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Lydia Bossers: FUDCon @ Toronto

from Fedora People

At the moment I'm writing this, I am in Canada. Even though I haven't been able to explore the country as I would normally do, I have the impression that Canada is more similar to the US than I expected it would be. I think having a healthy life style is more difficult over here than in the Netherlands. On the other hand, how often do I go out for dinner and worry about the amount of sugar and fat in food in the Netherlands? And from the supermarket I just visited I can tell that there is enough fresh food to prepare a decent dinner myself.

Well, let's talk about something I do know instead of the impressions I have gathered over the last few days: FUDCon, the reason I am in Canada... I expected a group of computer geeks, but this was certainly not the case. If I would have give some thought about how social fedora contributors would be, the social aspect would not have been as much a surprise to me. I mean, these people operate in a community and they would only be valuable contributors if they can understand what others want and explain their own views on what the future of a project should be like. Hence, no loners.

At times it does cost me a lot of energy to find the things I'm interested in, because frankly I honestly don't care about the technology side. I mean, what do I care about computer-related stuff such as Ruby? (a project my boyfriend can talk about for days. Luckily, he knows not to talk to me about this stuff) What I do care about is the vision behind open source, how it can be applied in other fields, the reason people devote a lot of time to free software projects and last but certainly not least what a part of my boyfriend's life looks like (what kind of people he meets, what the activities at a conference are like and what makes him tick).

So, what have I learned? Well, I'll start with the basics I already knew. This way it may be more easy to understand where I come from. First of all, let me introduce you to the Fedora project ( Fedora is a Linux distribution. Unlike Windows and Mac, Fedora is free and open source. And don't get me wrong; free definitely does not mean it is free of cost though I do run software that I can get at zero price. What it does mean is that one has access to the code, can freely modify it to one's liking and can distribute the modified code. The Fedora project is all about these modifications and sharing the (modified) software with others most prominently upstream. Great minds think about how to solve bugs, incorporate features and discuss the future of a software project. Non-technical people (like myself) can also contribute to the project by, for example, filing a bug report or request a new feature.

Up to now, my only contribution was to request a feature with the words: “will I ever see you [Jeroen van Meeuwen] again in the living room?”( I must admit, I do not really consider this a contribution. Mostly, I just do not care enough about bugs as am easily satisfied as a user and instead of filing bugs I myself adjust when software works a bit differently than I expect. The only program I use enough to care about is the GIMP. So maybe I will get involved if there is something with this program... WTH, I might even be learning how to program software if it is important enough to me. I mean, if I do not try to change the program to my liking, I should not be allowed to complain about it. And as a side effect, I might do the other users a favor that may have the same problems as me. To me, as a user, this is the strength of Free and Open Source software; The possibility to get involved, get your problems fixed, your expectations met, all as part of this upstream process, so that others may enjoy the solution(s) or feature(s) as well.

I would say the main advantage of Free and Open Source software is the inherent transparency that allows you to fix bugs that annoy you (or others) and add interesting features. However, I'm not like the people that write code. As I understand, they mock around with the code just for fun. And why is it fun? Because it is a challenge. And of course, with this method of working you are able to excel and learn from others, since the community will respond on your actions. And though I do not understand why you would be interested in excelling in this type of activity I do understand the motivation if I think about my interest to work in the field I'm most interested in (let's just say I don't have a 9-to-5 mentality).

What I have learned at FUDCon is some technical stuff such as how to file a bug report.

  Where?, and/or (it does depend what you need to report. To really get involved with the GIMP I would directly go to the upstream GIMP website, same thing applies to the other software projects in Free Software).
  What kind of information is wanted?
     What package it belongs to, what version of fedora you are using, whether it is a RFE (request for enhancement) or a bug report, a screen shot of the problem/ error, what hardware you use. In case it was a bug also information such as: what you were doing when it went wrong, what you think should have happened and try to reproduce it. Hence: a lot of information. Don't be put off by this, because filing a report without this information could be just as valuable. Of course, I won't deny that it is more likely that the bug gets fixed when more information is available. I mean, the developers should be able to understand enough of the problem to deal with it. A good way to get a problem solved is to provide all information a developer might need to reproduce the bug on his development workstation.

Another thing I have learned is that Free and Open Source Software is absolutely not free in costs since maintenance is expensive. I mean: time is money, right? A lot of very enthusiastic people work for the fedora project and this is the only way that it could work. Without a doubt it is nice to hear people talk about this since it simply means that they are extremely passionate about something. They all think that anybody could do it. And maybe they are right. The only question is: do you want to spend time to figure this out? Needless to say, everybody answers this question differently. All I ask of you (if you are not a contributor) is that you set aside your excuses and answer the question honestly. If you can't be honest to yourself, think about what this says about you. Do you feel morally obliged? Or do you want to spend your time on something that is more important to you?

So, what about the money stream in a Free and Open Source (FOS) world? Instead of paying for the product one would pay for a service done by skilled people. If a company wants to have the software designed slightly different the company can wait and wait and wait and meanwhile hope that their request or bug report gets enough attention from a skilled developer. This, however, may not be the most efficient and effective way to deal with a problem or deficiency. Hence, why not pay someone to do it for you? In addition, pay someone to maintain the system as well. That is how in a FOS world someone obtains money: getting paid by doing a service rather than selling a product. Don't get me wrong it's not all about the money. I, however, do think that money is a helpful tool for trading one's spare time for the stuff he/ she wants to obtain regardless of whether that is an experience or material stuff. Anyhow one thing does become more difficult in a FOS world. Ever since other people think for us users products are made that we got used to. In fact we don't really know what we need or what we want, because that has never been an issue. Hence, in an FOS world it suddenly becomes important that one realizes what it own demands and wishes are, that one can communicate this with the person that will work on this and that that person is able to understand the demands and wishes. At times another person to help (with this process of realizing the needs and with a clear communication between the user and developer) would be a wise idea. Another thing that can be handy in this process is to make a simple sketch of how things will finally look like. Think about a mock-up for a website. More honest feedback will be given then. After all, people realize that it is relatively easy to make changes in a sketch whereas it is not so easy to modify a written code accordingly to the feedback. A piece of useful advise for a design is that one should group different objects when a design is (almost) done just to protect the design. Since accidentally moving one tiny object is not as noticeable as moving a whole group of objects. Honestly, this is a bit besides the point, the point is that in a FOS world people are still able to make money, but in a different way in which communication plays a huge role. The reason I speak of world and not software is that this story does apply to software as well as other fields such as science. Instead of access to the code, one would have access to raw data in science.

Of course I heard an awful lot more. Mostly technical stuff, like that RPM 5 is worse than RPM 4 and only to be used for one package. But hey: do you care about this? Or how certain patches are required for such and such? I know I don't care so let's stop writing right here.

Ben Boeckel: FUDCon Toronto

from Fedora People

So FUDCon is over this year and it was great. Finally getting to meet people and discuss the workings of some of the projects Fedora is involved with. Rob Escriva and I left Thursday morning after breakfast and got into Toronto a little before 4pm.

The first night we met up with Steven Parrish and Rex Dieter for some dinner at an Irish pub near the hotel. We heard that there was live music there and indeed there was. Very loud and right next to our table. By the time we had eaten and returned to the hotel, lots of people were gathered in the lobby and were discussing various things. Rex and I talked with David Malcolm about what was happening with Python 3 in Fedora 13 and how it would affect the KDE side of things (more on that below). Seth Vidal also joined up and the topic moved between bdb and sqlite and how it affects rpm and yum, patches to python and rpm itself and other tangents that were all too easy to get off on.

After getting to sleep around 2am or so, we woke up for breakfast to get to the college at 9:30. The bus ride cost was a little crazy ($3.50 for one ride) but there were few viable alternatives. We all gathered in the room deemed to be Room 1 to discuss how things worked at FUDCon with the bar camp style of scheduling. Lots of people lined up to pitch talks for the day including Rob to pitch CHASM (something else which will be explained in more detail below). Everyone then lined up outside in the hall where the pitched topics were taped to the windows to mark which talks were the most interesting to people. CHASM got 22 and we got paired with Matt Domsch’s talk about Mirror Manager.

The first talk that I attended was Steven Parrish’s talk on reporting bugs effectively. I was the one who asked if anyone was logging the talk and in the process volunteered myself for it. The hardest part about logging was keeping up with the slides and the talk and typing things into the IRC channel fast enough but I got better throughout the day and it got a lot smoother. The logging of the talks in IRC and using zodbot to throw the results onto the wiki is a great way to help those who are not able to attend FUDCon to be able to participate as well. The talk itself was great. Even though I get CC’d on lots of bugs due to being a co-maintainer of the entire KDE stack and having to request logs and such for different things. Lunch was next and Rob and I talked with Adam Williamson about netbooks, computer specs and whatnot over the provided meals.

The next session was on MirrorManager and CHASM (a project Rob and I have been working on). Matt Domsch discussed what MirrorManager is and what it offers for Fedora. I never knew that it picked mirrors for me. Goodbye fastest-mirror plugin hackery (manually remove the results for any mirrors I don’t want). After that, Rob and I (well, mostly Rob) presented on CHASM, the Cryptographic-Hash-Algorithm-Secured Mirroring solution. It aims to ease mirroring large collections of software that change over time (such as distributions’ repositories). It was well received and we got good feedback from Seth Vidal and Matt. Some ideas that we had about what actually goes on with the mirroring of Fedora and what CHASM needs to do were updated and we have rethought some of the assumptions we had before FUDCon.

After that, I attended the GDB talk and learned how to make pretty-printers to get usable output when displaying values of the running program. There were also tips on debugging threaded applications that I wasn’t aware of before and should help with debugging some KDE applications that make use of threading.

The most interesting talk (other than CHASM) that I attended was Jesse Keating’s talk on how Fedora will be ditching dist-cvs for git. I am very excited about some of the ideas that were being discussed such as the automatic patch management (just some macros in the actual spec file), exploding source tarballs into a git repository to create patches with git format-patch, actual tools rather than hackish make targets, and actual support for branching (I’m looking at it being able to do snapshots of upstream outside of rawhide so that if things go really awry with release times, an epoch isn’t needed to fix things up when rawhide gets branched for a new release). Between this and KDE’s conversion to git, there should be plenty of documentation on how to convert repositories of huge scale and hackery over to git.

The last presentation I attended was on trademarks and how they affect Fedora. It was a great discussion between how lawyers see trademarks, how hackers see trademarks, and what needs to be done to make things clear on both sides of the discussion. After learning about the basics of the legal web of things that affect Free Software in general (copyrights, trademarks, patents, etc.) in the Open Source Software Practices class here, getting some input on how lawyers look at things was a great insight.

After the BarCamp was over (great format by the way), everyone headed back to the hotel to drop off laptops and such before heading over to Dave & Busters for FUDPub where I talked with Ian Weller, J5, Brennan, David Malcolm, Luke Macken, and others (many of whose names escape me) about various things related to Fedora, Python, and other technical topics. Towards the end, J5, Brennan, and I went to the game room to roam around and see what was going on (I watched since I prefer watching games than playing them). We ran into Spot, Jesse Keating, and others as well. Spot had a bunch of tickets and everyone donated what they had which, with a total of 670 or so tickets, got Spot a set of poker chips.

After FUDPub, I headed to the hackroom on the third floor and was told by Seth Vidal that if Rob and I can’t sell CHASM to John Hawley, the system administrator of, we need to rethink everything. After hanging around and listening to some of the discussion, I headed to bed so that I could get up in the morning for the hackfests the next day. Rob says he lost the pool game, but I sunk the 8 ball in the wrong pocket, so to be pedantic, he won ;) .

The next morning, after waking up, eating breakfast, and talking with…well I can’t remember exactly who I talked to, so many people. I’m sure it was interesting and productive :) . After that and the bus ride to the university, various pitches for things to work on throughout the day were done. I pitched the CHASM hackfest and invited anyone who would like to do GPG keysigning to somewhere in the room that was labeled as ‘E’ on the board. At the hackfest, I talked with David Malcolm about the Python3 happenings and how it affects the KDE side of things. He discussed what needs to be done to spec files to get them ready for the Python3 fun that Fedora 13 will sport. Adding PyQt4 and sip to the list of packages that need attention for the large majority of packages in KDE land to be ready for it. We went through the sip spec file and did preliminary work to get sip working with python3. Other than some of the black magic that it does, it went well and python3 on the KDE side of things should be done once sip, PyQt4, and the ever inimitable kdebindings support python3 parallel installation (other than the normal work of splitting the users and dependencies of these packages). John Hawley then showed up and Rob and I discussed what CHASM was, what does, what it would need from CHASM to consider it, and other related things. He liked it, so it means that CHASM is on the right track.

Later, after some pizza got ordered, I hunted down Máirín Duffy to discuss a logo for CHASM. I had an idea in my head of what it would look like, but Mo was able to improve upon it and is capable of bringing it to fruition unlike myself. We also talked about some of the things about RPI since she is an alumni.

Towards the end of the night, a bunch of us gathered in room ‘A’ to work on different things. I didn’t get much work done there other than some fiddling with xmonad (rather than ratpoison) on the netbook. Haskell is very interesting and monads make my head hurt. Towards dinner time, those that were still at the university headed over to a mall to get some food to eat. I talked with one of the XFCE maintainers (sorry, can’t remember your name) about what CHASM was, differences between GNOME, KDE, and XFCE and the different use cases they fill.

After dinner, things such as “It’s a trap”, nethack, and “The Website is Down” were displayed on the projector. Not much work was done on my part after dinner, but it was fun in any case.

That night I went to the hackroom again and talked with Adam Williamson some more, debugged an issue where some kernel upgrade botched up the initrd creation for the new kernel making it fail to boot with Dennis Gilmore and John Hawley, and more.

The next day at the hackfest, Rex, Jaroslav, Steven, and I discussed KDE related things from what needs to happen with kpackagekit, the Network Manager frontend, updates, and other details. Rob and I did some documentation for CHASM, thought up of being aware of preferred files due to cache status for CHASM, and overall was a more productive day. Rob and I talked with Mo about coming to RPI to talk about the Fedora Project when Red Hat visits for the career fair in the spring.

Upon returning to the hackroom, we attempted to debug the network and determined that it was most likely due to the gateway overheating and shutting itself off once it hit its limit. Stephen Smoogen, David Malcolm, Spot, Mel Chua, and I went to play some Dungeons & Dragons. I first played this past summer, it was the first time Mel was playing, and the others have played much more. We got to the first fight, beat the tentacled arm thing and then called it a night.

The next morning was the last morning of FUDCon. The FUDBus left around 9:30, and Rob and I headed out around 10:15. We caught up with the FUDBus on 90 on the way back, but made a stop to stretch and lost it. I would like to thank Red Hat for my funding to go, Chis Tyler for getting the space at Seneca, Mel Chua, Paul Frields, and all the others who made this FUDCon possible. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the next one I can attend. Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailKeep unreadAdd tags

Dec 11, 2009 (2 days ago)

Paul W. Frields: Here there be lawyers.

from Fedora People

Over the past year-and-some-change, I’ve spent quite a bit of time working with Red Hat Legal on the treatment of Fedora trademarks in our community. In particular, Pam Chestek, one of the very small handful people I work with who’s been at Red Hat for a shorter time than I, has courageously surged forward into the community to engage in mutual dialogue about trademarks. Specifically, she actively solicited comments on making a better trademark license agreement, listening intently to concerns and then addressing them with changes or explanations.

At FUDCon, Pam gave a session on trademarks in one of the 35-seat classrooms that overflowed the available seating. It was obvious our community takes the subject matter seriously, and I heard from several people over the course of the weekend how pleased they were that Red Hat Legal wanted to participate directly with them. If you’re interested, journalist Sean Michael Kerner has posted a short summary of the talk that’s well worth reading.

He notes that I made a point about brand — that in large part, the value thereof is defined by your customers. This is something about which I’ve learned more from reading, among other things, Chris Grams’ excellent Dark Matter Matters blog. Credit where credit’s due!

For some FOSS entities, trademark policies are addressed only in hushed tones, or even concealed from contributors. I’m really proud to work for a company where I can visibly see community principles being put to work daily, even when it comes to touchy issues like trademark protection. Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailKeep unreadAdd tags

Dec 11, 2009 (2 days ago)

Paul W. Frields: FUDCon Toronto report.

from Fedora People

There have already been plenty of posts about all the good stuff that happened at FUDCon Toronto 2009, so just repeating the same details would seem like gilding the lily. Easily over 200 attendees as of Day 1, and we had other people showing up over the weekend, and students stopping in on Day 3, asking questions and sharing stories. A great facility at Seneca, thanks to Chris Tyler and crew. Lackluster broadband at the hotel, but a great hack suite experience nonetheless. Questionable pub surroundings, very little sleep, loads of fun, and a marvelous event overall.

OK, that sums up everyone else’s posts, so how about what I accomplished, other than teaming up with Mel Chua and Chris Tyler behind the scenes as the Indefatigable FUDCon Ninja Trio?

Day 0: Not much other than checking in with the hotel to make sure they were ready for the bus. Dinner with Greg DeKoenigsberg, Howard Johnson, David Huff, Yaakov Nemoy, and many other Fedorans at the infamous “Irish Pub.” Arrived a bit late for the actual FUDBus landing, but got to greet almost everyone arriving at the hotel. Then realized everyone was going to the pub again and cursed the fact that I hadn’t had a healthy snack to get me through for a late night dinner.

Day 1: Realized we just broke BarCamp — at least as a “do everything the day of” event. In the future, we’ll need to have a night event for our scheduling. The consolation prize, of course, is our “embarrassment of riches” when it comes to talks: more than we can fit in the schedule, to be sure. Thanks to Yaakov and an intrepid crew of volunteers, we also had almost every talk logged on IRC so that remote contributors could “listen in,” ask questions, and participate from afar.

In between event troubleshooting and hallway conversations, I caught part or all of:

   * Designing the Application Update and Install Experience, presented by Chris Aillon and Jon McCann
   * Fedora, Zikula, and Fedora Insight, presented by Simon Birtwistle (log)
   * Designing the Future of Free Software Operating System User Experiences: GNOME Shell, presented by Colin Walters and Jon McCann
   * Designing UI Mockups in Inkscape, presented by Mairin Duffy (ODP, log)
   * Trademarks in Fedora, presented by Pam Chestek

There’s kind of a trend there, since I’m keenly interested in the experience of Fedora and how we might all bring our individual skills to making it better. I also gave my own wacky commentary on Fedora and some ideas on thinking beyond our subjectivity to broaden Fedora’s reach, widen its appeal, and attract more contributors to what I think is ultimately a more sustainable approach to working in the free software community.

On a semi-related note, there’s a saying you’ll find on my blog site. You won’t see it in RSS readers of course. It reads, “Esse quam videri,” which means “To be and not to seem to be.”* The free software distribution that we enjoy comes to us thanks to the efforts of thousands of people upstream from Fedora that write some of the code we use, and one of the things we need to do over the next year is redouble our efforts to support them. In addition, we need to recognize all the Fedora contributors who are vital parts of upstream communities, and support them as well. And in doing that, we need to be true to our FOSS philosophy and practices — walking the walk, not just talking the talk.

I drew a brief metaphor in my FUDCon closing comments on Day 1 to $FAST_FOOD.** Leaving aside all my veggiesaurus friends for the sake of argument, the success of $FAST_FOOD implies that a great number of people find $FAST_FOOD’s goods to be tasty and affordable. And the advertising and marketing of $FAST_FOOD sure tends to reinforce that — even going so far as to imply their food good is for you, and high-quality.

But unfortunately, the widepsread, negative side effects worldwide, from obesity (yes, I’m looking at you, mirror) to agricultural nightmares to economic problems, tend to say otherwise. There are better ways to produce nourishing food, and promote healthier and more sustainable lives. And in the same way, there are better ways to produce free and open source software that don’t sacrifice freedom or choices for users, and promote “healthy” upstream collaboration and cultivation.

And that’s what Fedora represents to me: being this sustainable force, not simply appearing to be so.

So, back to my FUDCon tale: Following the technical sessions in BarCamp, of course there was the world-famous FUDPub event, dominated by snicky-snacks and pool sharks. I also got to meet, live and in person, previously virtual-only friends like Adam Miller and Karlie Robinson. I also tried to troll Max Spevack, but was too earnest to carry that off properly, and failed miserably (sorry Matt, I tried). Max is a master at this so maybe I need to take some lessons! Or alternately, in the future I’ll just stick to wearing my heart on my sleeve, which apparently suits me better.

Day 2-3: We moved to a different building where the hackfests would be more effective, putting people together in small rooms or around workgroup-sized tables for better face-to-face exchanges.

To start off the day, I gave an introductory talk on PyGTK development, aimed at people who were in the position I was last year — understanding the basics of Python, and knowing how to write basic programs, but not understanding how to build a GUI around it. I explained things in rudimentary terms, such as how events work with GTK, the inheritance model for objects, and how to look up properties and functions using system resources like DevHelp when writing code. These were the things that were so difficult for me to wrap my head around as a liberal artsy non-programmer, every time I sat down and tried to bridge this gap, and I think I hit the sweet spot for a bunch of the attendees. And fortunately, there were a couple experts in the room too, who I could rely on to tell me if I was Getting It Wrong, or offer additional advice to the attendees.

A bunch of people took this information and started thinking about cool ways we could extend and, to some extent, universalize PulseCaster to meet more of our media origination needs. We did some brainstorming about use cases and also interface design to support them; that’s hard work but very worthwhile, and also incredibly important to me because I want a tool that meets the GNOME HIG and remains simple, slick, and usable by non-technical people. I’m really keen on working on this more over the next few weeks, especially during my vacation time when I can set my own agenda.

During the rest of these days I had a number of meetings with different people to understand issues, listen to ideas, give feedback where it was wanted, and facilitate everyone else’s FUDCon experience:

   * Watched Mairin Duffy and the FOSS usability lab in action, although I didn’t get a chance to participate myself as a tester (surprise!).
   * Sat in on part of a conversation between Fedora contributors that ranged widely from PackageKit to team dynamics. Unfortunately, I had to leave partway through to handle some hotel logistics.
   * Talked to Pam Chestek from Red Hat Legal, who attended the whole conference and not only gave a planned talk on trademarks on Saturday, but made herself generally available all weekend for people to walk up and ask questions. She let me know she very much enjoyed FUDCon and I hope that she’ll return for the next one.
   * Discussed EMEA events and community with Jeroen.
   * Had a chat with Christopher Aillon and Jon McCann about their Fedora install/update talk and related issues, and thanked them for the work they’ve been doing to improve communication between members of the Desktop team and the overall Fedora community.
   * Had lots of ad-hoc meetings with Mel Chua where we tried to make sure all of our financial i’s were dotted and t’s crossed.
   * Handled a couple of urgent Fedora issues on the side, but generally failed to keep up with my email and RSS (and paid the price this week!). :-)

Day 2 ended with a nice dinner with Max, Matt Domsch, Dennis Gilmore, and some other Fedora folks at the Ice Cream Patio. Christopher Aillon and I split a nice bottle of valpolicella, although I think that I probably got the better part of a 60/40 split, and the food was very good, especially the dessert (my amaretto trufata was excellent, and if Dennis wasn’t so imposing a figure, his raspberry crepe would have been in danger too if I could have distracted him somehow!). We talked a lot about disasters for some reason, and hearing what Matt and Christopher had both experienced in the way of real estate catastrophes, I felt completely humbled about my stupid and trivial basement leaks.

Day 3 ended quite differently, with dozens of Fedorans crammed into our hospitality/hack suite at the hotel for hors d’oeuvres and fun conversation. For the most part, people set their laptops aside and wound down from an action-packed weekend. My manager, Tim Burke, VP of Linux Development at Red Hat, was there too. I do have to say that it is incredibly empowering and supportive for one’s manager to show up at the most important regional event as a participant — and at the risk of sounding like a suck-up I think that’s one of the things I really like about working with Tim. Maybe I’d better say something negative to balance it out — we wish he’d brought beer! :-D

In general, this FUDCon was one of the most exciting events I think we’ve ever had. It was certainly one of the, and maybe the single, largest ever. I’m really grateful to all our contributors who made it such a success, bringing their talent, their knowledge, their passion, and their willingness to help others contribute to free software through Fedora.

Coming up to this event, I’d been struggling a bit with some mental and spiritual exhaustion. This event helped me get Fedora back into perspective and reminded me what a beautiful thing it is to be surrounded by wonderful, smart people — and how much we can accomplish when we bring our ideas together and compare them constructively to find the best way forward. Thank you to every single one of you who participated either on-site or remotely, for the gift of renewal.

See you at the next FUDCon!

  • The original Cicero quote is also worth knowing: “Few are those who wish to be endowed with virtue rather than to seem to be so.”
    • I’m not naming one here to avoid the obvious legal entanglements. ;-)

UPDATE: Apologies to Colin for absent-mindedly fubar-ing his last name.

Dec 10, 2009 (3 days ago)

Diana Martin: FUDCon Toronto - Barcamp Overview

from Fedora People

Fudcon Tornoto was a blast - seriously, it reminded me why I miss lan parties (hey, I’m a gamer!). A bunch of hackers getting together and hacking for the LOVE of it was just awesome to witness and be a part of.

The festivities took place at York University @ Seneca in Toronto, Ontario Canada.

Barcamp Day one was done barcamp style. There were about 150 people or so in attendance. Everyone who wanted to lead a panel suggested their panel and had 30 seconds to pitch it. They then took their panel pitch page outside to hang on the wall. After the pitching was done, everyone had the option to go out and vote for the panels they wanted to go to. The panels with the most votes were then put into a grid schedule on the wall as well as translated to a Wiki page (that was announced on the Fudcon IRC channel), so people could schedule the panels they wanted to go to and stay up to date with changes on the Wiki as they occurred.

There was apparently a record number of panels proposed at this Fudcon. Even so, it flowed VERY well and came together in about an hour.

Setup All panel rooms had their own IRC channel (much like is done at SXSW - just a meebo chat instead of IRC there), and each panel had a transcriber in addition to the speakers that would transcribe the entire panel (as best they could) to the channel so that people who were there could talk in a backchannel and others could remote in from places all over the world to participate. Additionally, one to two panels an hour were audio streamed as well as audio recorded so that they could be posted online later.

There were 40 panels in all on Saturday, spread across 8 rooms and 5 hours.

The panels were a bit segregated in that there was a developer tract and a user tract. Though the design panels spread across the both of them, I felt they probably could have had their own tract, and thus made sure to attend at least one of those. In the end went to at least one panel of each of these three tracts to get a sense of who was there and what they were talking about.

My Panel My panel was one of the last of the day in a room with about 20 to 25 people or so. At first I didn’t think I’d be able to talk an entire 45 minutes - but that really wasn’t an issue in the end. You can read the backchannel that was going on while I talked here, to get a sense of what it was like and the type of conversation that was going on. It was also audio streamed and video recorded. As soon as I get copies of those I’ll post them for you. I will also post about just my panel after I finish the overviews of each day!

Dave & Busters - FUDCon style: That night we all went out to D&B, paid for my Fedora. We got to enjoy little burgers, chicken strips, snack trays, as well as tea, coke, water and a bit of pool on their dime. At one point I was pulled over into a conversation between to developers on the best way to package software that took into account not only streamlining processes, and procedures, but also ease of use for the user. Then I played pool a bit (and sucked horribly). I was never lacking conversation as many times people would come up to me and strike one before I even had a chance to strike one up myself. It was fun, I enjoyed the crowd. People came from all over the world including places like Germany, Belgium, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Hackroom: After D&B I was invited to participate in hackroom activities. In fact, they wanted me to participate in a specific project, that being creating a Design Spin of Fedora. What is a Spin? From their site: Fedora spins are alternate version of Fedora, tailored for various types of users via hand-picked application set or customizations.

This Design spin we created includes many tools required for designers and artists of all kinds to do their job using nothing but free/open source software. We came up with all the things in it by comparing what Mairin Duffy used in her Fedora environment versus what I use in my Macintosh (more traditional design based) environment. We found FLOSS equivalents for everything then had Sebastian Dziallas perform the technical part of creating the spin, while Mel Chua documented the entire process we went through in order to share it with others who are interested in doing the same thing.

As soon as this spin is made available I will be downloading it and trying it myself. It was rather interesting to see Mairin’s panel on Inkscape and realize she does exactly what I do in an open source program, where I use proprietary programs such as Omni Graffle or Visio to get the job done.

It was very nice that not only did they invite me to hangout in the Hackroom, but they also found something they wanted me to participate in.

I think we ended up getting to bed around 3am only to start it all over again at about 8am the next day! Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 10, 2009 (3 days ago)

James Laska: FUDCon Toronto trip report

from Fedora People Not too much trouble traveling to FUDCon Toronto. The flight out of Raleigh experienced some mechanical issues. Will Woods and I were transferred to Cleveland for a long layover. That gave us plenty of time to catch up on AutoQA. Since I like lists ... some might say too much ... so here it goes.

Day#1 - Barcamp

   * (or killing CD ISOs w/ the network) -- see log -- Interesting talk on removing the need for media-based installs. Basically, you download a small image and store it on a USB key, tftpserver or optical media (so not really getting rid of the CD's). When booted, that smaller image boots off the network and offers installation of just about anything (Fedora, CentOS, Ubuntu, Gentoo, etc...). Mike McGrath was keen on implementing this within Fedora infrastructure to provide another easy method for users to get involved and help test.
   * Fedora QA: What we do, and how you can help -- see log -- Great talk by Adam on what the Fedora QA team does, and how to get involved. Some participants were surprised that the blocker bug process was so open. That's certainly a strength with our current process in that it doesn't require l33t permissions to engage and add value. A big 'hooray!' went out for Kevin Fenzi .. who helped make it even easier to get involved by providing non-destructive nightly live images of rawhide.
   * AMQP Qpid -- session not active -- I was hoping to catch this session. However, it seems most of the discussion took place during the previous amqp talk. Instead, I headed over to ...
   * Designing the Future of Free Software Operating System User Experiences - GNOME Shell / 3.0 -- see log -- Jon McCann and Colin Walters demonstrated the rationale behind the GNOME shell and gave a quick demonstration (see screencasts) along with screenshots. They're focus on the user experience is interesting.
   * AutoQA Beaker Automated Testing -- see log -- Bill Peck and Will Woods discussed recent improvements and the rationale behind the different solutions. Beaker has come a long way since it first jumped into the fedorahosted project scene. Will talked about the initial design goals for the AutoQA project, as well as some upcoming milestones. Bill discussed how beaker is being used now and testing possibilities for Fedora. This is a big area of growth for the QA team. AutoQA was designed for testing that does not require complicated test environments (either dedicated test systems or virtual guests). As our testing needs mature, beaker will likely be involved in helping transition to more complex test infrastructure (multiple test systems, system provisioning, etc...).

Day#2 - Hackfest

   * Fedora release criteria discussion with John Poelstra, Adam Williamson, Bill Nottingham and Tim Burke. Our initial thought was the discussion would simply put a bow on the existing pages and wrap-up with the feedback provided leading up to FUDCon (wiki and mailing lists). However, many hours later, we arrived at something that we can all agree with and build on for future releases. For the most part, the release criteria simply restate what we've always done each Fedora release. This time, Adam suggested a clever revamp of the requirements as to not leave too much of a burden on QA for defining policy using our test plans. The current result is something the QA team can execute on for Fedora 13, has the thumbs up from key stake-holders in Desktop, Release Engineering and Development, and leaves room for future growth. I'm pretty jazzed with the results ... Fedora_Release_Criteria. 

Day#3 - Hackfest

   * Discussion around AutoQA Use Cases with John Poelstra I've been struggling to make sense of the use cases. My intent was that by completing the use cases, we could highlight gaps in AutoQA documentation or process.. What John suggested was keeping them short, sweet and task focused. I cleaned up the initial 'Getting started' cases accordingly. Next step, catch up with AutoQA developer and rpmguard creator, Kamil Paral, to help flesh out more details.
   * Spoke with the installer team on their plan for build-time unit tests. David Cantrell and team are working on building unit tests to validate anaconda dependencies at build-time. These are dependencies that normally manifest as install-time failures. This includes libraries such as udev and dbus, binaries like iscsiadm and mdadm, directory locations (/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts) and config files/formats that it depends on. Following a model similar to 'is rawhide broken?', a new AutoQA milestone will likely come from this. The milestone will include a post-git-push watcher to initiate tests whenever anaconda changes are pushed into anaconda.git and another turbogears front end for display and review of test results.
   * Happy recipient of guidance from Toshio Kuratomi and Mike McGrath on packaging and deploying autoqa. The previous package was for EL5, after moving to F12 several bugs surfaced related to config files and the reliance on python-cherrypy2 (not the latest cherrypy). With those issues out of the way, next stop ... package review process.
   * Discussion with Adam Miller on the possibility of using dogtail to automate tests inside a running live image. Adam, Will (and possibly others) discussed how to automate GUI testing on a live image. Some of the challenges involved getting the test code and dependencies installed on the live image ... without of course changing the environment under test. One clever idea I heard was to use an overlay partition. The other challenge is our general lack of knowledge around dogtail testing. Dogtail has been around for some time, but it's unclear in what state upstream is and how robust of a system it is for GUI testing. Hopefully Adam is able to shed some light on that untapped resource.
   * Finalizing the Fedora 13 QA schedule with John Poelstra and Denise Dumas (with input from Jesse Keating). I'm happy with the current QA schedule that John has asked for feedback on. It continues the F-12 trend of having 3 test events leading up to each major milestone (Alpha, Beta, Final). Each milestone will be preceded by the following test runs ... 1) pre-$MILESTONE rawhide acceptance test run, 2) test-compose test run, and 3) release candidate test run. Additionally, the Alpha and Beta will have additional planned rawhide acceptance test runs. I'm confident that the QA team can
   * Discussed techniques for using AutoQA to automate the installation test matrix. At different times during the event, Adam, Will and I outlined different techniques for integrating AutoQA and the install test matrix that Liam maintains. I'll catch up with Liam and Hurry to bounce some more ideas around. However, I expect we'll need to get a small group of folks together to collaboratively move things forward so that we have something in place for Fedora 13.

All told, I'm pretty happy with FUDCon Toronto. With one exception, I completed about everything on my todo list. I had hoped to leave FUDCon with a deployed instance of autoqa. However, time was not my friend in that regard. The details of package review are still ahead. Anyone interested in reviewing? Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 10, 2009 (3 days ago)

Luke Macken: FUDCon Toronto 2009

from Fedora People

Another FUDCon is in the books, this time in Toronto. It was great to catch up with many people, put faces to some names, and meet a bunch of new contributors. I gave a session on Moksha, which I'll talk about below, and was also on the Fedora Infrastructure panel discussion.

My goal this FUDCon wasn't to crank out a ton of code, but to focus on gathering and prioritizing requirements and to help others be productive. Here are some of the projects I focused on. Moksha

Moksha is a project I created a little over a year ago, which is the base of a couple of other applications I've been working on as well: Fedora Community and CIVX. I'll be blogging about these in more detail later.

One of the main themes of FUDCon this year was Messaging (AMQP), and Moksha is a large part of this puzzle, as it allows you to wield AMQP within web applications. During my session the demo involved busting open a terminal, creating a consumer that reacts to all messages, creating a message producer, and then creating a live chat widget -- all of which hooked up to Fedora's AMQP broker.

I'll be turning my slides into an article, so expect a full blog post explaining the basics soon. In the mean time, I found Adam Miller's description to be extremely amusing:

   "I walked into a session called "Moksha and Fedora Community -- Real-time web apps with Python and AMQP" which blew my mind. This is Web3.0 (not by definition, but that's what I'm calling it), Luke Macken and J5 completely just stepped over web2.0 and said "pffft, childs play" (well not really but in my mind I assume it went something like that). This session showed off technology that allows real time message passing in a web browser as well as "native" support for standard protocols. The project page is and I think everyone on the planet should take some time to go there and enjoy the demo, prepare to have your mind blown. Oh, and I also irc transcribed that one as well ... presentation slides found:" 

Fedora Community

So after we released v1.0 of Fedora Community for F12, all of us went off in seperate directions to hack on various things. J5 wrote AMQP javascript bindings, which I then integrated into Moksha. Máirín Duffy built a portable usability lab and has been doing great research on the usability of the project. And I dove back into Moksha to solidify the platform.

After we deploy our AMQP broker for Fedora, and once we have start adding shims into our existing infrastructure, we'll then be able to start creating live widgets and message consumers that can react to events, allowing us to wield Fedora in real-time. This will let us to keep our fingers on the pulse of Fedora, automate and facilitate tedious tasks, and gather metrics as things happen.

During the hackfests I also did some work on our current Fedora Community deployment. Over the past few weeks some of our widgets randomly died, and we haven't been receiving proper error messages. So, I successfully hooked up WebError and the team is now getting traceback emails, which will help us fix problems much faster (or at least nag the hell out of us about them).

I also worked with Ian Weller on the new Statistics section of the dashboard, which has yet to hit production. Ian and I wrote Wiki metrics, Seth Vidal wrote BitTorrent metrics, and I wrote Bodhi metrics. We've also got many more to come. My main concern was a blocker issue that we were hitting with our flot graphs when you quickly bounce between tabs. I ended up "fixing" the bug, so I'll be pushing what we have of the stats branch into production in the near future. TurboGears2

TurboGears has definitely been our favorite web framework within Fedora's Infrastructure for many years now. TurboGears2, a complete re-invention of itself, has been released recently, and is catching on *very* quickly in the community. Tons of people are working on awesome new apps, and loving every minute of it. I was also able to convert a rails hacker over to it, after he was able to quickly dive into one of the tutorials with ease. See my previous blog post about getting up and running with TG2 in Fedora/EPEL. python-fedora

One of my main tasks during the hackfests was to pull the authentication layer in Fedora Community that authenticates against the Fedora Account System, and port it over to python-fedora, so we can use it in any TurboGears2 application. I committed the initial port to python-fedora-devel, and have started working on integrating it into a default TG2 quickstart and document the process. There are still a couple of minor things I want to fix/clean up before releasing it, so expect a blog about it soon. Bodhi

It seems like yesterday that I was an intern at Red Hat working on an internal updates system for Fedora Core. Coming up on 5 years later, and I am now working on my 3rd implementation of an updates system, Bodhi v2.0. What's wrong with the current Bodhi you ask? Well, if you talk to any user of it, you'll probably get a pretty long list. Bodhi is the first TurboGears application written & deployed in Fedora Infrastructure, and uses the vanilla components (SQLObject, kid, CherryPy2). The TG1 stack has been holding up quite nicely over the years, and is still supported upstream, but bodhi's current implemention and design does not make it easy to grow.

Bodhi v2.0 will be implemented in TurboGears2, using SQLAlchemy for an ORM, Mako for templates, and ToscaWidgets2 for re-usable widgets. It will be hook-based and plugin-driven, and will be completely distribution agnostic. Another important goal will be AMQP message-bus integration, which will allow other services or users to react to various events inside of the system as they happen.

So far I've ported the old DB model from SQLObject to SQLAlchemy, and have begun porting the old unit tests, and writing new ones. Come the new year, I'll be giving this much more of my focus.

During the hackfests I got a chance to talk to Dennis Gilmore about various improvements that we need to make with regard to the update push process. It was also great to talk to many different users of bodhi, who expressed various concerns, some of which I've already fixed. I also got a chance to talk to Xavier Lamien about deploying Bodhi for rpmfusion. On the bus ride home I helped explain to Mel how Bodhi & Koji fit into the big picture of things.

During the BarCamp sessions I also attended a session about the Update Experience, where we discussed many important issues surrounding updates. liveusb-creator

So I got a chance to finally meet Sebastian Dziallas, of Sugar on a Stick fame, and was able to fix a few liveusb-creator issues on his laptop. I ended up pushing out a new release a couple of days ago that contains some of those fixes, along with a new version of Sugar on a Stick.

The liveusb-creator has been catching a lot of press recently (see the front page for a list). Not only did it have a 2 page spread in Linux Format, but it was also featured in this weeks article New Sugar on a Stick Brings Much Needed Improvements. Rock. Python

There was lot of brainstorming done by Dave Malcolm, Colin Walters, Toshio Kuratomi, Bernie Innocenti, I, and many others about various improvements that we could make to the Python interpreter. From speeding up startup time by doing some clever caching to potentially creating a new optimized compiled binary format. We also looked into how WebError/abrt gather tracebacks, and discussed ways of enabling interactive traceback debugging for vanilla processes, without requiring a layer of WSGI middleware.

There was also work done on adding SystemTap probes to Python, which is very exciting. There are many ideas for various probe points, including one that I blogged about previously. Intel iMac8,1 support

My iMac sucks at Linux. This has been something that has been nagging me for a long time, and I've been slowly trying to chip away at the problems. First, I've been doing work on a Mac port of the liveusb-creator. I also started to work on a kernel patch for getting the EFI framebuffer working, and discussed how to do it with ajax and pjones. The screen doesn't display anything after grub, and since we don't know the base address of the framebuffer, it involves writing code to iterate over memory trying to find some common pixel patterns. I'm still trying to wrap my head around all of it, but I'll probably end up just buying them beer to fix it for me.

Thincrust Thincrust is a project that I've been excited about for a while, and I actually have some appliances deployed in a production cloud. I was able to run some ideas for various virtual appliances by one of the authors over some beers. Some pre-baked virtual appliances that you can easily throw into a cloud that I would like to see:

   * WSGI appliance
   * TurboGears2, Pylons, Django, etc.
   * Moksha - Real-time web application in a box
   * func, certmaster, puppetmaster
   * Intrusion detection system
   * Many more that I can't think of right now

dogtail I'm glad to see that dogtail is still exciting people in the community. It still has a lot of potential to improve not only the way we test graphical software, but we also discussed ways of using it to teach people and automate various desktop tasks. What if you logged in after a fresh install and got the following popup bubble:

Hi, welcome to Fedora, what can I help you do today?

   * Installing new software
   * Setting up an email client
   * Using and RSS news reader
   * More...

Each task would then allow Fedora to take the wheel and walk the user through various steps. I had this idea a while ago, when dogtail first came out, and I still think it would be totally awesome. Anyway, this was not a focus of the hackfests, but merely a conversation that I had while walking to lunch :) Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 10, 2009 (3 days ago)

Adam Williamson: FUDCon Toronto 2009 wrap-up

from Fedora People

So, as I promised yesterday, here’s a quick wrap-up of my FUDCon experience. This was my first FUDCon, and it was definitely a lot of fun. My photos of the event are up here.

I arrived mid-afternoon on Friday and met James and Will at the airport – they’d been delayed. We got to the hotel and unpacked, then headed over to Boston Pizza for dinner and refreshments:


After that, we went back to the hotel. I came back down to the lobby, met a few others, and headed over to Irish Pub (as it was christened for the weekend – it was really called Dub Linn Gate, but the name was in small letters and not lit up, while Irish Pub was in much larger, illuminated letters). For a long time we thought no-one else was really there, then discovered the back room where they’d all been sitting for the last two hours:


I spent the rest of the evening discussing sports with Jarod Wilson (j-rod), over a few more refreshments. We all left Irish Pub around 1:30, and I fully intended to go to bed, but somehow got pulled into an earnest lobby discussion of the Fedora mission statement with John McCann, Mel Chua and others. It seemed rather important at the time, but the ten people I told about this discussion the next day gave me exactly the same routine: blank look, pause, then “We have a mission statement?”, which leads me to suspect any details about wording in the mission statement are not perhaps of vital burning importance!

In the morning we all rode the bus to the main site for the event, Seneca@York (Seneca College’s site at the York University campus):


We all packed out the largest lecture theatre for the introductory session. Others have noted that we managed to pretty much break the BarCamp style of organization by having a ridiculously awesome number of people pitching talks, but I provide solid pictorial evidence!


That’s the line-up to pitch talks – it actually wound all the way up that side of the room and then across the back of the theatre. Luckily, my talk on how to get involved in Fedora QA was included in the ‘user track’, so I got a guaranteed spot on the roster. In the end we wound up with five rounds of talks. I was in the second round, unfortunately going up against the ‘What’s New In The Kernel /’ talk, so I wasn’t expecting many attendees.

In the first slot I attended Steven M. Parrish’s talk on how to report good bugs, to support a fellow BugZapper and provide any additional info I could. Steven had a good attendance of both existing project members and curious folks, which was great. His talk was excellent – a really clear and concise guide to generating a good bug report, and well delivered. You can read the live log of his talk here.

I then gave my talk – an overview of the activities of both QA and the BugZappers, and the many ways you can get involved with both. I was happy to have about 12-15 people in attendance, including a few plants – thanks to James and Steven and Denise! – but also some interested Fedora and Red Hat people, and some curious prospective new members as well, which is who I was really hoping to talk to. I was very happy to have two women I didn’t recognize attending, and I really hope they come on board in some capacity (please do, if you’re reading!), being an active participant in the Great F/OSS Gender Wars and all. It was the first time I’ve ever given any kind of presentation anywhere, in fact, and I think it went pretty well, all considered – many thanks to Steven and Denise and James (again) for filling in many little bits of information and resources that I’d forgotten to include. You can read the log of my talk here, as provided by Steven – it’s awesomely concise, yet contains all the useful stuff I said.

In the third session I went to a talk by pretty much the entire Infrastructure team on collaboration – working together as a group, and the lessons they’ve learned (both positive and negative) through being quite a big group working on a wide range of projects. It was a pretty loose format, but very interesting, with a lot of useful nuggets of information for anyone who’s involved in group collaboration on F/OSS projects (or any others, really). I videoed about half of the talk – that’s with Matt Domsch, who will be uploading all available recordings of the event soon. I think Remy DeCausemaker may have better video of the whole thing, but never mind! In the mean time, you can read the log here.

In the fourth session I went to Bill Peck’s and Will Woods’ talk on automated testing – it was a combination of Bill’s talk on Red Hat’s automated testing system, RHTS, which has been open sourced as Beaker, and Will’s talk on Fedora’s own automated testing suite, AutoQA. I already knew most of what Will talked about regarding AutoQA, but it was great to see it all pulled together for a pretty big and interested audience. Bill’s talk about RHTS/Beaker was great, and filled in a lot of blanks for me. It’s interesting to see how the two systems have been designed to meet different needs, and Will and Bill had some good ideas about how they could work together in the future. Y’know, to fight crime. I tried to do the live logging of this talk, and my extremely inexpert attempt can be found here. It’s incomplete, cutting off in the middle of Bill’s section, as I was on a very poor wireless connection at the time and got cut off before the end of my writing actually reached the server.

Finally, I went to Diana Martin’s talk on the anthropology work she’s currently doing on the Fedora project (at our invitation!) It was a fascinating introduction to the work she does, and sounded like it could be very valuable (and interesting) to the project. I’m only sorry I forgot to ask a couple of questions, and that I didn’t manage to do an interview for her before the weekend was up (she was trying to interview as many people as possible). Happily I was able to help out a little bit in getting her wireless working (it’s a Broadcom…) later on in the weekend! The log is here.

So that was it for the presentations day. We headed back to the hotel, and prepared for the infamous FUDPub, which was taking place at Dave and Buster’s. This place is billed, partly, as an arcade. Now, I’m trying to be kind, but I’m an arcade snob, and the DnB arcade was, by my standards, frankly crap. Luckily, arcade participation was not mandatory, and in fact we were parked in the pool / snooker area, with nibbles and soda. I loaded up on pizza (yes, more pizza) and sharked the pool tables all night; my foolish victims inexplicably unaware that I grew up with a six foot snooker table in the basement, spent more time at college playing pool than studying (probably), and on one night that will live forever in legend, once ran fourteen games in a row on a Saturday night at Numbers. So I ran through most of the attendee list like a knife through hot butter, until I ran into Greg DeKoenigsberg, who – obviously having had as much of a misspent youth as I did – was made of sterner stuff. In our first game he ran the table on me down to his last couple of balls, then promptly managed to pocket the 8 ball. After I sportingly replaced it and played on, missing a hilariously easy ball of my own, he potted his last two balls and then scratched on the 8 ball – possibly the first time I’ve ever beaten anyone twice in one game without ever sinking a ball. He beat me in our second game, but I won the third, thus comfortably taking the undisputed FUDPub Pool King title. Well, maybe in my head. The event as a whole sadly failed to live up to its debauched reputation, probably because everyone had stayed up late the night before, and we all headed back to the hotel quite sober and reasonably early. I would have headed back at 11:30, but Scott Sullivan and I discovered the one snooker table hiding in the back corner. In case you’re not familiar with the game of snooker, it can briefly be described as ‘hard pool’, with the note that it takes two people who aren’t really really good a minimum 45 minutes to finish a game. I made the single best snooker shot I’ve ever played – a red two feet from the bottom left corner, with the cue ball tight on the top rail – but was trumped by Scott’s ridiculous 24-foot double of a red clean past the pink half blocking the top corner, which was the single best snooker shot I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen Stephen Hendry play live). Even if it was an outrageous fluke.

The last two days of the event were all about hackfests. My major project during these was helping John Poelstra revise the Fedora release criteria, along with James Laska and a Cast of Thousands (or at least dozens. Okay, a dozen. Ish.) We blithely hoped to have this done by lunch on the first day, but it actually wound up swallowing most of the two days for me. Still, it was worth it – the final criteria are a massive improvement on what we had before, I think. They properly document what we expect to have working at each release point, and provide a sound basis for the QA acceptance tests – before this, the tests were the de facto release criteria.

I hoped to help Pascal, Mel and others from the news and infrastructure teams work on Fedora Insight – the new Fedora news system – but just wasn’t able to get free to do it, sadly. Still, it sounds like they got a lot of good work done without me (imagine that!) and things are moving along fast. I’ll have to learn how to write my FWN beat into Insight, soon, which is great. Most of the hackfests looked pretty much like this:


a mid-sized group of people around a table, getting work done when not making extremely geeky jokes. It was a fun time. I did get to move around a lot and chat to various people. Over the three days of the conference, I must have talked to at least 20 people about Poulsbo. It’s a very hot topic, and it’s only going to get hotter. The theme is still one of massive confusion – no-one, however well placed, seems to have a clue what Intel’s upcoming hardware is actually going to be, exactly, and what Intel’s plans are as far as providing drivers for it (and updating the ones for Poulsbo) is concerned. I suspect this includes most people at Intel. Sigh.

After the first day of hackfests I skipped out of the planned downtown skating trip to go and visit a decent arcade – Lovegety Station, the Toronto area’s last remaining decent Japanese-style arcade, as far as I can discover. I had been planning to go with Duv Jones, a Fedora community member and Toronto area resident who was at FUDCon and goes there regularly, but we got split up at FUDCon. Happily, after I made my way there myself (thanks, Google Transit), he found me there, and we had a great Korean dinner and a really interesting conversation about Fedora, other distributions and operating systems, web rendering engines, and many other topics, before going back to play some more games. Lovegety’s a decent little arcade, not as big or popular as the main Vancouver arcades, though:


On the first hackfest day, I made it back to the hotel a little after midnight, tired, and somehow got stuck in the hack suite which had been organized until about 3:30. I managed to do about twenty minutes’ worth of FWN writing in between taking pictures, experimenting with white balance metering, attempting to fix random hardware problems for people (we got one non-booting kernel update fixed and Diana’s wireless working: yay), providing working internet to the room via my cellphone’s wireless access point functionality (seven hackers all accessing teh intarwebz through my measly Touch Diamond was fun), and random conversations. It was a lot of fun, but I could have done with the sleep!


On the second hackfest day, I hit up Lovegety again right after the conference – having more or less got the transit figured out by this point – then headed back to Irish Pub with a group in the evening. Got through a pint and then half a pitcher of Keith’s in record time while holding court (increasingly incoherently) on working for Mandriva, the RPM / RPM5 situation, and other things of which I have only vague memories. Got to talk to Luke Macken for the first time, which was great. After Irish Pub kicked us out (very politely), we wound up back in the hack suite, discussing free culture and personal foibles of legendary F/OSS figures – very amusing. Luke and I discovered our shared enthusiasm for the drums (him real, me fake), which was fun.

In the morning I had my last rather nice breakfast buffet of the weekend, then shared a cab back to the airport with several others and waited for my somewhat delayed flight back to Vancouver. And that was my FUDCon! It was a great experience, definitely recommended to anyone who’s managed to read this far. I’ll be at the next one for sure. I keep suggesting FUDCon Yellowknife, but people inexplicably don’t seem to jump at the prospect of -35 C weather…

Random things I didn’t work into the above: had some good chats with Adam Jackson about stuff and Poulsbo (again) – always good to meet someone you frequently work with face to face. Spoke with Justin Forbes about upcoming kernel changes, it was great to learn about what’s coming up and also fun to catch up with my Red Hat orientation colleague! Talked to the awesome Adam Miller about many and varied things, most exciting of which was definitely his enthusiasm about doing automated testing of the Xfce spin and working it into AutoQA. I suggested he go and discuss his ideas with Will Woods, and they seemed to make some solid progress on hackfest day #2. Caught up with Brennan Ashton on that old chestnut, the BugZappers triage metrics project – he got plugged into a Fedora Community discussion which included a plan to pull in various statistics modules, which seemed like a good way forward. Talked with David Malcolm about a cool script he’d written for auto-triaged Python bugs filed by abrt, and promised to help him try and co-ordinate with the abrt team to give the code a future independent, maintained and useful existence. Brought Mel Chua up to speed on the Test Day process, and successfully enthused her as concerns using it to help make sure Fedora Insight is a success when first implemented. And many, many other conversations, not all of which I can manage to bring to mind right now – apologies if I’m leaving you out! It was definitely an awesome weekend. Sorry for the gigantic post. Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 9, 2009 (4 days ago)

David Cantrell: FUDCon Toronto 2009

from Fedora People I have not posted anything here in a while, so here are some comments about FUDCon Toronto.

Given that I live in Hawaii, getting to FUDCon can be a challenge. I have been able to make it to a fair number since I moved to Hawaii, mostly due to aligning personal trips to back up to work trips so that the cost of my travel is significantly lower than travelling from Hawaii. To date, the longest I've gone to make it to a FUDCon was travelling from Honolulu to Brno for FUDCon Brno in 2008. That was 28 hours of flying travel, an overnight in Vienna, then a train to Brno.

FUDCon Toronto was great. The facility was nice and there were a good number of talks across the board. I was able to go to a lot of sessions and number I wanted to go to but couldn't because of schedule conflicts was higher than it had been for me at previous FUDCons. I feel that FUDCon is starting to mature in terms of how things run and the information presented. Early on they were pretty disorganized, but things seem to work well this time.

The hackfest days were also productive for me, which is usually not the case for me at FUDCon. I think what worked well this time was that we all didn't try to do too much during the hackfests. Keep the scope down and just really work on the one or two things at the hackfest and it can be really productive. For me, I liked hashing out the plan for testing anaconda in the project. I'm looking forward to working on that.

With all FUDCons, there are areas for improvement. Both as a conference as well as what I can do to better prepare. Namely:

   * It should have been called FUDCon Vaughn. While I liked the facility for FUDCon, the location of the hotel left few options for people wanting to socialize after a day of work.
   * Better coordination from the airport to the hotel. A $45 cab ride is sort of a waste for one person. I could have done better trying to find people to share a cab with.
   * POWER STRIPS AND EXTENSION CORDS! This plagues every gathering of hackers with laptops, no one ever brings enough methods to distribute power. I will start bringing an extension cord and at least one power strip, thus doing my part to help the situation.
   * Hotel wifi was weak. Everyone at the hotel would jam up the connection and no one was able to use it. Worked fine if no one else was at the hotel. The wifi at the university was good over the weekend, but it was really hard to use on Monday.

In short, it was a great FUDCon and I was glad that I was able to make it. I am on my way home now. To make this trip cheaper for me, I backed up FUDCon to my Thanksgiving trip. My flight back home is scheduled for tomorrow from ATL. In the past 21 days I will have flown over 11000 miles (17,703 km) and passed through 6 different airports (HNL, LAX, ATL, RIC, JFK, YYZ) and 2 countries.

I'm ready to get back home. Anyone else up for FUDCon Honolulu next year? Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 9, 2009 (4 days ago)

Justin M. Forbes: fudcon 2009 Toronto

from Fedora People I am back from Toronto and it was much warmer there than Dallas today. Fudcon was a great conference, even though the wireless infrastructure was not up to the task at the hotel or the conference site. Some points of interest:

- Attendance was great, and a massive number of talks were pitched for the barcamp. - It was nice to get some face time with a number of people I don't normally see, and meet quite a few new people. - There was a healthy interest in virtualization in general. - Getting Fedora releases on EC2 is a priority, and there are a number of people excited to both use Fedora on EC2, and help us get it there. - We have a lot of work to do for F13. - Cynar (artichoke liqueur) is just as bad as it sounds.

All in all, the event was a success, with a great turn out and discussion. Thanks to those who put in a lot of time and effort to organize things and make sure it ran as smoothly as possible. Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 9, 2009 (4 days ago)

Will Woods: FUDCon, you win again

from Fedora People Proper FUDCon post coming after I've had more time to arrange my thoughts and recover.

Until then, check this out! While I was gone, my wife (as part of her Plush-a-Day challenge) made two plush robots in honor of FUDCon:

A Plush A Day Challenge: Day 17 - FUDbot (front)

"This robot is made from the FUDcon Boston 2009 shirt that I got - in fact, I plan to make 2-3 robots from the material! I was reminded about this shirt since FUDCon is going on right now up in Toronto!

FUDbot here features:

   * Sweet logo design
   * Saucy winking interface
   * Convenient pocket program (see other photo for pocket utilization techniques)

His full name is Leonidas Stentz, but he prefers "FUDbot" so I'm fine with that."

A Plush A Day Challenge: Day 18 - ConBot

"ConBot is made from some more of the Boston 2009 FUDCon tshirt that I had. This part includes the tag cloud, which I really like the visual imagery of.

Unfortunately, ConBot is a bit crazed - look at those eyes! Maybe there are too many words on his belly?" Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 9, 2009 (4 days ago)

John Poelstra: FUDCon Toronto Trip Report

from Fedora People

FUDCon Toronto 2009 is over and I’m on the way home.

I Attended some good barcamp sessions:

   * Cloud Computing + Fedora and Amazon EC2
   * Fedora, Zikula and Fedora Insight
   * Can’t we all just get along? – Sysadmin & Developer Panel
   * Designing UI mockups in Inkscape
   * MediaWiki syntax for non-experts

My favorite session was the Inkscape session by Máirín Duffy (aka “Mo”). It was packed with information and gave me just the right level of detail to get started with Inkscape (an open source replacement for Adobe Illustrator). I was thinking of asking her to do a session like this, but she already had it planned.

I also worked on several wiki pages to help better record our existing release processes.

The biggest monster of them all was finalizing the Release Criteria pages. I had been playing around with different ideas and drafts since the beginning of Fedora 12. It was really great to launch the pages publicly a few weeks back, collect feedback and tune them for use in Fedora 13. They have changed a lot since my first ideas, but what matters most to me is that we have a larger framework now and support for doing it. Thanks to Bill Nottingham, Tim Burke, James Laska, and Adam Williamson for suffering through all the details and making the pages much better during most of the first hackfest day. And another big thanks to Adam for circulating the pages to lots of other people and mailing lists for feedback.

For the past few months I’ve also been doodling on some ways to better document our release processes–how to complete specific tasks and how we make decisions. This is important for running smoother releases and getting more people involved. So far it has been difficult to know where to start or how to represent things. Part of what helped me get started was the posts I did on mind mapping. The release criteria came out of the same effort. A few weeks ago I was excited to watch a Bugzappers meeting where they followed the housekeeping SOP I painstakingly created a couple of releases ago for creating tracker bugs. This is a victory because now the process has scaled beyond just me. The same thing could work in Release Engineering.

I went through all of the release engineering tickets for Fedora 12 to create a starting list of all the tickets that need to be created during a full release cycle. I reviewed and tuned the list with Jesse Keating and am also requesting feedback on the release engineering list. This has all the makings of some great ”wiki-fication” by linking to more detailed pages explaining each task combined with automating the ticket creation process.

During Fedora 12 I found that there was no clear documentation explaining how we decided when we are “done” and the release is “ready.” The new release criteria pages talk to the “done” part. A new “Go/No-Go” meeting SOP explains the process to bless a public release (Alpha, Beta, or Final) as “Gold.” James and Jesse looked over the first version. Next I’ll be sending it out to the lists to get more feedback.

In the scheduling department, I met with Marketing, Quality Assurance, and Release Engineering to perform a detail review of the team schedules I’ve drafted for Fedora 13. Mel, James, and Jesse gave me lots of feedback and changes for the next revision.

I also had a lot of hall way conversations with people about different aspects of Fedora and things I’m helping to move forward in Fedora. Many of the things I got done were made easier by having so many people from different places in the same room at the same time.

At past FUDCons I’ve usually left during part of the last day. It was fun to go back to the hotel, have a little down time, and meet up again with people at the hotel for “Hack and Snack.” Best of all Mo took some pictures for me and created my first ever (and very fantastic) hackergotchi. I can only dream of being able to use the gimp (an open source replacement to Adobe Photoshop) as effectively some day. Thanks again Mo! Posted in Fedora Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 9, 2009 (4 days ago)

Jeroen van Meeuwen: Sexy: Ruby 1.9.1 for Fedora 12 and Rawhide

from Fedora People

I finally managed to come up with a bunch of proper patches that give us Ruby 1.9.1 packages again, the way we want them to be after our little HackFest at FUDCon in Toronto. At first, they would succeed in rpmbuild, but not in mock or koji, but after all I got them to build in mock. Assuming they will then build in koji too, I'm submitting a couple of scratch builds now in the background as the Internet in the Hotel isn't all that fast, and after the builds have finished we may have some packages to play around with ;-)

Dec 9, 2009 (4 days ago)

Seth vidal: fudcon2009 summary or “I can see him by his hair”

from Fedora People

[Note: Originally these were going to be daily posts but the network was not good so I put them all in one]

relatively uneventful flights – one was early the other was on time. shocking.

trip to the hotel was longish but not bad. hotel is very pleasant and well organized.

dinner with max and mdomsch.

back to the hotel and hours sitting and talking before I turned into a pumpkin and crashed.

Up early for breakfast then the bus over to the university. I don’t think I’ve seen as many people in a room for fudcon before. Rather impressive. We seem to have overloaded the barcamp concept b/c there was simply too much going on but we got started at noon so only an hour off schedule.


deltacloud and ec2 discussion first – good talk – deltacloud makes a lot of sense, conceptually to me, to manage the cloud explosion of apis. Not sure yet how the implementation will work out. Sounds like the ec2 talk will result in a hackfest tomorrow or monday. I would not be surprised to see current fedora images on ec2 very soon. The set of steps to get fedora available on ec2 sounds straightforward and do-able. Probably the most memorable portion of this talk was watching the glass windows behind the speaker and see Mel Chua run past 3 times with increasingly more speed or larger loads of things. It was hilarious.

mirror-manager/Chasm – mirrormanager was mdomsch’s normal talk. Yay Matt.

Chasm, however, was different and hopeful. Essentially it is a tool to sync mirrors with a mirror master or an upstream tier of a mirror system. But beyond that it also wants to have the mirrors sync to and from each other. It stores a manifest cache so you don’t take the filelist-creation hit like you do with rsync and it runs constantly so you don’t have to schedule the starts/stops. It’s not finished yet but it looks hopeful. Matt and I made sure that the guys working on chasm had some time to sit and talk with John Hawley at

Lunch: Vegetarian existed, yay. But given our late start and the time lunch was I’m fairly certain I could have eaten the paper bag it came in. :)

sysadmins vs devels panel: I got to speak a bit and rant a little and I think I was understood. The gist of the problem is: development is fun – maintaining what you’ve written is not fun. So developers get all the fun parts and sysadmins get all the not fun parts – and you wonder why sysadmins always seem so grumpy.

Yum Talk: Not a lot of people showed up – despite it getting lots of tick marks in the barcamp voting. I suspect it is b/c of the autoqa and kill-cvs talks going on at the same time. My talk slides are here: . It all went fine, I got a number of good questions and generally not much complaining, which was nice.

mmcgrath’s infrastructure debugging talk: some nice info on tracing down pain and problems in an infrastructure. I’d read the slides before but not heard the talk so it was worth hearing. Mike is fairly humorous to listen to anyway.

Paul’s closing talk: “I can see him by his hair”. That’s all I really can say, or, at least that’s the note I wrote down in big letters. Pretty sure this was about looking for overholt.

Fudpub: At a Dave and Busters which was like a big bar and arcade mixed together. On the plus side it was warm and everyone left us alone, which is nice.

Wandered back to hotel, did a few misc things then crashed.

Day 2: Hackfests

- eventually migrating over to the hackfest building around 9:30ish or so. A good conversation with walters about things he wants to eventually see in PK that needs some pieces in the repodata and in yum. Simple simple simple patch sent to rpm-maint for one of the items(Provides: app($name-of-desktop-file)). Small addition to yum for another one (return_running_packages). Then a small patch to mash to put files into

Packages/y/yum-3.2.25-4.noarch.rpm subdirs,though Bill fixed it, though b/c I had missed the right spot for it by a few lines. :)

Fair bit of time talking to folks about less technical and more cultural/social problems we’re dealing with.

Lunch was good, Toshio discovered a food court thing that had good restaurants so I got a falafel and a smoothie.

I opted to not go ice skating mainly b/c I don’t like tempting fate that much.

Sat around and talked with a lot of folks in the hack-lounge room in the hotel. This was fun and amusing for a couple of hours.

Up the next morning, breakfast and caught up with Max and Matthew Daniels to share a cab to the airport. Talked to Max for a while at the airport about all sorts of fedora-y things and came up with an app to implement in tg2/fcomm to make things better at fudcon.

Thanks to all who organized and made things work. I appreciated it and I was impressed with how things were executed. Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 9, 2009 (4 days ago)

Adam Williamson: Back from FUDCon

from Fedora People

Just a quick post to say I’m back from FUDCon. Had a great time, met a lot of people, and managed to do some useful stuff! Also took a lot of pictures, all of which I’m currently uploading. Will do a longer post tomorrow to wrap up everything I actually did, and link to the photos – but too tired right now! Mel has me beat on the ‘lowest total sleep time at FUDCon’ count, but not by very much… Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 9, 2009 (4 days ago)

Mel Chua: FUDCon Tuesday: the bus, the aftermath

from Fedora People

After a late night playing my first game of D&D (The Mel likes. The Mel wants more!) and an extended conversation with Mo Duffy, I slept for a few hours and woke early this morning for a breakfast with John Poelstra on the art of project managment. Then I paid the hotel FUDBill and the FUDBus was on its way. After a lovely 12-hour ride, I arrived back in Boston with Sebastian Dziallas, who will be visiting schools around Boston (and demoing Sugar on a Stick) for the next few days.

Highlights from the bus ride:

  1. “Hey Luke, I’m gonna tell you how I think our build system works, and you can tell me how horribly far off I am.” Result: Fedora’s Build System: The Comic Book. Coming soon to a blog near you when I find a blank whiteboard to sketch and photograph a nice version on.
  2. Practicing (with Sebastian Dziallas) how to explain Fedora and open source to school admissions committees – both of us need to write a bunch more essays.
  3. Our weekly marketing team meeting, wherein I staggered in somewhat exhausted and then sat back in sleepy joy as Ryan Rix, Henrik Heigl, and Robyn Bergeron totally stepped up and drove the meeting through with crackling energy. We have a list of F13 deliverables and a general schedule, point people assigned to each of our major initiatives between now and Alpha, and a FAD in the works (we’d rather like Marketing FAD: Hawaii Edition, but think this might be somewhat over budget).
  4. Lobster roll! Ok, highway rest stop lobster roll, but… considering that, it was actually pretty decent.
  5. Managed to fall unconscious for an hour, bringing my total FUDCon sleep-hour count up to 10.5.

Sebastian is standing in front of my computer as I type this, staring at me as a reminder that I ought to go to sleep. Like… now. Which is what I am going to do. Accounting can wait until tomorrow. Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 9, 2009 (4 days ago)

Jesse Keating: FUDCon Toronto 2009

from Fedora People

I'm back in the USA, having just attended FUDCon Toronto 2009. I haven't blogged about this before due to the state of both the hotel and the campus Internet offerings.

I felt that this FUDCon was wildly successful. We had a lot of familiar faces there, plus a good many who have never been to a FUDCon before. The barcamp talks pitched were amazing both in the sheer number of them, and also in the quality of the topics. There were very few talks that I /didn't/ want to go to, which made it really hard to pick the few I could go to, particularly because I was talking twice.

The first talk I did was a joint talk about message buses, and in particular how I plan to use a message bus to tie a number of our services together and start automating certain things. This is a fun topic for me as I've wanted to do this for many years and the pieces are now starting to come together for it.

The second talk I did was a last minute entry, something I decided to do after talking about it one evening with Jarod Wilson, and then with a variety of people during the long bus ride up to Toronto. The talk was my current plans for moving away from CVS as Fedora's package source control and instead using git. Not just that but some improvements to our work flow along the way. Slides found here.

Hackfest days were spent planning out the first onslaught of messaging targets, fine tuning release criteria with QA, discussing the Fedora updates experience, fine tuning release engineering tasks around releases, fine tuning the F13 schedule, and working on the dist-cvs->git transition. By the time the bus rolled into Westford this evening I had a series of commands working pretty well to convert some package modules in CVS into git the way we want it, but much more testing is required.

I'm really looking forward to seeing more results from FUDCon and while I don't want to travel again for a while, I can't wait for the next one! Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 8, 2009 (5 days ago)

Máirín Duffy: FUDcon Toronto 2009 (Part 2)

from Fedora People

These photos are from 6 December at the Toronto FUDcon this past weekend.

After a full day of hackfests, folks started heading out for dinner. A few folks still lingered around having hallway discussions, hacking, and Remy DeCausemaker even did interviews of various contributors (look forward to those getting posted soon!):

FUDcon Tortonto Dec 6 2009

FUDcon Tortonto Dec 6 2009

FUDcon Tortonto Dec 6 2009

FUDcon Tortonto Dec 6 2009

A group of us came back to the hackfest area at Seneca College after dinner to enjoy the more-reliable-than-the-hotel internet and play life-size Nethack – some of the projects we worked on:

   * Diana Martin worked on replacing Ubuntu on her netbook with Fedora 12
   * Clint Savage worked on pulsecaster – maybe he can fill in the details but I know he borrowed my USB webcam to test streams for it. :)
   * Luya Tshimbalanga worked on putting together the Fedora 13 artwork process wiki page to kick things off (please submit your sketches and ideas – now is the time!!!!)

FUDcon Tortonto Dec 6 2009

FUDcon Tortonto Dec 6 2009

FUDcon Tortonto Dec 6 2009

FUDcon Tortonto Dec 6 2009

FUDcon Tortonto Dec 6 2009

We hopped on the bus to go back to the hotel and chill out in the Hospitality Suite ^W^W hotel hack lounge.

FUDcon Tortonto Dec 6 2009

FUDcon Tortonto Dec 6 2009

FUDcon Tortonto Dec 6 2009

FUDcon Tortonto Dec 6 2009

FUDcon Tortonto Dec 6 2009

FUDcon Tortonto Dec 6 2009

More photos and summaries of the event to come. I’m also going to do a blog post for each of the sessions I gave at the barcamp on the first day. I have videos of both talks thanks to Andrew Overholt and Brad, and there are IRC logs for each session thanks to Matthew Daniels!! I wanted to shout out a big thanks to these folks for helping make the sessions available to folks who weren’t able to attend the event in-person. The videos came out great, but the audio is a little low (whoops I forgot to use my external mic :( ) so I will have to run them through gstreamer to try to amp the audio up.


Dec 8, 2009 (5 days ago)

Luya Tshimbalanga: FUDcon Toronto 2009 Summary

from Fedora People

First FUDcon I ever attended as Fedora contributor in Toronto. It was not only a fruitful experience but also seeing some familiar faces.

Adam Holt from OLPC gave me a prototype of XO-1.5 that I immediately run side by side with the regular XO. Only notable physical difference is the simplified touchpad much like regular laptop but more rugged to prevent water infiltration. For the Sugar interface, the boot process is much faster on XO-1.5 than its predecessor thanks to the updated specification and the storage has been increased to 4GB instead of 1GB. Another difference is Gnome is more responsive and Firefox is included by default instead of Midori. Perhaps Gnome desktop environment needs to be lighter but other alternate like XFCE and LXDE already fill the gap. XO-1.5 is promising and I am looking to explore more about the machine and the software as designer (already updated to latest build and downloading the new Sugar on Stick Bluebbery).

Having so much listed presentations on a single schedule made hard to attend due to some conflict i.e. Inkscape and OLPC presentation happening at the same time. Despite those issues, all of them were good.

On the hackfest part, I mostly focused on design parts (icons, creation of wiki for Fedora 13 Goddard theme), usability test and had some helps from Dave Malcolm for debugging Istanbul (it may turned out be python related which is beyond my coding skills).

What a way to finish 2009 with a first journey in three years and returning to Vancouver with an overwhelming positive experience. Also good to see AdamW in person.

Dec 8, 2009 (5 days ago)

Max Spevack: fudcon toronto, day 2 & wrap up

from Fedora People

I was only able to attend one of the two hackfest days of FUDCon, but it was a full and productive day.

I started the morning with a chat over breakfast with Dennis Gilmore about his experiences traveling to Brazil the last two years, and the LATAM Fedora community. I managed to chat a bit with Toshio about this as well, though more in passing than really a formal discussion. Both Dennis and Toshio attended FUDCon Porto Alegre this past June.

The next chunk of my day was spent in the Zikula and Fedora Insight hackfest. I mostly left the technical stuff to Simon Birtwistle, while I chatted with Mel Chua about the plans for content, as well as the larger mission and purpose of Fedora Insight, which is the Fedora-specific project that is the impetus for all the Zikula work.

My informal count of Sunday's hackfests was 20, with 13 being led by Red Hatters and 7 being led by community folks. I don't know what the final working groups looked like, but I spent a chunk of time just wandering around the hackfest spaces, and everyone was hard at work in clusters of people for the entire day.

I had two other conversations on Sunday -- one with a few of the EMEA contributors who came to FUDCon, in which we discussed some of the differences between this FUDCon and the FUDCon that we had in Berlin last year. Followup from that conversation, as well as thinking about 2010's worldwide FUDCons, will happen on the fudcon-planning mailing list soon, and we're probably going to have to organize a Fedora Activity Day specifically around the future of FUDCons pretty soon. I'm sure a FAD FUDCon won't be at all confusing to folks.

I also had a talk with John Rose, who I've worked with for years but never met until this past weekend, in which we chatted both about opportunities for university interaction, Campus Ambassadors, and our differing opinions on college football.

I had a nice chat with Stephen Smoogen to close my afternoon, and then went to dinner with a bunch of Fedora folks, where I heard Matt Domsch and Chris Aillon both tell their "the houses that I lived in flooded and/or burned down" stories.

FUDCon Toronto 2009 in the books, and with it I have reached almost my fourth full year of working on Fedora and community-related activities for Red Hat. The nature of my job has changed during the course of those four years, but my amazement of what the Fedora community is continually able to achieve never ceases. Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 8, 2009 (5 days ago)

Max Spevack: more from fudcon toronto

from Fedora People

finishing up day 0

On Friday night, I had an enjoyable dinner with Seth Vidal and Matt Domsch, neither of whom I had seen for quite a while. Fedora-specific talk was a bit light, but I made up for that after dinner.

The FUDBus had finally arrived from Boston, and Greg, Mel, and I went up to the hotel room and had a midnight meeting in which we covered a variety of Community Architecture related topics, mostly related to our efforts around the Professors' Open Source Summer Experience (POSSE).

day 1

A wake up call came at the brutal hour of 6:15. Greg, Mel, Chris Tyler, and I had breakfast together and discussed, and some of the opportunity that exits around that space. If you're noting a pattern in some of my conversations, it's because the Community Architecture team is very interested in open source education, and there are a lot of potential synergies between, POSSE, the Fedora Education SIG, and Red Hat.

FUDCon itself was, as always, quite a show. I'm certain that we set a new record for the number of people who attend the un-conference day of the event. However, our organizational team was superb, and managing the people wasn't difficult at all. Managing time proved to be the real challenge.

First, a few words about the attention to detail: it was fantastic. Everyone who pre-registered had a pre-printed nametag which indicated whether or not the person would receive a tshirt (and if so, what size), and also with an individual login for the university's wireless.

We had a lot of directional signage, but the new innovation that I really enjoyed was a sign for each room that had a grid for people to write in the final schedule for that room, after it was determined. Little things like that really help people navigate the organized chaos of a FUDCon.

As I've already said, the crowd was huge, and it was almost noon before we managed to get all the sessions pitched and the day fully underway. I liked what we did at FUDCon Berlin this past summer, handling the session pitching the night before so that the unconference can start on time the next morning.

Two additional comments. First, a major heap of thanks to Yaakov Nemoy, for organizing the FUDCon Live effort that led to transcription of almost every sessions that was held, and enabled remote participation at an unprecedented level. Additional thanks to Clint Savage for once again ensuring that live streaming of selected FUDCon sessions was available over the internet.

My personal FUDCon schedule looked like this:

Session #1 -- Cloud computing, deltacloud, Fedora & Amazon EC2.

Session #2 -- Zikula, Fedora Insight, and Fedora Marketing.

Session #3 -- Sat in on, and eventually participated in, the "Join Fedora" talk. Lightly attended, which was unfortunate. Yaakov and Bert had their own vision for how the session should proceed, and I couldn't help but interrupt them with some of my different ways of talking about things, and I feel like it made for a somewhat disjointed hour. If there were more people in the session, this would have been a bigger problem.

Session #4 -- Pam Chestek's talk about trademarks, which was very heavily attended and thought provoking.

Session #5 -- Paul Frields' closing keynote speech. He's getting close to wrapping up his second year as the Fedora Project Leader, and writing those words makes me feel very old.

FUDPub this year was at Dave and Buster's. Mostly, this was an opportunity to reconnect with folks who I hadn't seen for a while (a bunch of the European Fedora crew was in attendance, which was great), and to shoot some pool. Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 8, 2009 (5 days ago)

Steven Parrish: FUDCon the Experience

from Fedora People

Right now I am sitting in RDU International Airport, very tired and glad to be home. I am also sad that another great FUDCon is in the history books. We had 3 very productive days and I feel I got accomplished what I went to do.

I got to meet my fellow BugZappers Adam Williamson and Brennan Ashton and give what I think was a well received talk on filing good and effective bug reports.

I met Sebastian Dzillas of "Sugar on a Stick" fame. Bernie Innocenti and Peter Robinson who ar both volunteers for SugarLabs. We spent some time talking Sugar and plans to evolve Sebastian's SOAS and my "Fedora for the XO-1" projects from Fedora Remixes to actual Spins and the work that will be involved in doing so. Sebastian and I also gave a joint talk during BarCamp on both of the afore mentioned projects.

Sometimes you might feel as if the work we do here in Fedora goes mostly unnoticed outside our community, but it doesn't. People are watching and interested in what we are doing. When someone mentioned that a picture of me doing this talk was online, I thought it was on a planet post somewhere. little did I know that this is what they were referring to. I was shocked and pleased when I saw it.

On Sunday I met up with fellow KDE-SIG members Rex Dieter, Ben Boeckel, and all the way from Brno Jaroslav Reznik. We had a very productive day working on KDE in Fedora issues, and you can look forward to some exciting new releases from the Fedora KDE-SIG.

I want to extend a BIG THANK You to Chris Tyler (ctyler) for all the hard work he put into making this FUDCon the success that it was. Without his help on the ground in Toronto FUDCon would not have been the awesome event that it was.

Also many thanks to Mel Chua (mchua) for all her work on the budget and logistics for FUDCon Toronto. And thanks to Paul Frields (stickster) for leading the effort that brought another great FUDCon to us here in North America.

lastly if you attended this FUDCon and have any suggestions, comments, criticisms or questions please send them to our planning list at

Hope to see you at the next FUDCon


Dec 8, 2009 (5 days ago)

Mike McGrath: Final day of FUDCon

from Fedora People

This fudcon went fairly well. I have a lot of goals for the F13 release. The first of which is to move everything out of PHX to PHX2. But that's next weekend, hopefully the weather will cooperate.

I'll be playing git monkey helping Jesse get his new workflow replacement for CVS in place. I'm hoping to have something working in place prior to F13 though I don't think we'll actually be using it for F13. I suspect we'll all switch over shortly after though.

The project I'm working on I hope will make the biggest splash for F13 though is based on BKO as an option for using Fedora, it'll mostly be targeting the higher speed users.

And the last project I'm debating putting in as a feature for F13 or not is virt_web - It's coming along nice, most of the base functionality is there and working. Lots of UI implementing to do (HTML + CSS + js) if you want to contribute let me know. Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 8, 2009 (5 days ago)

Karlie Robinson: FUDCon Toronto Follow-up. Day 2

from Fedora People

My Sunday started off without too much in the way of expectations. I had hoped my family would be able to join me in Toronto, so I only booked my hotel for 2 nights. Even though the guys weren't with me, there's not a whole lot for me to do in hack sessions so I wasn't planning on staying long.The first and most important thing I had to do Sunday was find out how Remy was getting back to Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailKeep unreadAdd tags

Dec 7, 2009 (6 days ago)

Mel Chua: Zikula hackfest

from Fedora People

Our hackfest on zikula deployment has been running full-tilt since Sunday morning. Zikula is a php-based CMS that Docs, Marketing, and News are deploying, the latter two pooling together to get Fedora Insight (a website showcasing continuously updated streams of content so we can show, rather than just tell, the world why we’re so excited about Fedora) up and running to publish deliverables from both.

A snapshot of the chaos:

   “How’s xinha?”
   “It’s in pending, but it’s not in epel-testing. I don’t know why.”
   “I think Dennis Gilmore has to push a shiny button. Hey Luke, does Dennis have to push a shiny button?”
   “Dennis Gilmore has to push a shiny button.”
   “Find Dennis Gilmore!”
   “Fiiiiind Dennis Gilmooooooore!”
   “What does he look like?”

FUDCon: The Hunt For Dennis Gilmore was ultimately a success; with a series of rapid pointers from folks both on IRC and at FUDCon, Matthew Daniels (who packaged xinha, a js-based WYSIWYG editor) located him minutes before we had to leave for skating, and xinha is now in epel-testing and ready to deploy on publictest. Meanwhile, David Nalley tackled symlinks in pagemaster and worked with Simon Birtwistle on upgrading us to zikula 1.2.0, Sebastian Dziallas jumped in at the last minute to patch filterutil as a relay team of Matt Domsch and Mike McGrath got us the sysadmin-test membership he needed, and Pascal Calarco built a beat submission interface and workflow while beginning to pull together the next issue of FWN…

And this was the relatively calm part of our day.

Earlier, we’d had…

   * Diana Martin ramping up to speed on bringing sanity to our CSS design and templates, particularly for our pagemaster-based workflow – this is also Diana’s first Fedora contribution, so a huge welcome to her, and a thank-you from our heroic and perpetually overworked design crew!
   * Karsten Wade joining us on IRC to make a list of content type creation tutorials – which we need help fleshing out. If you know of any good tutorials for making videos, documents, screencasts, podcasts, etc… please add them to the page!
   * Felix Kaechele swooping in for package reviews (literally – we went “we need a package review” into #fudcon and phoosh, suddenly Felix was in the room and reviews began to fly.
   * Dale Bewley working remotely with Pascal as a brave first tester of the workflow – Beats authors, if you have a gorgeous first experience getting your beat into zikula when the time comes, thank Dale because he’s the one who hit all the workflow design snags first so we could fix ‘em before you did.
   * Max Spevack getting us a “metrics to measure” checklist and pulling our messaging discussions into concreteness by starting text for an About page, which I subsequently picked up and (literally – I was a little hyper at that point) ran around the building with, reshaping it on a whiteboard and then passing the baton to Matthew Daniels, who immediately managed to cut the text to half its original length while increasing the eloquence by an order of magnitude.

…and that’s as of last night – the list has grown today. I’ve been running around in meetings and such today and haven’t been as present, but Simon and Pascal are totally on top of things, and when I peek into the channel and see that folks like Tatica and Eric (Sparks) are joining us, I cheer.

It’s been fantastic – aside from Max and Pascal, this was also the first time I’d met the folks physically present at our FUDCon sprint, and putting faces to names for Simon, Felix, Sebastian, Diana, Matthew, Matt, Mike (and many more) was one of the highlights of the weekend for me (this is actually my 2nd FUDCon, the first one being Boston’s back in January when I hadn’t yet become a Fedora contributor). It’s a joy to hang out with people who appreciate jokes about licensing, plan their dinnertimes around compiling code, and stop mid-sentence, look at your screen, and go “whoa, what’s that?” at which you can immediately tell them what package or plugin they can install to get a cool new app.

Also yesterday: we went skating and I finally got to meet Sacha in person (we’re not related – Chua is actually a common last name in the Philippines), hung out at the hack suite (where I totally failed at writing in English sentences and tried to package fonts with Mo instead – more thoughts on that later), and then stayed up for several more hours with Mo and Diana, which mostly involved me listening in awe to the two of them talking about design and realizing how much good design I just don’t notice. (I’m told that this is one sign of a good design – you don’t have to think about using it, it’s just the way it “should” be.) And then I totally crashed. Hard. For 6.5 hours. (Yeah, that’s a lot of sleep for me.)


Where we are:

   * xinha needs to be deployed in the zikula instance running on publictest6 (it’s available in the epel-testing repositories and should be available via yum, but once the package is installed, we need to do some scribite magic to go from that to “wow, text areas have WYSIWYG!”).
   * filterutil and pagemaster need to be finished, rebuilt, pushed to the right repos, and installed on publictest6.
   * publictest6 needs to be upgraded to zikula 1.2.0 (currently 1.1.0), Simon is doing this as I type.
   * Beat writers need to try out the workflow Pascal and Dave have set up, I reckon Pascal will probably be talking on the news list about that soon.
   * The design needs love. Lots of love. Simon Birtwistle, Mo Duffy, Greg Sieranski, and Diana Martin have brought a tremendous amount of order to our chaos, but we still need sheer CSS/js skills and capacity to help us muscle through these tickets. If you know a CSS-er who can spend a day working on this, please let us know and we’ll on-ramp them.
   * We’re going to be making calls for help getting a content queue in place shortly, but right now, the vast majorities of our efforts are dedicated towards getting FWN’s workflow working on zikula in staging. Still, if you’ve got the desire to put on an editorial hat, then – by all means, please join us on the marketing list!

Something we could have used more of this weekend was packaging manpower – periodically we’d run into blockers that would be really easy for someone with packaging skillz (read: not us) to solve, but difficult for us to get up to speed on. We’re talking about things like “delete a single curly brace from this line of code” – trivial changes that just Need To Get Through The Packaging System, which as non-packagers we don’t (yet) understand. David, Felix, and Sebastian magically materialized and helped us this weekend (for which we are eternally grateful) but we wonder if any other hackfests were in the same situation, and if it might be worthwhile to have a Packager Station during the next hackfest that would be manned in shifts with packagers willing to take on any tasks they’re approached with.

Aaron Clark has posted a proposal for a hackfest focused on creating new packagers (and incidentally, new packages) at the next FUDCon which I’d very much like to go to (as one of the learners) and that could be one source of the station. New packagers would get lots of practice on packaging; since things get easier with practice, this also increases the likelihood they’ll keep learning how to package afterwards because the activation energy to do so would be dramatically lower after a weekend of Packaging Stuff.

Back to the sprint! I keep telling myself that once we get to staging, everything is going to be alllll right – all we have to do is get to staging, all we have to do is get to staging… *yells and scrambles back in the direction of the battlefield* WE WILL PREVAIL! Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 7, 2009 (6 days ago)

Luya Tshimbalanga: From FUDCon, setting up Fedora 13 Artwork

from Fedora People

Due to the poor network in Seneca College, my message will be short. Final release name is known as Goddard, American scientist behind one of first rockets using liquid fuel . Fedora 13 Artwork wiki has been created as kick-off for designers. Feel free to submit your concept as sketch, illustration, collage as long it follow the theme related to rocketry, space, galaxies.

Dec 7, 2009 (6 days ago)

Stephen Smoogen: FUDCon 3: Learning the difference

from Fedora People

between 'Publish' and 'Save Now'. I sent the previous post a little early :). The move is going to deal with a lot of new ips, routing and things so its time to clean up a bit and work on some items... of course with all the students here at Senaca@York today.. networking has become a bit more problematic ... I think we are warring with the animation group down the hall for packets.

Dec 7, 2009 (6 days ago)

Stephen Smoogen: FUDCon Day 3

from Fedora People

Spent the evening in the FUDCon hacker room going over with other hackers on the mystique that is Paul Frields.. what was his background, why does he always wear black turtle necks, was he licensed to kill?

Today has been drinking Tim Hortons tea, and trying to get ready for the move on Friday.

Dec 12, 2009 (yesterday)

Karlie Robinson: FUDCon Toronto Follow-up. Day 1

from Fedora People

Like a lot of this year's FUDCon participants, I haven't been writing much. Heck, I didn't get more than a couple of dents and tweets out, but that's ok because we were face to face for a change.We got started Saturday morning at Seneca@York with an unconfrence/barcamp style pitches.Right after lunch, Remy DeCausemaker and I did a joint presentation covering the class we're involved with at

Dec 7, 2009 (6 days ago)

Adam Miller: FUDCon - Day one : The awesomeness that is.

from Fedora People

So Day one has come and gone. Let me put this simply, Fedora User and Developer Conference Toronto 2009 is epic freaking win. We have essentially destroyed the BarCamp style conference because there are too many interesting projects that are talk worthy going on within Fedora. There were so many proposed talks that the entire schedule got pushed back an hour and a half due to the pitch of talks and the voting on topics. The rooms were packed, some talks were pushed out to the back with standing room only if you didn't make it to the room on time and these were not small class rooms, this is quite a large university we're being hosted at.

There was also a lot of very cool efforts being put forth in order to do a "live FUDCon" for those of us Fedorans and all interested parties would be able to participate and get in on the FUDCon action from remote locations. We had irc transcribers for each session as well as audio/video for the rooms in which had the hardware/facilities to do so.

For those of you who were unable to attend, please feel free to check all the logs here:

I attended the "Observing Fedora with SystemTap" session during the first round of sessions which was quite impressive. You are now able to perform in depth analysis of any aspect of your system because there is support in the kernel for observing essentially everything and getting reports back. I loved this both from the systems admin side where I want to try and track down issues and bottlenecks as well as from the developer side because it could potentially make targeting down bugs very easy. I did the irc transcribing for that session so I highly recommend checking out the log

Second round of sessions I attended the State of X / State of the Kernel which was a presentation by X and Kernel hackers (respectively) that was quite enlightening to the future plans of kernel and X technologies and it continues to impress on how much is being done and how fast it is happening. The open source support for hardware, including things like USB3.0 (which is already there even though the hardware isn't out and nobody else has support for it), is incredible. I also irc transcribed that one, so I highly recommend checking those out also ;) ...

Third sessions round I went to the "Designing the future of Free Software Operating System User Experiences - GNOME Shell (Gnome3 UI)" session which honestly got me excited about Gnome again. I actually got so excited that I yesterday got in touch with one of the gnome-shell package maintainers and got myself approved as a co-maintainer and my idea is that since Gnome Shell is currently in Fedora 12 as a tech preview, and since we as Fedora are generally the first for everything I figured "why not push git snapshots of the latest features of the gnome-shell UI out to those who are interested in next generation user interfaces?" Yeah, I thought so too. Gnome3 will be a great advancement in user interaction with a computer, it is the first time (that I can think of) that anyone has ever completely attempted to redesing how a user interacts with their machine. There is no longer just the age old "let me click this button that sits in a panel that gives me a menu listing what applications I have access to". It is a completely new take on the world of desktop computing and its definitely a project to keep your eye on. I irc transcribed this one also ... check it:

Fourth round is up and I found my way over to Mo's "Designing UI mockups in Inkscape" which was extremely useful in so many ways. I actually used what I learned in her session later that night to throw together some mockups of an idea myself and herlo (irc nick on Freenode) were throwing around of Paul W. Frields pet project called PulseCaster ( So, not only was the session quite good and I almost immediately found a use case for the knowledge and techniques that I learned from the presentation but I also found a bug in Inkscape which I had others verify and we confirmed an already existing bug in bugzilla. I <3 FUDCon.

Last session of the day I walked into a session called "Moksha and Fedora Community -- Real-time web apps with Python and AMQP" which blew my mind. This is Web3.0 (not by definition, but that's what I'm calling it), Luke Macken and J5 completely just stepped over web2.0 and said "pffft, childs play" (well not really but in my mind I assume it went something like that). This session showed off technology that allows real time message passing in a web browser as well as "native" support for standard protocols. The project page is and I think everyone on the planet should take some time to go there and enjoy the demo, prepare to have your mind blown. Oh, and I also irc transcribed that one as well ... presentation slides found:

Ok, so sessions are done but we are in now way, shape, or form done. It is time for the "State of Fedora" speach by the Fedora Project Leader, Paul W. Frields. This is where our fearless leader takes the time to look back and look forward, take note and discuss what we've learned and what we can learn. It was a heart felt speach adressing a lot of things that are so great about our community and what makes Fedora so great. Paul also announced the codename of Fedora 13, which is Goddard (I probably mispelled that, sorry). This was a solid way to wrap up an amazing day.

Alright, that was Saturday. Stay tuned, I will report on Sunday (which was also awsome). I will probably report a little on today as well, but today seems to be at least somewhat consumed by attempting to get my blog updated to reflect the awesomeness that is FUDCon.

Dec 7, 2009 (6 days ago)

Colin Walters: FUDCon Toronto, on the bus

from Fedora People

At FUDCon Toronto 2009, finally got a reliable connection at the hack room to give an update. On the bus from Westford to Toronto, I spent some time optimizing the GNOME Shell JavaScript engine Gjs, specifically how we do invocations from JavaScript into our C core.

As always, sysprof is an a great tool, and revealed we had some relatively low-hanging fruit. (Side note - in Fedora 12, sysprof no longer requires an external kernel module, which is awesome). Said fruit was partly in Gjs, partly in the GObject Introspection layer. We could clearly be doing more caching in the latter, but Gjs was also using the basically toy/demo invocation function g_function_info_invoke.

I've now got it so the invoker can take a bunch of JavaScript jsval pointers, and schlep them more directly into libffi argument types. The end result is currently a 25% speedup on my benchmark, which is fairly good as far as 5 hours in performance work goes. I'm now looking at some other bits, and I think I'll be able to squeeze out another 7-10% at least with just another hour or two of work.

Now, in the the farther future, I could imagine teaching SpiderMonkey's JIT compiler about how to invoke directly from JS to C (and the reverse); the amount of generic work we still do to take say a single double across is fairly high, but the JIT could know about the platform ABI, and be able to trace right up until a native method, which would be a large speedup.

And for now, I'll leave you with a picture of a tasty waffle from this morning: From FUDCon Toronto 2009

Dec 7, 2009 (6 days ago)

Chris Tyler: What is Seneca? And what are they doing with Open Source?

from Fedora People

It's been an honour and a pleasure to host FUDCon Toronto 2009 at Seneca College.

A number of FUDCon attendees have asked me about the "Seneca@York" name and what it means, so let me introduce our school: Seneca College is Canada's largest College of Applied Arts and Technology, with over 20,000 full-time students and 80,000 part-time students. Seneca@York is one of Seneca's campuses and is located on the corner of York University; this campus hosts our School of Computer Studies, which offers 2- and 3-year diplomas as well as 4-year bachelor degrees and graduate certificates in software development and in system and network administration.

The School of Computer Studies has been teaching the use of open source software for over 15 years. In 2001, all of our labs were converted to dual-boot Windows and Linux, and we started introducing students to open source software during their first week of classes. Over the past three years, we have been offering professional option courses (electives) in which we take students into open source communities such as Mozilla and Fedora and teach them how to effectively collaborate with other contributors, using a model I presented at LinuxSymposium 2008. You can read about our courses and what our students are doing on our wiki and blog planet (where you'll see aggregated posts from students working at a number of different levels).

My warmest thanks to the Fedora community for making the trek to Toronto in the middle of a cold but almost snow-free December. Our doors are always open and we'd love to have you back for another FUDCon someday (or have some of you attend or present at our annual Free Software and Open Source Symposium). In the meantime, our faculty and students will continue to work alongside you in Fedora and in various upstream open source communities.

Dec 7, 2009 (6 days ago)

Mark J. Wielaard: FudCon Success – Systemtap meets Python

from Fedora People

At FudCon, David Malcolm, Jon VanAlten, Will Cohen and I sat down, had some fun and made tracing python methods through systemtap possible:

0 python(20122): => search_function in Lib/encodings/ 15 python(20122): => normalize_encoding in Lib/encodings/ 37 python(20122): <= normalize_encoding 170 python(20122): => <module> in Lib/encodings/ 193 python(20122): => IncrementalEncoder in Lib/encodings/ 206 python(20122): <= IncrementalEncoder 251 python(20122): => IncrementalDecoder in Lib/encodings/ 264 python(20122): <= IncrementalDecoder 310 python(20122): => StreamWriter in Lib/encodings/ 323 python(20122): <= StreamWriter 340 python(20122): => StreamReader in Lib/encodings/ 353 python(20122): <= StreamReader 367 python(20122): <= <module> 391 python(20122): => getregentry in Lib/encodings/ 410 python(20122): => __new__ in Lib/ 429 python(20122): <= __new__ 440 python(20122): <= getregentry 462 python(20122): <= search_function

The coolest part is that it works through the existing patch to python for adding dtrace support. Some small tweaks to the autoconf detection was needed, but the rest was used as is.

If you want to learn how to add static user space probes to your program/package please see Will’s excellent guide. Adding User Space Probing to an Application: A simple example adding markers to a user-space application with SystemTap. Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 7, 2009 (6 days ago)

Máirín Duffy: FUDcon Toronto

from Fedora People

Sorry that I haven’t been able to post regular updates – FUDcon Toronto has been a whirlwind of great discussions and a whole lot of fun!

Actually we are still on campus at Seneca College right now hacking up a storm and having fun. We had a very impressive Net ‘hackfest’. I also talked a lot with Ben Bockel and Rob Escriva who are RPI students (I am an almunae of RPI) :) . They work with the RPI Center for Open Source Software and have convinced me I need to make a trip out to campus and help them get the word out about Fedora (and maybe bring some bling :) ).

Earlier today I had the Fedora portable usability lab set up in room D and I ran through 4 usability tests of Fedora Community with Fedora package maintainers here. I was really excited to chat with Ben Konrath who is working on Caribou which is an on-screen keyboard to help make GNOME more accessible – he is going to be conducting some usability tests as part of his work and I showed him the process I’ve been following with the Fedora usability kit and Fedora Community usability tests to help give him some ideas of things he could try.

I also discussed our desktop updates experience with Colin Walters and I think we came up with some good ideas, although I felt bad I had to run and cut our discussion short. Hopefully Colin will make a blog post about how that project is shaping out soon. :) I also talked a bit of design with Paul Frields, Clint Savage, and a bunch of other folks about Pulsecaster – they have some really good ideas about making Pulsecaster able to allow users to both stream and save to file screen casts and interviews. Really exciting stuff and it’ll make it easier for us to record high-quality demo videos of Fedora functionality!!

Even the Happy Fedora Hot Dog made an appearance at the hackfest… :)

Here are some photos so you can get a feel for the event and see what your Fedora friends are up to if you were unable to make it here in Toronto.

FUDcon Toronto 2009 Dec 5 2009

FUDcon Toronto 2009 Dec 6

FUDcon Toronto 2009

FUDcon Toronto 2009

FUDcon Toronto 2009 Dec 5 2009


FUDcon Toronto 2009 Dec 6

FUDcon Toronto 2009 Dec 6

FUDcon Toronto 2009 Dec 6

FUDcon Toronto 2009 Dec 6

FUDcon Toronto 2009 Dec 6

The full set of of photos is available as well – I’ll be updating this as I can so keep checking back. :) Posted in Uncategorized

Dec 6, 2009 11:09 PM

Ian Weller: New awesomeness: mw

from Fedora People

During an extremely long hackfest today at FUDCon Toronto 2009, I planned to work on resurrecting fuse-mediawiki from its 15-month slumber.

I failed.

After talking with Jesus M. Rodriguez for an hour or so, we both determined that FUSE is not the right way to go about this for what I want to accomplish. The only thing we were planning to use FUSE for so far was downloading the wiki pages; everything else would be done with helper scripts.

We discussed things like “pull” and “commit”. It started to sound like a bastardized VCS. So we wrote a bastardized VCS. :)

Introducing mw: a command-line program with subcommands like “fetch” and “commit” to work with MediaWiki installations. I spent all day creating the framework for commands and all sorts of things, and ended up creating the init and fetch commands to start a mw repo and fetch some pages.

Currently: useless. Future: promising. I’m hoping that I can get the committing portion ready to roll within the week, and have fetch get all the pages of wikis and categories soonish.

Some key awesomeness: attempts to merge instead of just giving up (haha, you suck, MediaWiki), unified diffs, logs, and anything you really feel like doing.

Clone it now and read the README and HACKING:

git clone git://

Edit: If you want to discuss this with me at FUDCon tomorrow, by all means do. Ping me on IRC to see where I’m at. :) Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 6, 2009 6:08 PM

Aaron Clark: Future FUDCon Hackfest Request

from Fedora People

I blame Mel Chua for any and all noise that results here. I'm a long time Fedora user, a Software Developer in the real world, and FUDCon just happens to be in Toronto this year. This was obviously too good an opportunity to pass up, so I ended up meeting a ton of awesome Fedora people, attended some neat sessions, committed my first patch, and ended up signing up for Planet as well (hopefully this worked). I also made the mistake of talking too much in IRC and getting roped into more stuff.

So the pertinent IRC discussion was about Packaging. Yaakov and Rex ran a good intro to Packaging during the Saturday sessions, but Mel mentioned in IRC on Sunday the idea of a packaging hackfest at future FUDCons. As a user that wants to learn to package, I have to say that I think this is an outstanding idea. Even after going through the packaging session, I'm mostly aware that there's a ton of documentation that I need to read before I really attempt much packaging on my own. Sitting down with a proven packager or two and going through the creation of a bunch packages to get used to the workflow. On the other side, the proven packagers can get some practice going through package reviews.

Now, obviously the packages aren't all going to get reviewed on the same day, they may not even be up to snuff to ever get included in Fedora, but certainly the experience would vastly accelerate the learning curve to end up as a productive packager. Mel mentioned this in IRC, and I wholeheartedly agree that it would be great to make packaging something that new people look at and go "holy cow, my 1st package was such a great experience that I want to do a 2nd one."

Now there's a couple obvious needs to pull this off at a future FUDCon:

  1. You absolutely need patient, experienced packagers to attend this hackfest and mentor the packager candidates.
  2. You need a list of relatively low-hanging fruit to package up during the hackfest. Fonts was one suggestion of an 'easy' package that provides lots of candidates without too much complexity to deal with. Another idea was to work as a group towards some kind of packaging goal (e.g. all of the components and dependencies for Zikula)
  3. Find homes for these nascent packagers within the existing packaging community so they don't fall off the radar after FUDCon

I'll be looking for this at the next FUDCon, attending for sure if I haven't figured out this packaging thing on my own by then.

Dec 6, 2009 5:08 PM

Stephen Smoogen: FUDCon Day 2: Hackfests

from Fedora People

Day 1 ended with the announcement of the Fedora 13 release being Goddard (after the Rocket scientist yeah!). Most people went to the Fud Pub crawl afterwards but I just had a small dinner and watched a Chinese martial arts soap opera before crashing.. and crash I did.

I slept in way too late to get the pygtk talk that Paul Frields gave earlier. When I got there it was wrapping up and everyone else was now a professional GUI developer with laurels handed out by Paul himself. Anyway, I spent the rest of the morning getting the travel planned for our move next week in Phoenix... so I will be there from Friday til Wednesday (in case something goes wrong).

Now I am going to talk with Mo about a secret project...

Dec 6, 2009 3:07 PM

Eric "Sparks" Christensen: It's like I'm in Toronto... without being cold.

from Fedora People

Unfortunately I couldn't be in attendance at FUDCon in Toronto this weekend. Fortunately I'm able to "help" with the Zikula hackfest from the comfort of my desk at home. Just rebuilt the SRPM for zikula-module-menutree which will hopefully get us a little closer to a replacement for the docs.fp.o website.

Dec 6, 2009 2:06 PM

Bert "biertie" Desmet: FUDcon day 1

from Fedora People

Fudcon takes place at the senecca college, in Toronto. What a modern an beautiful college it is! so, yesterday was barcamp day. I think there were about 200people attending this FUDcon, so that was very nice. We started off with pitching the talks. I pitched 3 talks:

  • How to install Fedora (slides)
  • How to add and remove software in Fedora
  • How to join our community (together with Yaakov)

My first presentation was a real presentation, just let openoffice do the work :-) there were about 25people attending, so I was happy about that! My second talk was about how to use packagekit, but also how to install xchat, go to #fedora.. I was really happy the people started asking questions, that way I could give tips they really care about. My third talk was again different, there were only 7people, and most of them were already enrolled. But I heard Iwan was even less fortunate, nobody showed up on how Fedora community works.

In the evening we went to the Dave and Busters.. it’s a bar, but what a difference with the bars I’m used in Belgium, so huge! I like the Belgian bars more ;-) Anyhow, we played some eight-ball and had some food and drinks, so that was nice.. When I went back to the hotel around 11pm, I moved the hospitality room in the hotel, to hack on some things.

I went to sleep around 2am, and now I’m still a bit tired, while I’m writing this blog post ;-)

Dec 6, 2009 1:06 PM

Larry Cafiero: It’s better to run to Toronto

from Fedora People

This weekend, Fedorans far and wide are meeting at FUDCon — the Fedora Users and Developers Conference — which is taking place in Toronto, Ontario, this year.

While the semi-annual event is inching closer to a place I can get to without a significant degree of altitude and barely sub-sonic speed (yes, I still hate to fly), I couldn’t make it this year, but it appears to be turning out to be an outstanding event that will be covered in blogs more widely read in the community than this one.

At FUDCon, the name voted on for the next release was announced. I am proud to be able to pass on the release the name of Fedora 13, which is Goddard.

That’s Goddard as in Robert, the father of rocket science, not Jean-Luc, the French New Wave film director.

[As for my irritation that the Fedora 13 name candidate Monterey -- "Constantine is a bay and so is Monterey" -- was not a finalist and was eclipsed by the name candidate "Botany" (sheesh), well, I'm over it now.]

More on FUDCon as it develops.

mentor138x64(Larry Cafiero is the Regional Ambassador for the U.S. West Coast for the Fedora Project and he also runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California. He also blogs from time to time as Larry the Free Software Guy.) Posted in Fedora, FUDCon Tagged: Fedora, Fedora Users and Developers Conference, FUDCon

Dec 6, 2009 1:06 PM

Diana Martin: Fudcon - Zikula Hackfest

from Fedora People

So, here I am in a hackfest room for Zikula, actually using skills I have as a ui designer in css/html and contributing to the project.

Wait, what? I’ve just become a contributor. How did that happen?

Outsider looking in, now insider looking around.

Not being a Fedora user I came to Fudcon as a part of my research for the Fedora community (a much more in depth post on that will be coming tonight or tomorrow) in order to get to know people and understand more about the culture itself during one of the rare occasions people actually come together in person rather than their usual methods of collaborating online.

I had planned to use the barcamp day to introduce myself (which I did and will be apart of that larger post I talked about earlier), and then use the hackfest days to actually interview people. However, I realize yesterday that this time here in person amongst their peers is very very very valuable. So, rather than take up their valuable time away from this environment through in person formal interviews, its more about informal conversations. It’s just really getting to know people so that when I contact them later about participating in the research through more formal methods they know who I am, what the project is about, and will perhaps have more free time to contribute to the research rather than being rushed in this environment.

During one of these informal conversations I overheard there was a limited amount of people here who know CSS, so they weren’t sure how they were going to get the design work for this specific project done in the short amount of time they had here. Then I opened my big mouth and said, ‘Oh, I know CSS’, to which people Simon responded, ‘I need you at my hackfest tomorrow’.

With that I had to learn more about what the hell I got myself into, so I attended the barcamp panel on it, got a better idea of what it was all about and realized not only could I help with my CSS knowledge, but because it was based on a nuke cms framework I even had experience in that I could lend to the cause.

So there you go, even non Fedora users can become contributors.

Oh, and by the way, I’m working on that non part of that last statement as soon as I can. I just need someone to get the wireless working on my netbook (Dell Mini 9) in F12, as it doesn’t seem to recognize the card. I’ll even overwrite the current system if I can just get that working!

Dec 6, 2009 10:05 AM

Matthew Daniels: Recapping FUDCon, day -exp(pi*i)

from Fedora People

Let’s recap what happened yesterday at FUDCon:

   * We assumed spherical ponies of uniform density
   * We had healthy lunches
   * The sysadmins and developers actually got along at their panel
   * <Insert lots of great talks here>
   * Transcribed some talks
   * The Fearless Leader spoke
   * Dave & Busters = Food + Beer + Pool

We’ll have to see how well the hackfests can stand up to that. I’m looking forward to it. I think I’ll be attending the Fedora Insight hackfest at the very least. Still need to check the wiki to find out what else there is.

And if you missed any of yesterday’s talks, be sure to go to the schedule page to find the IRC transcripts. I’ve proudly written the one on education with OSS, the one on Inkscape, and the one on UI design (even though my internet cut out for a bit in the middle of that one). Also, I’ve recieved a few comments (IRL) about my previously posted “spy” pictures. I want to let everyone know that I am not, in fact, taking casual pictures with my phone and calling them spy pictures because I feel sneaky using that little camera. In reality, I do have spy cameras setup at various strategically chosen locations around the hotel and campus so that I know exactly where everyone and everything is.


… Protip: Don’t get black tea at the hotel. They don’t give you boiling water so it comes out poorly; the earl grey just tastes like bergamot oil with no tea. Posted in Technology Tagged: Fedora, FUDCon

Dec 6, 2009 10:05 AM

Steven Parrish: A bit a helpful info for those attending FUDCon.

from Fedora People

Are you at FUDCon and in need of some $ but can't find an ATM that will work with your card. Well you are in luck. If you go over to the RBC bank across from the hotel you will find a couple of ATMs in the lobby that work with U.S. bank cards. This will come in handy as you will need some $ today for lunch. We will be organizing a self funded lunch to help save time today.

Also for those who will be flying out of Toronto at the end of FUDCon I have updated the wiki with a rideshare section, just like we used for the trip in. So head over here. and add your information.


Dec 6, 2009 10:05 AM

Steven Parrish: FUDCon Day 1

from Fedora People

Its now about 730am Sunday morning. Been up since about six, and I am now working on my 3rd cup of coffee. FUDCon Day 2 starts at 10am this morning so I guess now is a good time to give a report on Day 1.

We had a record number of talks proposed for today's BarCamp. I pitched 2, Effective Bug Reporting and, Sugar, OLPC, and Sugar On A Stick, Oh My! with Sebastain Dziallas.

Something we did that was new this time was User Tracks. They were 2 predetermined tracks of 5 sessions each. 1 geared towards new users and one towards new contributors. This allowed us to include these tracks in our local FUDCon advertising to get more locals to come check us out. This worked out very well so I expect it will continue in future FUDCons.

Both talks went over very well. Having not presented to an audience since my TA days back in college in the 80's was a bit nervous, but all was well. I want to thank Adam Williamson (adamw) and Brennan Ashton (comphappy) for their contributions to the bug chat.

There were alot of interesting sessions planned and as always more you want to attend than you actually can. We are fortunate that Yaakov Nemoy organized IRC transcription of the vast majority of the sessions and you can find the IRC logs here.

At the end of the day we all got together for Paul's "State of Fedora" and learned that the next release will be code named "Goddard".

More on Day 2 later.


Dec 6, 2009 8:05 AM

Bert "biertie" Desmet: fudcon day 0

from Fedora People

Like most of you probably know, I leaved yesterday for Toronto, Canada to meet some Fedora friends at fudcon.

I waked up around 8am, way to late to be comfortable off course, but things luckily worked out right. After I had a fast breakfast, My father brought me to the train station, were I met some classmates. There I discovered not everybody knew about my plans… I think that guy lives in the past or something ;-) . when I arrived in Brussels South railway station, I had to search the check-in for Air France.. that wasn’t fun, but I managed to find it right in time.. I got my tickets for the Thalys, and my boarding pass for the plane. I was happy about my place in the plane, it is the place I chose the day before.. (I just love to sit next to the window). My ride on the Thalys was quite awesome.. First class, electricity, a free drink, … . Yep, it was quite nice. When I arrived in Paris, Charles de Gaulles, I searched my right gate immediately, luckily it wasn’t difficult to follow the signs ;-)

We were brought to the plane (an airbus 340-300) with a bus.. /me doesn’t like that! but ok, the plane was nice… but I was a bit disappointed I had no electricity :-( I was sitting next to the window (whoop whoop, clouds are so cool!). off course, there was also one person sitting next to me, an older woman, but she was kind of fun.. So, my flight was pretty enjoyable, with video, music, food, drinks, …

When I arrived in Toronto, I had to go to immigration (but I don’t know why), and after some question about what I was doing in Toronto, she noticed that you can find a lot about me in the interwebs.. oh wow, who would have thought that? ;-) When I finally got out the airport, some other fedorians were already waiting on me. how awesome is that? We went with a taxi to the hotel… well, with 2 taxis, because we couldn’t fit 7people in one..

after meeting with the Fedorians already in the Hotel, we went to the ‘Irish pub’.. A lot of pub, almost no Irish ;-) We had dinner there, and my first impression about Canada is: the food is awful :( but I hope I’ll survive anyway… Off course there was also traditional Irish music like ‘I like big buts’ :D

I went to bed around 1am local time, so I was about 23h awake in total, and I wasn’t really Jetlagged.. Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 5, 2009 7:02 PM

Stephen Smoogen: FudCon day 0:FUDbus

from Fedora People

Ok it turns out that the bus we were looking forward to didn't get done in time. [It was held up due to a sub-contractor not getting the parts for wireless and power done in time.] Instead got a larger 50 seat bus so everyone was able to get their own seat. Lots of talking for the first part and after lunch we all got to watch the highwater film of 2009: Zombieland. A little too gorey at parts for me. However it was very funny to watch the rest of it.. poor Bill Murray.. he deserved a better end. Anyway.. after that was done lots of people slept until the border.

Got off the bus at the border around 8pm and had a great time with the border guards. They were very friendly and only wanted to make sure us Americans were going to leave versus get stuck there. Got to the hotel around 9pm and had a huge checkin party. I pretty much crashed in the room after that. The networking at the Hilton was very bad (too many hackers.. too little cable connections.) so I didn't get to check email til Saturday.

Dec 5, 2009 7:02 PM

Stephen Smoogen: FUDCon Day 1: Talks

from Fedora People

Wow... Canada is nice. The Hotel TV has 2 children channels with educational shows on all the time.. first hotel/motel I have ever seen that. The people were very friendly getting us on the bus system that took us from the hotel to the school, and the school is like wow really nice (and clean yes I am making the stereotypical comment about how nice and clean canada is compared to other places). Anyway, got some coffee from Tim Hortons and then spent the day logging user sessions that had been bar camp voted. It seemed to go pretty well. I liked the one on Inkscape usage but missed the one for GUI layout I wanted to see (and the packaging one and the python one but there are lots of notes) The notes are courtesy of a bunch of volunteers that Yakkov organized. (and there are also videos from Clint's guys.. ) so all cool.

Going to listen to Paul's end of the day speech on the State of Fedora.

Dec 5, 2009 7:02 PM

Stephen Smoogen: FudCon day -1

from Fedora People

Flew from Albuquerque to Chicago.. and got a flu shot at the airport. They didn't have H1N1 but will have it on my way back. Thankfully the plane flights were nice and fast due to tail winds. Got into Boston early and found that it had been a record warm day at 68 degrees (versus the heavy snow the weather people had said.)

Got picked up by my host, David Malcolm, and spent the evening watching Brit TV on the Netflix machine.. real cool. Going to have to get one for the family. [And watching the IT Crowd was funny and painful at the same time.. I know those people too well.]

Dec 5, 2009 5:02 PM

Adam Williamson: FUDCon update

from Fedora People

I’m here at FUDCon Toronto. At the moment in the Infrastructure team’s session on collaboration – very interesting.

Arrived yesterday afternoon and happened to run into the rest of the QA Mafia in the airport, we took a cab to the hotel and then hit Boston Pizza for dinner and the Irish Pub (it’s actually called Dub Linn Gate, but Irish Pub is much better) for drinks. Met loads of people, but spent most of Irish Pub talking sports with j-rod for some reason!

Got back to the hotel at 1:30 then sat in the lobby with Jon McCann and Mel Chua and others having an earnest discussion about the mission statement for two hours, then woke up at 8 for the bus to the conference, so I’m running on adrenaline right now…

I gave my QA talk this afternoon – had a dozen or so people show up, which is more than I expected going up against ‘what’s new in and the kernel’ :) . I think it went quite well – thanks a lot to James and Denise for their helpful leading questions! I’ll throw up links to my slide deck and the IRC log of the session later.

Tonight is FUDPub, which will be fun, and then the next two days are hackfests – I seem to be booked by about fifteen different teams so I expect they’ll be busy. I’ve been having lots of fun so far at my first FUDCon, I’d highly recommend it to anyone. Been taking pictures and things which will show up later, and I may video some talks.

If you’re here and want to chat about anything at all, please do grab me! I’ve got my name badge on.

Dec 5, 2009 4:02 PM

Mel Chua: FUDCon zikula hackfest: the gameplan

from Fedora People

Simon Birtwistle just gave an excellent talk on zikula, a CMS we’re working on for roll-out over several Fedora teams – Docs came first, then Marketing, then News, though the actual deployment date for each team looks like it’s going to be in exactly the reverse order. Minutes from the talk are available online, and full logs are linked from the minutes.

The audience (both remote and local) was fantastic, and we got some hard questions in and a good amount of momentum going; by the end of it, we’d planned our hackfest for the next two days – the gameplan is at Zikula_hackfest. Simon (zikula), Pascal Calarco (FWN), and myself (marketing) will be driving various aspects of this sprint, and we’re looking for help. Lots and lots of help.

Our target this weekend: Migrate FWN to zikula.

Please ask questions, point out holes, etc. – we literally just came up with this. I defaulted to #fedora-mktg as our IRC channel for the day, because I know we’re going to have remote participants, but would be glad to move it to a more neutral place if there’s a better location for this (if #fedora-logistics were populated, I’d do it there).

If you’re planning on stopping by, either virtually or in-person, let us know! We’d love to see you.

Dec 5, 2009 4:02 PM

Toshio Kuratomi: 5 Dec 2009

from Fedora People FUDCon Live!

Just a quick FUDCon note: We are trying to make it easier for people who are not able to make it to FUDCon itself to see some of the things going on and get some value from the sessions. Check out the FUDCon Live wiki page for a list of sessions, when they're happening, and logs from finished sessions.

Looking at the logs, you may notice that they're logs from IRC. This is because we have people transcribing highlights from all the sessions into irc channels as they're happening. This is an opportunity for people, not just to follow along at home but also to ask questions and join in with the conference sessions.

How to join the Fedora Live IRC channels?

  1. First, view the FUDCon Live schedule to see what sessions are currently taking place.
  2. Then use your IRC client to go to
  3. Third, join the #fudcon-room-[NUMBER] channel that corresponds to the room number that the session is being held in.
  4. Sit back, read, and ask questions! 

Here's an example:

I'm interested in the Sysadmin & Developer Panel. I see that it is in Room 7 on the wiki schedule. I open up konversation and go to as the server. Then I /join #fudcon-room-7 and participate in the conversation that's going on. Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 5, 2009 2:01 PM

Matthew Daniels: FUDCon: 1320/Saturday

from Fedora People

I attended Bert’s Installing Fedora session in block 1; I think it went pretty well, although I probably would have prefered a less technical and more end-user/hands-on approach, but that’s probably the User-Guide-”Writer” coming out in me.

BarCamp was fun too, and full of ponies… BarCamp voting

Voting at Barcamp

And what lunch lacks in choice it makes up in the quaint cuteness of brown bags, along with some pretty tasty treats. I’ve arranged them here in golden sprial style. Fibonacci lunch

Fibonacci lunchs

Dec 5, 2009 4:02 PM

Jon Stanley: FUDCon session pitching done!

from Fedora People

Just a quick note that we've had a record number of session pitches at the FUDCon barcamp at Seneca College in Toronto!

Looking forward to a very exciting day of sessions, and expect further entries as the day progresses.

Dec 5, 2009 9:01 AM

Toshio Kuratomi: 5 Dec 2009

from Fedora People FUDBus

I was afraid that the FUDBus to Toronto FUDCon would be a bust when I found out that our planned wifi and AC Power was not to be but it turned out to be quite productive. I spent most of the day talking to Dave Malcolm about getting Python 3 Packaging Guidelines and packages into Fedora. We've simplified a bit of it, clarified other bits, and the only really difficult thing left is figuring out whether to allow one srpm to handle modules that build both python2 and python3 subpackages or separate srpms for python2 and python3. There's pros and cons to each that we'll have to weigh against each other before we can settle on a solution. We'll keep thinking about this and hopefully have something finished by the end of FUDCon.

I also got to talk to mizmo about how to become better at designing user interfaces with inkscape. By happy chance, she's doing a presentation tomorrow on just that topic and gave me a sneak peak with the slides she prepared. So as not to spoil her presentation, all I'll say for now is that I think it's a *very* useful presentation. Mo showed both a broad overview of making mockups in inkscape and the key specific features that she uses. Much like mmcgrath's presentation last year about how system admins in infrastructure have handled problems, this is a presentation that will help you on multiple levels. It will give you skills to design UIs and better work with inkscape to create artwork. It will also show you something of the process and thinking of a UI designer, an often underappreciated but hugely important part of our work.

Other bus topics: A bit of discussion about replacing cvs with a new version control system, updating packagedb and cvs acls to allow a comaintainer-only packager group, and arranging with lmacken to do a TG2 quickstart with csrf and fas auth plugins sometime during the hackfest. If I canget that to work, I'll be able to write a guide that tells others how to use these pieves of python-fedora in their TG2 applications. Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 5, 2009 8:00 AM

Yaakov M. Nemoy: T minus FUDCon: FUDCon Live, all systems ready to go

from Fedora People

After a pretty uneventful flight over the Atlantic, along with our EPIC FUDPLane-ness, i've safely arrived in Canadia, that silly place where all the government offices have two names. Immigration was a snap, even if i did it in French. Maybe next time i'll go over to one of those bilingual booths just to see how far i could take it.

After waiting for the Belg, we made our way to the hotel and then the Irish Pub nearby for lots of deep fried food and beer. I also had one of the carrot sticks Paul ordered, just to balance it out. After only two beers, jet lag set in and thanks to the stressed out wireless i decided to just go to sleep. The nice part of jet lag is now i'm awake to make full (ab)use of the internet while everyone else is still asleep.

I took the time to get everything setup for FUDCon Live. I'll be making a quick (very quick) presentation on how to do this, where to go and what to do. Just so that we have all the information in once place, you can figure out what to do by doing two things. Read this blog post or consult the landing page for FUDCon.

To start, each room lines up to an irc channel, #fudcon-room-X where x is a value between 1-8. I've also squatted a few breakout sessions channels, but there's no zodbot there, so we would have to log them individually. If you need a breakout IRC channel, let me know so i can join. I will be logging the entire affair as a backup.

Second, if you are recording a session, check out this page, which explains what you need to do to help record. Secondly, once you record a session, please fill in the nitty gritty details on the wiki. The log can be found here. You need to fill out this page to get credit for transcribing. Credit means getting a drink. And we all like drinks.

At this point, i have all the channels setup with hotkeys, so i can keep an eye on the process. I really can't tell what the schedule is going to look like yet, but if i get a chance, i'll try to transcribe a session during the first block of sessions. This way if you're not totally sure what a good transcription session looks like, you can follow this one.

PS. I'll be wearing my Red Hat, so i should be easy to find if you have questions.

Dec 5, 2009 12:43 AM

Paul W. Frields: Social networking at FUDCon.

from Fedora People

While at FUDCon, please make sure to let the community know what you’re doing! Blog posts are really helpful for spreading word out to Planet Fedora and other aggregators. Make sure to tag your posts as “Fedora” and “FUDCon” also.

If your attendance is sponsored by the Fedora Project, you’re expected to do approximately one blog entry per day to let the community know what you’ve been working on here.

Remember that, as much as we would have loved to, we couldn’t sponsor every single person who wanted to be here. Show that you appreciate the opportunity by spreading the word about all the cool stuff going on at FUDCon, especially what you’re involved in yourself. Sure, code is awesome, but no matter what you’re involved in, take the time to let others know. You never know what tidbit is going to get someone excited and motivated to contribute.

On, Twitter, and other services, use hashtags #fedora and #fudcon for micro-blogging.

If you want to follow the fun in IRC, go to Freenode at and check out the #fudcon channel. We have additional channels that will follow what’s going on each session room as well — see the FUDCon Toronto 2009 wiki page for details. Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 4, 2009 8:42 PM

Max Spevack: fudcon toronto, day 0

from Fedora People

My morning began with an IRC conversation with a couple of LATAM ambassadors, after which I made my way to the airport in Raleigh.

I've been doing a lot of brainstorming lately on what the critical path is for Ambassadors worldwide as well as the Fedora Ambassadors Steering Committee, and I need to carve out about two hours of time to really write all of that down, bring it to the mailing lists, and start some conversations. I'm hoping to get some of that done at FUDCon.

I did a bit of email triage on the airplane, and I was fortunate enough to meet up with James Laska, Will Woods, and Adam Williamson at the airport in Toronto. Four people fills up a cab, so off to the hotel we went.

I'm in the hotel room now, sending out a few emails and thinking about dinner.

Greg DeKoenigsberg, Mel Chua, Chris Tyler, and I are meeting for breakfast tomorrow morning at 7 AM, so it's going to be an early night for me.

I missed last year's North American FUDCon in Boston, and I'm really excited to be here in Toronto. Lots of hands to shake this weekend of folks who I haven't seen in quite a while.

Dec 4, 2009 7:42 PM

Mel Chua: FUDBus: The Arrival

from Fedora People

I’m writing this from the FUDBus as we drive in the pitch-blackness of Somewhere In The Middle Of Upstate New York. We’re in the throes of a post-dinner food coma – either that or still stunned from the zombie movie Spot put on after lunch (hilarious, but gory). Still, for those of us not reading or napping, work and conversations are still running full-tilt; across from me Jon McCann is typing away, behind me Mo and Toshio are working on her laptop, and I can see J5 and Luke standing in the back of the bus talking away as we jolt over the road; it’s dark so I can’t see much else.

We started from Alewife at 9am this morning – really more like 9:30 after luggages and laptops (boxes of XOs courtesy of Adam Holt) plus a bike and a bass guitar were loaded and people counted (a big thank-you to our bus monitors Ian and Smooge for keeping us on the bus, on the road, and on time!) – and plotted our arrival at the Red Hat office in Westford.

When the bus pulled in, several squads jumped out: a FUDCon Swag Squad to haul down the Shiny Shiny Banners from Mo’s desk upstairs (now piled in the back seat looking very good indeed) and a FUDBUS Snack Squad on Mission: OM NOM NOM that returned triumphant with bags of chips and apples and cookies and such. Also, a happy-tummy-thank-you to whoever brought the tarts and cream puffs on the bus this morning – I have no idea where those appeared from, but they were delicious! (Yes, you can tell what my priorities are… Food is important, yo. I’m hungry.)

We’re reaching Niagara Falls as I type this, meaning that we’re probably just under 2 hours away from arriving at the FUDCon hotel, and that I’m going to be heading offline in a moment. See you folks on the other side of the border! Add starLikeShareShare with noteEmailAdd tags

Dec 4, 2009 3:48 PM

Clint Savage: FUDCon F13: Another SNAFU

from Fedora People

As some of you may know, I have been working hard to get the Fedora 12 media ready for delivery. It’s been replicated, the sleeves printed and the boxes are waiting at our CD Replication vendor. However, even though we thought we had covered all of our bases, we missed some details with regard to the invoicing system.

I am very sad to report, there will not be any pressed F12 media at FUDCon this time.

However, I expect the financial details to be sorted out sometime between now and Monday. If this happens, it’s quite possible we can deliver media starting next week. Still pretty fast, considering.

I guess every FUDCon can’t be perfect, but we’re still going to make this a great event!

If you are in the area, or wish to participate from afar, we’ve got ways for you to get involved. FUDCon is always free and I’ve got two remote microphones and two mixers that I plan on using to record and stream the audio from two rooms. I’m also working on a way to stream/record the desktop of the presenter at the same time so we can have audio and video from the desktops in real time (we’ll see if this part happens). I might even suggest a hackfest on Monday to make it more solid if I can’t get it working tonight/tomorrow.

I’m excited to see all my friends at FUDCon.


Clint Related Posts

   * Fedora Media for North America
   * FUDCon F13: Toronto, there are too many paths!
   * FUDCon F11: Day 3
   * FUDCon F11: Day 2 (Part 2)
   * FUDCon F11: Day 2 (Part 1)

Dec 4, 2009 8:44 AM

Paul W. Frields: Traveling.

from Fedora People

In just a few minutes, I’m leaving for the airport to catch a plane through Cincinnati to Toronto. I should touch down at YYZ at around 3:45pm, and hopefully I’ll be meeting some other Fedora friends at the airport and we’ll share a taxi to the hotel. Hopefully we should be there around 5:30pm. After checking in, I plan to get online at IRC Freenode, #fudcon channel, and remain there as often as possible (minus some dinner foraging). I’ll be in the hotel lobby to greet the FUDBus when it arrives.

Then I have to disappear with Mel Chua to round up on some details and strategery, and possibly sit down with Max and Greg for a bit if I’m needed.

When people check in, they should plan to pick up breakfast vouchers at the hotel desk. Those will be used in the morning. Breakfast will be served in the York Room of the hotel, where you’ll just write in your room number on the voucher to queue up.

FUDCon will begin promptly at 9:30am on Saturday morning at the Seneca @York site. All the details needed for arriving there are on the wiki — see you there!

Dec 4, 2009 8:44 AM

Stephen Smoogen: On the way to FUDcon

from Fedora People Where we put the U back into FUDcon! or something like that. My main jobs are going to be a few things:

  1. Make sure people don't party too hard on the bus to Toronto. And have their passports.
  2. Listen to users A LOT.
         * Who are they?
         * What do they want?
         * Why are they here?
         * Where do they want to go
  3. Learn to be a user again. Most of my habits are formed from when I was in college in the late 1980's. It was a big push in my habits to move from tvtwm to fvwm2 and then to metacity. What would a new user use and why? How does one IM, blog or this thing?
  4. Make sure people don't party too hard on the bus from Toronto. And have their passports.

Thats about it.. hope to update daily (so the family knows I am alive :)).

Dec 2, 2009 11:49 AM

Paul W. Frields: FUDCon “F minus 3.”

from Fedora People

I just got back from my slightly extended Thanksgiving vacation yesterday, and there’s so much to talk about!

Most importantly, this coming Saturday marks the start of FUDCon Toronto 2009. As everything is starting to settle into place, we’re having a planning wrap-up meeting this afternoon on IRC Freenode at #fudcon-planning at 2100 UTC (4:00pm US/Eastern). Thanks to the superb efforts of people like Steven Parrish, Andrew Overholt, Mel Chua, and the inimitable Chris Tyler, we have updated information on the wiki, and even ride sharing information for people coming into Toronto’s Pearson International Airport (YYZ — thanks Steven!).

Have you looked at the list of people and content lately? The pre-registration table now shows almost 180 people coming, and if this FUDCon is anything like others, there will be people showing up out of the blue as well. And that’s not at all a bad thing — FUDCon is, after all, free and open to anyone to attend! There’s a huge list of technical sessions already suggested. Some of these have been pre-selected for two user tracks, so some of the new contributors attending FUDCon for the first time can get the most out of their Fedora systems. (I call this putting the U back in FUDCon!) At the same time, there will be a boatload of sessions aimed at developers, maintainers, and contributors of all sorts — and those who are becoming one or more of the above.

There’s also about a dozen and a half hackfests listed, with something for virtually everyone who’s willing to roll up sleeves and work on something Fedora-related. Speaking only for myself, I want to spend a bit of time on the Fedora Insight (Zikula) work that will help us get a true content management system into production. Eventually we’ll be able to use that not just for marketing material, but for documentation, media, and other goodies.

Finally, there’s a very useful and concise list of things you should bring with you!

It’s going to be a great FUDCon, and I look forward to seeing everyone there. If you have lingering questions about FUDCon that you don’t find answered on the wiki page, please feel free to email the planners, fudcon-planning at lists fedoraproject org, or come by the IRC channel (, #fudcon-planning)!

Nov 29, 2009 3:52 PM

Yaakov M. Nemoy: FUDCon Live: Status

from Fedora People

A while back i posted a call for volunteers for a new concept for FUDCon, which i called FUDCon Live. Not surprisingly, i didn't get an overwhelming number of raised hands, since i think this is a new concept that not many people get. Instead, i think we should restructure the planning just a bit.

There are a couple elements to this idea. The first is having an organized #fudcon-room-* channel for each physical space we have, complete with a meetingbot instance and any other tools people might want to use. Depending on the kind of session, running gobby and other tools will also go along way to helping things along. I'm assuming the people on the ground can help out here because they know what the rooms are. Setting something up like this is pretty low level work.

The second element is the logger. This is someone in each session who is recording the conversation and taking notes via IRC. He's (or a she, but i think FUDCon is still mostly attended by guys) also taking comments from IRC and repeating them to the group. This requires making sure there are enough volunteers. This also means making sure someone is tracking who the volunteers are and are enforcing enough typing breaks. Having done this before, i can tell you it can be stressful to do this for an entire day. Yes, you're a nerd, yes, you type all day, but you don't type at this pace for long stretches. Finally free drinks are involved, anyone who volunteers gets a beer (or other beverage, or well any other reasonable consumable if you don't drink) from me, as a thank you.

The third element is you. To make this worthwhile, you will need to interact with it. If you're at home, use it to follow that session you really wanted to see. Ask questions. If you're at FUDCon, hang out in channels to follow two sessions at once. Find out if there's a session more interesting than yours. Use the extra information to decide where to be. Finally, provide feedback. Let us know how it worked out.

The last element is the organisation. Since i only got a couple of volunteers so far, i want to do things a bit differently. This should solve a few issues all at once. Let's take a page out of Google's playbook. At the Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit, as part of each presentation, the guy running the session was required to ask for a volunteer to log the session. Let's take this route. For everyone giving a session, before you begin, find a volunteer in the room. There's a good chance that someone in the room already has an emotional investment in the session and will be willing to document things. One of the organizers (the original volunteers) will make sure to monitor the channels and update the wiki after each session. This way we know who's been volunteering.

John (J5) Palmieri: FUDCon, the AMQP story

from Fedora People

With FUDCon being only two weeks away, I’ve been polishing up my presentation and looking into what is in store for the future of Fedora’s Infrastructure. My main focus has been adding “push” capabilities throughout our infrastructure via the use of the AMQP protocol and qpid servers.

So why do we care about push messaging?

One can think of messaging as a conversation between two people. Poll messaging goes something like this:

Poll Messaging

Push on the other hand is a bit less chatty:

Push Messaging

By eliminating the need to poll to know when an event has happened within Fedora’s Infrastucture, and making it easy for services to push out events in an easy fire and forget manner, we open up the door to a number of interesting possibilities. For instance, instead of implementing mail notification functionality in every service we simply create a mail notification service that listens for events and sends e-mails to people who what them. Do you want to get a notification on your desktop when your build is done instead? This makes it possible to provide that functionality without bogging down the Koji build service.

Human consumable notifications isn’t the only advantage of adding push messaging to our infrastructure. Because the data is first formatted for services to consume, notifications can be used for things like automation and synchronization. For instance someone could write a script that listens for new git checkins at and tries to package it into a private repo for personal testing.

What do we need to discuss at FUDCon?

Though this change is minimally invasive and you can ignore it if you don’t need to work with notifications, it is never the less a large undertaking. Some of the things we need to discuss are:

   * Usecases – where can we benefit by adding notifications?  How do we envision the notifications will be consumed?
   * Payload format – what are the pros and cons of the different ways we can encode and decode data
   * Standardization – even though we have a routing protocol we still need to standardize on the type of data to expect
   * Libraries – we need to make it dirt easy for infrastructure developers to add notifications to their service
   * Performance and security concerns – AMQP is pretty complex so we will need to make sure all of our bases are covered when deploying the QPID servers

AMQP Sessions at FUDCon

There are a couple of talks planned and a hackfest. Come to the talks to get a deeper understanding of AMQP and how we envision using it within Fedora and then attend the hackfest to help us map out the future of the Fedora Messaging Infrastructure.


   * AMQP Messaging for Fedora Developers – come to my session to find out the basics of AMQP messaging and how it is relevant to Fedora’s infrastructure
   * AMQP/Qpid on Fedora – The definitive guide – get a more in-depth view of AMQP in Rajith Attapattu session.  He will show you how to setup and configure the Qpid server on Fedora, use the client APIs, and where to go to find help when using AMQP.

Sunday and/or Monday:

   * Get on the (Message) BUS Hackfest! – come to Jesse Keating’s hackfest to work out details and hack on the messaging infrastructure.