FESCo election: interview with Dan Čermák (defolos)

Originally published at: FESCo election: interview with Dan Čermák (defolos) – Fedora Community Blog

This is a part of the FESCo Elections Interviews series. Voting is open to all Fedora contributors. The voting period starts on Friday, 21 May and closes promptly at 23:59:59 UTC on Thursday, 3 June 2021.

Interview with Dan Čermák

  • Fedora Account: defolos
  • IRC: defolos (found in #fedora-i3, #fedora-devel, #fedora-arm, #fedora-riscv, #fedora-qa, #fedora-sway)
  • Fedora User Wiki Page


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

Fedora is my favorite Linux distribution and has become more and more stable and reliable over the years. My wish is to give back to this incredible community behind our distribution, preserve what we have build while always innovating and adhering to our Four Foundations.

I intend to use my experience from openSUSE’s and Fedora’s packaging, QA and release engineering to automate more of our processes (e.g. automated rebuilds, CI pipelines) and also drive experiments to keep Fedora as the cutting edge distribution that it is.

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

I am currently mainly involved in the maintenance and polish of the i3 spin of Fedora as part of the i3 SIG, where I contribute as the maintainer of i3 & related utilities and test automation with openQA. Now that we have shipped the spin as part of Fedora 34, our immediate goals are to further polish it incorporating all the feedback that we gathered to provide an even better i3 spin of Fedora 35.

I also maintain a bunch of OCaml packages with the end goal to package Facebook’s static analyzer infer for Fedora (an initiative that was kicked off and is mostly driven by Jerry James) which will benefit developers who just want to install and use infer without having to resort to using brew or pulling down docker containers. This has also resulted in the creation of Jerry’s opam2rpm (a rpm spec file generator for opam OCaml packages), to which I have contributed as well.

Besides maintaining and co-maintaining a few other packages (Emacs, a few python packages and some sway related utilities), I also contribute to Fedora’s automated image testing infrastructure (openQA). This is at the moment mostly limited to the i3 spin, but once we have the initial test coverage setup, I intend to contribute to other test cases as well and help expand it. I would like to eventually be able to run openQA tests on bare metal on openqa.fedoraproject.org to test our ARM and IoT spins.

How should we handle cases where Fedora’s and Red Hat Enterprise Linux’s needs conflict in an incompatible way?

This is a tough one, because as a community member of the Fedora engineering steering committee, I will biased to side with the Fedora community and less with RHEL. Nevertheless, it is my firm belief that if conflicts should arise, that we should try to resolve these in a satisfactory fashion for both sides. This is for the simple reason, that the relationship between Fedora and RHEL is a mutually beneficial one: neither of the two would be as successful as it is today without the other. Thus I will always strive to find a solution that is satisfactory for both sides, because what benefits Fedora, will eventually benefit RHEL and vice-versa. I will however strongly oppose one sided demands, that only benefit one party and put the other at a disadvantage.

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

I consider myself an open source enthusiast and a deep believer of the Four Foundations of the Fedora project, especially “Friends”. For me personally Fedora is all about the community. I wouldn’t be as invested as I am, if it weren’t for the people.

Additionally, I value collaboration, automation and testing and would like to improve Fedora in these areas. Especially as I have become involved in the openSUSE community over the last years, I would like help both communities to move closer and work together more, given how much common ground we share.

I am also very interested in non x86 architectures, mostly ARM and to some extend RISCV. I would like to see the official Fedora image become the number one Linux distribution to be installed on ARM boards instead of some cobbled together and never updated again fork of Ubuntu or Android. And at some point I’d love to run an official spin of Fedora on my Pinephone.

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