[Ambassadors] FUDCon Blacksburg Mea Culpa

inode0 inode0 at gmail.com
Tue Feb 21 03:51:41 UTC 2012


inode0 hasn't had a blog since the great Fedora Infrastructure blog
purge. inode0 can be a stubborn cuss and didn't create a new blog
elsewhere in the meantime. Hence, inode0 failed to blog during FUDCon
Blacksburg this year. inode0 speaks in the 3rd person often when his
tail is between his legs after receiving a good scolding.

In an attempt to make amends inode0 will now share with his fellow
ambassadors a bit about his FUDCon experience last month hoping doing
so late is better than never and hoping doing so is close enough to
blogging to sort of satisfy expectations. inode0 is only pawn in game
of life! Ok, enough of that.

While the weather did delay my arrival by a few hours unlike the
previous two FUDCons I both arrived and departed on the scheduled day.
So yay Blacksburg for providing nicer weather conditions that either
Toronto or Tempe! Actually the weather in Toronto and Tempe was lovely
too and my problems in previous years were entirely due to the weather
where I live. Being stuck in Chicago on the way wasn't so bad as I was
stuck with other friendly Fedora faces including nirik, mmcgrath, and
gholms. So time to enjoy lunch and chat about various things while
hoping to catch a plane out. More friendly Fedora faces were waiting
at the airport in Roanoke when we landed where spot and rbergero met
us with a van to haul a bunch of late arrivers back to Blacksburg.

When I talk with folks about my experiences at FUDCons, I have a
tendency to focus on the people. Most of us do almost all our work in
Fedora remotely and while we build large networks of friends on
mailing lists and irc our paths seldom cross in person. But on those
rare occasions when they do it changes the friendships, makes them
more personal, and improves future communication remotely. Meeting nb
for the first time in the hotel lobby made the trip worthwhile.
Standing in the snow talking about stuff old guys talk about with
jjmcd made the trip worthwhile. Sharing a table for dinner with my
friends cwickert, ianweller, and MarkDude made the trip worthwhile.
Sitting down for an hour with my oldest friend in Fedora, Máirín, and
just catching up on things made the trip worthwhile. I could go on for
a long time doing this. One of the Four Foundations is Friends and
friends new and old are one of the things that make each and every
FUDCon special.

FUDCons go by fast, there is a lot to do. I attended barcamp sessions
on Tito/Building RPMs, Katello: A Sysadmin's Fortress, Draft Trademark
Guidelines, and User's vs. Contributors. After the Tito talk I enjoyed
making Jesus laugh by showing him my tito-o-lantern from a few years
ago on Thanksgiving. I have a weakness for carving open source
pumpkins. Also had a nice hallway talk with Pamela about trademarks
and issues peculiar to ambassadors doing their work promoting the
Fedora Project.

I led one hackfest devoted to ambassadors, mostly those in NA since
this was the NA FUDCon although we had ambassadors from other regions
present. With respect to NA we decided to try to make a few changes to
rebuild the enthusiasm of a few years ago. One of the decisions we
made was to reinstate weekly ambassador meetings. Those have already
begun and I encourage all interested NA ambassadors to join us any
Tuesday night at 9pm eastern time in #fedora-meeting on freenode. If
you can only come once in a while that is ok. We will be there every
Tuesday, you now know where to find us. We had quite a bit of
discussion about FADs. I'm not sure we really reached a consensus
about this but I think we are going to try to not call as many events
FADs as we have in the past to in a sense protect the FAD brand as the
Fedora Project tries to encourage more FADs in the future. I think
I'll just let that sort itself out over time. We discussed various
issues plaguing us of late with respect to the budget process. That as
a general problem wasn't something that could be solved at this FUDCon
but many people are working hard right now to straighten it out for
the next fiscal year. We also discussed various wiki "defects" that
need to be corrected/updated. Many of those issues have been addressed
now.

I had another hackfest on the budget merged with one on the Fedora
Council and then both of those were merged with a Fedora Board
hackfest into a 3 hour long marathon governance hackfest. Much of the
early part of this one was devoted to dealing with sopa/pipa and
similar issues that arise around the world. The middle part concerned
the idea of developing a Fedora Council (a group of contributors from
a wide cross-section of the Fedora universe). I think back on this
wishing there had been more time because the more I think about the
ideas in favor of it the more I support it. There might be reasons why
it might be hard to pull off, but the benefits if it did become an
effective body are potentially huge. I hope this idea hangs on long
enough to further explore it or just give it a try and see what
develops. Like many things in Fedora, it can succeed if enough people
are willing to work to make it succeed. The end of this session was
devoted to consideration of establishing a funding source intended to
be used for technical purposes rather than for promotional purposes in
Fedora giving us more flexibility to at our discretion fund additional
activities. That discussion was well enough received that follow-up
work is now under way formalizing the idea into a concrete proposal.

This is probably already longer than anyone wants to read. But there
were other hackfests and lots of hallway talks. Two interesting pieces
of news for ambassadors in NA are that Jared arranged for us to
replace our now ancient netbooks used at Fedora booths with some
Thinkpad laptops that will allow us to far better share with people
visiting our booths what Fedora is capable of. Thanks to Ruth for
hauling those to Blacksburg for us and they were quickly dispatched to
the various event boxes throughout NA. We also were given the green
light to investigate acquiring a multi-touch system for booth use and
we are currently in the process of evaluating our options. It will be
exciting to be able to demonstrate the new multi-touch features in
Fedora with a nice piece of hardware at events in the future.

For me the event concluded with a lovely walk around the Virginia Tech
campus with Jared, Maria, Clint, and MarkDude. And who could forget
the epic fight between Jared and MarkDude? And that ended another
wonderful FUDCon. Thanks so much Ben for making it possible. You were
a gentleman as always and a superb host. I don't think I could have
enjoyed my visit to Blacksburg more and I returned home with a
rekindled enthusiasm and eagerness to contribute more to our project.

John


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