An introduction of the new cheerleader...

Cristian Gafton gafton at
Sun Jan 25 05:28:43 UTC 2004

Hello folks,

As you are aware from his earlier message, Michael Johnson has decided to
move on and I have assumed the top level responsibilities for the Fedora
Project. Michael has been a great asset for us (where "us" = Red Hat and
the Fedora Project) and I would like to thank him for his efforts and the
progress made in these past months. A good part of this progress has not
been obvious to the outside world, but I know that there were a lot of
logistical hurdles and behind-the-scenes requirements cleared by Michael
in his time as the top Fedora wearer - which in turn will make my job that
much easier. I would like to thank him for his dedication to this project.

Good luck to you, Michael!

So, who am I? I have joined Red Hat in the summer of 1997 and I have
"climbed the corporate ladder" from an OS engineer to the Manager of OS
Development - those "old enough" will probably remember me from those
days. I then moved and started about three years ago the Red Hat Network
engineering group, where I have been acting as the Director of RHN until
about a year ago. In this past year, as a Red Hat Fellow, I have been
known to hold strong opinions in front of various CxOs from the Red Hat's
Executive team (/me tips the hat :-), while participating in various small
internal projects as time permitted. And now, with Fedora, the cycle is
completed and I have my chance to redeem myself for some of the things I
have done during my first stint as the dude responsible for building a
distribution... ;^)

I think it is important for everybody to realize that although Fedora is
going at this moment through a change in leadership, there will be no
change in the strategic direction and goals set by Red Hat and the
Steering Committee when the project was started. And because that saves me
from having to come up with a new grandiose plan ;-), I will dedicate my
immediate time on some of the tasks that need to be addressed with
urgency. In no particular order (since all these are qualify as "top
priority"), I will attempt to make happen in the shortest possible time:

- Fedora developer and contributor forms. These include things like
  establishing qualifications, credentials and requirements for issuing
  various accounts and access levels - in short the formal aspect of getting
  those interested the "commit" access to Fedora Project bits;

- Installation of a CVS server and associated repositories as the primary
  interface for the developers. I am still in the process of reviewing the
  specifics of this plan, but I can share at this point that there will be
  two main categories of packages/projects served from this machine to our
  contributors (and here is the answer to a popular FAQ):
    - the internally maintained packages will be mirrored read-only so that
      external contributors can track our progress, review our changes and
      replicate our progress on their own systems without waiting for
      updates from Red Hat.
    - the externally maintained packages will allow read/write access to
      particular contributors ("owners"). 

We're finalizing the implementation of this server, and we'll get it online
in a relatively short time. Yes, the web site promised this "before the end
of 2003". That means we're behind and I personally don't like at all being
behind the schedule...

- We're going to start building and deploying the necessary pieces for a
build system that supports Fedora and its collaborative development
paradigm. This is going to be closely linked and interfaced with the CVS
server. I know some people have already proposed/implemented proof of
concepts for this, and I will engage them in more detailed discussions
in the next week (as I hunt them down in the mailing list archives, unless
they choose to make contact with me first).

I realize that there is no shortage of people interested and willing to
test-drive each of these pieces. I would like to thank you for your patience
to date and I promise you that shortly you will have plenty of stuff to sink
your teeth into...

In other words, my immediate attention is dedicated to the issue of physical
and logistical infrastructure that would get the most developers
contributing the fastest to the whole project. So, what are your
expectations of this infrastructure? I can not make promises, but I know
that reading your opinions will be a good opportunity to understand how
relevant our current plans are.

As I come up to speed on various other bits and issues in the project, I
will attempt to address those as well. I will try to capture all this into
a general project-level TODO list on the web site to keep folks informed
where we are on various issues, what kind of progress is being made or
what's holding up the expected progress.

For the future I hold the hope that we will build not only a great project,
but that we will have the chance of building strong relationships as well.

Excited, terrified, worried and hopeful - I am looking forward to it,

Cristian Gafton     --     gafton at      --     Red Hat, Inc.
  "There are two kinds of people who never amount to much: those who 
   cannot do what they are told, and those who can do nothing else."
        --Cyrus Curtis

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