mether's Fedora Blog

Random thoughts, usually on Fedora

FUDCon India Aug 9th 2011 face to face meeting minutes

Present: Rahul, Satya, Shakthi, Shreyank, Kashyap, Kushal, Amit, Kedar, PJP

– got 2 quotations
– ₹225 min., +60 for non-veg – zaika caterers
– ₹175 with service, chicken ₹40, fish ₹100, mutton ₹60 – jeetendra caterers
– Water — Confirm with caterers about the water cans/bottles during the event.

– power strips
– can possibly buy more
– coep might have power strips, talk to them to get them – Suchakra, 2 days
– data cards problematic
+ Atleast 10 Red Hatters can bring their personal data cards.
– power strips can be arranged for. (only 10)

– another meet in the coming weeks, meet the Director.

Website Info:
– Get the FUDCon website updated with appropriate feeds
– Shreyank owner for a while
– Shreyank will get this updated by next Tuesday (16 Aug)
– fix colours
– remove dead links
– logo/pictures to be replaced
– move twitter/javascript thing from news page to front page
– add good aggregation options – rss, twitter
– make front page look good
– this link will go to sponsors, speakers
– content isn’t a problem right now
– content going to the wiki.
– people encouraged to add / review content on the wiki

Voting Software:
– Rahul will build for EPEL. Will file an RFR with Fedora infrastructure team.

Visit to coep:
– shrink took pictures of rooms
– verified: we have 6 rooms, 2 halls (~100 people) + 4 rooms (~50
people) + 1 auditorium (~900 people)
– 4 classrooms + auditorium are on 1st floor
– 2 halls on ground floor
– each room + hall will have own wifi access points.
– 250 people open place for food
– 3 coep guest rooms
– each can host 2 people overnight

– no free lunch? (for students/non-speakers?)

– buttons ₹14 each
– Kushal: get quotes for mugs

– Talk to K.K travels about taxi from Mumbai to Pune return trip. (Shreyank) – 2 days


Written by mether

August 12, 2011 at 1:21 am

Posted in Uncategorized

FUDCon India Aug 2nd 2011 face to face meeting minutes

As usual,  our honourable secretary Amit Shah took notes but the one and only Kashyap Veerabhadra Chamarty (U.S DOD’s new undertaker) bestowed upon his presence this time  We did gather at 11 AM instead of 3 AM in anticipation of getting the COEP folks but they didn’t teleport correctly.  The meeting went ahead anyway and so here are the meeting minutes:

Present: Rahul, Satya, Shakthi, Shreyank, Saleem, Kashyap, Kushal, Amit, PJP

 - auditorium has power backup
 - shravan: whole college under power backup
 - gautam: outside caterers can be arranged; has contacts if needed
 - also identified potential location for 300+ people
 - gautam: can ask canteen to be open on vacation; they usually oblige.
 - sana khan: has volunteered.  might help us with registration desk

 - bsnl service avl. for 15 days min.
 - caterer: pursuing more contacts this week.
 - deadline for caterers is 10 aug.

- first day, schedule starts at 8 am
- everyone should leave by 7 am
- we should talk to cocoon on arranging breakfast before that

 - confirmed cocoon
 - royal orchid not willing to come below ₹4000 per person; willing to
   include lunch, dinner with that.
everyone should come atleast by 3rd night and can leave by 7th morning
6th night is fudpub.  not advisable to fly out during night

 - hard rock cafe, etc., expensive.
 - One beer brand has shown interest to provide free beer (in exchange
   of branding; talks in progress)
 - have to have dinner here as well... to discuss with murty.

 voting software:
 - praveen kumar has packaged dependencies of funnel; funnel itself
   remains to be packaged.
 - lastuser is packaged and uploaded.

 - saleem has pushed all content in.
 - content up on the website now
 - graphics: none available for fundcon india avl. yet.
 - content put up on fudcon wiki - rahul put up data - this can be put
   in the booklet directly and also has travel, visa, etc.,
   information.  more data needed; people can keep populating.
 - collect and twitter hashtags for #fudconin11
 - twitter done; api to be checked - saleem.

t-shirt, goodies:
 - kushal will get updates from printers next week.
 - need 'organiser' and 'volunteer' badges to identify these people;
   even if we don't do registration of attendees.

 - duffy has posted a new poster.
 - kushal das to follow up with design team
 - banners might get delayed past deadline; no work started on design
 - poster, tshirt might happen
 - rahul to follow-up with design team

 Rahul: today.
 - magarpatta links, place maps, etc.
 - coep: photos, maps, etc.
 - saleem to subscribe to wiki edits to mirror contents on fudcon
 - facebook group created - fudconindia2011; invite-only group.

 - visit venue this saturday.
 - volunteer team confirmation.

 - kushal to follow up with pycon people
 - rahul to follow up with others
 - deadline: next meeting

 - data cards for speakers (10 numbers) to be followed up - Rahul
 - power strips with surge protection - rahul

 - hackfests lists demos and talks as well.
 - kushal to pull them out and create a new table. -- before next week

 - one fad before event
 - one after; perhaps in a different location to get more involvement
 - shakthi kannan will put up together a schedule and agenda

Written by mether

August 5, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Ask Fedora – 24-7

Enter the world of Ask Fedora.  Of course this is just a test instance for feedback.  So test it out,  ask questions,  provide answers and let me know how everything is working out for you.  I am primarily looking at how well it scales and whether open id and your Fedora id is working as intended but any other feedback is welcome too.  If you know Django and Python and want to help out,  drop me a line.  We are looking to add several features,  fix some issues and provide excellent integration with Fedora including but not limited to auto linking to Red Hat bugzilla,  theming it and providing its own logo!

P.S:  For background information, refer to my previous post on this topic here

P.P.S:  Yes,  Today is day 24,  7th month of this year.  24/7 could be the solid support we provide for the community via Ask Fedora.  Your choice!

Written by mether

July 24, 2011 at 10:10 am

Posted in Uncategorized

FUDCon Pune 2011 – Now open for sponsorship requests

In the last FUDCon India meeting, we have decided to invite sponsorship requests for those who want to attend FUDCon Pune 2011

FUDCon India logo

What does sponsorship mean?

It means, Fedora Project will subsidize or reimburse your cost for travel and/or accommodation.

How to apply?

Read this guide and file a ticket here.   You need a Fedora account to apply.  In the unlikely case, that you don’t have one, signing up for a account, takes only a few minutes.

Am I eligible?

Typically, if you are a Fedora contributor who is planning to present a talk or organize a hackfest, you will be considered eligible.  However if you are unsure or you feel that you have a good justification,  go ahead and apply anyway.  Much better of chance of getting sponsored if you request!

Will everyone who applies get sponsorship?

Probably not.   We will do our best to sponsor contributors who are within India to attend the event.  We can potentially subsidize the costs of some international participants but our budget is tight.   I would love to bring a global community to the FUDCon I am organizing obviously and welcome everyone to participate but we have to do it within the budget we have been granted.

How will I know I am getting sponsored?

We will update your ticket when we make a decision.

How will you decide who gets sponsored?

FUDCon India meetings happen every Friday at 1:00 PM UTC (6:30 PM IST) in #fudcon-planning channel,  The stake holders including me (as the event owner), Fedora Project leader and other Fedora community members who will participate in the meetings.   All discussions will happen transparently there and meeting minutes will be posted to fudcon-planning mailing list.   FUDCon meetings are open for everyone for participate.  You are welcome to join us.   I do not decide who gets sponsored on my own and there are no side way entrances.   This is the same process for everyone.  

When is the deadline?

August 5th.  We will keep it open for a while more if we can but don’t wait to apply.   You have a much higher chance of being sponsored if you apply early while funds are available.

Questions?  Drop a mail to sundaram AT fedoraproject or get hold of me over IRC in #fedora-india  My nick is mether.

Written by mether

July 23, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The case for Ask Fedora

I have been involved for the last several weeks on two important projects.

* FUDCon India

* Ask Fedora

There is much to say about 1) but that will have to wait.  2) is what I wanted to talk about here

What is Ask Fedora?

Ask Fedora is a successor to the current edition that not many people are aware of. It is my effort to package Askbot  and integrate it into Fedora.  I intend to propose that an instance of Askbot be hosted and run within Fedora Infrastructure as a place for users to get help and create well maintained documentation along the way.  Askbot is a question and answer oriented forum.

Why bother?

In the words of Dr. Alfred Lanning in I, Robot,

*That*, Detective, is the right question. Program terminated.

My journey towards free and open source software started back in early 1997 and I started contributing in 2002 with the localization efforts of Mozilla in Tamil but the really successful effort was in documentation by my work in the Linux Documentation Project. This was partly what led Red Hat to hire me as the person responsible for the content in Red Hat knowledge base. As I moved on to another roles in 2007, I saw the benefit of having a knowledge base for Fedora and filed a request with the Fedora infrastructure team. My expectations however were skewed. I thought things would magically happen and surprise surprise, it didn’t.

I waited for a while and came up with Ask Fedora inspired by Ask Shadowman which used to be a regular column in Red Hat magazine. I ran it for a while but this process too just didn’t scale. It simply wasn’t how community support works.

Things stayed like that for a while till Stack Overflow came along and became a instant hit and a ample demonstration of how people can help each other and grow a community organically. The rapid evolution of Stack Overflow from being just a programming forum to a wide variety of topics and Yahoo Answers showed how this kind of model can work well for everyone leading me to think I could do something similar to help improve the Fedora experience.

There are multiple venues for Fedora community help now but primarily there are three:

* #fedora in – You get real time help but this doesn’t help build a community of experts and good documentation. It is often not that welcoming to end users many of who just search in Google and wouldn’t really know about IRC. IRC questions tend to be repetitive and with Askbot the problem is far less likely since existing questions and answers are readily visible via search and can be improved upon whenever necessary. This will reduce the support burden on #fedora and other places

* users mailing list in – More easily searchable in Google and serves as some documentation but users don’t typically build on each others knowledge here. Since there is no active moderation, threads often go off topic and without a reputation system (karma in Askbot parlance), there is no easy way to judge the value of the answers (or indirectly the person)

* Fedora forum   This is the one that looks similar to what I am proposing at first glance but it is different in many ways. I am quite a active user there (3,495 posts at this time) and here are some of the ways in how it is different:

*  It is a question and answer forum and not a discussion forum (no room for polls,  general discussions, rants etc) and hence more targeted

* Fedora forum runs on proprietary software but Askbot is fully free and open source and can be community developed with better Fedora integration (for example, merely writing bug 123456 in the forum can auto link to and support for Fedora authentication system so that anyone with a Fedora account can use that as well)

* It is a English only site while Ask Fedora can be a international forum

* Much lower barrier to entry since any openid works and you don’t have to register specifically.   We are even looking at adding support for fully anonymous postings without any id at all.

* User activities such as answering questions or voting up/down answers leads to karma (otherwise called a reputation system). As users collect more karma, they get more access incrementally,  starting off with from the ability to edit questions or answers to eventually full moderation rights. It is a effective way to grow a self sustaining community organically

* Collaborative editing of answers especially via “community wiki” posts

* Can take advantage of increasing popular social networking features like Facebook, Twitter integration (We intend to add support and more)

Why Askbot?

Let us look at the primary contenders in this space

*  Stack Overflow – Proprietary .NET software and runs only in Windows. Yes, Ask Ubuntu runs this but this is definitely not a option since Fedora Project is free and open source software including the infrastructure.

*  Shapado – Ruby on rails and uses a nosql database. Ask Debian is running this but I didn’t pick it because we want to customize it and add features and the knowledge of Ruby is limited within the teams I can get help from and Fedora infrastructure itself has a lot more knowledge and experience with Python and Django.  My understanding is that AGPLv3 license is potentially problematic for Fedora infrastructure.  Shapado itself offers free hosting and ( Called Ubuntu Ask,  Run by a Canonical support engineer who wants to promote a free software alternative to Ask Ubuntu)  is a example but again, lack of ability to customize and add features is problematic not to mention relying on a third party website.

OSQA :  OSQA and Askbot are both forks of cnprog (which itself is now long since dead) and hence they both use Django and Python Askbot is more modular (designed to a reusable Django app), has more in-built tests and has a very responsive upstream developer and I picked it for these reasons but OSQA and Shapado can be both decent alternatives.

What are the features of Askbot?

* Open id support (can use Google, Yahoo, Facebook ids etc)
* Fedora authentication support (plugin developed by PJP)
* Reputation system for moderation of the forum
* Users can vote up/down questions or answers
* Users can flag questions or answers and moderators can suspend or block users
* Integrated admin interface

More here

What are the next steps?

You can find the status here. I am close to getting Askbot and its dependencies built for Fedora and RHEL 6 (via EPEL 6 repo). Next step is to test it more thoroughly and propose to run a test instance in Fedora infrastructure. If all goes well, we can go into production a few weeks later. I intend to work with upstream and help develop new features and I am already quite active there.

Infrastructure notes:

* Several colleagues in the engineering services team in Pune work on Django and Python everyday as part of their day jobs and hence there is wide spread knowledge of relevant programming and system administration within this team. From the infrastructure perspective, I will serve as the primary contact and secondary contact will be PJP. People who can help in this effort includes Kushal Das, Shreyank Gupta, Saleem Ansari, Satya Komaragiri, Ramky …

* We probably need 2 GB of RAM and 2 GB of disk space for a start to get everything in a test instance up and running smoothly

* I have confirmed with Red Hat Legal that there is no legal liability for us to moderate answers

* Users should be able to ask questions on anything related to Fedora but not necessary specific to Fedora. Fedora specific questions however will be the primary focus

Comments, questions and feedback welcome.

Written by mether

July 16, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

FOSS.IN 2010 – Day 2 and Day 3

It’s been a few days since FOSS.IN has ended.  Apparently it will be the last one so the delay in writing up the details will probably prolong the memories more.  I have already written about Day 1. Day 2 started with Open Surround Sound from Lennart.   I thought perhaps it a bit of a long rant about how OSS4 sucks or something like that but turned out to a fairly in-depth talk about how we need to fix up the audio stack to do surround sound properly and the problems including gaps in hardware support, device driver issues and not many people working full time on Linux audio.  I also sat partially on the Tobias Mueller’s talk on security in mobile devices before running off to attend to the Fedora booth.

Post lunch was the Fedora Mini conf.  I had to miss out on a few talks including MariaDB one from Colin Charles (although I later bumped into him and James Morris in the hallway talking about and why it is not running this year.  Long story short:  no funds).   I also missed out on Ram’s talk about git but on the plus side Fedora Mini conf was pretty good.   I introduced the event quickly, mentioned the couple of workouts we were running on bugzapping and Fedora for Kids spin and handed over to Amit Shah.   We had a number of sessions and they turned out to be quite popular.   Much more audience and a good set of questions than I had expected.  I checked out the workout in between and it was the most popular one by far.   Since the talks ended up and we had half an hour left, I tried to do a packaging workout onstage.  We ran out of time but the next day announcement to do a workout had a good gathering and I was able to introduce the basics to a few people.  Hopefully we will have more developers from India signing up to maintain packages and I have a few followups on that.   I left early as I had a bad cold and wanted to return back to the service apartment and take rest.    I missed out James Morris talk but I had a video of the same talk from an earlier conference and don’t think it was a big deal.  Fahrenheit music was supposedly good but a good rest was important to me.

Day 3,  I went shopping in the morning in forum mall and reach the venue a bit late, walked into a talk supposedly about the Linux Desktop from a HP guy.   There was a question about software patents as soon as I walked in and the answer was a lot of hand waving about innovation and I didn’t feel like sitting there anymore.  I looked up the schedule, realized that Saleem Ansari’s Fedora ARM talk was running in parallel and rushed to it.  It was very full and had a number of pretty interesting and engaging questions.    The KVM talk that followed in the same room didn’t hold my interest and I went out and sat on the Fedora booth again.  Arun SAG mentioned that there was a lot of interest in packaging and I announced  a workout post-lunch which was quite successful.   By the time the workout was over, it was time for the last keynote from Aanjhan. Aanjhan’s talk reminded of Kalyan Verma’s talk from a earlier keynote. Entertaining and engaging but I am not sure I learned anything really new. After the long winded but fairly interest run down from Atul, it was time for Raghu Dixit’s music. I don’t generally listen to music much but this was a good way to end the day. We still had a few spindles of Fedora 14 media left. Carried it over with the help of a few folks and left to the service apartment. We had dinner at Transit in forum mall. Subs were good and the talks till 5 in the morning even better and FOSS.IN ended once and for all with me wondering whether we could scale up other foss events in India or start a new national level event. More on that later ….

Written by mether

December 22, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

FOSS.IN 2010 – Day 1

Arriving on Tuesday night,   my flight was so delayed that I actually bumped into rest of the Fedora gang in the airport and we shared a cab to the city.  After some momentary confusion and further delay,  we did reach by dinner time the service apartment for speakers.  I met a few of the usual folks and some new faces.   Anand from KG Infotech was talking about ZFS port to Linux,  caught up with Ram,  a student from IIT who has been hacking on git recently,  Pravin,  a student who has done his gsoc on,  Lennart of PulseAudio/systemd fame and a few others.   We had long discussions and arguments up until early in the morning.

Wednesday morning,  I reached the venue by around 10 and collected Fedora 14 media delivered to the venue itself thanks to help from Rangeen Basu and friends.   The Wikipedia keynote was a interesting and engaging one as expected.  I caught up  Balbir from IBM who later talked about a few interesting problems he was facing related to virt work he has been doing and some of the problems are open ended.  It was a lot of technical content akin to a whitepaper.   Lennart gave a simple and straightforward talk on systemd with lots of questions from the audience throughout.

I went out and had some good hallway conversations with a number of people.  The Fedora goodies like keyring and buttons were extremely popular in the event.  We exhausted most of it in the first day and preserved some for the Fedora Mini Conf the next day.  The day ended for me with my keynote on failures of Fedora and what we learned from it.  I talked about a number of things I believe we had done wrong and more importantly what we learned to do better from it.  Any large scale project would probably notice similar patterns and we could learn from each other.  I think the talk went well despite only starting an hour later due to the late start of the event itself.   Hopefully the audience picked up a few things to look at.

My update on day 2 and 3 will be up shortly and  I look forward to sharing experiences from the mini conf and the totally awesome booth we had running in the event.

Written by mether

December 16, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized