FUDCon, day 1.5

I’m at FUDCon, and as always, don’t have enough time to blog. I also neglected to a) charge my spare camera battery or b) bring a mini-USB cable, so no pictures uploaded yet!

The event’s been as useful as it always is, though. The Fedora on ARM talk by Paul Whalen was great as a status update on the progress with bringing Fedora’s ARM build more into the mainstream. Mel, Mo, Seb Dziallas and Chris Tyler ran a combined talk on various education-related Fedora projects, which was really interesting to hear about – especially Chris’ work with Seneca College students, and the care he takes to make sure they work on real-world projects with direct relevance to upstream, and send their work upstream: it was really exciting to hear that he grades students only on work they succeed in putting into real-world use (or, at least, work they make the right effort to do that with).

Mike McGrath’s talk on the cloud and why it means we’re all screwed blew my mind for the rest of the day – it’s definitely worth hearing his talk if you can get to it anywhere, because it’s well worth an hour of anyone’s time to sit down and really think about how different a lot things are likely to be In A World Where…nearly everything runs in a setup where concerns about hardware and storage and processing are largely abstracted away and you just deal with them as per-use costs. Even if the answer is ‘very scary for my line of work’ it’s still probably something you should do…

We also had a very crowded session on the future of spins which probably didn’t have enough time to really deal with the many issues it raised, but it was at least good to have most concerned people in a room together and coming to some broad agreements on where pain points are and at least roughly the goals we want to accomplish with spins. We’re hoping there will be a hackfest where we can work in more detail on actually resolving at least some of the issues.

Finally for the first day I saw Dan Walsh’s talk on Sandbox X, a way of using SELinux (and a few other tools and kernel features) to run individual X applications, or even an entire desktop session, in a highly-restricted environment, as a way to access untrusted content and so on. I understood about a fifth of the technical background, but the examples of using it to read PDFs or untrusted websites were easy to understand and extremely cool.

FUDPub was at the student union rec center, so we got to bowl and play pool for free all night – awesome. First time I’ve managed to go bowling for years. (Jeroen, I will post the printout when I get home – I swear on one American dollar).

So far today I’ve been to Mo’s awesome talk on using Inkscape – I think Mo’s the only person who could possibly teach me to do anything good in graphics tools. I even made up a logo which you may or may not see pop up on this site when I’m on a network where I can actually get out to my webserver. Followed that up with Maria ‘tatica’ Leandro’s talk on photo editing with GIMP and other tools – really interesting to see her workflow and compare it with Mo’s similar talk, and with the infinitely worse methods I use :)

Spot led a session where infrastructure team members pitched their ideas for the next big Fedora project and got feedback from the audience. All the ideas were pretty good and I wound up voting for all of them but one, which probably didn’t help the team much, but hey. I was particularly keen on John Palmieri’s idea to focus on developing the package section of Fedora Community into a comprehensive one-stop portal for package maintainers, which would be awesome if it worked out.

Finally (up to now) we had lightning talks, including a fantastic presentation on the Fedora packager plugin for Eclipse by Andrew Overholt which led me to install the plugin about 30 seconds into his talk. And now I’m going to find a hackfest, and plug in my laptop before the battery dies! More to come…

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