Flock

At the end of FUDCon Lawrence, one thing was obvious to me: Bar Camp style conferences were not working for Fedora. Attendance was dropping, we were seeing the same talks over and over again, and we were spending a large chunk of time just shuffling these same talks into a schedule. It was a sort of echo chamber, where the same people presented the same ideas on the same topics, just in a different place and time. I talked this over with Ruth and Robyn and we all agreed that we wanted to try to restart the idea of what a Fedora conference means, and from that came Flock.

We didn't have a lot of time to put Flock together, and that meant that we had to make a lot of quick decisions without the ideal transparency or community involvement. Wherever possible, we tried our best to be open about the process and solicit help from others, but at the end of the day, we had basically 3 months to make the first Flock event happen. We had a guaranteed venue cancel on us after we had started planning around them and had to restart that whole planning process. Thankfully, the College of Charleston (and the fine folks at the Charleston Linux Users Group) volunteered their space, time, and networks for us.

Putting Flock together was one of the most hectic and crazy things I've ever done, and it wouldn't have happened if not for the help of everyone on staff, but especially Ruth Suehle. Ruth was doing so many things behind the scenes to tie all the loose threads together. To put it bluntly, anything at Flock that you liked was probably her handiwork. Her job was mostly a thankless one, but she was always there, trying to make things more awesome up until the final hackfest ended.

Of course, none of this would be possible without Red Hat. Red Hat believed in the idea of overhauling the Fedora conference and funded it at a scale never before thought plausible. They helped us navigate the financial complexities, made it possible for us to involve third party sponsors, purchased/loaned/rented equipment so that we could stream big chunks of the conference over the internet, and gave us carte blanche to put it all together as we saw fit.

I go to a lot of technical conferences every year. I wanted to try to bring some of the nice things that I've seen at other conferences to the Fedora contributors, and to try to bring as many of those contributors together as I could. I'm pretty proud of what we accomplished together. I hope that everyone came away from Flock energized, excited, and ready to work on making the world a better place through Fedora.

Next year, we have an ever bigger challenge for Flock: to do it again, but in Europe. We're going to have a call for bids coming up in the next few weeks, and we're going to be looking to our community to work with us to make an even better Flock for 2014. It is a lot of work, but the end result is worth it.

In Memory of Seth Vidal

Today, I said goodbye to Seth Vidal. Eunice, his partner, asked me to speak at his funeral, on behalf of those of us in the open source community. I've read a lot of fantastic remembrances in the last several days, and honestly, I'd tried and failed to write my own several times. The words just seemed incomplete, that they couldn't do him justice. Nevertheless, last night, I sat down and wrote something that was the best I could do. I wanted to share it with everyone else who could not be at his funeral today.

*****

Seth was a good man, and that is a rare thing in our world. He believed that our world is what we make of it, and he was determined to make it better. He was passionate in his beliefs, but never a zealot. He was brilliant, the sort of brilliance that lights up a room. When I first met him, 15 years ago at a Linux Users Group meeting, I thought to myself that this was someone I wanted to know, someone I wanted to learn from. His flame burned so brightly that you were just drawn to him, you wanted to work with him, and you couldn't turn away. I was lucky enough to have that chance, as a co-contributor to the Fedora community, and eventually, as his manager at Red Hat. I remember giving him problems to solve, difficult problems. You could see him thinking it through, dissecting them, asking questions, and working out solutions, and it was just inspiring. I've read so many stories in the last few days about how he planted seeds in other people, how he inspired others, how he made them better people. He truly cared about everyone (and everything) around him, and would selflessly give of himself, his time, his talents, and his heart. His code is used by millions of people, all over the world, but his generous spirit, his passion, and his caring, that lives on in the hearts and minds of so many. Those seeds that he planted in us all, he contributed without a second thought, representing the purest spirit of open source. To put it simply: his legacy is not only that he made the world a better place, although, he did, but truly that he inspired us all to do the same, and to do it together.

I think it is telling that my favorite memories of Seth are not tied to work or code, but rather, of laughing with him, playing games with him, suggesting books to each other, even listening to him sing Beastie Boys songs in the worst New York accent ever. I remember him comforting me when I was sad, calming me when I was angry, and always, always, being honest with me.

Seth was humble, I think he'd be a bit bothered that I said all that about him.

Carl Sagan once said, "For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love." Seth made our corner of the universe bearable with his love, and we all miss him terribly.

Flock deadlines approaching - May 31, 2013

The call for talks (and workshops/sprints/hackfests) for Flock 2013 is due to close on May 31, 2013. We've got some great submissions already, but we really would love some more.

Flock is your chance to present your project or your ideas to the Fedora Community for consideration. Think we should do something differently? This is the forum to do that. Want to influence the future for releases like Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS? It happens in Fedora first. Want to teach others how to do something in Fedora? Propose a workshop. Want to build something new for Fedora? Lead a hackfest!

It is easy and cheap to complain about something, but it is more worthwhile to contribute to solving a problem or making something better. Flock is that chance, and we need you!

To register: http://register.flocktofedora.org/new
To propose a talk/workshop/hackfest: http://register.flocktofedora.org/submit_proposal

For more details on Flock: http://flocktofedora.org/

Tuesday Notes

Today was the day of "stuff I can't talk publicly about". Sorry.

* Talked with Ruth about Flock hotels, good progress there! She is kicking butt. :D
* Updated matreshka to 0.4.0 in rawhide, now that gcc has a fix for the ada bug that was blocking it. Tagged gcc override into F19, but the buildroot never regenerated... so I will have to keep waiting to rebuild it there.
* Updated perl-Config-IniFiles to 2.79 in f19 and rawhide (Fix test failures with Pod-Simple-3.28)
* Walked 2.5 miles on the treadmill (I need to lose weight!)
* Updated fedora-logos to 19.0.2 in f19 and rawhide, added new Fedora logo specifically for use with GDM login screen in Fedora 19
* Went to last ultrasound appointment with Pam, baby is coming soon. :)
* Updated perl-Gtk2 to 1.247 in F18, added explicit list of provides to resolve bz 960358

Flock Call For Papers (and Registration) is Open!

For eight years, Fedora users and developers have gathered at an event named for them, the Fedora Users and Developers conference (FUDCon). But we’ve grown, and it’s time for a new approach: Flock.

Flock will bring together the Global Fedora communities for three days of scheduled content with one optional day at the end for open hacking. Unlike the barcamp style we've used in the past for FUDCon, Flock will accept submissions in advance for talks, hackfests, sprints, and workshops. The schedule will be built based on the community's votes on those submissions.

This is a Fedora focused event, but we welcome participation from the entire Free Software community. If you have an idea on how we can improve Fedora, we'd love to hear it!

Dates: August 9-12, 2013
Location: College of Charleston (Charleston, SC, USA)
Website: flocktofedora.org

Both pre-registration and talk submissions are now open! Submissions should be for one of the following:

* Talk (45 minutes)
* Hackfest (2 hours)
* Workshop (2 hours)
* Sprint (2 hours)

You may submit as many topics as you feel qualified to deliver.Suggested topics include but are in no way limited to:

* ARM
* Cloud
* Community
* Design
* Desktop
* Fedora Ambassadors
* Fonts
* Games
* Infrastructure
* Marketing
* Open hardware
* QA
* Security
* Special Interest Groups

Ready to submit a talk or register? Go to http://flock-lmacken.rhcloud.com/.
All submissions must be received by May 31, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Thursday Notes

* Fixed nightview in rawhide. Still not entirely sure how.
* Enabled a bunch of kernel bug triage CC aliases, with Toshio & Kevin's help
* Did internal manager paperwork stuff
* Pushed julian-voxforge new package updates
* Research possibilities for secret summit project
* More Flock sponsorship work

Tuesday's Notes

* Wrote my monthly internal team status report
* Update librecad to 2.0.0beta5 in the review ticket (and fixed the missing BR: boost-devel)
* Add fixes from librecad to libdxfrw, made new updates
* Had a meeting with Fedora Kernel team and the Sustaining Engineering team, to discuss bug triage
* Converted git-daemon from xinetd to systemd (bz 737183)
* Finished julius-voxforge review
* Posted on flock scheduling concept

Monday (and away we go)

* MOAR Flock sponsor work
* Learned how to recycle old vendor loaner systems
* Push several F19 updates to stable
* Do a legal review on Cosmosmash (looks good, as long as it avoids referring to itself as a clone)
* Learned about dmesg --human (or -H) from Karel Zak's blog post. Aliased it to dmesg on my laptop. :)
* Setup Provides/Obsoletes for musixtex bits in texlive (I hope I did it right, the texlive package is... special)
* Wrote a lengthy funding request for Fedora involvement in a new space (is that cryptic enough for you)
* Lots of internal meetings, scheduled some more

Work From Home Friday

Working from home today. More flock sponsorship stuff, Google is committed at the Gold level (hooray for Ruth!).

* Packaged up the julius-voxforge files for review - https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=957238
* Looked into nightview again, ghostscript is still broken.
* Discussed kernel bug triage options
* Fixed bug where a few R packages were still using ancient and unnecessary scriptlets.
* Made internal slides to explain Flock to the rest of Red Hat