Jack is Going, Going, Going...Gone!
jaa at redhat.com
Mon Jul 27 23:29:09 UTC 2009
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
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
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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