Linux, musical road-dogging, and daily life by Paul W. Frields
UTOSC 2009, Day 1.

UTOSC 2009, Day 1.

This blog post will skip the descriptive narrative, and behave in a little more cut and dried fashion. It’s late and I am out of steam after a tremendous day here at UTOSC 2009.

Up early this morning, got breakfast, caught a ride with Doran “fozzmoo” Barton, and then managed to barely see him again the rest of the day! Doran, thank you so much for your kindness, it meant a lot. Larry Cafiero and his daughter Mirano were already at the booth and had some swag set up. Helped move some odds and ends around, tidy up a bit, and otherwise be as useful as a bump on a log.

Keynote was by not an engineer but a humanities grad student. Mainly concerned history of open source/crowdsourcing, quite interesting at times. Also mentioned something I hadn’t seen for years, Ted Nelson’s “Computer Lib/Dream Machines” book. I think I saw it in the mid-80’s, and by then it was already a decade old and still fascinating. Check it out if you have time and inclination.

Went back to the booth and helped for most of the time that Clint, Ian, Larry, and others worked on the FAD for an event splash design, something to help us more effective channel new contributors who are constantly signing up at events where Fedora appears. They’ll talk more about that over the next few days, and months leading up to FUDCon. Our booth was super popular, and we gave away tons of swag with lots more still to come over the next two days. Talked up a blue storm about Fedora, Sugar and SoaS, and how Fedora and Red Hat work together.

Had a very nice long chat with Andrew Jorgensen from Novell, who had some very nice compliments to pass on about our Fedora community packagers who work on Mono, and about our community-driven packaging in general. We also talked at length about our wonderful experiences with git, and as a fellow dabbler (thank you, Andrew, for geeking out with me for a bit) I passed on my recommendation of the Git Community Book as a tremendous learning tool. I admit I haven’t read all of it yet, but the 60% or so I have read has been great without exception.

I got a chance to speak to several of the vendors, including a couple of people I ran into last year at UTOSC. Many are using Fedora-family systems for building, deploying, and servicing their bits for customers. Nice!

In the afternoon I participated as a panelist for a multi-distro roundtable. We each got to talk about the origins, release cycles, and strengths of our projects and communities. Besides me for Fedora (and talking about our relationship to Red Hat Enterprise Linux and its downstream rebuilds), represented also were Novell, FreeBSD, Ubuntu, Debian, and Gentoo. We also gave shouts out to Mandriva and Slackware, not represented but not forgotten.

I was very happy that, unlike so many similar panels in the beginning of this decade, this one was very positive-spirited. Good questions from the audience too.  One question concerned the RHEL release cycle and its relation to Fedora. Another concerned rebuilding where I happily reported that Fedora was self-hosting, and that we provide every piece of source code, tooling, and build technologies needed to make Fedora, 100% free software that anyone can use as we do.

Caught up with Clint after that to get a report on the FAD, and then it was time for Ignite Salt Lake, part of which was devoted to a Lego sprint (funny but not my cup of tea), followed by 5 minute lightning talks that ranged from good to spectacular. What a great way to bust us out of a code-focused day into thoughts about the world around us and its many wonders! It was almost 8pm when we got done, and then it was time to pack, gather people, and grab dinner. Clint and Jennifer gave me a ride back to the hotel, where I wrote this. Now it’s time for shut-eye before another action-packed day!

I’ve been terrible about getting to email — network has been tetchy at the site on and off, and besides that I’ve not been able to spend more than a couple minutes at the keyboard at a time. Well worth the backlog though; UTOSC is off to another fine conference this year.