Flock 2016

Flock 2016 is over for a couple of days now. We (Timea, Gerold, and I) arrived on Tuesday morning. August 1st is a national holiday in Switzerland which makes it hard to catch a flight with a low price. Even if you do your booking six months in advance. The travel was very smooth. Especially thanks to the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel. No need to take care about directions.

As Flock has already started we grabbed our badges and joined the fun. The talks covered a lot of different topics. It’s interesting to see that hypes from a new years back like Spacewalk, Sugar, or JBoss no longer play a role at Fedora events. Containers do. I like LXC and the new kid systemctl-nspawn. Docker right? Docker is popular but I never really got warm with it because I don’t really need it and we do basically the same thing with virtual machines and configuration management.

Over the years I spent a huge amount of time working on packages. Especially, Python. A tool to create packages in one way or another would be nice. As we all know this will probably work for 80 % of the packages but the rest will take 80 % of the time to manually fix the spec file.

For the first time ever during a FUDCon/Flock I did do some sight-seeing. The walking tour of the old city center was a pretty nice idea. Our guide was a funny one and beside the jokes there was something to learn.

Over the years I saw a couple of concepts of doing at a FUDCon/Flock. First we did barcamps, then we tried a mixture of barcamps and pre-arranged talks (FUDCon 2009) then with Flock only scheduled talks take place. The evolution lead from a lot of ‘let’s get shit done’ to a classic conference. I think that only if you do conference-style you can get talks like “Secure Automated Decryption”. It was the first time that I heard and read the words “ElGamal encryption” during a talk at a Fedora-centric event.

It was nice to see that a bunch of people showed up for my Fedora Security Lab hackfest on Friday morning. After a couple of years it’s “Lab” again instead of “Spin”. I showed some slides for the intro. After 20 min I was done and quickly started the conversation with the audience. In the last years we didn’t got much feedback, I like to think that “no news are good news”. If Python 2 will no longer be available this will definitely hit us hard. A large number of tools we include in the Fedora Security Lab are old but still useful and no substitutes are available. There seems to be a need for the not-so-official Fedora Security Lab Test Bench. Well, there are LXC containers 🙂 So, replace those with Docker and create a larger virtual environment with multiple instances and services? Maybe. Start packaging tools and web application we include in the Test Bench? No, shipping PHP shells and vulnerable web application is out of scope for Fedora. To avoid any further implications it maybe best to rename the Test Bench and make it own project out of it.

One conclusion is that it’s a huge advantage if the conference and the accommodation is at the same location. This saves a lot of time if you don’t have to take public transportation for half an hour to get to the venue. At the other hand the enticement to take one more beer before going to bed it very high.

The conclusion for Flock is that we are talking about the same stuff over and over again when it coming down to the community. Reimbursement again, budget boring, swag gähnnn…I guess that we did a really bad job in documenting the work, decisions, and alike in the past. Every new entity (read person or working group) try to re-invent the wheel, create it’s own footprint in the eco-system, or try to make a name for itself.

On Saturday we visited Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory and the Museum of Contemporary Art. During my compulsory schooling we learn a lot about this period in time and thus it was cool to see the physical place. I’m not a huge art fan but both museums are very close we walked through that building too.

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