Tag Archives: release

Flock 2015 thoughts.

Getting started at Flock

Like everyone on the Fedora Engineering team, I was in Rochester for the Flock conference last week. After several flight delays on our direct flight from DCA to Rochester, Justin Forbes, Ricky Elrod, and I finally arrived a little after 9:00pm — about four hours late. Thankfully Josh Boyer came to pick us up at the airport.

Flock had a team of organizers within OSAS (and Josh also assisted throughout). As a former FUDCon organizer, though, I know the value of extra hands showing up to do work. Since old habits die hard, I showed up expecting to help out behind the scenes. That means I didn’t get to see a huge amount of content I was personally interested in. But in return hopefully everyone had a smoother Flock experience, especially speakers.

When I arrived, I reported to Tom Callaway, Ruth Suehle, and Josh. They got the conference rooms opened, and I helped set up the speaker workstations. We worked pretty late, well after midnight. Things were looking a little bleak at that point, with execrable network bandwidth, no projectors, no screens, and no audio for the ballroom.

Fears and worries abate

Nevertheless, the next morning Josh and I got up early and grabbed coffee at nearby Tedward’s. This place was a godsend, although their 7:00am opening time forced us to walk around a bit until we could get in.

We went down to do some additional setup. The organizers had worked with Remy DeCausemaker to get a bunch of loaner projectors from RIT so we’d be ready for the first sessions at 10:00am. (EDIT: According to Remy, Tim Duffy and Dan Schneiderman are the heroes of this particular day; see comments below.) So at least our speakers would be in OK shape. I helped Josh and Tom get everything ready in those rooms, while Ruth made sure registration and other logistics were under control. I missed Matthew Miller’s keynote, but I’d seen at least some of the material previously.

After lunchtime, things continued to drastically improve. The rental projectors showed up, along with small screens for each room and big speakers for the ballroom. The wireless internet improved quite a bit when a switch flip occurred due to our conference starting up. (It was dismal Tuesday night!) We had all the speakers trained on how to record their talks locally, to get around the constrained network bandwidth.

Suddenly things were looking up! Not surprisingly, the Fedora Engineering team dinner that night at The Old Toad was much more enjoyable. Since I wasn’t overly worried about the conference experience for the speakers and attendees any longer, it was easier to relax and enjoy the company of the team. I was so happy that we were able to get together in one place, since we really only get to do that once a year. (Incidentally, our friend Stephen Smoogen was absent from Flock due to family commitments — we missed you, Smooge!)

Fedora contributors at Flock gather at Victoire for dinner
Fedora contributors at Flock gather at Victoire for dinner

I continued to monitor speaker rooms most of Wednesday and Thursday. I managed to make it to a couple sessions where I wasn’t sure there would be any senior Fedora leadership around. For example, I attended the Fedora Magazine session by Chris Roberts as well as most of the Fedora Hubs session by Máirín Duffy and Meghan Richardson.

I attended and loved Major Hayden‘s (of Rackspace fame) Thursday keynote on fighting impostor syndrome. It was one of the most practical that I’ve seen on this topic. I feel impostor syndrome is just a fancy way to refer to insecurity, a common trait for conscientious people. But that doesn’t make the strategies Major outlined any less useful or thoughtful. He gave a great talk — engaging and humorous without diluting the material. If you have a chance to invite him to a conference to speak, definitely do so!

I gave my own talk on Remote Ninjutsu on Thursday afternoon. The slides for the talk are here, although the video will be more useful for context. All the Flock 2015 videos are supposed to be available at some point in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned for announcements about them.

The Thursday night social event at the Strong National Museum of Play was fantastic. It was a great way to blow off steam and enjoy the company of fellow Fedorans. I’m not sure how the organizers managed to find such a perfect venue!

Workshops and Flock wrap-up

On Friday I enjoyed the keynote by Jon Schull of eNable, the community that is flipping the script on prosthetics provision through 3D printing. It was a very moving look at how people are applying open source to make the world better for people in need.

Then the workshops beckoned. Now that I’d finished my Flock duties helping speakers and attendees, I was able to attend several sessions that were relevant to me personally, including the Fedora/CentOS rel-eng joint session, and my own on revamping the Flock software stack.

Once again, the Friday night social event at the George Eastman House was marvelous. It was a beautiful, grand mansion and the tour was quite interesting. I’d love to go back there sometime to see the exhibits I missed!

The music parlor in the George Eastman House
The music parlor in the George Eastman House

Flock conferences are always especially great for their hallway track. So many discussions can be had or progressed that way with high bandwidth. The challenge is always to move that discussion to a transparent context if it involves people not present, though. I’ve been seeing many trip reports from people’s blogs about Flock, and resulting list discussions, so I think that process is well underway.

Of course, that means Flock is a very engaging event. It takes a lot of attention and brainpower to shift focus for all those conversations! As a result, by Saturday afternoon I know I was fairly exhausted — in a good way, though. Several other people I know felt likewise, and commented on how well the conference had gone. In fact, I heard a number of comments that this was the best Flock, and even Fedora premier event, yet. The OSAS folks deserve special recognition for pulling off a fantastic conference.

Sunday started with a couple meetings, including with Matthew Miller and Jan Ku?ík, our new Fedora program manager. Then, after seeing a few other friends and colleagues off, I got to the airport. I relaxed in a lounge over beers with Kevin Fenzi, Jan Zeleny, and Stephen Tweedie, before we went to our respective flights. Then after a quick flight home, it was the usual “fun” making my way down I-95 from the airport to home. Monday morning was right around the corner…

Here’s to another great Flock, and to doing it again next year!

Flock attendees wind down after the conference ends... with more hacking!
Flock attendees wind down after the conference ends… with more hacking!

Fedora kernel engineer.

Red Hat has an immediate opening for a full-time engineer to join the kernel team in Fedora Engineering. This job will work with Josh Boyer and Justin Forbes to maintain and improve the kernel in Fedora, and participate and contribute to upstream development and testing. This job interacts with the Fedora team and community, the RHEL kernel engineering groups, and the upstream kernel community.

Ideally we’re looking for someone with significant kernel experience. We want someone who can help manage our own kernel releases. But also we want to get patches and code upstream where it can benefit the entire community, for example to improve hardware support. Red Hat’s a challenging and exciting place to work, and the Fedora team is a great bunch of people to work with. A talented, motivated kernel hacker will find plenty of opportunity here for growth and collaboration.

Applications are being accepted now. You can find more information about the job, and apply online, via the posting here on our Red Hat Jobs site.

 

Congratulations to the Fedora community on F21.

This release has been a long time coming. It has been about a year since F20 release, and the pause we took as a community to embark upon the first steps of Fedora.next. I know many people have been anxious for the pause to be over. Finally the day has come and gone, and the release seems to be hitting on all cylinders!

I wanted to say thanks to the whole community that contributed to Fedora 21 release. It’s impossible to name everyone who helped, and if I leave someone out it might disappoint someone. So let me just say to everyone:

AWESOME JOB!

Now go get some Fedora 21 awesomeness.

PulseCaster 0.1.10 released!

Today I released PulseCaster 0.1.10 with some under the hood improvements:

  • Switch from GConf to GSettings, and include schema file
  • Providing appdata for GNOME Software
  • Provide hidden “audiorate” key for 44.1/48 kHz selection
  • Complete GObject introspection switchover, eliminating excess dependencies and fixing bugs (RHBZ #1045717)
  • Automatically provide .ogg filename extension in standard mode
  • Additional translations

I’m planning some UI improvements for this little podcasting utility. I’m also hoping to do significant code refactoring for 0.2, tentatively scheduled for late spring/early summer. I’m also thinking about moving the central development repo to GitHub, since that’s where a lot of other Fedora incubated projects have migrated.

Of course, updated packages are coming shortly for Fedora 20.

PulseCaster lets you record interviews with simplicity. It pulls audio from two sources via PulseAudio, then mixes them into an Ogg Vorbis file for you. There’s also an expert mode that allows you to lossless audio in WAV format, and mix the audio yourself with post processing. For example, you could interview someone via a Voice-over-IP (VoIP) application, then include the interview in your podcast.

I used a little time between sessions (and during one session where I was completely in over my head) to push this out. It was nice to work on some free software of my own at a conference for developers! Hope you enjoy the new PulseCaster release.

PulseCaster 0.1.9 is released!

Yup, 0.1.9 has finally made it out the door. Here’s the tarball and the git repo. There are also updated packages coming shortly in Fedora 17, 18, and Rawhide. If you want to help test those to get them out sooner, look here for the package for your Fedora release.

Plus, did you know there’s a Facebook page for PulseCaster? Visit it, like it, and feel the love.

PulseCaster 0.1.9: The gruesome details

I have no witty release name attached to any of the releases, so let’s call this “The One Where We Figured Out How to Give People an Expert Option and Translations, Too.” Some of the secret features you’ll find in this release:

  • An expert option
  • Translations

OK, I’m being a bit snarky here. Mainly I’m trying to play all nonchalant about how long it actually took me to get around to working on another release. Here’s a better listing of new stuff in 0.1.9:

  • PulseCaster now uses GTK+ 3.0.
  • PulseCaster also now uses PyGObject and GObject introspection for most stuff. The GStreamer bits are still a bit rough in the gir code. Specifically I found it difficult to get at messages on the bus. I’ll keep working on that, possibly for 0.2.
  • There’s now an expert option that writes the recorded streams to two separate files in lossless FLAC format, so you can mix your own recording later. The default mode still writes a single Ogg Vorbis file, which suffices for most people. (The code here’s more than a bit hacky and needs to be cleaned up in 0.2.)
  • Using the excellent Transifex service, translations are now part of PulseCaster! Many thanks to the wonderful volunteer translators around the world who contributed translations to the release, and to the Transifex folks for their great service.

Future work

Some of the features on the current roadmap:

  • Clean up messy separate-stream code (see above)
  • Provide a recording pause button
  • Do some volume leveling and/or compression to help recordings sound better
  • Provide more helpful information on disk space available/used

As always, you can find the PulseCaster site at http://pulsecaster.org — bugs and enhancement requests are welcome. Input from users helped to drive (eventually!) the work for this release, so a tip of the hat to them for participating!

Congratulations on Fedora 17!

I wanted to extend a hearty congratulations to the whole Fedora community on another great release.

I’ve already been using the Beefy Miracle since before Beta, and I’m very impressed with its stability and ease of use. A special pat on the back to Robyn Bergeron for her first release as the Fedora Project Leader. I remember well that the FPL’s first release is always filled with stress and anxiety, even though the whole community always works hard to ensure a smooth release. Robyn, now that you have your first release in the rear view mirror,* you should definitely relish the moment. (OK, you had to give me just one hot dog joke.)

There are a huge number of features in this release — thank you to all the developers and maintainers both upstream and in the Fedora community who helped make them possible. Fedora is possible because of the great work done upstream in the free software community and I’m grateful every day for the awesome software that allows me to freely pursue work and play using Fedora. If you haven’t seen the bonanza of awesomeness in this release, you should definitely check out the feature list.

Nice work, everyone — enjoy Fedora 17 and then, I guess, it’ll be time to get cracking on Fedora 18!

Upstream release monitoring for Drupal modules.

Today I added a couple examples to the Fedora wiki’s upstream release monitoring page that will allow maintainers to track new releases of Drupal modules. You can simply follow the template to add yours.

The upstream release monitoring system is provided through the courtesy of long-time Fedora contributor Till Maas, whose cnucnu software informs participating maintainers by filing a bug when the upstream releases a new copy of their software. Although most if not all maintainers monitor feeds and mailing lists, the bug is a reminder of what’s left to do, and doesn’t require the maintainer to stop what they’re doing when they get an email or RSS notification. Instead, they can trust their bug list.

As we are finishing up our last steps on the Insight project, we wanted to make sure that, since we packaged quite a number of Drupal modules to do our development and staging, we continued to keep on top of maintenance duties. Having the upstream releases monitored with automatic bugs was a natural next step. Of course, it also helps when you have a willing team of people who sign on for co-maintenance, or at least watch Bugzilla for those packages to pitch in when needed.

Thanks to Peter Borsa, Sven Lankes, Eric Christensen, and the seemingly omnipotent Jon Ciesla for their help maintaining these useful packages. It wouldn’t be possible without you guys.

PulseCaster 0.1.8.1 released!

Yup, a new release of PulseCaster is finally out with some real improvements. Iffy design? You betcha. Ugly code? Don’t even get me started. Pernicious bugs lurking? Bring it on. But I’m still happy, and you know why?

Working VU meters. That’s right, it took me forever to find the answer that was right under my nose all the time: the GStreamer “level” element. Why build a bunch of bindings to PulseAudio, even if I love it, when I can just set up a GStreamer pipeline with a couple quick Python commands? It seemed to me I pored over the GStreamer docs constantly when I started working on this project, but somehow I just kept missing “level,” when it was all I needed.

The recording guts haven’t changed at all — PulseCaster is currently designed to do just one thing, which is allow you to record two sides of an audio conversation supported by a PulseAudio server to an Ogg Vorbis file you can immediately publish. So if you want to interview someone using a SIP application, you just dial them up, run PulseCaster and set the inputs, and hit the record button.

That being said, this is a 0.1.x series and is nowhere near what I want the interface to look like eventually. I have plans for that, <evil_laugh>mwahahaha</evil_laugh>. But it’s at least the teeny-tiniest bit useful as is, and because it’s Python, it’s eminently hackable if you have the inclination. Just wear shades when you read the code so you’re not blinded by the horror.

The git repo has a TODO list currently, but I’m going to make an effort to transfer its contents soon to Trac tickets at the upstream site, and do a better job at release management. You know, in my copious spare time.

Enjoy!

Pick me up, no. 9247.

Last night, in the wake of the excellent Fedora 14 release, I was feeling a little wistful. In part that’s because Fedora 14 marks the last release where I participated as the Fedora Project Leader or helped with FPL-ish release tasks. I’m confident Jared will do a great job with Fedora 15 and beyond, but I guess it’s a little like watching your kid go off to school for the first time. You’re excited for them, and hopeful about the future, but you also think back to how much fun it was to have your child around the house all the time, and see so many of the experiences they have, in real time.

So anyway, my wife had brought home the new Blu-ray edition of Toy Story 3, which certainly surpassed my expectations in being possibly the best of the three Toy Story movies. Now, if you haven’t seen the film, I’m not going to bother telling you why — just go out and see it now. In fact, if you haven’t seen any of the Toy Story movies, you need to start with the first one and watch all three. I promise you they are just as enjoyable for adults as they are for kids.

Interestingly, digital animation has come so far in the past 15 years that you can easily see the difference between the level of detail in the original Toy Story and what you find in TS3. But the story is what counts in every film — animated ones are no exception. And the people at Pixar are very clear that the story rules, first and foremost, in what they do. Each of the films is a masterpiece of storytelling, from the first frame to the last. Doubtless that’s why they’ve all been incredible box office successes, and have touched the hearts of literally billions of people around the world. See all of them at the first opportunity. Seriously!

So anyhow, we watched TS3 and greatly enjoyed it for the second time (having seen it in 3D in the theater with our kids this past summer). But then I got an extra bonus when I popped in Disc 2 of the set, the disc that includes a bunch of supplements. During the supplements, the filmmakers and crew at Pixar show off a lot of the work that goes into making one of these groundbreaking films. And thanks to the exceptional resolution of the Blu-ray format, you can pick out a lot of detail in the material they show.

Including the fact that the animators were running Fedora on a number of their systems!

This really made me happy, and quickly drove away any residual blues I might have had. What a wonderful thing it was to know that Fedora, in its own way, had something to do with bringing so much joy to so many people, including my own family! It was a really nice way to celebrate our latest Fedora release, and I just wanted to share that with everyone.

Also, I want to congratulate everyone who contributed to this release, and continues to do great work in the Fedora Project — whether it’s easy or difficult, fun or painstaking, lofty or detailed. You help make Fedora a great community, and that in turn has helped Fedora bring joy and freedom to countless people. WAY TO GO!

Getting the jump, no. 14.

With only two days left until Fedora 14 release, I went ahead and upgraded the behemoth in my home office, a Dell XPS 730x workstation, to the new “Laughlin” release. Once again I used preupgrade to do the bulk of the work. Because there’s not an official preupgrade update out yet, I customized a releases.txt file to include a definition for Fedora 14, setting the baseurl and installurl values to a local mirror in my home network where I was mirroring the development/14 tree. (I probably should do something with MirrorManager to make my local network accept mirror requests locally, but I haven’t got a Round Tuit since I updated my server.) :-)

Normally a user wouldn’t have to do this, of course. I only did it because I was impatient and didn’t want to wait. Most users could simply run preupgrade and click next a few times to do everything they want.

The key to preupgrade happiness is making sure that you have plenty of space in your /boot partition, and wherever you’re keeping /var/cache/yum. You can run df -h /boot /var/cache/yum to find out — You’ll probably want a few hundred MB free* in /boot, and 2 GB in /var/cache/yum should suffice, depending on how much stuff you have installed on your system. Even with quite a lot installed on my system, I only needed 1.2 GB to store packages, and had about 4.4 GB free, so it was smooth sailing.

Incidentally, this is where Logical Volume Management (LVM), as opposed to old, simple physical disk partitions comes in so handy. You can use LVM to adjust your partitions to give more space where you need it, when you need it, and in cases like this it’s an invaluable Fedora feature.

Once preupgrade downloaded everything it needed, it presented a dialog telling me I could reboot any time to finish the upgrade. After saving my work, I rebooted and the upgrade process started with no intervention needed. For 1549 packages, the final step of the process — upgrading the packages after rebooting — took approximately 75 minutes. A yum update process performs a lot of work beyond simply copying files onto the disk, to ensure your system’s integrity, so this extra time is to be expected. I like to wander off and work on something else while preupgrade runs, so the computer’s not wasting my time!

The only (optional) step I had to take was to switch my desktop background to the new artwork. (There are extra laughlin-backgrounds-* packages that include a number of striking photographs and alternate artwork, including an animated background that changes to reflect the time of day.) I also think this picture and this picture, both by Design team superstar Emily Dirsh, are beautiful alternatives.

This is the third time I’ve used preupgrade for an upgrade to the next Fedora release on a home system. From everything I’ve seen, it’s a great way to proceed if you don’t want to install from scratch and reconfigure lots of stuff. It’s exceptionally helpful in cases where you have a non-optimal setup that you don’t want to mess with, for example not having a separate /home partition, where otherwise you’d need to have a backup and restore process bracketing your installation.** Preupgrade is simple enough that almost anyone should be able to use it, just by clicking through simple prompts.


* The default for Fedora installations now is to use 500 MB for /boot — though it used to be much less. If you have less, you may want to consider doing a full backup, reinstalling (and choosing at least 500 MB for this partition), and then restoring your data. That way in the future you can use preupgrade.

** Note that frequent backups are still absolutely vital though, no matter what you run or how you upgrade.

Update: Changed the title of the post, which I can’t explain other than my not thinking clearly. Wrong idiom! Bad writer, no cookie!