LinuxFest NorthWest 2015
As I have for many of the last few years, I attended LinuxFest NorthWest this year. It’s been fun to watch this conference grow from a couple hundred people to nearly 2,000 while retaining its community-based and casual atmosphere – I’d like to congratulate and thank the organizers and volunteers who work tirelessly on it each year (and a certain few of them for being kind enough to drive me around and entertain me on Sunday evenings!)
The Fedora booth was extra fun this year. As well as the OLPC XO systems we usually have there (which always do a great job of attracting attention), Brian Monroe set up a whole music recording system running out of a Fedora laptop, with a couple of guitars, bass, keyboard, and even a little all-in-one electronic drum…thing. He had multitrack recording via Ardour and guitar effects from Guitarix. This was a great way to show off the capabilities of Fedora Jam, and was very popular all weekend – sometimes it seemed like every third person who came by was ready to crank out a few guitar chords, and we had several bass players and drummers too. I spent a lot of time away from the booth, but even when I was there we had pretty much a full band going quite often.
I didn’t have a talk this year (I proposed one but it didn’t make it through the voting process), so I was able to take it nice and easy and just meet up with folks and watch talks. In between all of that I also got myself 3D scanned by Dianne Mueller, who had herself set up in a trailer with a big lazy Susan and a Kinect and software I know nothing at all about which managed to produce a scarily accurate model of me and my terrible posture. She’s promised I’ll get a tiny plastic bust of myself in the mail sometime soon, though I’m not sure exactly what to do with it…so thanks, Dianne!
Hard to mention everyone else I ran into or met, but of course there was the (thankfully) inimitable Bryan Lunduke and James Mason of openSUSE fame, who took up their traditional spot opposite us and cried all weekend as they watched the huge crowds flock our booth…
There were a lot of really good presentations. I particularly enjoyed Frances Hocutt‘s A developer’s-eye view of API client libraries, which sounds a little dry but was very well presented and full of good notes for API client library producers and consumers. Frances wrangles API client libraries for the Wikimedia Foundation, so it was good to get to thank her for her work on the list of Mediawiki client libraries and the Gold standard set of guidelines for Mediawiki client library designers and all the other things she’s done to improve API client libraries for Mediawiki – obviously this has been invaluable to wikitcms development.
It was also great to meet Frank Karlitschek at his Crushing data silos with ownCloud talk. I’ve been packaging ownCloud and making small upstream contributions for a while now so I’ve chatted with several of the devs on IRC and GitHub – I didn’t even know Frank was going to LFNW, so it was an unexpected bonus to be able to say ‘hi’ in real life, and inspired me to do some work on OC, of which more later!
Diane’s presentation on the latest bleeding-edge bits of the OpenShift stack went partly over my head – my todo list includes items like ‘learn what the hell is going on with all this cloudockershifty stuff already’ – but she always presents effectively and it was interesting to learn that OpenShift 3.0 is a real production thing built on Project Atomic, which is a bit astonishing since in my head Atomic is still ‘this weird experimental thing Colin Walters keeps bugging me about’. These cloud people sure do move fast. Kids these days, I don’t know.
Finally it was great to see Seth Schoen present Let’s Encrypt. I’d heard a little about this awesome project but it was good to get some details on exactly how it’s being implemented and how it will work. Their goal is, pretty simply, to make it possible to get and install a TLS certificate that will be trusted by all clients for any web server by running a single command. They’re basically automating domain validation: the server comes up with a set of actions that will demonstrate control of the domain, the script running on your web server box (the ‘client’ in this transaction) demonstrates the ability to make those changes, the server checks they were done and issues a certificate, the script installs it. None of it is rocket science, but it’s so immeasurably superior to doing it all one awkward step at a time with openssl-generated CSRs and janky web interfaces that the only wish I have is for it to be in production already. The real goal is to enable a web where unencrypted traffic simply doesn’t happen – make it sufficiently easy to get a trusted certificate that, simply, everyone does it. It was pretty cool that at the end of the talk Seth was mobbed by Red Hat / Fedora folks offering help with integration – I’m guessing you’ll be able to use this stuff on RHEL and Fedora servers from day 1.
All that and we had the now-traditional Friday night games night (beer, pizza, M&Ms, and Cards Against Humanity – really all you need on a Friday night!) too. It was a very enjoyable event as always.
ownCloud 8 for Fedora 21, Fedora 20, and EPEL 7
The other big news I have: ownCloud 8.0.3 came out recently, and it seemed like an appropriate time to kick most of the still-maintained stable Fedora and EPEL releases over to it. So there are now Fedora 21, Fedora 20 and EPEL 7 testing updates providing ownCloud 8.0.3 for those releases. Please do read the update notes carefully, and back everything up before trying the update!
EPEL 6 is still on ownCloud 7.0.5 for now; I’d have to bump even more OC dependencies to new versions in order to have ownCloud 8 on EPEL 6. That might still happen, but I decided to get it done for the more up-to-date releases first.
This build also includes some fixes to the packaged nginx configuration from Igor Gnatenko, so I’d like to thank him very much for those! I still haven’t got around to testing OC on nginx, but Igor has been running it, so hopefully with these changes it’ll now work out of the box.