FUDCon Toronto

So FUDCon is over this year and it was great. Finally getting to meet people and discuss the workings of some of the projects Fedora is involved with. Rob Escriva and I left Thursday morning after breakfast and got into Toronto a little before 4pm.

The first night we met up with Steven Parrish and Rex Dieter for some dinner at an Irish pub near the hotel. We heard that there was live music there and indeed there was. Very loud and right next to our table. By the time we had eaten and returned to the hotel, lots of people were gathered in the lobby and were discussing various things. Rex and I talked with David Malcolm about what was happening with Python 3 in Fedora 13 and how it would affect the KDE side of things (more on that below). Seth Vidal also joined up and the topic moved between bdb and sqlite and how it affects rpm and yum, patches to python and rpm itself and other tangents that were all too easy to get off on.

After getting to sleep around 2am or so, we woke up for breakfast to get to the college at 9:30. The bus ride cost was a little crazy ($3.50 for one ride) but there were few viable alternatives. We all gathered in the room deemed to be Room 1 to discuss how things worked at FUDCon with the bar camp style of scheduling. Lots of people lined up to pitch talks for the day including Rob to pitch CHASM (something else which will be explained in more detail below). Everyone then lined up outside in the hall where the pitched topics were taped to the windows to mark which talks were the most interesting to people. CHASM got 22 and we got paired with Matt Domsch’s talk about Mirror Manager.

The first talk that I attended was Steven Parrish’s talk on reporting bugs effectively. I was the one who asked if anyone was logging the talk and in the process volunteered myself for it. The hardest part about logging was keeping up with the slides and the talk and typing things into the IRC channel fast enough but I got better throughout the day and it got a lot smoother. The logging of the talks in IRC and using zodbot to throw the results onto the wiki is a great way to help those who are not able to attend FUDCon to be able to participate as well. The talk itself was great. Even though I get CC’d on lots of bugs due to being a co-maintainer of the entire KDE stack and having to request logs and such for different things. Lunch was next and Rob and I talked with Adam Williamson about netbooks, computer specs and whatnot over the provided meals.

The next session was on MirrorManager and CHASM (a project Rob and I have been working on). Matt Domsch discussed what MirrorManager is and what it offers for Fedora. I never knew that it picked mirrors for me. Goodbye fastest-mirror plugin hackery (manually remove the results for any mirrors I don’t want). After that, Rob and I (well, mostly Rob) presented on CHASM, the Cryptographic-Hash-Algorithm-Secured Mirroring solution. It aims to ease mirroring large collections of software that change over time (such as distributions’ repositories). It was well received and we got good feedback from Seth Vidal and Matt. Some ideas that we had about what actually goes on with the mirroring of Fedora and what CHASM needs to do were updated and we have rethought some of the assumptions we had before FUDCon.

After that, I attended the GDB talk and learned how to make pretty-printers to get usable output when displaying values of the running program. There were also tips on debugging threaded applications that I wasn’t aware of before and should help with debugging some KDE applications that make use of threading.

The most interesting talk (other than CHASM) that I attended was Jesse Keating’s talk on how Fedora will be ditching dist-cvs for git. I am very excited about some of the ideas that were being discussed such as the automatic patch management (just some macros in the actual spec file), exploding source tarballs into a git repository to create patches with git format-patch, actual tools rather than hackish make targets, and actual support for branching (I’m looking at it being able to do snapshots of upstream outside of rawhide so that if things go really awry with release times, an epoch isn’t needed to fix things up when rawhide gets branched for a new release). Between this and KDE’s conversion to git, there should be plenty of documentation on how to convert repositories of huge scale and hackery over to git.

The last presentation I attended was on trademarks and how they affect Fedora. It was a great discussion between how lawyers see trademarks, how hackers see trademarks, and what needs to be done to make things clear on both sides of the discussion. After learning about the basics of the legal web of things that affect Free Software in general (copyrights, trademarks, patents, etc.) in the Open Source Software Practices class here, getting some input on how lawyers look at things was a great insight.

After the BarCamp was over (great format by the way), everyone headed back to the hotel to drop off laptops and such before heading over to Dave & Busters for FUDPub where I talked with Ian Weller, J5, Brennan, David Malcolm, Luke Macken, and others (many of whose names escape me) about various things related to Fedora, Python, and other technical topics. Towards the end, J5, Brennan, and I went to the game room to roam around and see what was going on (I watched since I prefer watching games than playing them). We ran into Spot, Jesse Keating, and others as well. Spot had a bunch of tickets and everyone donated what they had which, with a total of 670 or so tickets, got Spot a set of poker chips.

After FUDPub, I headed to the hackroom on the third floor and was told by Seth Vidal that if Rob and I can’t sell CHASM to John Hawley, the system administrator of kernel.org, we need to rethink everything. After hanging around and listening to some of the discussion, I headed to bed so that I could get up in the morning for the hackfests the next day. Rob says he lost the pool game, but I sunk the 8 ball in the wrong pocket, so to be pedantic, he won ;) .

The next morning, after waking up, eating breakfast, and talking with…well I can’t remember exactly who I talked to, so many people. I’m sure it was interesting and productive :) . After that and the bus ride to the university, various pitches for things to work on throughout the day were done. I pitched the CHASM hackfest and invited anyone who would like to do GPG keysigning to somewhere in the room that was labeled as ‘E’ on the board. At the hackfest, I talked with David Malcolm about the Python3 happenings and how it affects the KDE side of things. He discussed what needs to be done to spec files to get them ready for the Python3 fun that Fedora 13 will sport. Adding PyQt4 and sip to the list of packages that need attention for the large majority of packages in KDE land to be ready for it. We went through the sip spec file and did preliminary work to get sip working with python3. Other than some of the black magic that it does, it went well and python3 on the KDE side of things should be done once sip, PyQt4, and the ever inimitable kdebindings support python3 parallel installation (other than the normal work of splitting the users and dependencies of these packages). John Hawley then showed up and Rob and I discussed what CHASM was, what kernel.org does, what it would need from CHASM to consider it, and other related things. He liked it, so it means that CHASM is on the right track.

Later, after some pizza got ordered, I hunted down Máirín Duffy to discuss a logo for CHASM. I had an idea in my head of what it would look like, but Mo was able to improve upon it and is capable of bringing it to fruition unlike myself. We also talked about some of the things about RPI since she is an alumni.

Towards the end of the night, a bunch of us gathered in room ‘A’ to work on different things. I didn’t get much work done there other than some fiddling with xmonad (rather than ratpoison) on the netbook. Haskell is very interesting and monads make my head hurt. Towards dinner time, those that were still at the university headed over to a mall to get some food to eat. I talked with one of the XFCE maintainers (sorry, can’t remember your name) about what CHASM was, differences between GNOME, KDE, and XFCE and the different use cases they fill.

After dinner, things such as “It’s a trap”, nethack, and “The Website is Down” were displayed on the projector. Not much work was done on my part after dinner, but it was fun in any case.

That night I went to the hackroom again and talked with Adam Williamson some more, debugged an issue where some kernel upgrade botched up the initrd creation for the new kernel making it fail to boot with Dennis Gilmore and John Hawley, and more.

The next day at the hackfest, Rex, Jaroslav, Steven, and I discussed KDE related things from what needs to happen with kpackagekit, the Network Manager frontend, updates, and other details. Rob and I did some documentation for CHASM, thought up of being aware of preferred files due to cache status for CHASM, and overall was a more productive day. Rob and I talked with Mo about coming to RPI to talk about the Fedora Project when Red Hat visits for the career fair in the spring.

Upon returning to the hackroom, we attempted to debug the network and determined that it was most likely due to the gateway overheating and shutting itself off once it hit its limit. Stephen Smoogen, David Malcolm, Spot, Mel Chua, and I went to play some Dungeons & Dragons. I first played this past summer, it was the first time Mel was playing, and the others have played much more. We got to the first fight, beat the tentacled arm thing and then called it a night.

The next morning was the last morning of FUDCon. The FUDBus left around 9:30, and Rob and I headed out around 10:15. We caught up with the FUDBus on 90 on the way back, but made a stop to stretch and lost it. I would like to thank Red Hat for my funding to go, Chis Tyler for getting the space at Seneca, Mel Chua, Paul Frields, and all the others who made this FUDCon possible. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the next one I can attend.

2 Responses to “FUDCon Toronto”

  1. “After getting to sleep around 2am or so, we woke up for breakfast to get to the college at 9:30. The bus ride cost was a little crazy ($3.50 for one ride) but there were few viable alternatives.”

    Pedantic note: it’s $3.25, and it’s for two hours of access to the entire system (as many rides as you like within two hours), which isn’t really bad. Trying to run a more granular system lands you with a lot of overhead, which is why most systems don’t do it this days. Regular riders use weekly or monthly passes anyway.

    Vancouver’s $2.50 for 90 minutes, so pretty similar. Overall I prefer this to the old-fashioned seventy different fares for specific journeys on each route, it’s just more efficient in the end.

  2. Kevin Kofler says:

    > and actual support for branching (I’m looking at it being able to do snapshots of upstream outside of rawhide so that if things go really awry with release times, an epoch isn’t needed to fix things up when rawhide gets branched for a new release)

    That’s already possible in our current CVS setup! It’s possible to create real CVS branches within our “branch” directories. We’ve done it for our early KDE 4 work, for example. But the main problem is that this won’t give you a build target in Koji to actually build your experimental specfiles and git won’t help there at all. Those build targets have to be created by rel-eng and they’re quite costly (extra newRepo tasks running all the time), so they’ll only be created when really needed.