On Thursday, I’ll be driving to FUDCon in Blacksburg, VA. FUDCon in North America is an event I look forward to attending annually even though I’m not neck-deep in Fedora as often these days. I used to love going to the international FUDCons as well, and I’m thrilled to see those events being planned in advance on a regular basis.
I get to drive to this particular event, because it happened to end up only about 4.5 hours drive from where I live. That suits me fine, because I got a new car (warning: Flash) I can’t wait to take on its first long trip. Weather should be fair for this time of year, I hear. I also got some new vanity plates that will touch the hearts of Linux geeks, but probably elicit only head scratching from others. However, this post is about more than my car, as much as I like that topic!
I wanted to say a couple things about what I’m planning to do at FUDCon. First, I plan to spend some time with the Fedora Insight crew on Friday night and on Sunday morning. I want to see the feature sets the amazing Peter Borsa has been working on, and hopefully we can make some progress on streamlining deployment so other people can help. We’ll also be working on Sunday with a designer (cross fingers!) to design an interface for a project/events calendar. Unfortunately, I’m leaving Sunday afternoon to get home that night, but I will try to provide a ride out of town to the airport for anyone whose schedule matches up.
By the way, you may want to check out the travel planning page if you need to arrange rides.
The other thing I’m planning is an open workshop on Saturday on Drupal internals. I still haven’t decided whether this is best done as a workshop vs. BarCamp. I’m interested to know how many people really would show up — which means it might be good for me to pitch this at BarCamp. If there’s very little interest, I can spend the day learning instead of blowing hot air. But if it turns out people are interested, I have some books and materials I’m bringing with me that I can recommend too. As usual, I will be taking on the role of “person with meager skills who managed to scramble onto the first plateau with help, and wants to pass it on.” (It worked for PyGTK, maybe it will work here too!) Thankfully Peter will be on hand, and I trust he won’t let me get away with horrible errors.
There’s an enormous list of proposed hackfests and workshops on the wiki page. That’s fantastic, and it means we’re going to have a very content-rich conference as usual. I also see the General Schedule on the wiki is quite bare. I believe the organizers are encouraging talk owners to try to schedule in advance — at least when it comes to the hackfests and workshops. My understanding is that these form an outgrowth of the BarCamp — essentially widening the schedule for Saturday. That means there will be a lot to choose from, so I hope everyone brings not just their thinking caps but also their voices and appropriate input devices to participate. UPDATE: Robyn has a great FUDCon blog post on scheduling. Go read it. Now.
I’m looking forward to seeing a bunch of my Fedora friends there, and of course celebrate at the ever-entertaining FUDPub event. Remember, though, that Sunday starts early, so don’t go overboard! The statute of limitations has expired on my one FUDCon event that was a little too entertaining, so I’m allowed to revert to schoolmarm mode now. But seriously, there’s so much to do and see at FUDCon that I’m sure people will put the priority on content and collaboration as always.
Hope I see you there!
This weekend included a Monday holiday for people in the USA. Unfortunately, my enjoyment of said holiday was interrupted by coming down with some sort of sinus bug on Friday, which wiped about half of my weekend. On Monday, though, I finished some retouches on my presentation for the upcoming Southeast Linux Fest 2011, where I’ll be talking with people about “Graduating to GUI: PyGObject for Beginners.” This is an update to a talk I gave last year on PyGTK, incorporating information about what’s changed from a beginner’s perspective.
SELF ’11 registration is still open, and although you can register for free, there’s a very inexpensive $65 supporter package which I highly recommend if you’ve got the cash. You’ll easily get your money’s worth and more out of all the great talks and networking opportunities there, and help make it possible for the incredible volunteer staff to continue to make SELF run smoothly. (You also get some neat freebies.) After the hotel ran out of rooms very quickly in the reserved SELF block, I hear the staff got an additional block of rooms set up. I’m not sure if those are all gone yet, but if you haven’t registered already, you should do it now.
SELF is a great event, and I am really looking forward to this year’s edition. An addition I love is an OpenSchedule app available for Android phones that lets me work out the talks I want to see, and add them to my personal calendar. Really nice work, SELF staff. (Note to self/SELF: I wonder if this is FOSS that we could use at a future FUDCon?) There are also a bunch of special events happening alongside SELF that you can also register for, like a DrupalCamp and a day on how to build stuff in the cloud — phenomenal. Check out the SELF registration page for more information.
A bunch of Fedora folk will be attending SELF, including FPL Jared Smith, former FPLs Max Spevack, Greg DeKoenigsberg and myself, Robyn Bergeron, Tom ‘spot’ Callaway, Ryan Rix, and more. So do come by and say hello during the event. Hope to see you there!
One of the side projects I have going these days is working with a small team on a Drupal instance for Fedora called Fedora Insight. Our initial rollout is pretty conservative in its goals, as I discussed in a previous post. We wanted to create a simple platform (at the outset) where both the awesome contributors at the Fedora Weekly News, and the Marketing team, could both publish their original work, and also promote selected material from the Fedora Planet. We have lots of great places where content is available, but Insight brings some of them together in a way that’s easier for non-contributors to navigate. So Phase 1 was all about completing just those simple goals.
At the same time, we realized throughout the process that this could merely be the first step in providing some more content options for the project. And now we’re inviting you to pitch in your ideas for Phase 2 of our plans. If you have a concept for a way we could better expose or manage content through Insight, add it to the wiki page here. We are accepting ideas until May 24, 2011.
Hey wait, isn’t that date important for another reason? Oh yeah — Fedora 15 is released that day! So I guess that’s a good way to remember the deadline then.
Now, we can’t guarantee we’ll be able to make every idea a reality in Phase 2. But we’ll definitely consider each one, and then prioritize based on available people-power and the impact each goal could have if comlpeted. If you want to help do the Drupal development work required to make your idea happen, we’d love to have you on our team!
I’ve read that Hiemanshu Sharma is working on a FOSS events system that would take shape in Fedora and could be used in other FOSS projects. One of the things I asked Hiemanshu and his mentor Juan to consider was whether it might make sense to build this on top of Drupal so that it would (a) leverage a well-known framework, (b) benefit lots of people beyond the Fedora Project, and (c) maybe even be something system owners (our Insight team being just one example) could integrate with other content over time. I’m really looking forward to hearing more from them on our list about their plans and whether they’re able to leapfrog existing bits such as those in the COD project.
Our team works in an open, transparent process, like all Fedora teams. You can find information about our team, meeting schedule, communication resources, and other data on the Insight wiki page. We look forward to hearing from you.
As I write this, I’m sitting on a plane on my way to Boston, having rolled out of bed at the unwholesome hour of 4:00am and into Richmond to catch a 7:00am flight. What’s that you say? Another week of travel for Stickster? Yes indeed — much to my wife’s chagrin (and likely my children’s delight since I usually play the role of Mean Parent at home), my third week of travel out of the last month.
This time I’m heading back to Boston for the Red Hat Summit and JBossWorld, this year breaking all previous records for size and registration. At previous Summits I was a customer, and then after joining Red Hat, a speaker on behalf of Red Hat’s continued successful partnership with and investment in the Fedora Project. This year I’m working as a volunteer staff member, along with helping my esteemed coworkers deliver a joint presentation on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 product features and roadmap. I’ll be doing lots of exciting things from working the information booth to helping stuff bags for our Red Hat Gives Back charity drive to benefit the Boston arm of Cradles to Crayons.
In real terms, what that means is I’ll be exceptionally busy throughout the week.
I expect we’ll have decent Internet at the event. The main issue at the Summit when you’re working at the event isn’t getting connected, it’s having free time to sit down and actually do it! So don’t fret if you don’t hear back from me lickety-split as usual — I’ll be picking up and responding to email as quickly as schedule allows. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Summit without something fun to do at night, but since my volunteer work starts at 7:30am daily, I’ll probably need to put the kibosh on any late night pub crawl.
Hopefully I will get a chance to meet up with some of my pals from around the globe at the event, though. I’m sharing a room with Jared Smith, the current Fedora project leader, and I believe, if I have the layout of the site correct in my memory, that the new Fedora booth location won’t be far from where I’m working most of the Summit — so it will be easy to send people from the information booth to pick up Fedora media and helpful tips there.
In previous years, I arranged with a partner vendor to have Fedora branded Live USB keys, containing the latest tasty Fedora operating system, available for all the attendees. Last year, Summit attendance had grown so substantially from the year before that we actually ran out of keys! From what I understand, Fedora Live USB keys came together rather late this year, but should be available at the booth on Wednesday for attendees to pick up. And I believe there will be a lot more of them than last year — which is good since I hear attendance is up yet again, making for the biggest Summit event to date!
I believe the Fedora Live USB keys will have the latest Fedora 15 pre-release installed, which is a spectacular showcase for the very latest cool technology (including GNOME 3). That’s also a great way for attendees to see what’s happening upstream in the free software community. I’m happy to hear the media is going to be available, and hopefully the experience of getting ready for this year’s Summit will also pay off for Jared and the Fedora crew in organizing for next year’s event as well. Inevitably the guidance you get from someone on their experience in a certain situation is never quite as valuable or sticky as the experience you garner for yourself.
I brought my DSLR camera, and one way or another, I’m going to try to capture some of the event, whether that’s through photos, blogging, microblogging, or whatever I can squeeze into my schedule. I’ll be returning home late Friday night, and my plan is to take a much needed extra day of PTO on Monday to rest up for what promises to be a very busy summer.
Once again this year I’ll be traveling down to the Southeast Linux Fest for a weekend full of informative talks, social fun, and exceptional collaboration opportunities with fellow Linux geeks from around the region and the nation. SELF has been an enormous hit since its inaugural outing in 2009. I’ll be joined by fabulous people from across the Fedora friendsphere, and of course there will be lots of free goodies at the Fedora booth for everyone.
My presentation on Friday is going to be on PyGObject, making the transition from PyGTK to the new world of introspection awesomeness, and what that means to people who do programming as a hobby and not for their bread and butter. I promise to keep things down to earth and accessible by newbies and hopefully not make those of higher skill levels cringe often. Except for bad jokes, those are pretty much a given, as those of you who’ve been to some of my other talks can attest.
By the time you read this, or shortly thereafter, the SELF schedule should be appearing on the web site, and you can see for yourself how valuable a trip to the conference can be. Linux community events like SELF are booming in popularity because they feature great speakers, invaluable learning opportunities, and fantastic social networking outlets for a pittance.
A big thank you to my employer, Red Hat, for giving me the time and funding to make it to the event, as well as being a Platinum sponsor of SELF 2011. (By the way, Linode, a Diamond sponsor this year, is where I run this blog… Did I mention how happy I am with their service?)
But no matter how many sponsors there are, it takes a lot of fine people dedicating a huge amount of time, expertise, and effort to put on any community event like SELF. That this event has become so popular so quickly shows not only that SELF is filling a necessary gap in the Southeast region of the US, but that it’s done so with style, ambition, and the sure, guiding hand of great volunteers. Hats off to you guys and best of luck for another incredible event at SELF 2011!
UPDATE: Unfortunately, previously mentioned grilling event was contingent upon Our Meaty Champion becoming the Fedora 16 namesake. So, no dice. But there may yet be hope for a related outing, stay tuned while at SELF.
Today Jared announced FUDCon Tempe 2011, which will be held January 29-31, 2011 — the next big North American FUDCon event. And as always, FUDCon is free and open to everyone to attend.
We’re offering a significant number of travel subsidies for contributors this year because we know the hotel is a little higher cost than at previous FUDCons. That happens because during the winter, obviously lots of people want to vacation in the Southwest, where it’s warmer. (That’s the same reason we’re going there, after all!) So demand for hotel rooms is higher, making prices rise somewhat.
Despite the costs, we want to make sure that people can stay together in the FUDCon hotel because lots of the collaboration that happens there goes on after hours, when people get together to share ideas, hack on code, and plan for the future of Fedora. So we boosted the amount of funding this year for travel subsidies to compensate for higher costs.
Because FUDCon is global, we have events all over the world. So just as most of the people we subsidize for a FUDCon in the EMEA region come from that region, we expect to subsidize mostly people from North America for this FUDCon. Of course, we’re always very mindful that people from around the world love coming to any FUDCon event, so we’ll consider all requests.
We’ve made it easier to request funding this time around, by visiting our new FUDCon planning issue tracker. Instructions are on the issue tracker wiki — just look for the links on the front page.
It’s worth noting that our location this year came about because some Fedora Project volunteers decided to help organize the event. We opened a bid process back in April to find our next location, to allow our contributors to work on the process of putting together FUDCon, just as we encourage them to get involved in other parts of Fedora. In fact, you might have seen the announcement on the mailing list, or this entry on my blog, talking about our open bid process back in April of this year.
A couple of our contributors, Robyn Bergeron and Ryan Rix,have been doing a bunch of leg work to bid for FUDCon in Tempe. They also got help from friends at Arizona State University and ASULUG — much appreciated, folks! I think it’s great to see contributors stepping up to help in this way, and I hope that other contributors who want to see the North American FUDCon in another new location next year will feel empowered to do the same.
We’re still finishing up some of the wiki page, but I encourage everyone to pre-register now — which will help us finalize details with the hotel. Please help us out by letting us know you’re coming!
Well, we'd definitely like to erase that question mark in the title if possible, when it comes to the next North American FUDCon.
Why? Well for one thing, our last several FUDCons for North America have been held in northern locations. And since those events are held between December and February at some point, as part of our rotating schedule of premier Fedora events, that means it's can be pretty cold at FUDCon North America. (Sometimes even for the people who live in the host city.)
So when I found out some of our contributors were hip to get a conference in Tempe, Arizona, I thought to myself, Hooray! Finally a place where we won't have to wear earmuffs for FUDCon! Robyn Bergeron started the ball rolling, and has a bid page on our wiki for FUDCon NA 2011.
The remaining issues need to be ironed out, though, and they're fairly important:
Item Number Two seems especially important because we all know the pain and suffering inflicted by bad broadband on a FOSS conference. So enter one young matriculating Arizona State University freshman, Ryan Rix, who is helping track down, through the ASU LUG, faculty contacts at ASU that might be able to help us assess the state of conference space and secure an appropriate venue with decent Internet.
We'd love to bring a Fedora event to a major university like ASU, not the least of which reasons is that it's full of inquiring young engineering minds who could benefit from a nice big frothy mug of open source goodness. Sorry for the beer metaphor there… just a college flashback, I guess.
I've asked Robyn and Ryan, as the bid team, to help us get answers to these questions before June 1, so if needed we can make alternate plans.
Work is, of course, going on openly on the fudcon-planning list, so if you're interested in helping to organize the event, please sign up and introduce yourself. Thanks again to Robyn and Ryan for their continued efforts. If they approach you for assistance, and you'd like a warmer weather FUDCon NA 2011, be sure to say thanks and give a little extra.
Fedora people attend a lot of events. I mean, a LOT of events.
Our Ambassadors are constantly on the go, representing Fedora at conferences, conventions, symposia, expositions, and other gatherings around the world. Just this weekend, esteemed Fedora Ambassadors throughout Central and South America were involved in the FLISOL (Festival Latinoamericano de Instalación de Software Libre) events taking place across the region. In Bellingham, Washington USA, Fedora friends were at the LinuxFest Northwest event spreading Fedora freedom and love. By the time LFNWers were just waking up, in Thessaloniki, Greece, FOSSCOMM 2010 was already in full swing with several Fedora Ambassadors in attendance.
Whenever these events happen, Ambassadors and Fedora community members can help promote our incredible community by posting about the events. Your blog, plus the Fedora Planet aggregator, are a fantastic way to spread the word about the event. Your interactions with attendees and free and open source software communities are one of the best ways to build interest and energy around free software.
If you don't have a blog, but would like one, you're in luck. We have a Fedora Blog system where you can set up a weblog based on the fabulous 100% free software publishing platform, WordPress. Then once you're setup — or if you have a blog already — just visit our easy instructions on the wiki to get added to the Planet Fedora aggregator.*
Let us know how your event went! You can talk about the people you met, post photos of the booth, describe the talks you saw and what you thought went well (or even not so well). One of the things about this community that I love is the way that we can socialize across all sorts of boundaries, borders, and timezones through open communication. Fedora community members love to hear about the work their peers do, and events are no exception.
Fedora 13, our best release yet, is around the corner on May 18th, and many Ambassadors have release parties planned on or around the big day. And of course the summer is in front of us (for the northern hemisphere at least), and promises to be a spectacular season for free software events around the world. I am very much looking forward to hearing about FLISOL, LFNW, FOSSCOMM, and all the events going on worldwide.
* We do recommend that if your blog supports tags or categories, that you use a special tag or category for Fedora stuff, and mark your posts for the Planet appropriately. That way you have the option for posting blog entries about things that may not be about Fedora, or which you'd rather not post on the Planet feed.
This blog entry has a double purpose:
The Fedora Project holds a number of global Fedora Users and Developers Conference (FUDCon) events each year. Typically the Community Architecture team’s budget supports one of these large events each Red Hat fiscal quarter (with the fiscal year starting on March 1). This year we have the Latin American event, FUDCon Santiago in Chile, in Q2; the event for EMEA, FUDCon Zurich in Switzerland, in Q3; and a North American FUDCon event in Q4.
In each case, typically the event will happen sometime in the first two months of the quarter, so that we can ensure all bills are paid by Red Hat’s financial deadlines. That deadline usually comes a couple weeks before the end of quarter, so the first two months are the ideal time to actually stage an event. So the North American FUDCon event will happen in either December 2010 or January 2011. The bidders will work with the Community Architecture team to resolve the exact timing.
In the past we’ve often heard from community members that they’d love to have an event in a warmer clime during the chilly winter months. We couldn’t agree more, and now we have a way to empower our community to make that happen. FUDCon Honolulu? Maybe not, but we’re open to other possibilities! We want to find a place for the next North American event that includes:
We now have a bid process that lets interested community members propose FUDCon in their region, or even backyard. Nothing Olympic style — simply a way for excited Fedora folks in the locale to help secure event space, lodging, and other logistical details. We’ve already kicked this process off for FUDCon Zurich 2010, and are looking to start this cycle for North America as well. In the summer, after FUDCon Santiago concludes, we will kick the same process off for Latin America again for a 2011 conference.
So here’s what you need to do to get the ball rolling:
The bid process will be open for a period of approximately 2 weeks. At that point the FPL and Community Architecture teams, as major stakeholders in the event, will go through the bids and make a decision on where we’ll locate FUDCon North America.
So why have this bid process anyway?
At the Events FAD in February, we convened a crew of people interested in extending how our premier Fedora events work. For a while now, we’ve had two kinds of these events — FADs (Fedora Activity Days) and FUDCons. While FADs are quick-hit gatherings of a few people to achieve a specific, targeted purpose, FUDCon is a much larger event that can have hundreds of attendees and spans many different topics, experience levels, and goals.
Another important distinction previously separated the two. While FADs are put together by interested community members, FUDCons were typically planned by just one or two Red Hat employees — typically the Fedora project leader, sometimes with help from a member of Red Hat’s Community Architecture team. Because of a variety of financial and logistical constraints, this meant that FUDCon over the years has often ended up in one of a couple places. Most often this was Boston due to the proximity of the core of Red Hat Engineering people nearby who could provide support for the event. However, we did manage several times to move to other locations, such as Raleigh in January 2008 and Toronto in December 2009.
For the Toronto event, however, we tried a slightly different model — while Mel Chua and I provided funding and some organizational support, much of the logistical work was done by superstar (and current Fedora Board member) Chris Tyler and a crew of wonderful people on the fudcon-planning list. The event was incredibly successful in terms of number of attendees, the discussions that were had, the quality of sessions and hackfests, and costs involved.
We knew going into this event that it would be a proving ground for a new model of having the community empowered to make FUDCon even better than it can be with just one person handling all the planning. By moving to an open, transparent process, our community members got a better appreciation for the amount of work that goes into a FUDCon, and could easily participate in that work. The results were as expected — with the load spread wider, the event ran more smoothly and with less stress per person involved.
So we went forward with an events planning FAD, with the specific goal of identifying how we could make this process repeatable and scalable. That way FUDCon events could be held anywhere there was an appropriate budget and people willing to make the events happen.
Although we knew the first couple of events following this process — EMEA and North America — wouldn’t have the full preparation time we wanted to provide, we also knew both of them had far more than the six months it typically takes one or two people to plan the event. And our community members being the awesome people they are, they’ve of course proved us right again. As we go forward, the rolling nature of the schedule should be sustainable. At the conclusion of one regional event, we can start bidding for the next one. So over time these wrinkles will naturally be smoothed.
Thanks for reading, and your fellow community members are looking forward to seeing bids for FUDCon North America 2011!
In just a little while, I’ll be heading offline to pack and then hit the road for the Marketing FAD in Raleigh, NC. Our plan is very well fleshed out on the wiki and I’m looking forward to seeing all the participants from around our community — some for the first time in person. It’s going to be a very exciting and energizing weekend, between wonderful guests, an ambitious agenda, and remote participation.
I’ll be returning home late on Tuesday night. I’ll likely take some sort of time off next week so I can finish a set of documents for a bunch of guys called the IRS. I have more I wanted to post this morning but time has caught up with me, so I’ll likely do it tonight from Raleigh.