Community Managers Sit Everywhere. Should They?

fedora This week’s community blogging prompt by Stormy Peters includes the question, “should community managers sit in marketing or engineering?” This is a very individualized decision and not an easy one at that.

A lot of companies support open source communities. The Fedora Project is supported by Red Hat. Red Hat’s support is huge and includes infrastructure, engineering and non-engineering contributions, budget for community driven activities and events and community coordination assistance.

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Onboarding New Contributors in the Fedora Project

fedora Fedora is a community with a lot of moving parts and has at least five different ways of thinking about new contributor onboarding. Unlike some single code-base communities where there is a focus around a repository or a bug tracker, Fedora is constantly working on lots of things and the linkages can be hard to see. Some of those activities are directly (in a creation sense) related to the amazing Linux distribution we produce.

These activities, like Release Engineering, must happen or no bits get shipped. Other activities are critical to the experience of Fedora, like Design. Without these activities we might as well not ship. Some activities, like a lot of the work done by Fedora Infrastructure, are critical to providing the tools and glue we need to get our work done.

Onboarding is much on the mind of communities of late, thanks to Stormy Peters’ prompt on how community works at Go read it, as it inspired this post and will contain lots of great information in the roundup post later this week.

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Python Has Big Impact at Red Hat

Python logo This past September, I gave a talk in PyCon India 2016 titled “Python in Red Hat World”. The talk described the use cases of Python programming language inside of Red Hat.

I started the talk with an introduction to Red Hat–what we do and our main products are. Because the room had many students, this was new information for many of them. But almost all knew Red Hat for our flagship operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). When installing RHEL or Fedora (the upstream Linux distribution of RHEL), we use the project known as Anaconda to do so. Anaconda is written in Python. If you are trying to learn how to use Python Mock module and write better unittest cases, you should go through the source code of the Anaconda project.

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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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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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Open Branding for Open Source Projects

One of the really interesting things about working for Red Hat is the company’s attention to detail. Everything about the way the company is presented to the world is decided upon. You can’t just toss out any old picture of a guy in a red fedora… Shadowman’s gotta have the exact look and feel. To help with that, there’s an actual cool little branding book Red Hat’s marketing department worked up that I use for lot of things: even camera angles on video interviews.

Such things are not just fun for the control freaks among us… consistency in the way things are presented help reduce friction and make it easier for any project–commercial or otherwise–to get their messaging out. The last thing you need is a lot of inconsistent look and feel in the materials you present to your community.

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How I Became an Ambassador for Open Source

Fedora logo For years, I lived in a world of proprietary software. "Linux" and "open source" didn’t even exist in my vocabulary, and my vision of the world was so narrow. It felt like I was living at the bottom of a well.

But when I started learning web development (specifically PHP) at the age of 13, I became aware of open source technologies like CentOS and Apache—but never really cared.

Fast forward five years: that’s when things started to change.

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Celebrating Software Freedom Day and 30 Years of GNU

SFD Logo September 19 is a significant day for those of us who work and play in the world of free and open source software (FLOSS). Software Freedom Day, a global celebration of FLOSS falls on this date, with this year being even more significant, because this month also marks the 30th anniversary of GNU!

It is, at a certain level, pretty amazing: the choice to share software and see it built freely for its own sake has influenced innovation within IT for three decades. Technologies like cloud computing, big data, containers… these all were successful not in spite of FLOSS, but because of it. Free software has has a personal effect on its practitioners as well.

To celebrate Software Freedom Day, we put out the request here at Red Hat: what was your first experience with free software? The answers were full of tech, but also touched on a lot of positive emotions. Free software, lest we forget, means something, as the answers to our question certainly suggest.

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Event Report–Flock 2015

Flock logo Did you miss the Flock to Fedora conference, or just want to relive the greatness?

With many workshops, presentations, and over 200 attendees, it’s safe to say that Flock 2015 was a huge success.

This year’s location at the Rochester Institute of Technology was quite the compatible fit. Fedora is quite popular among RIT students and faculty alike. One RIT researcher, Jon Schull, even started the e­NABLE Community Foundation ­­ a non­profit organization that creates prosthetic upper-limb devices for children in need. These limbs are created with a 3D printer as well as open source software running on the Fedora platform. Flock attendees had the opportunity to learn more about e­NABLE from Schull himself.

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