Fedora Program Manager Laid Off As Part Of Red Hat Cuts

Written by Michael Larabel in Red Hat on 14 May 2023 at 05:54 AM EDT. 63 Comments
As part of the Red Hat layoffs announced in April with around a 4% reduction in headcount for the IBM-owneed company, one of the surprising casualties from that round of cost-cutting is the Fedora Program Manager.

Fedora Program Manager Ben Cotton was unfortunately laid off as part of the layoffs announced in March. On Friday was his last day at the company after serving as the Fedora Program Manager for the past five years. The Fedora Program Manager coordinates within the Fedora community and stakeholders from Red Hat engineering to upstream projects and hardware vendors. The Fedora Program Manager also handles the Fedora community elections. Cotton was also part of those that brought up the CentOS Stream program.

Thus it was surprising to hear this weekend that he's been let-go from Red Hat among this round of layoffs. Ben Cotton wrote more on his blog:
"While I won’t be contributing as the Fedora Program Manager anymore, I was a Fedora contributor long before I joined Red Hat, and I’m not letting them take that away from me. I’ll still be around Fedora in ways that spark joy, although perhaps not much at first as I let my wounds heal.
I’ve told folks that if Fedora falls off the rails, then I have failed. I’m working with Matthew, Justin, and others to ensure coverage of the core job duties one way or another. I’ve worked hard over the years to automate tasks that can be automated. The documentation is far more comprehensive than what I inherited.

No doubt there are gaps in what I’ve left for my successors. However, my goal is that in a few months, nobody will notice that I’m gone. That’s my measure of success. The only reason I’ve been successful in my role is because of the work done by my predecessors: John, Robyn, Jaroslav, and Jan.

As to what the broader implication behind the loss of my position might be, I don’t know. There’s no indication that my role was targeted specifically. There are definitely people in Red Hat who continue to view Fedora as strategically important. I wish I had a clearer understanding of how they chose people/roles to cut, but I’ll probably never know the process. What I do know is that I fully intend to still be participating in the Fedora community when my account hits the 20-year mark in May 2029."
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