Paul Frields, who has been getting his paycheck from Red Hat to run the Fedora development Linux variant since 2008, is moving back inside the company to work on Enterprise Linux, and an outsider named Jared Smith is being brought in as the new Fedora Project Leader.
Frields joined Red Hat in February 2008, replacing Max Spevack, another Red Hat employee who ran the open source Linux development product from February 2006 until Frields took over. Smith will take over the FPL position (which is a full-time job with a Red Hat paycheck) to steer the development of Fedora 14, something that Frields already got the ball rolling on.
Frields managed the delivery of Fedora 9 through 13, Spevack handled releases 5 through 9 (sharing responsibility for 9 with Frields) and his predecessors Greg DeKoenigsberg, Cristian Gafton, Michael Johnson got Red Hat through its first five releases — it was called Fedora Core back then, you'll remember.
These five individuals have steered the Fedora development process, which ultimately results in a hardened, commercial-grade product called Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The sale of support for RHEL makes the money that allows Red Hat to be generous with its developers to create its cutting-edge Fedora Linux variant.
According to the blog announcement of Smith's appointment as FPL, he was a community-relations manager at Digium, a maker of open source PBX and VoIP software and systems. Smith was also a network operations manager at Omniture, a provider of web analytics services that is now part of Adobe Systems, where he managed more than 6,500 Linux systems. Smith has been working in the Fedora community since 2007, working mostly on the infrastructure and documentation teams but also helping with Fedora Talk, yet another open source VoIP telephony system.
Smith will host the FUDCon in Santiago, Chile, from July 15 through 17, where the features of the "Laughlin" Fedora 14 release will be hammered out. Laughlin refers to Robert Laughlin, a physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1998 for figuring out the fractional quantum Hall effect — but you knew that already, eh? ®