The who in the where?

On 3 October I officially1 started my new role as the Fedora Community Action and Impact Coordinator2 (abbreviated to FCAIC, pronounced “F-cake”).

The job is like many other roles called “Community Manager” or “Community Lead.” That means there is a focus on metrics and experiences. One role is to try ensure smooth forward movement of the project towards its goals. Another role is to serve as a source of information and motivation. Another role is as a liaison between the project and significant downstream and sponsoring organizations.

In Fedora, this means I help the Fedora Project Leader. I try to be the yen to his yang, the zig to his zag, or the right hand to his right elbow. In all seriousness, it means that I work on a lot of the non-engineering focused areas of the Fedora Project. While Matthew has responsibility for the project as a whole I try to think about users and contributors and be mechanics of keeping the project running smoothly.

Who are you?

Really? You don’t know? I was sure I was internet famous by now!

I’m Brian Exelbierd. The short version is that I’ve worked in IT in various roles and in various business management roles for the last 20 years. I’ve worked for the government, universities, and the private sector. My technical work has focused on Unix/Linux systems and open source software. In business, I’ve led teams and served in administrative and management roles.

I joined Red Hat in March 2013 and I’ve had the privilege of working in several areas. I started as a technical writer as it was one area of IT I hadn’t worked in. I moved on to work on content strategy before returning to my programming roots as a software engineer in the Developer Tools group. There I focused my efforts on container tools and Project Atomic. I’ve been craving a community-focused role and jumped at the chance to work full-time with the Fedora community when my predecessor left to work on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

I am super excited to be in this new role. You can out find more about me on my website. You’ll also find my blog and more examples of my sense of humor.

Goals

A good rule of thumb when accepting a new job is to listen first and act second. Unfortunately, a few priorities have made it so I need to do both immediately. To that end, I’ve picked four goals to start on while I’m listening.

Goal 1: Get to know the community

This is a never-ending goal that is highly tied to listening. While I’ve done professional work in several Fedora and Fedora-related areas, I’ve mostly contributed to the Fedora Project in Documentation. Therefore I’m going to be dropping in on meetings, reading logs and mailing lists, and generally working to learn what is going on globally.

To this end, I am attending both FUDCons in both LATAM and APAC. As an American living in Europe (Brno, Czech Republic), I have a great appreciation for the cultures and challenges NA and EMEA have. These FUDCons allow me to get a better understanding of APAC and LATAM3.

If you’re going to be near me, let me know so we can meet and say “hello.” I’ll endeavor to keep my travel schedule on my website and in the Fedora vacation calendar so you can find me when I’m not at home.

Goal 2: Budget.Next

My predecessor, Remy DeCausemaker, began a process to change the way Fedora manages money. The groundwork for a highly transparent, Fedora-directed, locally managed process has been laid. My immediate goal is able to be summarized as three objectives:

  1. Catch up on the budget reporting and status for the current year.
  2. Create a workable system for financial reporting that makes maintaining our status easier.
  3. When it is time help the various sub-project’s prepare budget requests for the Council. I’ll also help the Council understand their options and communicate final allocations out.

This will be a slow process. If you’ve been handling financial information or money for the project and have heard from me already, please contact me so I can make sure to find out what you know.

These goals won’t set direction or otherwise radically change processes. If I find something that could be improved or that is broken, expect to hear about new ideas on the Fedora Community Blog as I look for consensus.

Goal 3: FOSCo (and FAMSCo)

The Fedora Ambassador Steering Committee (FAmSCo) and some great folks have been working on creating a new body to increase coordination of our outreach efforts. In this case, outreach means our user-facing and focused messaging and components, and the same for our contributor components.

To that end, they began working on the Fedora Outreach Steering Committee (FOSCo). Originally envisioned as a successor organization for FAmSCo, it appears that after a lot of work, it has been discovered that FAmSCo still has a lot of useful work to do and shouldn’t be disbanded.

I’ve been working with several folks in FAmSCo on various proposals. I think we are getting closer and think we will be able to charge the new body soon. It also sounds like FAMSCo will be able to take the opportunity to focus on the Ambassadors program in greater depth because some of its coordination duties will now be shifted to FOSCo.

Goal 4: Fedora Docs Publishing

I’ve been involved in the new docs publishing tool chain. You have read some of my previous blog entries about the conversations we had at Flock this year. I’ve also written a bit about possible implementations.

I have a personal goal of us having a new publication solution by Fedora 26. I believe a lot of the docs community is on board with this objective as well.

I also have a dream that the new publication system can allow us to have an easier time publishing all kinds of other docs such as the Diversity Inbox and various sub-project materials. I am positive more information will be forthcoming soon.


  1. I’ve been doing a some work since September trying to familiarize myself with parts of Fedora where I have contributed and queuing things up for my start.
  2. What a mouthful. I abbreviate it F-CAIC and pronounce it F-Cake. I often write it as F-🎂 because emoji thingies make me feel young. You’ll find random references to the position as FCL or Fedora Community Lead in various project documentation. If you’d help me out by correcting those as you see them, I’d be appreciative. The change is not really a change. This is the actual title that was approved by the Council and I also feel like a well established community like Fedora doesn’t need a community leader, but a coordinator would be very helpful.
  3. I’ve personally traveled to a number of APAC countries so I feel prepared to listen in Cambodia. Outside of one trip to Cancun, which kind of doesn’t count, I’ve never been to LATAM, so I have a much steeper learning curve there.