Day three was also quite busy. In the morning I took, and failed, my Amateur Extra exam. This wasn’t completely an unsuspecting outcome as I haven’t had a chance to really study and I was working with four hours of sleep the night before.
Afterwards we took the opportunity to have a Board meeting since so many of the Board members were at FUDCon. We covered a few topics and might have even accomplished something along the way. I haven’t seen any report on the topics covered in the Board meeting but lets just say I was vocal on the “default desktop offering” discussion.
I quickly ate lunch (thanks Paul!) and was whisked away to the airport to catch my afternoon flight home. After reading other people’s blogs and tweets it would appear that I was one of the few that did not have any problems returning from whence I came. I mostly slept on the flight (thank goodness) and arrived back at BWI after dark.
Thanks to Ian Weller, Robyn Bergeron, Ruth Suehle, and everyone else for making this FUDCon a success.
Whew, what a day! Day two was all about getting things done outside of the BarCamp arena. There were several tasks that people were working on to make Fedora better. I was desperately trying to remember everyone I had met on Friday and continue to research topics that I heard pitched at the BarCamp.
Ben, Nick, Bob, and I also provided the resources for those that wanted to take their amateur radio (or ham radio, as it is also known as) license to do so while at FUDCon. It’s always exciting to see new people come into the hobby and providing a testing session is a great way to help those people not only get into the ham radio community but also provide that contact for them to ask questions.
Ham radio fits really well in the open source community. Hams generally have the knowledge to build equipment that they need to operate and are mostly willing to share or mentor people when asked. Some even enjoy tinkering with software that helps add functionality to their radio stations. Fedora contains many packages of interest to the ham radio community so the two really can go hand-in-hand.
I attended a brief Marketing meeting with Ruth and Sarah where I got roped in to provide information for a brochure to show what amateur radio operators can get out of Fedora. We also investigated some, ummm, other Internet resources, of which I had never been privy to, and I can safely say that my computer will never be the same (thanks Ruth!).
Late in the afternoon I gave a brief presentation on CAcert and GPG (GNU variant of OpenPGP) use, CAcert assertions, and GPG key signing. Following the presentation we accepted CAcert assertions request forms, processed those assertions, and shortly there after I led a GPG key signing event. Twenty-one people participated in the GPG key signing event and I also assured twelve for CAcert.
The GPG key signing event is quite important to me as I’d like to see Fedora’s web of trust become better connected. I’ll be updating the unofficial Fedora Web of Trust soon with new diagrams and perhaps even some calculations. More on that in a separate, forthcoming blog post.
After completing both events we went to FUDPub which was hosted at a local sports bar with an attached bowling alley. A pasta bar was provided as well were the drinks at the bar (there was a rumor of a Bruins game?). I then joined Ivan, Sarah, Dan, Rikki, and Langdon for a game of bowling (yes, I came in my normal spot, last). We had a little more time on the prepaid bowling lane so we started a second game. I was definitely doing better than the first game as I had doubled my score from the last game within the first three frames of the second game. That was when karma caught up with me and the lane closed.
After returning to the hotel I grabbed my laptop and started working on a few projects while sitting up in the lobby. I didn’t get a lot of stuff but I did get a start on a few projects including mining some public data from FAS (thanks Jon) and filing an enhancement request in FAS.
All-in-all, it was a productive day.
The first official day of FUDCon was fairly productive for me as I was actually able to get stuff done.
First was my upgrading to Fedora 18. I had to make a quick trip to Wal-Mart (not my vendor of choice) to grab a 1TB external hard drive (dubbed TerrorByte). I had been wanting one for quite a while and discovered the actual need this time around. After backing up my /home directory I did a fresh install of Fedora fixing a rather large issue I had the last time I installed Fedora (separate / and /home partitions). I then spent the next forty-eight hours installing missing packages that I needed to get things done. Of course this all took place during the wee hours of the morning meaning I probably messed up something along the way. So far I haven’t found any missing data so I think I’m good.
In the morning light I caught a ride over to KU’s campus for the start of the festivities. Everyone gathered for the “State of Fedora” address by Robyn and to hear about BarCamp options. We had no problem filling the day’s calendar with talks ranging from ARM to marketing and moving Fedora forward. I gravitated towards the SELinux talks as that system always fascinates me with all that it can do and I seem to learn something new every time I hear a talk.
It felt like I was following Dan Walsh around all day, really, as he ended up doing all the SELinux talks (it’s a labeling system!). Dan reported that there were over 1000 new man pages now in Fedora 18 and Fedora 19 documenting all the booleans and other SELinux settings, better logs, and the illustrious sandbox program had been in the repos since Fedora 16 (or maybe further back?). I’m hoping to incorporate this information into the Fedora Security Guide soon.
We did something new just after our lunch this year. Lightning talks were to be no longer than five minutes and covered a variety of topics. One that caught my attention was Dan’s talk on AsciiDoc. I really see this program as being a great way to further lower the bar of entry into the Fedora Docs project and will hopefully bring more contributors to the table. AsciiDoc allows authors to mostly just write without the need to worry about DocBook markup. AsciiDoc can later be rendered in DocBook and can then enter our existing tool chain for publishing. I’m hoping to introduce this to the Docs project soon.
That night we had pizza, cupcakes, drinks, and games in one of the large meeting rooms at the hotel. I ended up working with Nick on packaging Dream, a program used to decode digital shortwave broadcasts. This is in preparation for an OpenSource.com article I’ll be writing but I won’t ruin the surprise now.
That was all for my first day at FUDCon. Luckily two more days awaited.
Flew out to Lawrence, Kansas, for FUDCon today. Flight was uneventful and the Redy2Party van was on-time to bring me from the airport in Kansas City to the hotel in Lawrence. Ian came and picked me up and we had lunch and he gave me the tour of the town and the KU campus.
Tomorrow starts the real festivities: hackfests, lightning talks, and other workshops are on the agenda. More about those activities in tomorrow’s blog entries.
I’ve created a group on Flickr where people can put their FUDCon Lawrence photos, if they’d like. If you have any problems with the group please let me know.
Last year’s OpenPGP key signing and CAcert assertion events at FUDCon Blacksburg were a great success; we hope this year’s events will be just as popular and well attended. If you are coming to FUDCon Lawrence and would like to participate in the either or both of these events please sign up on the wiki pages. Additional information will be provided as the event gets closer. It’s important to sign up for these events early as it will make planning easier for us.
Many Fedora Docs project contributors enjoy writing on the wiki using the WYSIWYG editor that is provided by MediaWiki. This is great for contributors but not so much when we are trying to pull all this information into DocBook for formal release. The solution was simple: Ian had to fix mw-render.
This all went down at FUDCon Blacksburg, just a couple weeks ago. Ian and John got together to break, fix, or eliminate the tool we once used to do the conversion of MediaWiki text to DocBook. Ian worked for several hours trying to piece code together to make mw-render work. It did not, however, ever get off the ground despite his best efforts. Several releases prior to the current version of mw-render the DocBook functionality was removed leaving it no longer useful for our needs.
Once it sunk in that mw-render was dead to us, we started looking for an existing solution. We found many but none that would do exactly what we wanted. Ian started drawing up plans for a replacement and we decided that if we were going to do the work to build a tool to do the conversions that we should really do it up right.
This brings us to the project of DocsGlue. The current vision of DocsGlue is a program that will take MediaWiki text, turn it into DocBook XML, then open a ticket in Red Hat’s Bugzilla instance for a certain guide and add the DocBook XML text as an attachment. The guide owner can then easily use the attached file as source for a guide that can then be translated and published.
DocsGlue will be usable from both the command line and the GUI. This will make it easy for anyone to use no matter how they like to operate.
This will hopefully reduce the amount of time spent on moving data from the wiki into our guides and also make this information a lot more useful for users looking for answers.
Currently the project is hosted on Fedora Hosted where all the source code will be available.