Linux, musical road-dogging, and daily life by Paul W. Frields


I can’t believe a week without a decent blog entry. I am so sorry, my sweet Intartubez. Never again with the forsaking, I swear it! Now that I have been firmly ensconced back in my lair for half a fortnight, let me catch you up on my life, here and now.

Last week I was in Westford, MA for a managerial catch-up at da Hat. It was a wonderful and magical experience, full of wonder and delight. No, really! Let me give you the brief run-down, since a lot of it is mostly boring… I want the community to know that I do it all for you, brothers and sisters:

Sunday: I had no idea before this trip that JetBlue was a verb, but oh did I find out today. For me, it was a 6-hour delay, 3 spent on the tarmac waiting to take off. One day there will be wifi on planes and this won’t be such a big deal. Got into Boston at 10:30pm instead of 4:45pm. Get my rental car and burn rubber for Westford. Only it’s a Chevy Cobalt and burning rubber really consists of me holding a stick with acorns tied to it in front of the hood so the team of five scrawny squirrels runs faster.

Monday to Friday:LOTS OF MEETINGS. There’s really no reason to treat all these days separately, because it’s all just a huge blur of circumnavigating the brief blank spots in my calendar. Meetings with friends. Meetings with managers. Meetings with people I only know from video screens. Trying to make sure that Fedora is treating everyone, including people inside Red Hat, as full-fledge members of a community trying to build the best damn Linux technologies on the planet. Mostly succeed. Also trying to make sure that people in Red Hat are doing their best to engage the community and drive awareness of the huge amount of very cool work going on in-house, and the dedication in this company for free and open source software. Again, mostly succeed. Also, trying to put together a team lunch. Mostly FAIL, until Friday when things work out better and we all enjoy some good Indian food and a mango pudding that reigns supreme. Somehow I manage to miss spending much time with our awesome Anaconda team, for which I am ashamed. Friday night, travel home and miraculously am not JetBlued (check it out, Mo!). In fact, flight gets in early.

The week was an enormous success in part because this time around, rather than crashing with a friend (in particular, both spot and lxmaier have put me up, or should I say put up with me, in the past), I got an actual hotel just a few miles from the office. This meant I could continue my normal practice of getting up at 6:00am and arriving in the office by 7:00am. I try never to waste Red Hat’s money, and in this case, their outlay for a hotel room for me each night translated directly into 4 hours of extra work, before you count the work I did at the hotel itself. So basically, I got my normal 12-hour day in, and could make up for my relatively glacial pace, compared to my co-workers, through the benefit of sheer hours.

Weekend: A blur, but other than some catch-up email on Saturday I manage to avoid the computer for a little while. I drive up to Reston to rehearse with a friend’s 80s cover band, which is very diverting. We have a new female lead singer who rocks hard, and I have a great time although I wish we’d all learned more tunes. It works out OK because some people have to blow early.

Back to the present.

This week I spent a lot of time on something very important to me, the trademark guidelines for Fedora. It’s vital that we get this problem solved, because it is — well, if not a blocker, than certainly a speed bump — for all sorts of other things that are interesting to the community. Those things include custom spins, fan sites, business cards, and all sorts of other fascinating applications for Fedora’s infinitely appealing features. And darned if I didn’t make some progress. The way I see it, we want to minimize the difficulty for people to make use of the trademarks — and in a lot of cases, if I have my way, we’ll be removing the need for onerous approvals and making things simple. Specifically, we’ll hopefully have some sort of secondary mark for Fedora-derived spins — this directly empowers people in the appliance space, and IHVs and ISVs that are trying to deliver leading-edge solutions and development kits to their particular audiences.

A couple news articles I saw this week, and the excellent and productive time I spent in Massachusetts last week, prompt me to finish out this catch-up blog with a little stint on my personal soapbox. I’ve been active in the Fedora community for nearly five years, and I’ve never been prouder to be a part of it. If I weren’t working for Red Hat, I would still be hanging out with you guys — albeit more outside my work hours. ? This community is full of enthusiastic, talented, and ambitious people who know what it means to truly “walk the walk” of free and open source software. This community is made great by the people in it, who believe that Fedora is not just something you use, it’s an expression of ideas, something you believe in — the idea that we all have the power to make a difference in the world, and it starts by taking action, by giving something back. Contribution over consumption, giving over taking, enabling over using. I’m proud to hang my hat in Fedora — the reasons for that are numerous. The vast majority of those reasons are going to read this, and wonder if I’m talking about them. Assume the answer is “yes.” Now go forth and conquer!


  1. Peggy Hu

    Wow, you can get into the office an hour after you get up? My commute one-way is an hour and 15 minutes, and of course I have to do things like shower and get dressed in the morning before I leave the house …. On Thursdays I get to work from home, though.

  2. @Peggy Hu: Well, actually that was just the week I was up in Westford. So yeah, it was only about a 10-minute drive from the hotel to the office. But normally my commute’s shorter — since I work from home generally, I walk down two flights of steps and I’m in my office in the basement.

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