I finally managed it to write and complete this review about the FrOSCon
2011 (Free and Open Source Software Conference) in Sankt Augustin, Germany.
The event itself took place at building for computer science and business
administration of the Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences.
At the 19th August, I started my trip at home - unfortunately at afternoon
of a Friday. Somehow everbody who can't drive acceptably seems to be on the
highways at that time. I run into three traffic jams, where one of them was
a full closure and so I needed about 5.5 hours for only 350 km; a distance
that should be ridable normally in 3 hours. However, I arrived at 8:30 pm
at the university and we quickly built up the booth, because I carried all
the banners, rollups and of course the EMEA event box with the table cloth.
Afterwards we were looking for dinner and Andreas mentioned that he would
prefer to go to the nearby city Bonn (capital of West Germany between 1949
and 1990) rather just staying in Sankt Augustin where our hotel was. One of
the regional XFCE guys recommended Roha Café, an Ethiopian restaurant. On
the way to the restaurant, Andreas got a call and decided to stay with his
colleagues instead with us. We nevertheless had a nice evening, especially
with the Ethiopian food, which might have been a bit strange to one or the
other of our Fedora people. Similar like at a real Indian restaurant, we
grabbed our food using pieces of injera (a special kind of flatbread) from
a plate and wrapped it around - no flatware involved at all, just our right
hand and the injera. And of course we made a beginner's mistake, we ate to
much of the injera while grabbing too less of the "real" food, the socalled
wots. This likely was the reason that we didn't manage it with nine people
to get rid of our three ordered plates...fortunately it was not expensive.
The next day started early, because the FrOSCon decided to open its doors
for visitors at 8:15 am - on a Saturday! Don't know if they really realized
that it's a community event with geeks and nerds rather business people. We
made our Fedora booth ready for the visitors and then did our job: Answered
questions, helped at problems and received really a lot of "GNOME 3 sucks"
feedback. That's why I also went to the GNOME booth and talked with them
about my specific GNOME 3 problems and why it got unusable for me. Some of
the issues (e.g. missing task bar/pane) will be available with GNOME 3.1 or
3.2 as an extension. The overall answer to my raised issues was: You don't
need that, we know that you don't need it and that is why it was removed...
They even asked if we could send Fedora users complaining about GNOME 3 to
them, they maybe had live to rue it. One of the "really sucks" features of
GNOME 3 is that you can't disable the screensaver/blanking without GConf or
similar. Explicitly asking for that, I was told that the movie player/the
application used for presenting needs to disable the screensaver itself -
but what if we just want to show a Fedora with opened applications etc.? I
didn't get a good answer. For the time being, I just +1 the opinion of our
lovely Linus Torvalds regarding GNOME 3.
In the evening after the doors of the FrOSCon officially were closed, the
social event took place in the inner courtyard: Barbecue. It was very nice,
if there wouldn't have been the endless long queues for getting sausage or
especially meat. Maybe the organisation team implements threading or some
kind of parallelisation for the next year? :)
Closed to midnight, some of us decided to leave the social event to get a
nightcap in a bar next to the hotel. Keep in mind, that I didn't drink any
alcohol at the social event, because I was going by car. With the time we
fooled around and somehow came via the card, which mentioned "wheat beer
with juice", to beer-based mixed drinks. I'm pretty sure, some of you know
banana wheat beer (German: Bananenweizen), which is actually banana juice
and wheat beer. But we thought about tomato juice. Yes, tomato juice.
I think it was around 1:30 am, when I finally decided that I would drink a
tomato wheat beer (German: Tomatenweizen), because all others just talked
about it but were not brave enough. When we ordered it, we got a wheat beer
and a small bottle of tomato juice, so somebody else got a half beer and I
filled up the half-empty beer with tomato juice. I stired it and drank it.
It tastes a bit strange, because the beer isn't bitter as well. And I might
should have flavoured the tomato juice before a bit with salt and pepper. A
tomato wheat beer does not taste that strange as it sounds. As I am not a
fan of green cabbage/borecole and to give a comparision: The beer mix still
tasted better to me. Thanks to Sven for paying this funny try :)
The next morning, Sunday, started very early again - surprise, I survived
the tomato wheat beer - because FrOSCon opens the doors at 9:00 am for the
visitors. I helped to get the booth ready and built up some more stand-up
banners on the floor to ensure that the visitors will find our Fedora room
where the Fedora Activity Day takes place starting at 10:00 am.
The first talk, "Fedora Home Server", was held by Benedikt Schäfer who is
one of our newer and younger ambassadors. He described how he set up his
home server in the areas network, DHCP and masquerading, samba with shares
and printers, media server using ushare and proxy with squid. After the
presentation itself, we even got a live demonstration of some points with
the help of Christoph.
I started my talk "Introduction into SELinux" at 11:15 am and surprisingly
there were a lot of attendees and thus not many empty seats were left in
the room. Even the topic is quite complex, there were interesting questions
where I got the feedback that at least some people understood what I talked
Afterwards, Andreas Thienemann gave a talk about Func. I never investigated
into the Fedora unified network controller before, thus it was interesting
to me. Andreas also did some live demonstrations using the server farm of
his employer booking.com
. Of course the servers were taken out of the load
balancer setup before he stopped the httpd service ;-)
After the lunch break, Christoph Wickert gave two talks, "Remix Fedora" and
"RPM Packaging". The last of the two talks was enhanced to avoid content
overlaps with the same named talk by Mageia in the regular FrOSCon program.
Even we were a couple of people, we could improve our booth attendance for
the next time, because Sven Lankes did booth service for more than 6 hours
at Sunday - thank you very much for your work!
By the way...Sirko Kemter, one of our newer ambassadors gave a FrogLabs
workshops where he introduced kids and teenagers (and grown-ups as well)
into Inscape and its possibilities. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend
his workshop because it overlaped with my own talk.
In the evening, I travelled back and this time it took around 3 hours as I
had fortunately no traffic jams.
I can't do any comparisons with past FrOSCon events as it was my first time
at FrOSCon. But I still think, we got a slightly sub-optimal booth place as
you can see at some of the pictures in my gallery:
My plan for the future is to integrate my event reviews into the gallery
and add RSS feed support for Fedora Planet. But due to lack of time at the
moment, this has to be delayed for now.
Finally, it was a successful event from my point of view. Christoph, thank
you very much for your time, efforts and your patience! :)