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Flock Day 4.

Here’s a summary of Saturday’s activity at Flock 2014 where I participated or attended. I also have blog entries for Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

  • The constant stream of late nights was really getting to me. Didn’t arrive at the venue until about 9:15am. I skipped the first session and had some coffee, courtesy of Smooge.
  • Caught up on email sent overnight from people in the USA, and did final preparation for my talk.
  • I gave my session on the connection between RHEL and Fedora. I also discussed how well things went for RHEL 7 due to work in the Fedora community. I feel like it went very well. You can watch the complete video here.
  • I had an excellent conversation with Alberto Ruiz, who manages Red Hat’s desktop applications team.
  • Went with Alberto and Patrick Uiterwijk to lunch at the cafeteria. Got to know Patrick a little better, since he will soon be joining us on the Fedora Engineering team.
  • Sat in the hall with Patrick and got a Taskwarrior server running on one of my boxes.
  • Joined the session on revamping governance in Fedora, which was run by Toshio Kuratomi and Haïkel Guémar. This was hands down the best accomplishment of Flock. There will be a proposal for Board revamp coming from this session (finally!). I’m looking forward to the ensuing discussion and resulting improvements.

At this point I was finally exhausted. I headed back to the hotel early to do a little more reading and writing. I met up with some of the Anaconda team for a late dinner. Then I packed so I’d be ready in the morning to catch my flights back to the USA.

The Flock conference was excellent this year. It was nice getting back into the swing of community things. I enjoyed meeting up with everyone I saw. If I didn’t get a chance to see and talk with you personally, I’m still glad you were there. I hope you had a great time at Flock in Prague. Let’s do it again next year in the USA!

Flock Day 3.

Here’s a summary of Friday’s activity at Flock 2014 where I participated or attended. I also have blog entries for Day 1 and Day 2.

  • Didn’t make it up quite so early today, due to not turning in until about 2:30am the previous night. I got to the school basically on time, but worked on email and day job stuff for a little while.
  • Attended Matthew Miller’s joint session on Fedora.next.
  • Got lunch late, ending up at a table with Stephen Tweedie and a few others. We talked about containers and strategy.
  • Touched up my slides for Saturday, getting straight in my head how I wanted the presentation to go. Reveal.js is cool.
  • Attended Richard Hughes’ session on building an application installer. GNOME Software is a huge step in usability, and it was enlightening seeing the huge amount of work that went into this tool. I wrote an article on Fedora Magazine covering this presentation.
  • Attended Ralph Bean’s excellent workshop on making tools with fedmsg, the Fedora messaging bus built on Zeromq. We learned how to use just a few simple lines of Python to build a Twitter feed from Fedora Badges. Amazing!
  • Attended the workshop on DevAssistant. I talked with the developers to learn about their future plans and to discuss desktop integration.
  • Met up with Garrett LeSage, Chris Roberts, Matthew Miller, Haïkel Guémar, and others for a great dinner at an Italian pizzeria. It was delicious.
  • Late hangout with friends kept me up yet again too late!

Flock Day 2.

Here’s a summary of today’s activity at Flock 2014 where I participated or attended. I also have a blog entry reporting what I did on Day 1 of the conference.

  • Up at 7:00am (relatively late) to meet Fedorans for breakfast before going to the venue.
  • I attended Stephen Gallagher’s talk on Fedora Server. I also wrote this up for Fedora Magazine. You can read the article here.
  • I also attended Aditya Patawari’s talk on Ansible. I also wrote this up for Fedora Magazine. You can read the article here.
  • Then it was time for the Novena keynote on a fully open source laptop.
  • Sometimes even a great conference has to give way for your paid job. So I skipped lunch to work on some managerial duties. These things also have to get done, even at a Fedora conference, so the team can operate successfully.
  • I attended the Meet Your FESCo session. I even managed to get a question (and a “thank you” comment) into the proceedings. I did this mainly to prompt some comments from the FESCo members.
  • I had some side conversations with Radek Vokal and Denise Dumas. Like me, they’re part of Red Hat’s platform engineering organization (which makes RHEL).
  • I attended the Aditya Patawari’s talk on Docker. But mostly I realized I was running out of gas. Between the warm room and Aditya’s soothing voice, I had a hard time staying awake. So I decided to work on this blog to keep myself from dozing off.
  • I sat in on Stephen Gallagher’s talk on “Fedora.next.next.” This was his cute way of inspiring interest in the upcoming Fedora 22, to release in 2015.
  • After the talks ended, it was time to head back to the hotel to refresh. Then we met up and boarded a steamer for the big Flock Boat Party.

Flock Day 1.

Here’s a summary of today’s activity where I participated or attended:

  • Up at 5:45am so Matthew and I could meet up with Josh Boyer, Tom Callaway, Ruth Suehle, and Joe Brockmeier for breakfast. Then we arrived at the Flock venue early.
  • Helped set up rooms with wifi information for attendees. Discovered the rooms feature electronically controlled windows. Once opened, these made the venue much more comfortable.
  • Missed keynotes myself while ushing people around to them. :-)
  • Worked on my slides for Saturday’s talk, in the great Fedora tradition of iterating until the last minute.
  • Sat in on Tim Flink‘s Taskotron talk, and took notes for a Fedora Magazine article.
  • Went to a lunch meeting with Ludek Smid, Jaroslav Reznik, Joe Brockmeier, and Matthew Miller. We discussed some project management assistance for our Atomic/OStree work in Fedora. Very productive and we also had a good time.
  • Sat in on Christian Schaller’s Fedora Workstation talk. It was very well attended, so I think the idea that the Linux desktop is dead might be a tad premature. ;-)
  • Sat in on Marina Zhurakhinskaya’s talk on the Outreach Program for Women. I’m happy to say Fedora is an active player in this space. I look forward to our doing even more.
  • Sat in on a talk on Waartaa by Ratnadeep Debnath and Sayan Chowdhury. This is an interesting take on a Web IRC client as a basis for other collaboration tools.
  • Sat in on Chris Roberts’ and Marie ‘riecatnor’ Nordin’s talk on Fedora Badges and badge design. (If you’re looking for the resources shown in the talk, look here.)
  • Headed back to the hotel to finish a Fedora Magazine article. Then I met up with friends to head over to our event at The Pub.

Getting ready for Flock 2014.

If you’ve been reading the Planet Fedora feed lately, you probably know that we’re coming up to time for Flock 2014, a major Fedora conference for Fedora users and contributors from North America and EMEA (Europe/Middle East/Africa). Along with most of the Fedora Engineering team, I’m headed to Prague, Czech Republic for the event.

First, we’ll spend a couple days in the Red Hat Czech office in Brno. We are meeting with a number of colleagues from the office, both to brief them on work we’re doing, and to hear about their current projects and plans. This should help us have a more productive Flock as well.

It’s possible team members may be a little harder to instantaneously reach on Monday and Tuesday while we crunch on these meetups in Brno. At Flock, obviously things will be busy as well. But seeing many community members in one place will probably be quite helpful in getting things done. We’ll do our best as always to stay on top of community requests and input throughout.

Flock 2014 should be an exciting and fascinating conference, and I’m very much looking forward to it. I’m hoping to use the conference to jumpstart my knowledge on Docker, OStree, and some of the other awesome technologies going on in Fedora. And of course I’ll be thrilled to see old and new friends from around the community.

I’m writing this from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, getting ready for my next leg of travel to Prague. I’ll be catching a bus to Brno there to meet up with the team. On Tuesday night we’ll get back to Prague. We have a team event that night — so we’ll see everyone bright and early on Wednesday morning at the conference!

Stay tuned to the Planet feed for more information about Flock, so you can keep up with the news and proceedings from Prague.

Logitech M570 on Fedora.

I just bought a new Logitech M570 wireless trackball for use with my Fedora workstation. I favor a trackball over a moving mouse, because it’s easier on the joints, not to mention more practical on a crowded desk. My previous trackball device was a wired Logitech, and it developed a few problems recently. I’ve had it eight years, so I decided I got my money’s worth and could spring for a new one.

The Logitech M570 uses the Logitech Unifying Receiver USB wireless dongle, common to many Logitech devices. You can pair up to 6 of them to the current unifying device dongle that ships with the M570. Most Fedora users will want this device to be set with correct permissions for people who login on the console. It’s also helpful to be able to query or display battery status.

So here are the steps I recommend to install the Logitech M570 on Fedora. Do these steps before you plug in the receiver or turn on the trackball device. I’m using GNOME 3.12 on Fedora 20, so your mileage may vary:

  1. You may want to remove your existing pointing device first. Otherwise the new one may not work, at least until you do.
  2. Install solaar (upstream link), a monitoring and control gizmo for your Logitech Unifying Receiver and connected devices. Thank you to Eric Smith for packaging and maintaining this tool for Fedora!
  3. Plug in the receiver to an open USB slot. I recommend a rear slot since you likely won’t move this very often. (If you do, there’s a handy slot inside the trackball’s battery compartment where you can store the receiver without losing it!)
  4. Turn on the Logitech M570, and it should Just Work.
  5. You can launch solaar from the GNOME Shell, and a notification icon appears in the message tray. You can use this tool to see status and pair or unpair devices.
  6. (optional) If you want solaar to start every time you login, open the Terminal and enter these commands:
    $ cd ~/.config/autostart $ ln -s /usr/share/applications/solaar.desktop .

Enjoy!

Redundant Department of Redundancy, part 12.

Or: I Went to Read This Community Member’s Blog. What She Wrote about RHEL and Fedora Blew me Away!

Sorry about the clickbaitism. But seriously, after returning from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 release festivities this evening I planned to write a blog to the Fedora community about how RHEL and Fedora are intertwined. How Fedora is the cradle of platform innovation that Red Hat relies on to build RHEL and thus to serve as a foundation for many other products. How the community helps select and cultivate technology and prevent Red Hat from investing a ton of resources to make something no one wants.

Then I saw that Robyn Bergeron has already written everything to be said. Which illustrates several points:

  1. Properly empowered, motivated, and ambitious community is faster than individual effort.
  2. Robyn is awesome.
  3. There is no post about Fedora into which we can’t somehow reference His Meatiness.

Need I say more? No. Go read Robyn’s post if you haven’t already. [Mic drop]

On the wing, part 34.

I’m up in Westford at the Red Hat offices for some departmental events this week. It’s always fun traveling to the office and seeing coworkers and friends I normally only hear (or see online in text form). It does, however, eat mightily into my ability to be online in Fedora and interacting with friends, teammates, and contributors there. I’ll be up here through Thursday afternoon and then flying back home. So if you reach out to me but I’m a little slow to answer you in IRC or email, my apologies, and I’ll catch up as soon as I can!

Transitions.

I just saw Robyn’s post on change and her intention to retire as Fedora Project Leader.

I’m really happy, Robyn, that you’ve been such a big part of Fedora for these years. Whatever comes next, you have huge thanks from me and I know from many others in the Fedora community for your service and spirit. Thanks for including the community in everything you do, and I’m looking forward to working with you in your next role!

Sub Hub hubbub.

Have you seen Máirín Duffy’s post on the Fedora Design team’s next-generation design for the Fedora Project website? It’s a brilliant design based around the idea of a “sub hub.” These screens help customize the website to fit different sub-communities, initiatives, teams, or projects.

Máirín published this post with the design mockups a few weeks ago and they’re still open for feedback. I love the concept and the mockups, and the way it brings the site a little closer to the functionality people expect for interaction in other communities. The sub hub design offers a sites not just for promotion, but also for bringing people together for communication and information.

I’m sure the Design team will move forward at some point to bring these concepts into reality. But before they do, I know they’d appreciate hearing from community members. Even just offering feedback that “This is awesome!” is useful, so the designers know there is a solid mass of people who like the work. You can visit the site here to offer your constructive comments.

If you don’t, that’s OK too! Just be polite and specific in your comments. Rather than saying how to fix something, talk about why something doesn’t work for you. Designers are good at figuring out how to solve usability problems once they know more about the effects on the user. Those of us without a lot of design and usability experience often suggest solutions that seem like they’d work, but really might cause more problems for other users. So it’s best to concentrate on symptoms.

So if you haven’t checked out the post and offered some constructive feedback, please feel free. I’m really looking forward to seeing how things move forward with these designs and hope you’re excited about them too.

If you’re excited enough about the work to get involved and help, the Design team would love your contributions. There’s also more information about how to contribute here. There are several repositories set up where you can test existing ideas, change them with your own, and contribute changes back to the team using a pull request. Getting involved is easy, and the Design team is famous for their friendliness and willingness to help people get started contributing. So don’t be afraid to jump in!

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