I was excited to read all the reports from the recent FUDCon in Santiago, Chile, where many Fedora contributors gathered to share information, teach, and learn about Fedora and the Fedora Project. After being to many FUDCon events, I have to say that it’s one of the most energizing community gatherings I get to attend. There are lots of great FOSS community conferences, but very few have the overwhelming sense of participation from all attendees. The imperative throughout Fedora is to get involved to help improve the project and the stuff we and others create, which naturally leads to a fantastic sense of talent and performance when you’re surrounded by contributors from all over the world.
I was also extremely pleased to see Jared’s incredible performance at the conference — although delayed first by bad weather and then by airline mechanical problems, he finally made it to the FUDCon, stepped off the plane and onto the podium (so to speak), and delivered his first keynote, in Spanish no less! I always regretted not being able to visit the previous FUDCon events in LATAM, so I’m glad to see Jared showing our commitment to the LATAM community, an essential part of our global Fedora family. In LATAM we have a very robust set of local communities, and like every part of Fedora, each brings its own culture and enthusiasm to free software through Fedora.
In Fedora, we’ve taken a number of steps to allow those local communities to flourish, including helping them set up community sites that support their audience in a local language. Although our websites and other services do offer a great degree of internationalization (i18n) to support other languages, not every service is equal in this respect. And in many cases, local audiences want to exchange information that unfortunately doesn’t mesh well with US law. Since Red Hat, which shoulders the vast majority of our project risks in legal terms, has to live by that law, enabling community sites helps contributors provide appropriate information for their regions without accidentally creating more risk. (Mairin Duffy has been writing about upgrades to our website that will help community members find local resources more easily, in fact.)
As more and more local communities develop, though, we should remember that we’re one united Fedora Project, as opposed to many disconnected groups. The essential component of the Fedora Project we can’t do without, regardless of where we are in the world, and just like every other open source project, is communication. If communication doesn’t happen regularly, it’s very easy for any team or local community to feel they’re not being heard. And we want people not only to be heard, but also to hear. We maintain a huge set of communication services — our official lists, blogs on the Planet, and bot-facilitated public IRC meetings held openly and transparently.
Whether it’s planning a FUDCon event, sorting out code issues, or figuring out how to on-ramp new contributors, let’s make sure we’re using those channels, and using them together.