Fedora, Linux

F30 release parties in Prague and Brno

As it’s our tradition since Fedora 15 we’ve organized Fedora 30 release parties in the Czech Republic. Normally the Brno one is earlier, but this time the Prague took place one week before the Brno one – on June 4.

The Prague party was again held in offices of Etnetera, a Fedora-friendly software company. I was worried about the attendance because at the same time the biggest demonstration since 1989 (100+k people) was taking place in Prague. A lot of our friends went there. A lot of old faces didn’t show up, but they were replaced by quite a few new faces (which I think it’s partly due to posting an invitation to the biggest Czech Linux group on Facebook), and in the end the attendance was the same or a bit higher than last time – around 30 ppl.

F30 release party in Prague

We’ve prepared 5 talks for visitors. I started with news in Fedora Workstation and also added a pack of news in Fedora Silverblue. We try to make the release parties as informal as possible, so the talks should not be lectures where one is talking and the rest is listening in silence. My talk was again mixed with a lot of discussion and instead of 30-40 min, it took 1h20m.

Then Petr Hráček introduced the project he’s working on Packit. As someone who maintains packages in Fedora I find the idea interesting because in package maintenance there is a lot of work that can be automated and if there is a tool that can help you with that, great! The only thing that limits my enthusiasm about Packit is that it relies on having YAML files in the upstream repo. And you know how some upstream projects are dismissive to hosting any downstream-specific files…

The next two talks were delivered by Fedora QA guys – František Zatloukal and Lukáš Růžička. František talked on how they test Fedora, what tools they use and how you can help them. Lukáš talked on how to report bugs the useful way.

The 5th talk that was supposed to be on GNOME Builder was cancelled because we were considerably over time, but its author – Ondřej Kolín – promised that he’d change it into an article on mojefedora.cz.

To continue with the bad luck, the release party in Brno a week later had a time conflict with another demonstration against our prime minister. And this time it had an impact on the attendance, around 40 people showed up and we normally get twice more. I hope he will go away, so that there are no longer any demonstrations against him that lower attendance of our release parties 🙂

The party took place in the offices of Red Hat and the program of talks was exactly the same as in Prague.

F30 release party in Brno
F30 release party in Brno

At both parties we also had cool swag for participants. Especially brand-new Fedora hadbook that arrived from a printing-shop just before the Prague party.

New Fedora handbooks

F29 release parties in Brno and Prague

I’ve been organizing Fedora release parties in Brno since Fedora 15 (2011) and with the great release of Fedora 29 I couldn’t make an exception. With help of Květa Mrštíková, Lenka Čvančarová, and all speakers I organized F29 release parties in Brno (Nov 26) and in Prague (Dec 4).

The Brno one was hosted in Red Hat offices in Brno and all speakers were redhatters. I kicked off the event with a talk on news in F29 Workstation. Then Michal Konečný continued with his experience using Silverblue (OSTree-based Workstation). František Zatloukal talked on his passion – gaming on Fedora. After the recent release of Proton by Valve, there was a lot to talk about. The last talk was delivered by Lukáš Růžička and it was about maybe the biggest feature in Fedora 29 – modularity.

Michal Konečný talking on Silverblue.

The party was attended by 50+ visitors both from Red Hat and local community (mainly students). Besides food for their minds (talks) there was also refreshment and all kinds of Fedora swag.

A break between talks.

Fedora parties in Prague are usually smaller simply because Red Hat doesn’t have a large office there and visitors come from local community. A smaller number of people and a very cozy venue provided by Etnetera creates very informal atmosphere that generates interesting discussions. I must say I enjoyed this release party perhaps the most from all I’ve ever organized.

Christmasy atmosphere for the F29 party in Prague.

I started with a talk on Workstation and since there was no talk on Silverblue I also talked on my experience with it. My talk blended with interesting discussions about related topics and it took over an hour. But I really enjoyed it because it didn’t feel like talking to a silent crowd and some attendees contributed by interesting points and pushed me to clarify some things I talked about. We also had a talk on modularity, this time by Adam Šamalik and František Zatloukal came with me from Brno to talk on gaming on Fedora. I was really looking forward to the talk by Ondřej Koch from the National Library of Technology where they deployed Fedora Workstation on ~200 PCs. Unfortunately he didn’t show up. Then one of the attendees stepped up and gave a talk on how he created a backup solution based on ZFS for a really small municipality in his birth village.

Adam talking on modularity.
And people listening.
Fedora swag in Prague.

The number of attendees was around 25 and again besides talks we also prepared some food refreshment (courtesy of Red Hat) and a small keg of beer (courtesy of Etnetera). Lenka also surprised everyone by a cake for the 15-year anniversary of Fedora Project.

Lenka cutting the cake.

I’d like to thank everyone who helped with the events and Red Hat and Etnetera for providing venues and refreshment.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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…


Linux, Red Hat

Flatpak and Endless OS at InstallFest Prague

I spent the last weekend in Prague attending InstallFest 2017. The event is called InstallFest because many, many years ago it started as an event where students could come and get help with installations of various Linux distributions. Times of installfests are gone and this event has transitioned into an open source conference with more practical focus.

The event has moved to a new venue – Faculty of Electrical Engineering of Czech University of Technology. It’s where Red Hat recently started a new open source lab. The venue was larger than the one in previous years and hosted 3 tracks + a small booth area.

I came to talk on two things – Flatpak and Endless OS. My Flatpak talk was on Saturday and got a 55-minute slot which seemed like a lot of time, but if you want to cover all the specifics of the technology, even 55 minutes is not much. The room was pretty full and the topic apparently stirred some attention. There was even one person interested in porting Flatpak to another distribution.

My talk on Flatpak

My talk on Endless OS was the first one of the second day. I only asked for a 25-minute slot which was just enough to make a brief introduction of the system. I also brought with me both Endless devices I have in possession – Endless One and Endless Mini. There were not as many people as at my Flatpak talk, but those who came seemed pretty interested. Almost none of them had ever heard of the OS and PCs before. They asked if they’d ever be available in Europe (which I couldn’t answer because I have no idea) or if you can connect extending hardware to the PCs just like to Raspberry.

As a side note, I was positively surprised how many people wore Fedora t-shirts at the conference.

Myself with the Endless PCs



Flock 2014: Behind the Scenes 1

Flock 2014 is just three weeks away and conference organization is getting into its most intense phase. I’d like to periodically blog about organizational stuff and our progress in the last couple of weeks before Flock. To make things that seem to be a bit behind the scenes more open and transparent.

Venue – the venue has been secured for some time. We originally planned to have everything in one shiny building that is shared by the Faculty of Architecture and the Faculty of Information Technologies. We had a deal with FIT, but people of FA, which is charge of the large lecture rooms, started being trouble makers and asked for much more to rent the rooms. FIT managed to rent two large lecture rooms from the Faculty of Civil Engineering. They’re in a different building, but the buildings are connected and the walking distance is not so bad. Moreover, the large rooms will only be used for the first two days, then Flock will only take place in rooms of FIT.

The campus is otherwise a perfect location for us. The building of FA and FIT is right next to a new library building where you can find a cozy café. It’s a 5-minute walk from a metro station from where it’s just 10 minutes to the city center. You can get there from the airport in less than 20 minutes without having to change buses.

Accommodation – this was actually a hard task. Prague is one of the top tourist places in Europe and August is high season. All hotels are booked and rates are pretty high. We checked all possible hotel options in the neighbourhood and the only suitable was Diplomat Hotel. They gave us a flat rate €90, but then a lot of people noticed that their current rates were cheaper. So we asked the hotel to match the price and they gave us €80 (+Internet connection which is not normally included). But some damage had already been done and I guess a lot of people had booked their rooms directly which left us with a lot of unocuppied rooms. So if you’re planning to stay in the hotel (either sponsored or paying for yourself) please book your room ASAP because we have to cancel reservation of unused rooms.

Because quite a few people couldn’t afford the hotel, we came up with a low-cost option which is student dormitories very close to the venue. This option is considerably cheaper (€17 for a double-bed room), but it’s also not so comfy as the hotel (bathroom is shared with other rooms on the same floor and no breakfast). It’s great that both options are within a few-minute walk from the venue and the stop where all buses from the airport go is even right in front of the hotel, so if you’re coming from the airport, you just can’t miss it.

Lunch – this also seemed to be a hard task. There are no large restaurants around to accommodate 200+ people within 2 hours. We explored the idea to give people meal tickets they can spend in restaurants around like last year in Charleston. Unfortunately widely accepted meal tickets are tax deducted and are only intended for employees in the Czech Republic.  Student cafeterias are closed during summer and they didn’t seem to be interested in making some extra money by opening one of them for us. We asked catering companies how much lunches that they would bring to the venue for us would be and the quotes were ridiculous (above $20). We even started planning to use food supplier of our office in Brno and ask them to bring lunches from Brno every day. But that would be a logistic nightmare. Fortunately Miro found an academic restaurant in nearby dormitories which is able to handle such a large group of people and gave us reasonable quotes. So we won’t let you starve at Flock!

Coffee at the venue, another crucial element of every conference, is yet to be solved, though.

Social events – we explored a lot of options because Prague offers quite a few interesting venues for parties. Now, it’s narrowed down to two or three. We’re still working on it. I don’t want to reveal the options to keep it as a surprise. I think most of us want to go for something memorable, not just yet another pub party. On the other hand, the number of sponsors is much lower than last year and it has inevitable impact on our budget.

SWAG – I think Maírín made a really nice artwork for conference t-shirts. They’re already ordered. We ordered them when there were 220 registered people, we ordered a few extra, but if you registered too late we might not have one for you. But there will probably be some late cancellations so I guess everyone will get one. And other SWAG? It’s more or less treated as nice-to-have if we have any money left.

Information for attendees – we understand you will be coming from all parts of the world and to make your trip and stay as smooth as possible we’d like to provide you with as much information as possible. Luděk Šmíd has prepared a Flock app for Android. Check it out and report problems! Jaroslav Řezník is also working on an app for BB10 and Jozef Mlích on a version for SailfishOS.

I’ve also started working on a guide for Guidebook.com. I used the app for the first time when I attended FUDCon APAC in Beijing and I found very useful that I can download all important information to my phone even for offline usage. I’ve added maps, info about accommodation, useful websites and apps for Prague, public transport. Let me know what kind of information you expect there. It’s a pity there is no such solution as Guidebook.com that would be open source. There are so many open source conferences. Why not to create an ultimate solution for all of them? We have actually started thinking about evolving some of our conference schedule apps into something like Guidebook.com.

Invitation letters – we sent out quite a lot of letters of invitation. It was mostly done by Květa Mrštíková. I just created a template and then signed prepared letters. And I had the first call from an embassy. A consular office of the Czech embassy in New Delhi wanted to confirm two applicants who hadn’t had a history in the Schengen area. I hope everything went through.

Looking forward to meeting you in Prague!


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.

Fedora, Linux, Red Hat

1600 km and three F17 release parties in five days

I set a pretty hard goal for myself this year – to organize three Fedora 17 release parties in three different cities. The last release party in Brno was really crowded, close to limits of our office rooms. So I decided to try other cities, too. Prague was an obvious option because it’s far the biggest city in the Czech Republic with a big Linux community. So it was already two. And then guys from Košice asked me to do one there. Košice is quite far away from Brno, but we had such a great experience there in March that I said “yes”.

All three release parties had different programs, different talks, and different speakers. I was the only one who attended all three and the traveling was exhausting. We traveled by trains carrying all things we needed for the parties. However, it absolutely paid off. We saw a lot of new faces that looked enthusiastic about Fedora (mainly in Košice), we also saw a lot of “old” faces that came to the party to meet each other (mainly in Prague). And I also saw that those events matter. When we were in Košice in March there were almost no users of Fedora in the audience, it was just a typical forest of hands when I asked who was using Ubuntu. This time, the number of Fedora users was much higher and many of them have become Fedora users after our first event in Košice.

So… another round of three release parties for Fedora 18? Maybe, a bunch of Fedora enthusiasts here in Red Hat Brno office is crazy enough to go even higher 🙂

 Hot dogs with many flavours. That was Fedora 17 release party in Brno.

Fedora, Linux, Red Hat

Red Hat and Fedora at InstallFest 2012

I went to InstallFest 2012 in Prague last weekend and I must say it was a nice conference. It’s kinda small because it’s held in the training center on Czech Technical University’s campus where there is just one lecture room and two smaller labs for workshops, but it’s definitely an interesting event with student spirit. I wasn’t the only redhatter attending the event. Pavel Tišnovský (Java QE) had a talk on ARM processor and workshop on Vim. Both were crowded. I and Dan Horák had a joint talk. I spoke about what Red Hat Czech does for students and the community, how to get involved in Fedora (I emphasized Fedora Test Days which is a very up-to-date subject) etc. Dan continued with the topic “Fedora on ARM”. Our talk was quite well attended which was an improvement compared to InstallFest 2011 when only a few people showed up. Dan Horák continued with “Fedora on ARM” workshop where they discussed various topics about ARM. The workshop was full. It looks like ARM is getting more and more attention in the Linux community.

I also brought about 120 Fedora Multidesktop DVDs that (to my surprise) ran out very quickly. So did Fedora stickers.

I also talked with several people about venues for our Fedora 17 release party in Prague. Yeah, you heard that right, we’re going to have two release parties in the Czech Republic this time!