Linux, musical road-dogging, and daily life by Paul W. Frields
SELF 2011 day 1.

SELF 2011 day 1.

Max posted a good summary of SELF day 0 that included our dinner and confab last night, and since we’re in agreement there’s no need for me to belabor his points. The upcoming release cycle will be an opportunity for community leaders throughout Fedora to renew their commitment to regular communication, transparency, and visibility at all levels. So on to SELF day 1:

Today was Cloud day here at the Southeast Linux Fest, and I know a couple of Fedorans here made it to some of those sessions. However, I ended up getting together with Max, Robyn, Jared, Eric ‘sparks’ Christensen, and a couple other people to talk about finance and events. One of the important topics was how we can make sure sponsorship requests and other financial matters for FUDCon events are handled quickly, efficiently, and fairly, while still maintaining a strict bottom line.

You’ll see some of the work captured on the EtherPad for the meeting, and links to some wiki tweaks made, here. I know Jared and Max will be posting more information about that session, and since I had to leave in the middle of the session for a conference call, I don’t want to jumble up or misstate the proceedings. Nevertheless, I was happy to see this dialogue happening in a candid and open way (besides the EtherPad and wiki work, our room was open to anyone who wanted to stop by and listen or participate).

I also had a chance to listen in on a little documentation brainstorming that Jared and Eric were doing after lunch. I spent my remaining time going over my slide deck and making some last minute tweaks for maximum goodness. As it happened, I had a very healthy turnout for my session on PyGObject (that slide deck is CC BY 3.0, by the way), good questions and feedback from the audience members, and even a number of very gracious compliments from attendees.

I love doing these educational “fill in the gap” sessions designed for the beginner-to-almost-intermediate audience. I believe lots of people out there are like me — somewhat skilled in simple sysadmin tasks but haven’t been able to make the leap to writing their own applications because of the learning curve. They just need a helping hand to explain the necessary missing pieces in a friendly and non-threatening way.

A gentleman talked to me after my session about “backing up into the right answers” as a learning experience, when you have no other alternative. That’s certainly a good way to explain how I learned GUI programming with PyGTK and PyGObject! But I’d rather help other people avoid awkwardly driving around backward and save them the time it took me to wrap my head around the basic concepts, and get them into 2nd, 3rd, or 4th gear (moving forward, not backward!) faster than me. We agreed that we both had plenty of occasions when we could have used that sort of tutelage, and I hope my session bridged the gap for some of the attendees.

After my session, I had a couple brief chats with attendees and other folks, and then suddenly it was time for the speaker dinner, which was delicious. I briefly wished I had a nice cigar to follow that excellent steak they served us, but decided to head upstairs to write a blog post instead so I could meet my self-imposed regiment of one per day. Now I’m going to go join the rest of our SELF folks at the pre-party and unwind.

And hey, if I’m lucky I might be able to watch Robyn spank the tar out of Greg and Max at poker again. ?