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Every Fedora release provides an opportunity for renewal and change. Our recent release of Fedora 13, which is being hailed by many as one of our best releases ever, is no exception. As we embark on another exciting development cycle, we also have the opportunity to renew the leadership of the Fedora Project as part of our commitment to change and evolution. In July, Jared Smith will join Red Hat as the new Fedora Project Leader, taking over the role from Paul Frields.

Paul joined Red Hat in February 2008 just a few months after the release of Fedora 8, succeeding Max Spevack. Before that Paul was involved deeply in Fedora, working on documentation, packaging, marketing, and as a founding member of the Fedora Board. He will remain with Red Hat, working in a new operational role with our Red Hat Enterprise Linux teams and assisting Jared during the transition period.

Jared Smith has been a long-time user of both Red Hat and Fedora, and has been an active participant in the Fedora community since 2007. He has primarily spent his time working with the infrastructure and documentation teams. He has helped with the development of Fedora Talk, our community VoIP telephony system. Fedora Talk allows various Fedora developers and contributors to communicate verbally for free across the Internet. Jared has also participated in community events such as various FUDCons and Fedora Activity Days.

Jared also brings a wealth of of both technical and community relations expertise from his prior job history. Jared’s previous employer is Digium, the commercial sponsor of the open source Asterisk software. While at Digium, Jared worked as Community Relations Manager, as well as an instructor, lecturer, and training department manager. Before working for Digium, Jared was a Network Operations Manager for the web analytics company Omniture (since acquired by Adobe Systems), where he managed a network of more than 6,500 Linux machines.

Over the past several years, Red Hat has continued to grow its commitment to Fedora. This comes in part as a direct result of the success Fedora has enjoyed as a community powered research and development lab. We’ve added several new members to the Fedora Engineering team over that time. Each of these people is tasked with not just developing services and projects within Fedora that create an infrastructure of participation, but to create community around these initiatives. In addition, Red Hat’s Community Architecture team continues to lead efforts to effectively measure our success at growing these communities, and identify additional opportunities for strategic investment.

The partnership between these teams, and indeed the rest of Red Hat, and the Fedora Project has allowed us to:

  • More finely tune our release processes and schedule, to provide a series of increasingly successful Fedora releases and serve as an effective upstream for the upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6;
  • Substantially increase the size of Fedora’s vibrant, friendly community of contributors;
  • Participate in a growing number of global open source events, thanks to a team of hundreds of Fedora Ambassadors empowered to lead growth and awareness in their locales worldwide; and
  • Increasingly become recognized as leaders in advancing the state of free and open source software, by working closely in collaboration with upstream projects.

There are always additional challenges ahead, and the Fedora Project Leader meets those challenges through strategic vision, building consensus in an open and transparent way, and helping all the facets of our community to work together smoothly. We thank Paul for his dedication to this important role, and now join the entire Fedora community in welcoming Jared to our team.

Jared will make his first appearance as Fedora Project Leader at FUDCon Santiago, Chile to be held July 15-17, 2010, and following that event, the 11th annual Fórum Internacional Software Livre (FISL 11), to be held July 21-24, 2010 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The Fedora Project has seen strong growth and interest in open source from the community in Latin America, with over 100 Fedora Ambassadors located in that region alone.

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