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

Geek Wrangler

Like a lot of working semi-pro musicians, I have a day hustle. Mine’s pretty great — building, enabling, and serving incredible teams of software engineers as a director of global software engineering at Red Hat.

I started working with open source by running Linux in 1997. I was intrigued by the idea of an operating system made entirely from code created by online, collaborative communities. I started with Slackware but soon jumped over to what was then Red Hat Linux. After several years of using Linux at both home and professionally, I jumped into the Fedora Project as a contributor to user documentation and tools, starting in 2003.

Eventually I was leading the docs team as a volunteer contributor. In late 2007 I received a call from then Fedora Project Leader Max Spevack, who was looking to bring on a successor full-time at Red Hat, the project’s main sponsor. Not wanting to later regret a golden opportunity, I left one successful career and started what became another. As FPL I helped lead a community of hundreds of active contributors building, integrating, evangelizing, and educating about Fedora and open source technologies.

I served as FPL for two and a half fun and challenging years. After this, I transitioned to a job working as an engineering program manager. I went on to be the development coordinator for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 product, a role which occupied most of my next four years at Red Hat.

Starting in late 2013 I also began managing the Fedora Engineering team for Red Hat. I realized that working as a manager gave me new ways to use my skills to help other people around me, including with their opportunities and careers. During the next several years I grew this team to include a couple additional managers as well as more expert practitioners. At the beginning of 2018 I moved to a new senior management role and now I oversee teams working on Fedora, CentOS, RHEL CoreOS, container tools and runtimes, hardware enablement in the RHEL kernel, and more.

I’m also the principal author of PulseCaster, a free software audio tool for novice podcasters (which I really need to work on more often although I’m short on time), and a frequent contributor to Fedora Magazine. I occasionally write about my current tech projects and musings at my blog on this site.