by Greg DeKoenigsberg
The Fedora Award is presented by Red Hat to the brightest stars of the Fedora community. Of the thousands of valuable contributors to Fedora, these are the individual contributors who have most strongly distinguished themselves over the past year. Building a community Linux distribution is hard work, and a lot of “heavy lifting” goes on behind the scenes. Without the dedication of these individual community members, Fedora would not be nearly as successful as it has become. We are extremely pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural Fedora awards for 2007.
Seth Vidal. “I’ve been a sysadmin of large number of Linux systems for a decade or so,” Seth says, “and in the last 4 years I’ve wanted to personally injure myself by working on package management for linux distributions.” Seth is best known as the creator and maintainer of yum, which has become the de facto standard package management utility for RPM-based systems. He was also the human buildmaster behind the Fedora Extras project and co-author of the first public Fedora build system. He was also one of the founding community members of the Fedora Project Board in 2006, and continues to serve the Fedora Project in multiple capacities. “I started out life as a political science and philosophy student,” says Seth, “so clearly, I was well-equipped for the cut-throat world of modern Linux distribution politics.”
Paul W. Frields. Paul W. Frields has been a Linux user, enthusiast, and evangelist since 1996. His first distribution was Slackware but he saw the promise of wider appeal for Linux in the early Red Hat distributions. His first Red Hat Linux distro was 4.1, and he has used every version since then. He has taught Linux to over a thousand law enforcement, intelligence community and private enterprise professionals since 1999. Paul has been one of the main forces behind the Fedora Documentation Project since its inception in 2003, and has served on the Fedora Project Board since 2006. Of his day job with the Government, he says only this: “I spend most of my days in a dark, hermetically sealed room where my handlers occasionally feed me my shoving pizza and other similarly flat food under the door. Occasionally I escape to attend Linux conferences and squeeze into conversations and photo opportunities with Fedora luminaries, until my homing beacon implant alerts the authorities to my location.”
Matt Domsch. As Linux Software Architect at Dell, Matt leads an engineering team focused on making Linux “just work” on all Dell systems. His team works directly with hardware vendors and device driver authors, upstream and distribution developers, to build the best user experience for Linux users. Matt manages the relationship with nearly 200 global mirror sites for Fedora, maintains a number of packages in Fedora, and has served on the Fedora Project Board since 2006. “The Fedora Project represents the Linux community at its best,” Matt says, “incorporating developers, artists, translators, and users in every aspect of the distribution; frequent stable releases that closely track and contribute back to upstream projects; and maintaining computing Freedom for everyone involved.”
Rex Dieter. Rex founded the KDE Red Hat project, and was invited to be one of the founding community members of the Fedora Project Board. Rex has worked for 12 years at the University of Nebraska Lincoln as Computer System Administrator in the Mathematics epartment. He is also a member of KDE e.V., the non-profit organization that provides legal and administrative support to the KDE community. Rex is now working directly with Than Ngo of Red Hat to maintain the KDE packages for Fedora. “Free software is a cause that I am proud to be a part of,” Rex says, “and witnessing firsthand the work of so talented people toward that same cause invigorates me.”
Thomas Chung. Thomas is the founder and current maintainer of fedoranews.org, which has become the definitive news source for all developments in the Fedora Project. He is a software engineer for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where he developers, tests, and supports core software and hardware used by JPL’s scientists and engineers. “I’m also a proud father of 8 month old baby girl,” Thomas says, “which consumes most of my evening and weekends — but l love every minute of being with her.”
Thorsten Leemhuis. Thorsten lives in Hannover, Germany, where he is a technical editor for computer hardware publications. He has been involved in the Fedora Project since its inception, and spent a year as the leader of the Fedora Extras project. “Fedora is, for me, the ideal project to contribute to, because Fedora and derived distributions provide the best products for all my use cases,” Thorsten says. “Red Hat in my opinion is a good and (mostly ) trustworthy parter, as the company and its employees seem to have have a really good understanding of open source software and its development methods, which they support properly like a good open source citizen.”
Brian Pepple. Brian is a consultant who specializes in systems analysis, network design, and administration. He owns several packages in Fedora and is the current leader of the Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (formerly the Fedora Extras committee). “Initially,” Brian says, “I joined the Fedora project because its goals (to be an OS that showcased the latest in software, and to be freely redistributable) meshed pretty well with what I was looking for in a distribution. I started out by packaging software that I was involved with upstream, and slowly became more active with the project until I ended up joining FESCo last summer. For the future, I’m real excited to see what the community can do now that we’ve finally merged the Core and Extras repositories!”
Dennis Gilmore. Australian by birth, Dennis now lives in the Midwest US, working for a company that sells images online. Dennis is the maintainer of the Extras repository for Aurora Sparc Linux. He is also a key contributor in the Fedora Infrastructure project, and was instrumental in making the Core/Extras merge happen. “I’m really glad that I got to help with getting the merge done,” Dennis says. “I have learned a lot from others in Fedora. Hopefully I’ve given back a small portion of what I’ve gained.”
Toshio Kuratomi. Toshio has worked with the Fedora Project since its inception in almost every conceivable role. “I initially became interested in working on Fedora because of the technical framework that Fedora was building to bring community volunteers and Red Hat Linux together,” Toshio says. He owns several packages in Fedora, has served on the Fedora Extras committee, works on several infrastructure projects, and influences major policy decisions. “After working within Fedora for a short time, I found that it was the Fedora community that was motivating me to continue working and expanding my role. The other packagers, the Fedora leaders, and the Red Hat employees who champion the needs of Fedora to their managers are intelligent, supportive individuals who collectively are creating an outstanding distribution for others to use. I want to give these people all the support I can to make their jobs easier.”
Bob Jensen. Bob is the founder of Fedora Unity, an independent organization of Fedora users and contributors who seek to push the envelope of what Fedora could do. Fedora 7 introduces tools for remixing Fedora with ease — but the Fedora Unity project has been producing custom Fedora spins for over a year, and their use cases drove much of the development of Fedora’s new customization tools. “We started Fedora Unity as a low barrier entry point to community contributors,” Bob says. “As Unity grew, our ideas of how we could help the community did also. The Re-Spins and Live spins are some of the fruits of that growth.” For Bob and the rest of the Unity team, it’s as much about fun as anything else. “Have fun; that is one of the main rules in Unity. Do what fits for you and your skill level, and learn to do what you want.” Bob has also been with the Fedora Documention project since 2005, and has served as editor-in-chief for Fedora’s release notes.