Fedora, GNOME, Linux

Fedora at LinuxDays 2018 in Prague

LinuxDays, the biggest Linux event in the Czech Republic, took place at the Faculty of Information Technology of Czech Technical University in Prague. The number of registered attendees was a bit lower this year, it could be caused by municipality and senate elections happening on Fri and Sat, but the number got almost to the 1300 mark anyway.

Besides a busy schedule of talks and workshops the conference also has a pretty large booth area and as every year I organized the Fedora one. I drove by car to Prague with Carlos Soriano and Felipe Borges from the Red Hat desktop team on Saturday morning and we were joined by František Zatloukal (Fedora QA) at the booth.

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František and me at the booth.

Our focus for this year was Silverblue and modularity. I prepared one laptop with an external monitor to showcase Silverblue, the atomic version of Fedora Workstation. I must say that the interest of people in Silverblue surprised me. There were even some coming next day saying: “It sounded so cool yesterday and I couldn’t resist and install it when I got home and played with it in the night…” With Silverblue comes distribution of applications in Flatpak and there was a lot of user interest in this direction as well.

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Reasons to use Fedora.

I was hoping for more interest in modularity, but people don’t seem to be so aware of it. It doesn’t have the same reach outside the Fedora Project as Flatpak does, it’s not so easy to explain its benefits and use cases. We as a project have to do a better job selling it.

The highlight of Saturday was when one of the sysadmins at National Library of Technology, which is on the same campus, took us to the library to show us public computers where they run Fedora Workstation. It’s 120 computers with over 1000 users (in the last 90 days). Those computers serve a very diverse group of users, from elderly people to computer science students. And they have received very few complaints since they switched from Windows to Fedora. Also they’ve hit almost no problems as sysadmins. They only mentioned one corner case bug in GDM which we promised to look into.

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Carlos and Felipe checking out Fedora in the library.

It was also interesting to see the setup. They authenticate users against AD using the SSSD client, mount /home from a remote server using NFS. They enable several GNOME Shell extensions by default: AlternateTab (because of Windows users), Places (to show the Places menu next to Activities)… They also created one custom extension that replaces the “Power Off” button with “Log Out” button in the user menu because users are not supposed to power the computers off. They also create very useful stats of application usage based on “recently-used” XML files that GNOME creates to generate the menu of frequently used applications. All computers are administrated using Ansible scripts.

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Default wallpaper with instructions.

The only talk I attended on Saturday was “Why and How I Switched to Flatpak for App Distribution and Development in Sandbox” by Jiří Janoušek who develops Nuvola apps. It was an interesting talk and due to his experience developing and distributing apps on Linux Jiří was able to name and describe all the problems with app distribution on Linux and why Flatpak helps here.

On Sunday, we organized a workshop to teach to build flatpaks. It was the only disappointment of the weekend. Only 3 ppl showed up and none of them didn’t really need to learn to build flatpaks. We’ll have the same workshop at OpenAlt in Brno and if the attendance is also low, we’ll know that workshop primarily for app developers is not a good fit for such conferences.
But it was not a complete waste of time, we discussed some questions around Flatpak and worked on flatpaking applications. The result is GNOME Recorder already available in Flathub and Datovka in the review process.

The event is also a great opportunity to talk to many people from the Czech community and other global FLOSS projects. SUSE has traditionally a lot of people there, there was Xfce, FFMPEG, FreeBSD, Vim, LibreOffice…

 

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Fedora

Ease of 3D Printing in Fedora

We had a Fedora booth at LinuxDays 2016 in Prague and one of our attractions was  Miro Hrončok‘s 3D printer Lulzbot Mini. Because Miro was busy helping organize the conference he just left the printer at the booth and I had to set it up myself. And it really surprised me how easy it is to 3D print using Fedora. Basically what I had to do was:

  1. installing Cura from the official repositories,
  2. plugging the printer into a USB (automatically connected due to Miro’s udev rules),
  3. starting Cura, choosing the model of the printer and material I’m going to print with,
  4. opening a file with the 3D model I wanted to print,
  5. hitting the “Print” button and watching the printer in action.

Fedora has been known to be the best OS for 3D printing already for some time, mainly due to the work of Miro (he packaged all the available open source software for 3D printing, prepared udev rules to automatically connect to 3D printers etc.), but I was still surprised how easy it is to 3D print with Fedora these days. It really took just a couple of minutes from a stock system to start of the actual printing. It’s almost as simple as printing on papers.
There is still room for improvements though. Some 3D printing apps (Cura Lulzbot Edition is one of them) are available in the official repositories of Fedora, but don’t have an appdata file, so they don’t show up in GNOME Software. And it would also be nice to have “3D Printing” category in GNOME Software, so that the software is more discoverable for users.

Fedora, Uncategorized

Fedora at Czech conferences

The busy autumn season of technical conferences is over. During that time, we represented Fedora at three conferences in the Czech Republic:

LinuxDays in Prague – over 1000 registered visitors make it the largest Czech Linux event (if we don’t consider DevConf.cz which is international). As every year, we had a Fedora booth there and we had the first opportunity to give away new Fedora handbooks. A couple of Fedora contributors also delivered talks, I myself spoke on Fedora Workstation and problems of Linux desktop in general.

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OpenAlt in Brno – originally called LinuxAlt OpenAlt used to be the largest Czech Linux event, but the number of visitors has been stagnating or even declining. This year, the conference adopted a much broader range of topics and became a rather barcamp about “open topics”. This gave us an opportunity to approach different audience than the traditional Linux one. We again had a Fedora booth and because the conference is in Brno there were many talks by redhatters and Fedora contributors. I again had a talk on Fedora Workstation.

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PyCon CZ – I didn’t attend this conference myself, but Miro Hroncok and Slavek Kabrda represented the Fedora Project very well there. It was the first PyCon in the Czech Republic, well attended. Fedora had a booth there and Miro and Slavek wanted to differentiate from others, so they purchased dozens of blue soda Zon and gave it away to thirsty visitors as a present from Fedora. This event allowed us to reach outside the traditional Linux community and approach our target audience – developers. I suppose Miro or Slavek will write a bit more about the event. And we’re already planning to participate in PyCon SK.

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Author: Matej Stuchlik

We also organized a Fedora 23 release party in Brno which was extremely well attended. We picked the largest room in the new building of Red Hat (with 100 seats) and people couldn’t even physically fit in the room, so I suppose the attendance was >120 ppl.

This Thursday, we’re going to Prague to have a release party there. The release parties there are usually smaller (~30 ppl), but full of interesting people. For instance, the new Fedora handbook was an outcome of beer conversation after the F22 release party in Prague. It will be especially interesting because we were offered a venue in Etnetera, a company that use Fedora Workstation on a lot of PCs.

Fedora, Linux

FAD Prague 2013

We’ve decided to organize the very first Fedora Activity Day in the Czech Republic – FAD Prague 2013. It will be co-located with LinuxDays 2013. The goals are Czech- specific. We’d like to work on a small handbook we can print and give away to users who’d like to start with Fedora. It should cover basics such as what is Fedora, why to use it, where to get it, how to install it, how to work with the system etc. In spare time, we’d also like to work on improving and updating our online Czech Fedora user handbook which is wiki-based, but can be converted to a PDF. It’s already pretty long, over 250 pages. On the second day, we’d like to work on Czech translations. Not only translations of Fedora-specific software, but also translations of upstream software which is included in Fedora. Czech upstream translators are going to have a meetup at LinuxDays and this could definitely be common ground.

The whole event is meant to be for participants with different level of knowledge and experience. Newbies are especially welcome because the FAd is a great opportunity to start contributing to Fedora. There will be experienced Fedora contributors around who can help them and point them to the right directions.