Context

Last year I attended Flock to Fedora for the First time and it was one of the best events I had ever been to. After attending DevConfs, FOSDEM etc. Flock is still my favorite event to attend. Fedora 2019 was no less of an experience.

Flock to Fedora is an annual conference for Fedora contributors. Flock follows the tradition to organize the event at a different location every year. This year was no different.

Where?

Danubius Hotel Helia Budapest, Hungary

When?

August 8th to August 11th I had 2 main purposes to be there.

  • Represent CentOS in Flock
  • Support my GSoC intern while she presents her work in the Summer Coding Projects Showcase (Which I organized along with other mentors of the programs)

CentOS presence in Flock

We got a booth right beside Registration booth and right in the hallway in front of the main room (Helia). The Hallway was a very good feature for this Flock. every room was connected to the same hallway making the communication very easy. When I was not behind the booth, I was speaking to amazing people, learning what they were doing or attending some talk.

Day 1

As usual, Flock kicked off with ‘The state of Fedora’ by the Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller The This was again, a brilliant representation of everything happening in Fedora world. There was a second another very interesting keynote ‘It’s Probably fine’ by Cate Huston. This was hilarous and relatable. Here is a small quote from her keynote

Engineers say they hate the process. But I think engineers secretly love process. It’s just that when it works, they call it culture.

This day, most of the time I was behind CentOS booth. I was not surprised to see not a lot of people asking question but just discussing (since most of the people already knew what it is). Well, this is not entirely true, the one question that has been lurking around since DevConf India was ‘When is CentOS 8 releasing?’

A few other talks I attended this day was

  • 12 ‘Facebook Loves Fedora (and Chef)’ by Michel Alexandre Salim and Joseph Chilcote: Apart from other interesting facts and things, one that stood out the most was how Fedora has overtaken Ubuntu usage in Facebook. Here is a photo from that slide
  • ‘Improving Packaging Experience with Automation’ by Neal Gompa and Igor Gnatenko: A lot of ideas on how things can be better. This, by the end, ended up in a discussion on how to make things better in the packaging world!

  • ‘Fedora IoT: who, what, when, where, why, how?’ by Peter Robinson: All about IoT and $the_title_speaks_it_all

  • ‘Slideshow karaoke’ by Adam Samalik: Props to Adam for coming to come up with interesting slides in a hurry. This was moved 2 days early and he wasn’t very ready with the slides. Tom ‘spot’ Callaway’s karaoke was the best. Waiting for the recordings for this one.

Day 2

The second day, Denise Dumas (VP of Platform Engineering at Red Hat) presented the relationship of Fedora, Red Hat and our new overlord IBM. Since the acquisition, there are a lot of talks around the community if the Fedora Project will be affected by it. Denise was there to clear all the doubts. A line from her slide that was kind of a sum up’

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

After this, I waited in the same room for ‘RHEL vs Fedora: Where 8 Diverged and Why’ by Aleksandra Fedorova, Brendan Conoboy and Paul Frields.

After these 2 talks, I went back to the booth to answer a few more questions. Again, there were not a lot of people asking questions, but had a lot of people discussing things around CentOS. Thanks to Fabian Arrotin, Brian Stinson and Jim Perrin who were around and I directed some of the questions I was not eligible to answer :D.

Post lunch, I attended ‘Gating rawhide packages: things just got real!’ by Pierre-Yves Chibon. Since for last couple of days I have been particularly excited about Fedora CI and Rawhide Gating, I got to see a lot of things happening behind the scene. Pingou presented things that were already and how they did it. Then I headed to attend ‘Open Source Agile in CPE’ by Leigh Griffin and Pierre-Yves Chibon. There was not a lot to see here but I am glad I attended it. It was more of a revision on why and how we are doing the changes in our team. It was refreshing. After this, following my excitement for CI, I attended Dominik Perpeet’s Fedora CI Objective: present and future. This was again a lot of learning and I got an overview of Fedora CI efforts. I spoke to Dominik after the talk and he explained some of the places a new person can start helping them. I am particularly interested in distro-wide tests.

Day 3

This day was the reason 2 of my Flock visit. ‘Fedora Summer Coding 2019 Project showcase and Meetup’. I was one of the organizers for this event. This year, GSoC and Outreacy interns did an amazing job. Since I was the slides master, I got to learn a lot about all their projects. We started with Justin Flory introducing the event and he invited Laura Abbott to introduce Outreachy. Sumantro Mukherjee introduced GCI and GSoC. After a few interns presented their work, we had a mentor’s pannel of brilliant folks from all the field.

We had

  • Bee Padalkar
  • Clement Verna
  • Laura Abbott
  • Leigh Griffin
  • Stephen Gallagher

in the panel. I will link the recording as soon as it’s out (it’s a must-watch for aspiring summer coding students) After the panelists, we had a few more presentations. I presented my intern’s work since she couldn’t join us (Schengen visas, urgh). I have presented quite a few talks in multiple places but I have never been so scared/nervous. Maybe since this was not my work? well, it’s over. The session was over right before lunchtime. Post lunch I got to learn a few things needed in badges (since I joined post-lunch session of badges workshop). Then I was briefly part of mindshare workshop. This day was over when I was done with my talk.

Day 4

Somehow I thought the CPE(my team at Red Hat) hackfest was about to start at 10 am and not 9. I killed an hour somehow lurking around and reached to the room an hour LATE!! Since I have been part of all the email threads, It didn’t take a lot to catch up. I quickly fired up a google doc and started taking notes. We wrote up all the backlogs CPE had and start discussing some of the important things. Tim Flink for Fedora QA was in the room so we ended up discussing a lot around QA apps and Taskotron retiring. Followed by this, brainstorming on Monitoring and Metrics. We also got a chance to discuss FAS/AAA replacement (Possibly Amazon’s cognito? Rick Elrod is coming up with a PoC to see if this fits our requirement.)

People who made it possible

Nothing I have ever done in my life that’s without the support of an amazing group of people. This trip was no different.