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

FUDCon Blacksburg, Day 1.

Yesterday was a hackfest/workshop day at FUDCon Blacksburg. I spent a little time listening in on secondary arch work going on around Fedora. It sounds like there is a lot of effort going into keeping secondary arches rolling really smoothly through Fedora 17 and beyond. There were some folks from IBM and Red Hat in attendance as well as other interested community members. This workshop went most of the day, but I wasn’t able to attend the whole thing.

I had to prep a short deck for my workshop on Drupal internals, which I managed after lunch. The idea behind this session was to start walking through internals of Drupal modules and the Drupal API. The goal was to convince the attendees that not only is Drupal fairly easy to customize, but you don’t have to be too skilled to start writing a Drupal module.

To reach that goal, we walked through a fairly simple module I wrote that allows Fedora Insight to authenticate users and map roles via the Fedora Account System (FAS). he great thing about the workshop was there were a couple of Drupal professionals in attendance! So as a bonus I got some excellent suggestions about my module as we went through it.

Isn’t that what open source is supposed to be about? Yes, Dear Readers, it is — more eyes on my code, live in a session, meant a bunch of shallower bugs for me to fix. So, needless to say, the workshop went quite well.

I visited the “Try My Keyboard” workshop that Toshio set up, along with the Das Keyboard Silent Professional that I use at home. I tried several there, and one of them was a model based on Cherry MX Blues (like the non-silent Das Keyboard I considered) I really liked. It was fun to try out each unit in a really discriminating way and compare feel in terms of stroke, feedback, and effort.

I then attended the Board session which was a review of 2011 and how to move from the level of very high-level strategic goals to actually fixing some problems in Fedora and improving life for contributors. The consensus seemed to be that the Board members will champion specific fixes themselves — by contributing directly to the solutions. In other words, they’ll roll up their sleeves and get involved, which is always an approach that works well in a community like Fedora.

The only suggestion I offered, which I hope the Board will take to heart, is that as they think about what they want to accomplish for 2012, they should consider how they will know their fix works (measure it in some way). The Board is made up of fantastic individuals and I’m sure they will come up with worthwhile initiatives and bring their formidable skills to bear on helping the community work through them as a team. We’ll be hearing more about this at the beginning of February from what I understand.

Finally, I got together with Red Hat trademark attorney (and my buddy) Pam Chestek, Spot, Jared, and Ian Weller to go through the Fedora trademark guidelines with a fine toothed comb in advance of the session to cover those revisions on Saturday. We were able to tease out a lot of additional bug fixes and extra clarity and it was time well spent.

Unfortunately, by the time we finished, around 7:45pm, I was starting to feel pretty low. I’d been teetering on the edge of a cold (or some sort of bug) for a few days, but I actually became a bit feverish in the evening — feeling cold in rooms that were clearly not, even when I dressed too warmly, and so forth. But there was more to do; no rest for the wicked as they say.

I caught a quick but tasty dinner with Pam, and we enjoyed discussing the adventure of buying a car. I’m sure I was not as chipper as usual and hopefully wasn’t bad company — sorry if I flagged a little, Pam! After that I met briefly with Spot and Robyn to go over logistics for the next morning’s BarCamp and keynote activities. Robyn, being the saint she is, brought me a couple doses of NyQuil. So immediately after that, I headed to my room to burrow under covers and try and sleep off the fever.

Unfortunately, that meant I missed the Fedora Insight hacking I’d suggested for Friday night with Peter Borsa and Pascal Calarco. It was awful to feel so sick I couldn’t take advantage of having a wonderful team of collaborators in one place — especially since Peter was here from overseas. (Fortunately they generously forgave me!) Thankfully, though, I got a full night’s sleep and in the morning I felt better than I had in a couple days, so I could be up early and help get ready for BarCamp.

I’ll post more about the BarCamp and Day 2 tonight or tomorrow!