FAmSCo in F20 Term

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Yesterday, we had the last FAmSCo meeting with the old set of members and it was effectively our last meeting in the F20 term. So I suppose it’s the right time to report how FAmSCo was working in the just ended term. Here are some stats:

Number of meetings: 31 (only 2 were cancelled due to Flock and Christmas holidays)Average attendance: 5.1 / 7 members (we didn’t reach quorum of 4 members in only one occasion)
Total number of topics discussed: 125 (4 per meeting)

Activity of members by number of meetings attended:

  1. Alejandro Perez 30
  2. Jiří Eischmann 25
  3. Robert Mayr 24
  4. Luis Bazán 24
  5. Truong Anh Tuan 21
  6. Christoph Wickert 20
  7. Buddhika Chandradeepa Kurera 9

As you can see Alejandro was again the ironman of FAmSCo in the last term, missing just one meeting. He will be missed in FAmSCo.

Activity of members by numbers of messages posted:

  1. Jiří Eischmann 1781 (71 per meeting)
  2. Christoph Wickert 1049 (52)
  3. Truong Anh Tuan 841 (40)
  4. Alejandro Perez 759 (25)
  5. Robert Mayr 570 (24)
  6. Luis Bazán 265 (11)
  7. Buddhika Chandradeepa Kurera 74 (8)

The highest number of messages posted for me is no surprise considering I chaired most of the meetings.

I’d like to note that this post is not meant to be a judgement of FAmSCo member’s contributions. It’s far more complex. But it’s nice to see that FAmSCo is active and we meet, discuss and make decisions regularly.

I’d like to thank the members that are leaving FAmSCo, especially Alejandro who served as the vice-chair in the last term and missed almost no meeting during his one and half year in FAmSCo. I’m very much looking forward to new members: Neville A. Cross and Jon Disnard. Both are a long-term contributors who have been very active in the regional communities. I’m also glad that all regions have representatives in FAmSCo again. That’s a very important thing for the communication between FAmSCo and the regions.

DevConf.cz 2014

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Developer Conference 2014 is finally over. The last two weeks were damn busy for me. Just a week before the conference I went to FOSDEM and it wasn’t just attending. I organized a bus with 40 hackers between Brno and Brussels, accommodation for 6 Fedora people, and pretty much the whole Fedora booth at FOSDEM + producing 400 t-shirts for CentOS guys and bringing a lot of other stuff from Brno for various parties. When I returned I didn’t have time to rest because DevConf.cz was just a few days away. This in a combination with very little sleep meant that I had a complete physical meltdown on Wednesday. Not only was I dead tired, but I also got some flu/cold. Then I just focused on surviving till DevConf.cz because as the main organizer I just couldn’t simply back off. So I just worked and slept and removed all stuffing between it and it worked :)

We put DevConf.cz just one week after FOSDEM which as I described above almost killed me. But it also had a lot of benefits. Most importantly, people from overseas could come for both events and spend the week between on internal Red Hat meetings in Brno. And a lot of people did. I wondered how many attendees would come this year. Last year, it was around 700, but quite a lot of publicity on the Internet and people mentioning the conference indicated it could be much more this year which could be a problem because the venue is not very large and half of the campus is under reconstruction.

And we did have a lot of attendees. The number from DevConf.cz 2013 was exceeded within two hours and the total number of attendees for the first day was nearly 900. The total number of unique attendees for all three days was around 1000 which was a significant increase from the last year. Especially on Friday, we were hitting the capacity of the venue. Several talks were completely packed. For example the ones about Docker and OSTree where you couldn’t even get into the room if you came too late. I didn’t attend many talks and when I found time to attend one I was usually called back by an urgent problem. Nevertheless, the general feedback I heard from other people was that the talks had even better quality than last year. I really liked the Fedora Day which was the third day of the conference. This attracted a lot of people from the Fedora community and I could actually meet maybe more Fedora contributors at DevConf.cz than at Flock.

I can’t rate DevConf.cz because as the main organizer I’m biased, but from the organizer’s perspective the event went quite smoothly which was mainly due to tireless help of dozens of volunteers without whom the event wouldn’t be possible and I thank them for that.

And DevConf.cz 2015? I’m already thinking about that. We improve the event incrementally based on feedback from attendees to make the event better every year. Some of the proposed changes such as making the talk slots shorter to have longer breaks worked very well and we’ve already gathered new ideas for the next year. We also will have to assess the venue. The cooperation with the university is almost ideal, the location is also very good, but if we want to accommodate even more attendees next year we’ll have to have more space. The reconstruction will be finished in summer and then there should be mid-sized rooms for smaller talk or workshop tracks available. We will see. The only significantly larger venue in Brno is The Brno Exhibition Area which would be a huge cost jump up and I still find university campuses more appropriate for developer’s events.

P.S. Videos of talks from the three main tracks will be online within a few weeks. We’re working on it.

Talk on Docker (© Sirko Kemter)

Fedora badge for fedora.cz writers!

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I think we have a really good national Fedora community website – fedora.cz. But it would not be possible without work of writers that supply the website with continuous stream of articles and news about Fedora. To reward them, Miro Hrončok asked for a special Fedora badge. Marie Nordin did the design, Ralph Bean did the rest and here it is:

F20 release party in Brno

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Fedora release parties in Brno office of Red Hat is already a tradition. We’ve been organizing them since F15 and it always attracted at least 100 visitors evenly distributed between redhatters and non-redhatters. But this time, it was a bit special because we also celebrated 10th anniversary of Fedora which is why we ordered a special and yummy surprise:

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We prepared a set a talks. Jaroslav Řezník talked about the first 10 years of Fedora. We played a video with former Fedora Project Leaders and people could actually a lot of interesting facts from the history of Fedora Project. We also set a SelfTest session with questions from the history of the project, so people could use the information from the first talk in the quiz. The second talk was my traditional talk on new features in GNOME. When I was preparing the talk I realized there hadn’t been many large changes in the last release of GNOME which is definitely a sign of maturity. The third talk was on the graphical interface of DevAssistant (by Petr Hráček) which I find really cool. I wish something like this existed when I did my first attempts to program in Linux. The fourth talk was a bit shorter and Honza Horák gave us an update about the newest version of PostgreSQL. The last talk was delivered by Martin Holec who talked on Fedora on ARM and he showed Fedora running on a Cubieboard.

Before we all left for our homes, we announced the winners of the SelfTest contest. The most successful contenders could win a Fedora pillow, mugs, baseball caps,…

The release party was fund. Too bad that the next one won’t be earlier than in August.

DevConf.cz 2014 schedule is out!

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Last week, we published a schedule of Developer Conference 2014 that is going to take place in Brno on Feb 7-9th and I finally found time to write about it. The schedule looks IMHO very promising. There are around 100 speakers of 18 nationalities that will deliver 68 talks and 30 workshops and labs from 14 topics: cloud, databases, desktop, developer, Fedora, kernel, networking, security, server, software quality, storage, userspace, virtualization. The conference has been expanded into three days. The first two will be standard conference days packed with talks and workshops. The third day is devoted to Fedora. There will be Fedora-related talks in the morning and planning sessions and hackfests in the afternoon. BTW we still have available slots in the afternoon, so if you’d like to organize a session or hackfest, let us know.

But DevConf.cz won’t only be about talks and workshops. We’re also preparing a DevConf.cz party that will again be in the Fléda club. And there will also be a city tour with a great Canadian guide on Friday. And there are still more things in the works.

We have a special rate for conference participants in Avanti Hotel (and this time also in A Sport Hotel), but there are just a few left, so if you still don’t have accommodation, don’t hesitate.

devconf-logo

FAD Rheinfelden and EMEA budget for FY2015

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Last month, we again got together in Rheinfelden to plan Fedora activities in the EMEA region for the next year (Fedora follows the fiscal year of Red Hat that starts in March and because it’s named after the calendar year it ends in, the next fiscal year is 2015).

This time I chose to fly instead of going by bus. And it was a much more pleasant option. I left home in Brno at 9am, joined Miro Hroncok at Prague Airport, and landed in Basel at 3pm. The attendance was much better than last year. In September, I approached most active ambassadors and asked them to sign up. It seemed to work because most of them really came. There were 17 ambassadors from 9 countries.

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We started Saturday with country presentations. Ambassadors of each country prepared a presentation about activities in their location in the last year or two. Then we came to the most important agenda of the FAD: creating a list of events and activities we want to do in FY2015 and making a budget based on this. Today, I put all the numbers together and made the first draft of the EMEA budget for the fiscal year 2015. The total amount is $39,900 which is higher than last year when we asked for $32,000. But because our options were a bit limited after cuts in the current year and because it looks like we’re going to spend up all our budget, we are going to ask for more. But it’s just a draft. We will discuss drafts of regional budgets in FAmSCo before we propose final versions to FPL and OSAS.

In the evening, Gerold, our host in Rheinfelden, prepared another great social event: kart races. Sunday morning was pretty much devoted to discussion. We discussed the Fedora.NEXT proposals and what it means for ambassadors. It was definitely a heated discussion. I also proposed that we should more focus on events that are out of traditional Linux circles because that means real outreach. Most people already know us at Linux conferences. We also discussed another of my proposals: that we should more focus on schools, mainly universities because that’s the biggest source of open source contributors has always been.

DSC03758

The FAD ended after noon when we were leaving home, with even stronger feeling that the EMEA FAD is worth organizing and traveling. I and Miro had to cross the bridge over the Rhine from German Rheinfelden to Swiss Rheinfelden where we took a train to Zurich Airport to fly back to Prague.

Photos by Joerg Simon.

Fedora Project at LinuxCon Europe 2013

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I just returned from Edinburgh where we represented Fedora at LinuxCon Europe 2013. It was great three days. I arrived to Edinburgh Sunday evening and was welcomed by a typical Scottish weather – rain. Our local contact and host was Keiran Smith, a longtime Fedora ambassador and packager. Another ambassador representing Fedora at LinuxCon was Jon Archer who arrived in the middle of the first day, and Tony, a longtime local Fedora user who helped us fill the last position after one of ambassadors cancelled their trip to LinuxCon. There were much more Fedora contributors at LinuxCon: Tom Callaway, Ruth Suehle, Matthew Garrett, Thorsten Leemhuis, Daniel Veillard and others.

Our booth was between BlackDuck and oVirt&Gluster booths and was well attended. We prepared stickers, case badges, upstream community sticker sheets, badges, and Fedora Cloud flyers for LinuxCon attendees. They could also check out Fedora 19 and 20 on two laptops we had at the booth. We also wanted to showcase a Wayland session of GNOME in Fedora 20, but had problems with input devices, so the showcase was over very quickly :-)

LinuxCon is not an event to present Fedora to new end users although we met a lot of people who said that would try Fedora after visiting our booth and DVD ran out very quickly. LinuxCon is mainly about presenting Fedora to other open source projects, people from all kind of companies that are interested in Linux, and also about networking. For example, a director from one of very well known IT company (I don’t want to name) came to our booth and asked how they can cooperate with Fedora because so far their development only targeted Ubuntu, but they don’t like the direction Ubuntu has recently taken and would like to stick with someone who stays in the Linux pack. We were also recruiting new contributors. Eilidh McAdam, a developer of Lanedo, showed her interest in contributing in Fedora and she is already in the process to become an ambassador. And hopefully, she’ll be a valuable packager or developer, too.

Apart from LinuxCon, I really enjoyed Edinburgh. Keiran took us to several nice places in evenings including a really good Indian restaurant. I was really surprised how cheap Scotland had become for us. When I was there 9 years ago, 1  GBP was 55 CZK, now it’s only 30 CZK, so everything is almost twice cheaper. And beer is still only around 2.5 GBP :) I was also surprised how many Czechs I met in Edinburgh. The receptionist in my hotel turned out to be Czech, so I checked in speaking Czech. The dealer at our roulette table at the LinuxCon party was also Czech. The weather was not that bad after all. The last day was even sunny.

I’d like to thank Fedora Project for sponsoring accommodation and dinner for booth staff and the Linux Foundation for providing us with a booth and tickets for booth staff which are otherwise very expensive.

CC BY-NC 2.0 – Linux Foundation

Does Fedora Project want new packagers?

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Last week, we held a Fedora Packaging Workshop in Brno office of Red Hat. 16 participants showed up. Some of them were interested in just creating an RPM, some wanted to get their packages to Fedora and some were interested in creating RPMs for RHEL (we had quite a few participants from companies). I and four lecturers (Ondrej Vasik, Jaroslav Reznik, Stano Ochotnicky, Mirek Suchy) prepared an all-day intensive workshop.

But I don’t want to talk about the workshop in this blogpost. The workshop just made me wonder “do we really want new packagers?”. I often hear complaints in the community that the number of community packagers is decreasing and the Red Hat vs. community packagers ratio is not healthy. But I wonder if we’re doing (at least remotely) our best to get new packagers. We’ve already held several packaging workshops and most participants agreed that packaging for Fedora is a very complex thing, maybe unnecessarily complex. Documentation is outdated and scattered. There are tons of tools that are not integrated. And when we introduce COPRs we will even have more than one build system. And if someone is willing to go through all this, he hits the review process which is handled by Red Hat bugzilla which is not integrated with the rest, again. There are hundreds of review requests waiting and the lucky ones get the process done in months. There was one participant at the workshop who made a package of his tool for Fedora around Fedora 15 and never got it to Fedora. When you learn such a complex thing as packaging, get familiar with all the tools, it must be really frustrating not to make it all the way. And that guys was indeed frustrated.

So when someone starts complaining that the number of new packagers is decreasing and saying it must be a sign of decreasing number of people interested in Fedora, I will tell him to look at what new packagers have to through. In the time when other platforms are trying to make inclusion of new software, if not as easy as possible, at least as streamlined as possible, Fedora stands out and people are not willing to through all the hassle any more. But maybe we just don’t want and need new packagers…

Ambassadors Meeting Activity

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At Flock 2013, I started extracting data from ambassadors meeting minutes to analyze IRC meeting activity of ambassadors in each region. I was mainly interested in how many people attend meetings. Of course, I returned from Flock and didn’t find time to finish it until now.

On the chart below you can see number of participants of ambassadors meetings in each region. Because there are different numbers of meetings, I made an average number for each month, so that I could compare them. The chart starts in January 2012 and ends in July 2013 because I didn’t update data when I got back to it, so it doesn’t include last two months. Although the chart is a bit cluttered, you can see some trends there. The number of participants in APAC was declining, but there is a sign of improvement in July. LATAM seems to be slightly going up. The best performing region in terms of participants at meetings is EMEA which has a positive trend, too. Unfortunately, NA has been declining from over 10 participants last year down to below 5 in July. Hopefully, we can reverse the trend in the future.

The average number of participants globally is 11.7 from January 2012 to July 2013. The average numbers for regions: NA: 9.5, EMEA 14.2, APAC 9.7, LATAM 9.4.

A spreadsheet with monthly numbers is here.

ambassadors-activity

Announcing Fedora Day at DevConf.cz

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I’d like to publicly announce Fedora Day that will take place at Developer Conference 2014 in Brno, Czech Republic on February 9th 2014. DevConf.cz is the largest Red Hat developer event in the world. The 2013 edition was attended by 700 people, there were over 60 talks and 30 additional labs and workshops in two days. Because there has been high demand for a winter Fedora planning event, we decided to extend DevConf.cz into three days and make the third additional day a Fedora Day which should be devoted to Fedora hackfests and planning sessions. DevConf.cz is an ideal event for this because there have always been a lot over 100 Fedora contributors at DevConf.cz anyway.

There will be around 6 rooms (each for at least 20 ppl) available for us at the university on Sunday Feb 9th. I created a wiki page where you can add your session and hackfest. If you have an interesting topic for a talk, you may consider submitting it to DevConf.cz Call for Papers which is open until December 1st. Talks will be on the first two days.

A new website for the 2014 edition of DevConf.cz is yet to be finished. We’re working on that. When it’s done, you’ll find all necessary info about the conference there (transportation, accommodation, schedule,…).

DevConf.cz 2014 is held one week after the largest FLOSS event – FOSDEM. We picked this date on purpose, so that people from overseas can come for both events. Here is a planned schedule of events:

Feb 1-2: FOSDEM 2014 in Brussels
Feb 3-6: Internal Red Hat meetings in Brno office and hackfests co-hosted with DevConf.cz (e.g. systemd hackfest)
Feb 7-8: Conference days of DevConf.cz
Feb 9: Fedora Day

Looking forward to meeting you at DevConf.cz! ;-)

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