Callaway spoke at length with this student about those very topics. But while Tom was shaping future minds, I also had an interesting discussion of my own with the boy's father.

I spoke to several students at the booth over the course of the week–more women than men, I was pleased to observe–and while they all do represent the future of open source, that designation was not just limited to them. Anyone can come into open source and free software development and find their passion there.

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Notes from Flock 2016

Fedora logo Fedora's Flock wrapped up two weeks ago, after a lovely week in Krakow, Poland. Here's an organizer's-eye view of the conference and some updates.

Overall, I think this was a great event. At least, the feedback I got from folks who attended was that it was productive and they had a good time.

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25 Years of Linux

Tux Later this month is the day traditionally used as the anniversary date for the Linux operating system, which got its public start with an August 25, 1991 post to the comp.os.minux newsgroup. This year, Linux will celebrate its 25th year of changing the world.

Linux has come a long way since those days in the latter half of 1991, and countless articles and books have been written about the impact of piece of software has had on the development of technology.

To get an idea of how fast Linux took off, think about the timeline of the first year of Linux's existence.

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Overcoming the Barrier of Language

Summit logo I have been fortunate enough to attend LinuxCon Japan this week, a conference of 350 attendees in the Bunkyo neighborhood of Tokyo that features strong tracks to keep developers and business people here in Asia appraised of all things cool and open source.

I was asked to do a couple of talks, one being on how community can have real value on the bottom line of a business and not just be an expenditure on an organization's bottom line. It went pretty well, and one of the questions afterward was very interesting.

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Red Hat Summit Community Track Day Two

Summit logo Wednesday was another fine day at Red Hat Summit 2016 in San Francisco at the Moscone Center. After a really fun keynote that included deploying a mobile game that something like 800 attendees played live, it was time for breakout sessions.

What follows is a nearly stream-of-consciousness grab of the highlights of the sessions from day two.

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Red Hat Summit Community Track Day One

Summit logo You might have heard that several thousand people have converged on San Francisco for Red Hat Summit at Moscone this week. One of the highlights for Summit this year (at least for me!) is the Community Track, part of the main Summit schedule for the first time this year. Missed it? Don't worry, there's more tomorrow!

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A New Release From Fedora

Fedora logo Today is the day that Fedora 24 has been released!

It's kind of a big deal at Red Hat, since Fedora is the upstream from which many things flow. So, as such, it's a community release that gets a lot of attention both within Red Hat, and without.

I actually had the opportunity to clean-install Fedora 24 Beta last week—not that I am some Fedora über-fan or anything. No, this was a necessity brought on by a dead hard drive. Thank goodness for cloud backups… one new drive later and I was installing Fedora 24 from a live USB.

The experience itself was nothing notable, in that I had enough bad experiences with Xconfigurator and snapping CRT monitors to still make my subconsciously twitchy whenever I do a full install. Silly, yes, but I was poor in those days. So "not notable" is high praise indeed.

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Communities That Aren't

Cranes in city skyline This is not about how to create communities and who is doing it wrong. This is about the perception of community and the difference between the perception and reality.

Here's what I know about communities:

  • They're hard to get into.
  • They're hard to get out of.

What in the what?

On the first rule: this goes for all communities. Move to a new neighborhood. Get into a new software project. Go to a new school. Move to a new city. Join a new company. All of these are "communities" in different ways. It's usually not the case that you show up and you're immediately seen as "a valuable member of the community"—you're an unknown quantity. You have to put energy into this community to be welcomed; to be able to contribute, you have to have spent time there.

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There Are No Straight Lines in Community

open road One of the things I have discovered while working with mapping platforms like OpenStreetMap is that there really isn't anything like a straight line in the world.

You think there are lots of straight lines out there—streets, property lines, boundaries—but there is really no such thing at all. Some of the deviations are geographical, with rivers and mountains and valleys carving up the world. And some are purely political; Mark Stein wrote a whole book on How The States Got Their Shapes, detailing the boundaries of various U.S. states and the historical and political intricacies of why the states are the way they are.

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Embrace that Feeling of Ennui Around Your Stack—It's Fine

In the day of the great Slack outage, which left large parts of the internet unable to communicate with each other, we also discovered that a large part of our feelings had been hidden in the everyday discourse. It was actually easier to talk to each other about the various challenging aspects of our work than to be alone with it. (This happens every time a major component of our communication tools goes down. Twitter, Slack, pick a thing.)

It's like that discovery around language and monkeys: when a monkey is lost, they will lament the state of being lost instead of trying to find the rest of the tribe. When you can't communicate with other people who help you articulate your feelings of discomfort, it gets harder to deal with them. I see this as big factor to burn out—when you cannot articulate your values and where they are not aligned with the work that's being produced, you lose the ability to rationalize the difference between those things. You can't process the difference between what you see happening every day, your own sense of "the right way to do things" and where the overall group is going if you don't have a space to talk about it that everyone understands.

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