Flock 2014

After two days of travel and four days of Flock at Praha I’m back home. I arrived on Tuesday afternoon at Praha and met my room mate, Neville Cross, for the first time. As most of you know, it’s a bit risky to share a room with a person you don’t know but he is a very nice and smart person. I really liked that most of the attendees were staying at the same hotel. I instantly remembered the times during LinuxTag 2007 were we spent a lot of time in the yard of the hotel. It’s hard not to find somebody to have a talk or a beer. While waiting in front of the hotel people were coming and going…right before we decided to go for some sightseeing, Jeroen, an old acquaintance, showed up and we postponed the sightseeing in favor of some beers at the hotel bar. A bunch of us, Jeroen, Benedikt, Eduardo, Neville, Peter, Leonardo, and me, ended up in a restaurant near the hotel with decent food and beer.

Flock started on Tuesday morning with an short introduction held by Matthew Miller, the new FPL, the keynote, and a session about Copr. I was not a heavy user of copr but Miroslav Suchý pointed out some valid points to use copr more.

On the way back from lunch I met a bunch of people hanging around in front of the venue and I ended up talking with Luc de Louw about various topics. His stories about the life as Red Hat consultant made me miss the ‘Fedora Workstation – Goals and Philosophy’ talk by Christian Schaller. Fortunately were plenty of talks recorded.

I will not talk about the social event in details. I must only admit that it’s a great idea of ‘The Pub‘ placing beer pulls on all tables. Nice way that customers drink more than planned. Because of the pretty high noise level my Hungarian drinking buddies left our table and we abandoned our beer pulls early.

On Thursday my day started with Yubikeys, then I went on with ‘Orchestration with Ansible at Fedora Project’ and a second keynote on ‘Building a laptop from scratch’. Hmmm, I can’t recall which session I attended before the ‘Introduction to Docker’. Docker is the new hype…’Docker Hub‘ seems to be a core component but a smooth and painless generation of a base images of X is still not possible. Every distributions needs its own nasty bash script. I think that I will stay with containers based on LXC for the near future because the bootstrap process for Fedora works well and I know what’s going on.

The Boat party was really nice and I enjoyed it very much. Lucky for me that I met a real sailer on the boat tour.

On Friday I missed the first session because of an extensive hallway chat. The Fedora Infrastructure talk by Kevin showed some details about the roadmap of the infrastructure guys. The last session before lunch was about Fedora.next. The talk about ‘Fast deployment of OS images on bare metal with Anaconda’ covered a nice new way of setting-up an operating system. Usually I don’t attend key-signing parties. It takes forever to check all documents of large group of participants and takes a bit to sign all keys. But for Flock I made an exception because I still believe in a strong web-of-trust and it’s seems worth to invest some time for other Fedora contributors. Of course my caff configuration is gone. I think it’s time to give pius a chance…

As I already mentioned in a previous blog post, my hackfest/workshop on the Fedora Security Lab didn’t went well. There was one guy in the room and that guy was working on something else and didn’t seems to be interested in the topic. Nowadays the Fedora Security Spin is covering a special use case and there are still people out there who are downloading the iso file. Well, perhaps it’s more interesting to work on ‘Fedora.next’ and ‘Products’ than on a show case that’s around for more than four years and far away from bleeding-edge.

Saturday morning went smoothly…I agree on a couple of points which were mentioned by Langdon White during his ‘Fedora for Developers’ talk. The issue here is that everything come down ‘to moving forwards fast or not’. Out of experience I know that the pleasure of, per example, maintaining a Gnome extension will went in the direction of Zero very quick. Thanks to massive changes in the underlying component doing a rewrite/update every couple of month is not fun and nobody likes that…
The afternoon part started with an ad-hoc Ambassador session. It seems that the messy and outdated Fedora Event page is no longer needed for budgeting. But we ended up that different consumers have different requirement about the events and there is some additional work needed. There was also my rescheduled Fedora Security Lab hackfest/workshop. In accordance with the attendees we ran it more as a workshop and less as a hackfest. My last session was ‘Fedora.next and the fate of spins’ by Christoph Wickert. I guess that the spins will be around a little longer.

To summarize my Flock attendance: It was nice to visit Praha again and actually see a little bit of the city. Back in 2008 for FUDCon Brno I was not able to see more than a couple of houses and streets :-). I didn’t attend a single session about documentation or graphics. Fortunately I have defined my work flow for documentation and it didn’t involve any XML. For everything graphical I will ask somebody who knows about that stuff.
Flock is in many way different to FUDCons I attended and/or helped organizing in the past. I really missed the barcamps. It seems that I attended Flock with a wrong expectation. Flock has a fixer structure and more stuff is planned. In short, less creativity and ‘getting s**t done’ (as we said back in the days) on premises. But of course, this depends heavy on the topic. The infrastructure guys did a lot of work according to fedmsg. Large parts can be placed under the section ‘Fedora contributors educate other contributors’. Well, from my point of view this is a very good thing. In the new Flock era the target audience is no longer including the users. The ‘U’ in FUDCon was always only a small percentage of the attendees. But as far as I remember was it a way to get/attract/involve new contributors.

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