F38 FESCo election: Interview with Tom Stellard

Originally published at: F38 FESCo election: Interview with Tom Stellard – Fedora Community Blog

This is a part of the Elections Interviews series for Fedora Linux 38. Voting is open to all Fedora contributors. The voting period starts on Monday, 29 May and closes promptly at 23:59:59 UTC on Sunday, 11 June.

Interview with Tom Stellard


Why do you want to be a member of FESCo and how do you expect to help steer the direction of Fedora?

I have a background in compilers and toolchains, and I would like to use some of the knowledge I’ve gained over the years of building and troubleshooting applications to help make Fedora better. Specifically, I’m interested in helping packagers avoid making common mistakes through standardized macros and packaging practices and also by increasing the reliance on CI.

How do you currently contribute to Fedora? How does that contribution benefit the community?

I’m currently one of the maintainers of the LLVM packages in Fedora which is a set of 15 packages that provide a C/C++/Fortran compilers as well as a set of reusable compiler libraries that are used for developing other languages and for developer tools, like IDEs.

I’ve also worked on two system wide change requests to help standardize the use of make within Fedora packages. These changes helped to make spec files more consistent across all of Fedora and also made it possible to remove make from the default buildroot.

How do you handle disagreements when working as part of a team?

When I am in a leadership role, like FESCO, and there is a disagreement, the first thing I do is make sure I understand the problem and the potential solutions. This usually requires having a discussion between all interested parties either on a mailing list, chat platform, or video call. Many times disagreements are simply the result of misunderstandings, so getting everyone together to discuss the issue in the same place can lead to a consensus decision and avoid the need for someone in leadership to get involved.

However, if consensus cannot be reached, once I like to try to get some third party opinions from people who have not been directly involved with the discussions. Once I feel comfortable I have enough information and am ready to make a decision, I make sure I am able to explain in writing why the decision was made and then I communicate the decision to all the stakeholders. It’s always important to have a written record of why a decision was made in case it needs to be revisited in the future.

What else should community members know about you or your positions?

I work for Red Hat on the Platform Tools team. I am the technical lead for our LLVM team and the overall technical lead for the Go/Rust/LLVM compiler group. This means that I work on packaging, bug fixing and upstream feature development for LLVM and work on high-level technical issues common across all 3 compilers.

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