Kushal Das

FOSS and life. Kushal Das talks here.


Day -1 for the Flock 2015

It is 5:30am, and I am already up. Which may sound great in any other day, but the night before I slept after 2am. The day was the day -1 for Flock 2015 in Rochester. That means meeting lots of old friends through out day/night. Time to put faces behind some of the IRC nicks I know for a long time.

The day started relatively well, other than the super costly breakfast in the venue. A few of us saw some empty chairs and desk in the floor above lobby, and thought of sitting there and hack. A hotel employee came running in, and telling us that we were not allowed there. That led us to move to Java's Cafe few blocks away. The coffee was good, and we all sat around a big table. One of my TODO list item was about syncing with Threebean about fedimg project. He showed the latest script he wrote to dig up fedmsgs from datagrepper related to fedimg. There were a lot of other chitchats, and it increased even more when Denis, and Remy joined us in the table. I had few small queries which Nirik cleared very quickly. I also received a yubikey from him. Later after 1pm we moved to another place for lunch.

Came back to the same Cafe after lunch, we already grew in number. Some people went back to the hotel, and more number of people came in. Met Maxamillion aka Adam Miller for the first time. That also means that our tiny release-infra team (Luke, Adam, and me) were in the same place for the first time :) Patrick Uiterwijk was working on patch which would allow us to burn the version one of the Yubikey, I did the first test of the code, and managed to setup my new key. Pingou helped me to write the initial version of a metadata service using Flask. Later randomuser (Pete Travis) helped me to setup proper firewalld rules so that the local vm(s) can access the metadata on the virbr0.

We moved to a near by dimsum place for dinner. I should say thank you Remy for the tasty dinner. The next stop was the bar just opposite, more people started turning up there. On Luke's suggestion I tried St. Bernardus, which is pretty good. Came back to the hotel around midnight, and found Ruth welcoming everyone. The lobby area was filled with Fedora hackers and lots of alcohol. Met Dave, and Subhendu after a long time. Roshi and Dusty Mabe were two other people whom I wanted to meet for a long time. It is so nice to meet the friends for the first time, when you already spend most of your days with them over IRC. John Dulaney showed me his personal cloud/vm orchestration system. I decided to end my day as getting few hours of sleep is really necessary. The day one of Flock will start in another few hours. Means time to get up from the chair :)

Fedora 22 release event in Pune

As I said in my blog post about FUDCon, we wanted to continue the effort on reaching to new contributors. The Fedora 22 release event was the start. Last Saturday, on 1st August we had the event in the Red Hat Pune office. Around 17 people attended the event.

We had the bi-weekly Fedora-APAC meeting on IRC from 9:30am, that is why most of the existing Fedora contributors reached early to join that meeting. After that we started our event around 10:45am with a welcome message.

What are the changes in Fedora 22 for workstation? Praveen Kumar started giving answer to that question. He also talked about the upcoming changes in Fedora 23 release.

Parag Namade took the stage after Praveen, he talked about packaging applications for Fedora Project. Two main things he pointed out are package naming guidelines, and packaging guidelines. He also talked about the new package review process. The second part of his talk was about FESCo.

I spoke next, before and after lunch. About both Fedora Server, and Fedora Cloud. I reused my slides from the Fedora Council meeting for the same.

What do you want to do for Fedora Project? Are you interested in any particular technology? Siddhesh Poyarekar asked these two questions to all participants first. He noted down the answers on white board, and slowly went through them. Bug zapping was the primary interest for many.

Priyanka Nag did a live blog post on the event.

We will continue with more events of similar kind, but more technically focused ones.

Event report: FUDCon Pune 2015

Starting of the conversation

I don't remember when I called Siddhesh for the first time to talk about organising FUDCon in India this year. But the discussion started, at first I wanted to bid with Durgapur as the venue. But after some discussion, we agreed that Pune is a better place in many cases which we want in a venue for FUDCon.

The bid and venue

I was in Kolkata, I was not directly involved with the bid. But the team did an amazing job in putting up the bid, doing many ground works. MITCoE was chosen as the venue, but we had few other college names in the list as backup.

Talk selection and website

Four of us (Siddhesh, Amit, Nipendra, and me) took the charge of selecting talks. After many long calls/videos chats we had the initial selected talk list, and it got published in the site on time. That reminds me to speak about the effort Siddhesh put up to fix our fudcon.in, I know how many sleepless nights he spent to get everything working as required.

Final ground work before event

I came down to Pune on 26th of May, and start working with rest of the organisers. My primary responsibility was related to final travel for the speakers/contributors, and doing the travel for the day of the events. Sanisoft helped us with the event schedule. Hasgeek stepped up to help with the video recording/streaming of the event.

Suprith came up as a volunteer, and he did a tremendous job while running around through out city, and getting best quotes for swag, and printing. Another super big help came from Rupali, who handled/worked on almost everything other than talk selection, and made sure that the event becomes a success

I spent two sleepless nights just before the event starts to make sure all speakers reach the hotel on time, and safely.

The event

Dennis Gilmore

Dennis Gilmore started the event with his keynote. We learned a lot about the future plans of Fedora release engineering team in that. After that we had the education panel with a opening event from the college authority.

Harish did the closing keynote on day one. Jiri did the opening keynote on day two. As you can see I am only talking about the keynotes as I was running around doing smaller tasks during the event. We also had Fedora Ambassadors APAC meeting during FUDCon.

Tenzin Chokden

The day two closing keynote was from Tenzin Chokden about the Tibetan Government and community in exile and how it safeguarded itself with help of open source tools and the Fedora community from the spying network called GhostNet. This was eye opening in different ways, showing the problems they face everyday, and about how the small contributions from the FOSS communities help them in bigger ways.

Day three was full with workshops and specialized groups. I gave a small 10 minutes talk about CentOS Cloud SIG in the Openstack track. Harish conducted an amazing workshop as GPG.

My job finished when the last speaker returned home safely. But this is not the end, we will be doing local event as follow ups to try to get more open source contributors. I was very happy to see many students who traveled more than one day to reach Pune for the event. If they continue their journey in the community, I am sure they will shine in their own career path.

Students from Amrita University

You can view the full photo set here.

Thank you volunteers

I don't have words to praise the volunteers for the amount of work they put up for the conference. I can only say thank you all for everything. Just want to mention Siddhesh specifically. The community needs more leaders like you. I hope many will follow your path.

FUDCon feedback from bijra school


Kaji Nizamuddin is the headmaster of Bijra High School, he gave a talk in FUDCon Pune about the usage on FOSS and Fedora in his school. I am publishing his feedback email in my blog which he sent after the event.

Dear Convenor FUDCON 2015(Pune)

A very warm and sincere good wishes to all the members of the FUDCON team . I express my deepest gratitude and sincere thanks for sponsoring my trip as a speaker not only from the point of warm hospitality and respect that you have showered upon me but also from the point of useful lessons I learnt from the various sessions that I joined during the three days of conference. It was a novel experience in my life to share my views with a galaxy of stalwarts who are so technologically well advanced and updated. Hopefully all these technological improvements that have been earmarked will not only benefit the advancement of education but also they will be utilised for human welfare as a whole. The members of FUDCON fraternity conducted the conference in such a well planned and well organised manner that a beautiful environment of learning was created. The question - answer sessions have been so rewarding. The students of MIT and other colleges who came to take part in the conference had a tete-a-tete with the national and international speakers and I think this mutual response has made the purpose of this conference more meaningful and significant. I personally feel that our FEDORA contributors who work with yearlong lucubration for the cause of Free and Open Source Software have a very broad outlook, magnanimity and a cosmopolitan heart. They are really the men and women of vision.It was rather a lifetime event for me to witness and cherish the memory of the persons who work under the global FEDORA umbrella and to share their views with each other. I came back with enough enlightenment and zeal. Therefore I wish to contribute more into such projects. I do confess here that I am not so well -versed with the technical aspects of all these projects but I swear I will keep myself abreast in the development . Hence I need your guidance and help to update myself. Once again all FUDCON 2015 members for being so kind and treating me in such a special way. I felt honoured and privileged and hope that the next FUDCON will be as successful and as rewarding as this one . Wishing you all the best. With sincere regards and warm wishes.


What is a hackathon or hackfest? Few more tips for proposals

According to Wikipedia, A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects. Let us go through few points from this definition.

  • it is an event about collaboration.
  • it involves not only programmers, but designers, docs and other people.
  • it is about software projects.

We can also see that people work intensively on the projects. It can be one project, or people can work as teams on different projects. In Fedora land, the most common example of hackathon is "Fedora Activity Days" or FADs. Where a group of contributors sit together in a place and work on the project intensively. The last example is the Design FAD which we had around a month back, where the design team worked on fixing the their goals and workflows and other related things.

One should keep these things in mind while submitting a proposal for FUDCON or actually any other conference. If you want to teach about any particular technology or tool, you should put that as a workshop proposal than a hackfest or hackathon.

Then which one is a good topic for hackfest during Fudcon? Say you want to work on the speed up of the boot time of Fedora. You may want to design 5 great icons for the projects you love. If you love photography, may be you want to build a camera using a RaspberryPi and some nice Python code. Another good option is to ask for a list of bugs from the applications under Fedora apps/infrastructure/releng team and then work on fixing them during the conference.

In both hackfest or workshop proposals, there are a few points which must be present in your proposal. Things like

  • Who are the target audience for the workshop?
  • what version of Fedora must they have in their laptops?
  • which all packages should they pre-install in their computer before coming to the conference?
  • Do they need to know any particular technology or programming language or tool to take part in the workshop or hackfest?
  • Make sure that you submit proposals about the projects where you do contribute upstream.

CFP is open still 9th March, so go ahead and submit awesome proposals.

FUDCON Pune 2015 CFP is open

FUDCON, the Fedora Users and Developers Conference is going to happen next in Pune, in India, from 26th June to 28th June in the Maharashtra Institute of Technology College of Engineering (MIT COE). The call for proposals (CFP) is already out and 9th March is the last date to submit a talk/workshop. If you are working on any upstream project, you may want to talk about your work to a technical crowd in the conference. If you are a student, and you want to talk about the latest patches you have submitted to the upstream project, this is the right place to do so. May be you never talked in front of a crowd like this before, but you can start doing this by submitting a talk in the FUDCON.

A few tips for your talk/workshop proposal

  • Write about your intended audience, is this something useful for the students? or for the system administrators? Be clear about who are your target audience.
  • Provide a talk outline, provide points about what all you want to speak, it is better that you provide a time estimate in the outline.
  • What will the attendees get out of your talk?
  • Provide links to the projects, source code, blogs, presentation you gave before. These will add more value to the presentation.
  • Submit your proposal early, that way more people from the talk selection committee will be able to go through your talk proposal.
  • Make sure you have a recorded copy of any demo you want to do on stage, because it is generally a bad idea to do a demo during a live talk. Things can go wrong very fast.
  • Write your speaker biography properly. Do not assume that everyone knows you. Give links to the all other talks you gave before, any link to the recorded videos is also very nice thing to have in the biography.
  • Make sure that you write your proposal for the attendees of your talk. They will be the measurement of success for the talk/workshop. (I am not talking about numbers, but the quality of knowledge sharing).
  • Try to avoid giving a generic talk like introduction to Open Source/Linux.
  • In case you are talking about any upstream project, choose a project where you have enough contribution in that project. That way the selection committee will know that you are a good person to give that talk. We know it is very tempting to talk about the latest fancy and shiny project, but please do so only if you are an upstream contributor.
  • Please do not submit talks on your products. This is a community event, not a company meet.
  • Write more in your talk proposal. It is never bad to explain or communicate more in a talk/workshop proposal.

In case you need help with your proposal, you can show it to the other community members before submitting it. You can always find a few of us in #fedora-india IRC channel.

So do not waste time, go ahead and submit a talk or workshop proposal.