Fedora elections about to end – vote NOW!

Fedora LogoIn case you did not yet cast your vote in the current Fedora elections, please do so now! The voting period closes promptly at 23:59:59 UTC on the 7th. Yes, that is today!

As a special bonus, you most Fedora contributors this time should be allowed to vote for FAmSCo, too – even if they are not (yet) a Fedora ambassador. I have been working hard on the new FAmSCo election guidelines and therefor I want all of you to vote! Now!

FUDCon Kuala Lumpur Day 3

This morning I arrived back in Berlin and directly went from the airport to the office. Now I am home and about to summarize the last day of FUDCon Kuala Lumpur 2012.

Just like the other days we started at 10 am, but this time not as many people were around as on Friday or Saturday. And the people who were present seemed a little tired – I guess that was because of FUDPub the night before.

FUDCon KL 2012 day 3 schedule
FUDCon KL 2012 day 3 schedule (before the re-pitch)

In the big auditorium Praveen presented his “RPM Packaging basics” talk and Ankur gave some additional background. After that it was my turn with the “Advanced RPM packaging” workshop, but again I had the feeling that many people in the audience still needed more basics before we could move on. So I did a live demo and packaged a simple package (Beaver) from scratch. Within 20 minutes we created a fully Fedora packaging guidelines compliant package to prove that packaging really is not rocket science. I then used the remaining 40 minutes for advanced topics and showed some of my spec files that contain cool tricks and evil hacks, so even long time contributors could still get some inspirations.

But something was wrong. I mean, there was nothing really wrong, but people seemed a little lethargic. The lecture rooms were pretty empty and instead attendees hung out on the hallways. Therefor we decided to make a hard cut and knock the schedule on the head. After the lunch break we gathered in the auditorium and pitched all talks again. But not only that: We took barcamp to the next level: After pitching the already prepared sessions we asked what people actually wanted to hear about. You want SELinux? You want systemd? You want video and image editing on Fedora? If somebody volunteered for a session, we added these sessions, too. The result was a much better schedule than before. The number of talks and workshops was still the same – in fact it was even slightly higher – but suddenly people showed up in the right talk instead of wondering around or handing out. The pitch had given everybody a new boost.

Great attendance
Great attendance at the 3rd day of FUDCon

At 4 pm we met for the closing ceremony. Eric’s Abu Mansur Manaf’s closing keynote turned out to be a real highlight. Without any notes or slides and in just 15 minutes he summarized many ideas of FOSS in a way that surely made a permanent impression on many people. Just the right thing before people leave again for their local communities in Asia and around the world.

Abu Mansur Manaf on stage
Abu Mansur Manaf giving his awesome closing keynote

But there was one more thing to do: The raffle for the 2 Samsung Galaxy Tabs which UCTI  OSCC-MAMPU generously donated. I was the lucky one to do the lucky draw and I was even more lucky when I draw the first price: One of the lucky winners (or even both?) was one of the volunteers. They have done an amazing job with this FUDCon and I think they all deserved to win a prize, even if we didn’t have so many giveaways.

FUDCon KL 2012 volunteers
The FUDCon KL 2012 volunteers

I am glad and grateful I have gone to Kuala Lumpur. I met old friends again, met many people I wanted to meet in person for a long time and last but not least became acquainted to many new and true friends. Their geniality and hospitality is outstanding and I learned a lot from them. The most important lessen I have learned: Even if the APAC community may be small compared to NA or EMEA, it’s alive and kicking. I am sure we will hear more from them in the near future and I am looking forward to FUDCon APAC 2013. No matter where it is, count me in!

FUDCon Kuala Lumpur Day 2

Yesterday was the second day of FUDCon Kuala Lumpur 2012 and the first day with scheduled talks. After the first day with barcamps I was curious to see how talks work out.

We arrived at 9 and until 10, a lot more people arrived. And when I say a “lot I” mean a lot. People were coming in waves as many of them were whole classes of students. Whenever a new bus arrived, we had a long queue at the registration desk, but people waited patiently.

Queue at the FUDCon registration desk
The queue at the FUDCon registration desk

Joshua started the day with his talk about increasing participation in FOSS projects. It was an awesome talk and even if I am doing community building for quite a while now still learned some new things.

Joshua giving his talk
Joshua giving his talk at FUDCon KL 2012

The day continued with talks and the attendance overall was pretty well. However topics and target audience did not always match. We had a whole lot of people who are not (that) familiar with Linux or Fedora and when they found themselves in a talk that was too technical for them, they looked a bit confused and lost. Fortunately they all knew the “Rule of Two Feet” and simply left one talk and attended another.

At 4 pm we had the usual tea break and after that, everybody gathered in the big audience for lightning talks. Again the start was a little sluggish but after I gave a quick talk about LXDE (which is amazingly popular here in Asia), people quickly continued and we had a lot of good and very funny talks.

FUDCon KL 2012 day 2 schedule
FUDCon KL 2012 day 2 schedule

At some point we had to make a hard stop because we were running out of time and still needed to do the lucky draw. Participants of the FOSS survey which we did in cooperation with UCTI could win some nice prices. There will be another raffle today and this time we even can give away two brand new Galaxy Tabs and I hope I will win one of them.

After that, we left for FUDPub. Again we had a shuttle bus that took us directly to the hotel where FUDPub was taking place. This FUDPub was different, it was more a FUDDinner or FoodPub as there were tons of food but no alcoholic drinks. While everything is pretty affordable here in Malaysia, alcohol is very uncommon and therefor expensive. The food was extraordinary and after we finished dinner, two amazing Fedora (TM!) cakes arrived.

Cake with Fedora logo
Logo usage guidelines compliant Fedora (TM) cake

People decided it was on me as Beefy Miracle (I was waring my hotdog costume again which caused a lot of fun) and in Izhar as the main event organizer to cut the cake. I gave away the first piece to Kushal as he said he wanted to feed Izhar. I should not have done this, because instead of feeding Izhar, Kushal smashed it right into Izhar’s face. This was the beginning of a huge cake fight that hardly left anybody out and pretty much messed up the room. I think they will charge us extra for cleaning but at least nobody got injured. 😉

Group photo after the big cake fight
After the big cake fight (and some cleaning up)

An awesome day of FUDCon has come to an end and now I am looking forward for day three which is just about to start. I’ll have to leave this afternoon after the tea break because my plane leaves this evening. Hopefully I find the time to blog about day 3 at the airport before I take off.

FUDCon Kuala Lumpur Day 1

I got up a little later than planned because it turns out that I am pretty jet-lagged after traveling for more than 24 hours. Nevertheless I managed to have breakfast before we had to leave. In front of the hotel, a shuttle bus was already waiting and quickly brought  us to the venue at UCTI. Everything is extremely well organized here, thanks to an outstanding job of the Malayan Fedora community.

Shuttle bus from the hotel to FUDCon venue
Shuttle bus from the hotel to FUDCon venue

When we arrived at the university, we quickly registered in order to get the vouchers for lunch and teatime. Because of the high number of registered participants, the vouchers are limited to 50 attendees (plus Fedora contributors and FUDCon volunteers) which are given away first come first served. While I’d love to pay just everything for everybody, it turns out that doing first come first served is very useful: Not later then 8:30 most attendees had shown up and registered, even if the official opening was not before  10:00 pm.

After a quick introduction and some announcements, I kicked of FUDCon with my keynote. I had mixed feelings because on the one hand I had to jump in for others, on the other hand I am proud to have the opportunity to speak to so many people.

Me giving the keynote
Me giving the keynote about "Leadership in leaderless organizations"

I didn’t want to start with something technical, but instead do something about community. My talk was about “Leadership in leaderless organizations”. Readers of The Starfish and the Spider probably know what I am talking about: Traditional leadership is – ideally – based on authority, elections or knowledge; In a less ideal world, it is based on birth, money or even fear. But none of these concepts work in an open system like FOSS in general and Fedora in particular as they don’t encourage participation. Still we do have leaders, but these people are not leading by any kind of formal authority but by example.

  • They don’t command, they guide.
  • They don’t demand, they encourage.
  • They don’t make rules, they help defining standards that people voluntarily subscribe to.

I finished my talk with a quote from an email Max sent me this morning:

“It may not always be pretty, and it may not always be easy, but
persistence wins.”

However the concept of open, decentralized organizations seemed completely alien to the majority of attendees. Most of them were students and only few have have worked in a FOSS project before. Nevertheless they were fascinated by the idea that something that chaotic can not only exist but be very successful. They had a lot of questions after I finished and we had a vital discussion before we started pitching the barcamp sessions

Pitching the batcamp sessions
Pitching the batcamp sessions

I was skeptic if it makes sense to have barcamps on the first day, but the idea was to not ‘waste’ talks because Friday was not supposed to be the most productive day anyway. Many people were not be able to attend on Friday and we had a long break after dinner (on Friday after dinner, people here go to the mosque). I still was skeptic when we started pitching, but it seems people were just afraid or ashamed of standing in front of an audience and making a proposal. Turns out I was wrong, and in the end we had so many sessions that we decided to go for slots of only 30 minutes.

FUDCon Barcamp schedule
FUDCon Kuala Lumpur barcamp schedule

I now think that starting the barcamps on the first day right after my keynote was a big win. We not only had a very interesting and productive day, we also had the perfect showcase for an open, autonomous and decentralized system: There was no leader, nobody made rules, yet we had no problems making decisions and respond to the problem of having too many talks. The open system always wins!

AFAICS the first day of FUDCon Kuala Lumpur was a big success. I am grateful to be here and I’d like to thank everybody who helped to make this happen. Stay tuned for more awesomeness from Kuala Lumpur!

FUDCon Kuala Lumpur Day 0

After a pretty long journey to Kuala Lumpur I finally arrived and checked in at the hotel. I met Tuan and Izhar. We went to the venue at the UCTI. I was glad to see that Izhar had a lot of volunteers helping him and everybody was busy preparing stuff.

FUDCon volunteers
FUDCon volunteers busy working
Goodie bags
Bags with goodies

We were not able to finish as the building was being closed at 9:30 pm and we had to leave. We decided to declare the biggest room in the Hotel the “Crew room” and continue working there. I did not join because there was not much I could help with and instead, I joined some of the volunteers for dinner. We had a good time sitting outside a nice restaurant. When I looked at my watch is was nearly midnight and I was happy that we left a little later. After the long journey I was pretty jet-lagged and I still wanted to blog and tweak the slides the slides for my keynote. I’ll let you know how it went.

The new FAmSCo election guidelines

FAmSCo banner

After months of – sometimes controversial – discussion I am happy to announce the new FAmSCo election guidelines. For those of you, who did not follow the discussion, here is a brief summary of the three most important changes:

More continuity

Instead of electing all seats once a year, we follow the example of the Fedora Board and FESCo and elect half of the committee every 6 months or with every release of Fedora. FAmSCo will not change over sudden and new members can easily catch up with their new duties by learning from others.

Easier filling of vacant seats

Every committee is in danger of members becoming inactive. This can happen to all of us for various reasons such as our dayjobs or personal problems. Under the old guidelines, we had to wait until 3 members left – even with 2 left the committee is hardly operational – and then call a supplementary election – which never happened even though some FAmSCo’s had only 4 active members. Now we are filling vacant seats when necessary, either with runner-up candidates from the previous elections or by appointing new members.

Wider electorate

The ambassadors represent the whole Fedora Project, this is why now not only ambassadors are eligible to vote for FAmSCo, but everybody who has signed the Fedora Project Contributors Agreement (FCPA) and is member of (at least) one other group in the Fedora Account System (FAS) is allowed to vote. This will not only strengthen FAmSCo’s position but also help candidates who are active in other groups of the Fedora project.

Last but not least the guidelines have been massively cleaned up.

We think that the new guidelines are a big improvement and want them to come into effect as soon as possible. Therefor we will have a special election for Fedora 18 (the next regular elections were scheduled for F19). All 7 seats in FAmSCo will be open for election. In order to make the transition to the new alternating terms, the top 4 vote-getters will serve 2 Fedora releases, the bottom 3 will have to run for re-election after one release.

More about the upcoming ambassadors elections to come later this week as part of the general Fedora 18 elections announcement or on the elections wiki page. Please help us building a better, stronger and more active FAmSCo by casting your votes.

If you have feedback or questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. We are looking forward for your input on the Fedora ambassadors mailing list or in the ticket in FAmSCo’s trac.

SELinux madness

I usually keep my VM’s in /home, because unlike /var it’s a separate partition and has plenty of free space. As I am also using SELinux, I want to set proper file contexts (even if /home is unconfined, I just want to do it right.)

# semanage fcontext -a -t virt_image_t "/home/libvirt/images(/.*)?"
# semanage fcontext -a -t virt_var_lib_t "/home/libvirt(/.*)?"
# matchpathcon /home/libvirt/images/test
/home/libvirt/images/test system_u:object_r:virt_var_lib_t:s0

That’s not what we want, so we set the context for /home/libvirt/images again:

# semanage fcontext -a -t virt_image_t "/home/libvirt/images(/.*)?"
# matchpathcon /home/libvirt/images/test
/home/libvirt/images/test system_u:object_r:virt_var_lib_t:s0

Nothing has changed. Let’s start over again:

# semanage fcontext -d "/home/libvirt/images(/.*)?"
# semanage fcontext -d "/home/libvirt(/.*)?"
# semanage fcontext -a -t virt_var_lib_t "/home/libvirt(/.*)?"
# semanage fcontext -a -t virt_image_t "/home/libvirt/images(/.*)?"
# matchpathcon /home/libvirt/images/test
/home/libvirt/images/test system_u:object_r:virt_image_t:s0

So order does matter? And one has to remove contexts to set them again in the right order? That doesn’t scale. Imagine you have to remove contexts all the way up to your root directory…

I would expect something like “specific overwrites general” but definitely not “last come, first served”.