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Re: What Fedora makes sucking for me - or why I am NOT Fedora

On Tue, Dec 09, 2008 at 01:27:30PM +0100, Max Spevack wrote:
> On Tue, 9 Dec 2008, Robert Scheck wrote:
>> But nobody really follows, is having a look to these issues and  
>> problems or even takes care of it...why? I think, this should be the  
>> job of the Fedora Project leader, shouldn't it? I don't want to blame  
>> neither Paul nor Max in this e-mail, I think everybody of us needs to  
>> be more sensitive to issues around the Fedora Project and needs to  
>> take more care before developing or forking something.
> There has long been a difficult balance between the overall day to day  
> leadership of the Fedora Project, and the manner in which specific  
> technical decisions are made.  Many of the things you mentioned in your  
> initial email fall into the latter category.
> I won't speak for Paul, but for me, I always knew that it would be  
> inappropriate for me to try to micromanage individual technical pieces  
> of Fedora, because that wasn't my expertise.  So I never tried to, and  
> instead tried to make it clear that FESCO and other engineering leaders  
> within Fedora take that on.

For whatever it's worth, I've taken much the same position.  Having an
FPL who is an engineering micromanager would, I think, be an enormous
detriment to the project and would be a disincentive for our many
technically-minded contributors to solve problems in creative ways.

> Looking back, I think that things have ended up going well enough, but I  
> definitely could have done a better job in that area of my old FPL job.

I'm not sure that's the case, Max.  "More" is not the same as "better"
-- I'm absolutely confident you could have done *more* technical
management as the FPL, but that wouldn't have led to you doing a
better job in my opinion.

Engineers tend, by and large, to be heavily Type A personalities:
ego-driven, controlling, and detail-oriented.  (I'm not speaking about
Max or anyone in particular, just generalizing.)  All these traits are
very beneficial for problem solving and creating technical
advancements.  But in a manager they can be a heavy albatross, because
the same people you're managing react poorly to those very behaviors!

To me, creating an environment where people can solve these problems,
and solving them oneself, are very different goals.

> Recognizing this weakness was part of what led me to advocate for the  
> creation of a Fedora Engineering Manager position (which Spot holds) at  
> the same time that we brought in Paul to take over as the Fedora Project  
> Leader.
> If the FPL is Fedora's "CEO" then the FEM is Fedora's "CTO".  I also  
> don't want to speak for Spot, but I think that it would be very  
> appropriate for him to give a talk at FUDCon that represents his view of  
> what Fedora's roadmap and critical path are from an engineering  
> perspective in 2009.  Maybe that should be the keynote, actually, since  
> Paul gave the "Fedora State of the Union" in Boston back in June.

Indeed, I've been thinking a lot lately about using some time at
FUDCon for a Fedora leadership summit, so Spot and I, in collaboration
with Fedora Program Manager John Poelstra (the third side of the
managerial triangle in Fedora, if you will), can better articulate a
vision and roadmap for Fedora 12 and beyond.

Paul W. Frields                                http://paul.frields.org/
  gpg fingerprint: 3DA6 A0AC 6D58 FEC4 0233  5906 ACDB C937 BD11 3717
  http://redhat.com/   -  -  -  -   http://pfrields.fedorapeople.org/
  irc.freenode.net: stickster @ #fedora-docs, #fedora-devel, #fredlug

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