Change and Opportunity


Change and evolution are hallmarks of any open source project. Ideas form, code gets cut, repurposed, refined and released (and sometimes thrashed).

Much the same thing happens with teams of people.  In the True Spirit of The Open Source Way, people in teams will see individuals come in, contribute, leave. Sometimes, they return. Sometimes, they contribute from afar.

Change has come to Red Hat’s Community Architecture and Leadership (CommArch) team.  Max has written about his decision to move on from Red Hat, and Red Hat has asked me to take on the leadership of the group.  We have all (Max, myself, Jared, Robyn, and the entire CommArch team) been working hard over the past few weeks to make sure that transition is smooth, in particular as it relates to the Fedora Project.

I have been with Red Hat, working out of the Asia Pacific headquarters based in Singapore, for the last 8 years or so. I have had the good fortune to be able to work in very different areas of the business and it continues to be exciting, thrilling and fulfilling.

The business ethics and model of Red Hat resonates very much with me. Red Hat harvests from the open source commons and makes it available as enterprise quality software that organizations, business big and small can run confidently and reliably. That entire value chain is a two way chain, in that the work Red Hat does to make open source enterprise deployable, gets funnelled back to the open source commons to benefit everyone. This process ensures that the Tragedy of the Commons is avoided.

This need to Do The Right Thing was one of the tenets behind the establishment of the Community Architecture and Leadership team within Red Hat. Since its inception, I have had been an honorary member of the team, complementing its core group.  About a year ago, I moved from honorary member to being a full-timer in the group.

The team’s charter is to ensure that the practises and learnings that have helped Red Hat to harness open source for the enterprise continues to be refined and reinforced within Red Hat.  The team has always focused on Fedora in this regard, and will continue to do so. We’ve been lucky to have team members who have had leadership positions within different parts of the Fedora Project over the years, and this has given us an opportunity to sharpen and hone what it means to run, maintain, manage, and nurture a community.

The group also drives educational activities through the Teaching Open Source (TOS) community, such as the amazingly useful and strategic “Professors Open Source Summer Experience” (POSSE) event.  If the ideas of open source collaboration and the creation of open source software is to continue and flourish, we have to reach out to the next generation of developers who are in schools around the world. To do that, if faculty members can be shown the tools for open source collaboration, the knock-on effect of students picking it up and adopting is much higher. That can only be a good thing for the global
open source movement.

This opportunity for me to lead CommArch does mean that, with the team, I can help drive a wider and more embracing scope of work that also includes the JBoss.org community and the newly forming Cloud-related communities.

The work ahead is exciting and has enormous knock-on effects within Red Hat as well as the wider IT industry.  Red Hat’s mission statement states: “To be the catalyst in communities of customers, contributors, and partners creating better technology the open source way.”

In many ways, CommArch is one of the catalysts. I intend to keep it that way.

25 thoughts on “Change and Opportunity

  1. Congratulations Harish! It’s good to see you taking over this important role now that Max is leaving. I hope you’ll have a great time and make the best out of it for both you and the community. Good luck with your new position!

  2. Harish, it’s great news for all of us in the Fedora community to see such a fantastic person filling his shoes next. I know you’ll do a great job and I look forward to seeing your future successes at community building!

  3. These are really good news, i’m glad you are going to take on these projects much important to the whole open source & freedom communities.

    Congratulations.

  4. Hello Harish,

    I am pretty new to the open source concept and I learn more as I begin my recent journey of following your blog. Congratulations on your new role and hope to read more of your thoughts.

    1. Thanks, VIvian.

      I think you should take a look at Fedora 15 with the shiny new GNOME 3 window manager. It does change how one works on the desktop, and my own productivity dipped when I took the plunge. But suffice to say, it has changed and improved much that I am now very productive. There are still some more tweaks, but I am sure that when it finally appears in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, it will be very polished.

      Is there anything we (the open source community in Singapore) can do to help with the stuff you are doing in the ministry? Things like monitoring systems built using Arduino and related open hardware and open software etc. Appreciate your comments and suggestions.

      Thanks.

      1. MEWR is putting real time data, eg weather, flood sensors, dengue etc on data.gov.sg. I hope the community will use the data to generate more useful applications that will solve real world problems.

        Cheers

      2. Thanks for making data.gov.sg useful with these data points.

        We completed the fifth version of code::XtremeApp two weekends ago (http://www.itsc.org.sg/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=90&Itemid=48) and it was about “Personal Transportation”. I am not sure if the participants used info from data.gov.sg pertaining to water conditions though.

        Good to see that more and more info is being made available via data.gov.sg. The best way forward is to “default to open” as far as government-collected-tax-payer-funded data.

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