Linux, musical road-dogging, and daily life by Paul W. Frields
SELF, day 1 and 2.

SELF, day 1 and 2.

Day 1: Slept really poorly, probably just a result of angst over my keynote, which, in the tradition of fine Fedora Project Leaders of yore, I completely rewrote the night before, finally turning in around 1:30am and waking up about every hour afterward (like clockwork!).

The first day of SELF was great, though — I made it up on time at 6:00am, did a couple of tasks, had breakfast (yay for Southern hotel offerings of protein and waffles), and rode over with Clint “herlo” Savage. The staff welcomed me like a VIP, which was odd but showed what incredible lengths to which they had gone to make the Southeast Linux Fest a first-rate conference. I came up to the exhibit hall and found not only a Fedora booth teeming with Ambassadors, but also a booth for Red Hat (which was a platinum sponsor of the conference as well, woo!).

I attended Zonker’s keynote in the morning, which was very good, but to be honest I didn’t get a chance to see any of the other sessions. But I did hear from attendees that they were, as a rule, very good! Poor Clint had to battle a dying projector for his talk on Fedora Remix but I hear his audience interaction was A-game as always, and many people walked away thinking it was one of the best sessions they attended.

In fact, everything at the conference was excellent, from the organization to the can-do attitude of the staff, to the provision of a real speakers’ lounge, to the gear and schwag. Moreover, we found out the conference had more than broken 500 registrants before the day was out — which is simply fantastic for any community conference, much less one in its first year. I think you can count on many SELFs to come!

My keynote, over which I had wrung my hands quite a bit, turned out fine, I think — capable of improvement, certainly, but quite solid. You’ll get your chance to judge for yourself, because SELF is going to publish all the sessions as CC BY-SA videos online in a few weeks. Freedom and sharing — what an excellent choice for a conference all about Linux and free software!

I want to join the other organizers, all of whom did a great job, in saying a special thank you to David Yates (of Lotta Linux Links podcast fame) for inciting this wonderful event. I had a marvelous time and I hope they will invite me back, even if it’s not for a prestigious keynote spot. ? I love the fact that my speech wound up the very first SELF. What an honor and a privilege!

There was also a wonderful after-party, with nerdcore rappers Dual Core representin’ (sorry). They were fantastic — I just wish I had their freestyle Fedora rap from the Ohio Linux Fest last year, because I heard it was sick. (That means awesome, from what I understand. Am I hip now?)

Day 2: I turned in pretty early compared to a lot of people, so Day 2 was not as rough on me in the morning. ? After a good breakfast we headed over to Clemson and held the Fedora Activity Day for the Fedora Docs Team, and I thought it was a smashing success. Jesse Keating had led a sort of “design thinking” setup for the Development FAD last week, and I drew on this a bit for the beginning of the session, for the sole purpose of identifying pain points, seeing what we felt were the most important ones to fix or mitigate, and making proposals for how to address them.

Like the FAD in Raleigh, we also used Fedora Talk to broadcast voice from the meeting room, and IRC Freenode #fad to interact with remote attendees, including Zach Oglesby and John “jjmcd” McDonough. I think they got something out of it, and their input certainly helped us as well. Hopefully I wasn’t too much of a taskmaster but we just enjoy being around each other so much, it’s easy to get off track having fun! In the end, though, we had the right balance of humor, enjoyment, and accomplishment.

The notes, which we composed collaboratively in Gobby, are on the wiki now, so hopefully we’ll be able to move on those starting next week and in the upcoming Docs team meeting. And we also constructed a RPM specfile template for Zikula CMS modules, which should come in handy as we finalize packaging work to get the Fedora CMS off the ground shortly. Great work, everyone!

I’m going to pull my email using offlineimap now, and then it will be time to board the plane shortly. Tomorrow, no rest for me — I have only a day and a half of work until I’m back on another plane for Open Source Bridge in Portland, Oregon!