[Ambassadors] Jack is Going, Going, Going...Gone!

Jack Aboutboul jaa at redhat.com
Mon Jul 27 23:29:09 UTC 2009

Hey Everyone,

I think I told most people that I wanted to tell privately so it's time 
to tell the list and out myself to the public.  August 14th will be my 
last day at Red Hat and of temporary daily direct involvement in the 
Fedora project.

In 1997 I got my first taste of Linux, Red Hat Linux 4.2, to be exact.  
It was in the basement lab of the university that I was doing research 
at during the second half of my freshman year in high school.  It was at 
that point the most fun and challenging thing I had ever done, 
struggling to get the kernel to work with the crappy Matrox (I think) 
video card that was the only spare piece of anything in that lab.  I 
aimlessly wandered down that path I had no idea that jumping down the 
rabbit hole would lead to the 12 most pleasantly wondrous and amazing 
years of my life.

Over the last 12 years this love affair has grown stronger and I have 
had the unbelievable good fortune to travel the world, see amazing 
places, explore amazing ideas, meet and work with some of the planet's 
greatest, smartest and most passionate people and play my part to help 
turn Linux, Open Source, Red Hat, Fedora and the concepts of free open 
and democratic commons of content and technology from relatively 
unknowns into the great revolution of our age.  I have spent the better 
part of the last 6 years working for Red Hat on Fedora and 
Fedora-related projects in directed efforts to improve both the state 
and awareness of those things I mentioned.  Red Hat has been a warm home 
and family to me and I am as much glad as I am in awe of how ferociously 
dedicated we have been to our noble principles of freedom and truth, 
while having accomplished, ascertained and executed and what I have been 
able to imbibe, about so many diverse concepts, over these last few 
years. What niche and facet have we not touched?  What direction or 
device have we not influenced?  What proclivity have we not affected?  
For this, I am proud.

Fedora has been my brother since the day it was conceived.  The more 
energy and time I invested into Fedora, to help it grow and mature, the 
more it paid me back by proving to be the best platform for innovation, 
and letting me be involved in that cause.  Starting a community is no 
small order and keeping it going all these years take passion on the 
part of those willing to undertake the task.  We have learned what it 
means to be a community, to live, breathe, eat and be true to 
community.  To provide, so that others can have, to build so that others 
can build upon and to be selfless so that we can embrace others and more 
importantly so that others can embrace us, virtual strangers, and feel 
welcome.  It has been my distinct pleasure to work with every single 
precious member of the Fedora community, from all over the world to help 
build a very deep and intimate relationship with the concept of 
community.  We have accomplished such great feats, arising from a 
turbulent and tumultuous genesis and virtually transformed and flipped 
the world and the hearts and minds of people in a few short years.  We 
have become the paramount archetype of community.  How many have 
communities emulated and continue to emulate our success?  How many have 
our ideas spawned?  How many have been lucky to be as true and real as 
we have?  For this, I am grateful.

The best part has been the people.  I can't count on 100 sets of hands 
the number and names of all the wonderful people that have affected me.  
When I was on the Fedora University Tour, my speech was called "Crash: 
How a Billion Little Collisions Defines Everything," and it was about 
how working in a community and in real life, we are the sum total of the 
people we interact with.  I don't think one can find a better metaphor 
and if I stick to my axiom then I can truly consider myself rich.  Every 
person I met and spent time with in the office, at a meeting, show, 
conference or elsewhere, and online has helped shape my character, both 
personal and professional, for the better.  As a lover of people I am 
both thankful for the interactions we have had and excited for what the 
future holds.  I owe thanks to many, like I said, even 100 hands can't 
count, but I will try and pay homage to some of my closest, dearest and 
most influential friends over the last few years. 

First and foremost, Tom "Spot" Callaway, for urging me to get involved 
way back when things started and helping me score a gig at Red Hat. 
Greg DeKoenigsberg, for being a friend, a mentor and a visionary; if I 
can say one thing about Greg it's that he "gets it" when no one else 
does, he can put it in words, and above all else, he's real. 
Max Spevack, because I can write a whole book of reasons to thank Max, 
who has been a dear friend, a true buddy, a team player and a team leader. 
Karsten Wade, for being the most chillin guy you will ever find, and for 
being my west coast trade show and conference booth buddy. 
Jim Gleason, for being first a friend for 9+ years of NYLUG and then a 
mentor and being someone who cares.
Michael Tiemann, for being a genius, for always giving me something to 
think about and someone to look up to.
John Flanagan, for being my first manager at Red Hat and being an all 
around great guy and Jeff Needle, for being the guy who would let me 
wander into his cubicle and talk about nothing for hours on end.
Mo Duffy, for being the best artist and designer in the world!
The original Red Hat QA team, Ed Rousseau, Bill Peck, Marty, John, John 
and Zack for letting me encroach on their cube area and steal one when I 
was an intern. 
Jesse Keating, for being awesome, for being the workhorse upon much of 
which the foundations of Fedora are built, and for being a cool guy who 
I spoke to for almost 2 years online and helped me with everything 
before I ever got a chance to meet him and buy him a drink. 
Luke Macken, for all those games of Star Wars pinball on the 3rd floor 
and for being the most uber hacker the world has ever seen. 
Arlinton Bourne, for being a true friend and following my advice to join 
Red Hat, where the hood at? 
Paul Frields, for being a great leader and a real sweetheart while still 
secretly being 007.
Yaakov Nemoy, for being my intern and not complaining and for being a 
friend who will always listen to my crazy ideas.
Arjun Roy and Mohammed Morsi, for being great interns as well and for 
accepting offers to come to Red Hat as well.  Mo, real Red Hatters wear 
Bill Nottingham, because I like him.
Moshe Bar, for being my international hangout buddy and being an all 
around great human being.
The Red Hat Anaconda team, the Desktop team, Fedora kernel team (a.k.a. 
Dave Jones), the Fedora Ambassadors, the Fedora Infrastructure team 
including Mike, Dennis and Toshio, anyone who was ever been on the 
Fedora board including Rex Dieter, anyone who ever volunteered to help 
at an event or show, everyone in the Westford office, everyone in the 
NYC office.
The Fedora Marketing team including Steven Moix, David Nalley, Bob 
Jensen, Jon Stanley,  Rahul Sundaram, John Rose and anyone else I'm 
forgetting...we done good, real good.
To the next generation of leaders in Fedora, Mel Chua, Ricky Zhou, Ian 
Weller and crew.
Last and certainly not least, to Matthew Szulik who believed in us and 
led us finely as a teacher and friend and Jim Whitehurst, who keeps the 
flame alive, the train running and still makes time to be a true leader.

Thanks everyone for an amazing time and ride.  As I move on to other 
ventures, I wish everyone blessing and success and hope to keep in 
touch.  I can be reached via email jack at jackfoundation.com, Freenode IRC 
as themayor, and various and sundry social networks.

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