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A matter of community evolution — reflections on interviews from LinuxWorld

Thanks Linux Pro Magazine for getting together some community folks from various Linux distros and letting us appear, in a side-by-side comparison, as nearly identical. ;-D This is not a criticism! It just shows there is a certain amount of convergence in the popular Linux distros, no matter how many comparison shootouts people are holding.

Joe Casad, Linux Pro editor-in-chief, said at the start of the interview, “I have with me … Karsten Wade, who’s the community manager for the Fedora Project.” This is similar to the language on the landing page for the videos, “Linux Pro Editor in Chief Joe Casad sat down with the community managers of the Ubuntu, openSUSE, and Fedora projects …” (I put the emphasis on “the” in both quotes.)

I haven’t looked closely at the number and structure of the community team in Ubuntu and OpenSUSE, but I do know that I’ve seen Zonker (OpenSUSE) and Jono (Ubuntu) listed, introduced, and otherwise titled as the sole community manager for their distribution. They oversee a number of jobs rolled in to one person, much as Max Spevack was when he started as the Fedora Project Leader. These days, those roles are distributed across a number of people.

Maybe it’s just a reflection of the relative maturity of Fedora, but it seems there are a half-dozen people who work on community architecture, what we’ve dubbed our step-up from community management. The only reason I told Joe Casad, “Sure, Community Manager works as a title,” is because that is the easy slot to fit myself when explaining what I do for Fedora.

FWIW, this isn’t a game of one up; I’m not bragging about who has how many staff members focused on what activities. I fully expect other distributions to grow their own teams that are similar to our community architects, because it is an elegant solution that works. It’s why we go around giving the talk on “Community Architecture for Fun and Profit,” because we want to share what is working for us, just as we are learning constantly from others.