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

I’m sure you already saw my post on part 1 of day 1 of, right? Well, not much time for lunch afterward — this conference is packed with content! It’s also packed with friends from around the world. Here’s a few of mine:

Ludek is a man of charm! (from 2013)
Radek: I'm too sexy for this conference! (Denise: I'm not listening.) (from 2013)

There are about 5 minutes between talks, and a quick 15 minute break in between morning and afternoon sessions. So after said break, I attended the following sessions:

  • Ales Kozumplik spoke about DNF, a next generation package management library and utility for Fedora. There’s an explanatory Fedora wiki page here.
  • Michael Schröder presented on the functions of package management in SuSE, including libsolv (which underlies DNF). This included explanations of many of the additional functions in libsolv that can be cherry-picked if appropriate for Fedora.
  • Vratislav Podzimek gave a fantastic presentation on the reasons behind and for the Anaconda NewUI. He showed the many problems and maintainability issues with the Anaconda we’ve had for something like 7-8 years in Fedora. He also demonstrated how the new UI presents a simpler, faster way to install in Fedora and even allows you to quickly craft custom “addon” spokes.
  • Following this, I attended the Anaconda NewUI discussion in one of the hacklabs. A partial list of discussions that happened there:
    • Confirmed that Anaconda redesign is meant to make it possible for people with little or no Linux experience to use the installer.
    • Someone said that this is perhaps exactly why some experienced people struggle with the new UI. While acknowledging that such users would have to become accustomed to the new UI, apart from two cases (LVM on mdraid and [UPDATE: reserving space in a VG — see comments below]) at this time the new UI can do everything the old one did. Completing storage configuration is more streamlined for the middle of the bell curve cases, but still can be done for the outlying cases.
    • Quite a bit of discussion about addons and what the vision is for them in Fedora. Chris Lumens expressed this really well; his opinion is that they would only be used in Fedora for things that are really helpful for the Project but in which the Anaconda team has no expertise. In concept, any particular site that wants to use addons would only use one, or maybe two. Throwing lots of addons at a user would be confusing and unhelpful. Anaconda team doesn’t want to set policy about when to use addons, probably this would be a FESCo matter.
    • There are many difficulties with choosing default languages based on simple measurements. Inevitably you end up making the wrong choice for a substantial number of users and it becomes difficult for them to continue or complete their task.

    There was more, but these were some of the major topics I heard while bouncing around trying to publish things to various networks about the conference.

  • I also attended the set of short talks for the core OS. Although they were labeled “lightning,” they were a little slower paced, but still good content. I’d like to see the next include real lightning talks — perhaps 5 minutes, timed mercilessly, and following each other rapidly with a high energy and entertainment level. But the talks themselves were quite good, and included Tomas Mraz on password quality with libpwquality, and Hans de Goede on the current state and future of the Spice protocol and tools. Hans’ demonstrations were especially high in “wow factor,” and featured splitting a window across two diferent guests’ displays, and drag and drop of files from host to guest.

Following the short talks, it was almost time for the conference event. I went back to the hotel to drop off my bag, and several times I narrowly avoided death by sidewalk ice. Thankfully I was walking with Fabian Affolter who would have been able to call for help if I slipped and broke anything important! (I had met up with Fabian and fellow Fedora luminary Gerrold Kassube earlier in the day.)

I quickly headed back out into the cold and a few blocks later, met up with our hundreds of attendees at Klub Fléda. There was a huge variety of good food and, of course, the omnipresent Starobrno beer. There was also live music on stage, with a power trio doing their best to entertain the sedate geeks customarily grouped together 10 meters away from the stage.

I was able to hang out a bit with some of the hardcore hackers doing great work to solve hard problems in the Linux world, including Kay Sievers, Lennart Poettering, and Harald Hoyer. I haven’t seen Lennart and Harald in a number of years — since I was in Berlin for a LinuxTag event. After a few hours, I accompanied Dan “Strikemaker” Walsh back to the hotel where we had a quiet round or two before retiring. All in all, it was a fine day and I was looking forward to day 2.

Speaking of which, stay tuned for a report for the second day of!


  1. Chris Lumens

    The other thing missing from the current UI is being able to specify the amount of reserved space in a VG. We’ve come up with some ideas on how to fix that, and I believe it’s on our must-fix list for F19.

    Thanks for the detailed post.

  2. I’m really sorry I didn’t catch more of the discusssion as it went on. I was dividing time between finishing this post, listening in, and publicizing to other channels. It seemed like a really positive session though, and I think people left understanding more about the motivations and benefits of the new UI work in Anaconda. Hopefully the designers and developers can take heart in that. There are still a few rough spots but everyone acknowledges that and we can continue to improve things in F19. 🙂

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