Hell Oh Entropy!

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FUDCon Pune 2011 Day 2: Me, followed by lunch, followed by me, followed by me...

Posted: Nov 07, 2011, 03:12

The title pretty much summarizes what most of my day looked like on day 2 of FUDCon. Well, not exacly, but it comes quite close. I had three sessions lined up in a single day and I was worried that I might lose my voice by the end of it. Ankur Sinha had all of 4 talks in the single day, so I was definitely better off that him.

The day started with Harish Pillay’s keynote on the community architecture team. The turnout on day 2 was less than that on day 1, which was a little surprising. Most of them trickled later in the day, so it meant that a large number of the attendees in Harish’s talk were Red Hatters and the CoEP volunteers. We probably started a little too early for a Saturday.

Immediately following that was my session on qpid messaging. The attendance in the session was modest (about 8-10 people), but the best part was that they were very involved in the session and that made the session worthwhile. Mrugesh Karnik also joined the session mid-way and asked some really good questions that actually helped my session. We ended up doing a queue design for a fictitious stock trading system and I was able to show how the design could scale very easily with a qpid messaging broker in place. Unfortunately, most of the attendees did not have laptops, so I could not engage them in a hands-on session. In fact, that was my story of the day to a large extent. I had intended all my sessions to be hands-on, but most of it never really materialized because most of the audience did not have laptops.

After the qpid session, I spent some time chatting with Sankarshan, Mrugesh, Anurag and Nisha over lunch. After that I decided to double-check my exploit code samples because it was the one session that I had never done before and it was something that is not my area of expertise. The only aspect of the exploits that I was really comfortable with was how they worked and how I could explain that using the usual tools like gdb, objdump, etc.

I was sitting in the speakers lounge cleaning up my examples when Aditya Patawari came in and asked me about my session. That reminded me that I had to actually go into the session :D We quickly left for the classroom and found pjp finishing up his python session, which had a packed audience. Once he was done, a lot of people left, which led me to think that even this talk was going to have a modest audience. However, people trickled in as I was about to begin and by the time I did begin, the room was full.

The exploits session was probably one of the best sessions I have done so far, mainly because I personally enjoyed it. The audience also consisted of people who were interested (exploits are sexy, as someone said later) and I got a lot of questions during and after the session. The talk also seemed to give some people from the audience the impression that I am a security expert, which is flattering but incorrect.

Then came the awesome part where Pai and Yogesh Babar followed up my session with impromptu sessions, which the audience lapped up eagerly as well. Pai talked about extensibility of postgresql by making it call routines in perl (typical dinosaur stuff ;) ) and Yogesh did a talk on kdump. I learnt later that Rahul Sundaram did something similar in one of the seminar halls by asking the audience to “ask him anything about Fedora and Open Source”. Pretty cool stuff.

After Pai and Yogesh were done, it was again time for me to get on to the platform for another session, this time on autotools. This was something I had done multiple times with the same examples, so it was pretty uneventful.

Day 2 was probably awaited by a lot of people for another reason – the FUDPub! We went to Park Estique near Vimaan Nagar for dinner. There was loud music and bling bling lights and food and drink. I enjoyed the food and drink; the lights gave my a headache and the loud music was, well, too loud. In any case it was fun chatting with people and having the really good food.

Like the first day, I did not get to attend any other sessions, this time for a different reason. I’ll probably submit less sessions in the next conference so that I actually get to attend other sessions and meet and talk to more people. I did meet a lot of interesting people on day 2, so all of that hectic schedule was completely worth it.

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Fedora Activity (half) Day

Posted: May 31, 2010, 21:24

The FAD (Fedora Activity Day) was announced over a month ago with an intention to get some real work done during an event. I really only had a chance to participate in 1/4th of the FAD (1/2 day on Saturday), since I had to fly to Bangalore on Saturday evening to spend the weekend (or whatever was left of it) with family. But that was enough to get whatever I wanted out of the event.

Being pretty much a newcomer into the Fedora community, there wasn't much that I could think of to directly contribute but I wanted to do something. I really only maintain 1 package, which also does not have much traffic, so I wasn't exactly brimming with ideas. Rahul helped me there by asking me to do an Autotools workshop. I was also looking forward to meeting some of the guys I had met at FOSS.in last year; Susmit, Hiemanshu and Sayamindu. I could not meet Hiemanshu (did he come at all?), but it was good to meet Susmit and Sayamindu after quite a long time.

We started the day with my autotools workshop; I hope at least someone found it useful. I demonstrated the process of autotoolizing a simple C program using the same example I used during my Fedora classroom session earlier this month: linkc. The main reason I keep choosing this program is that I am too lazy to find or write anything on my own. The other reason is that the program helps to cover quite a few things at one go -- it is small, it has an external dependency, a subdirectory and some distributable files. So all those things win over the fact that the app just doesn't work as advertised. Oh well...

Once the only "session" of the day was over, everyone announced their aims for the two days while Sankarshan distributed some swag (t-shirts, stickers and buttons). After that it was pretty much everyone working on their own stuff. Me too.

Only a couple of days before FAD, Ray van Dolson added me as a co-maintainer for libyahoo2 in Fedora so that we could share the workload of doing releases/bug fixes. After discussion with him, I decided to do a libyahoo2 release into rawhide during the event. So I finally had something that I could do, which was much closer to Fedora.

I knew that the release would break freehoo, a console messenger for yahoo since libyahoo2 1.0.0 broke all backward compatibility, so I set about fixing that. The result was a bug report with a patch to fix freehoo to build with the latest libyahoo2. Finally, I also changed ayttm to dynamically link against libyahoo2 instead of cloning the code base all the time. There was absolutely no incentive in maintaining two code bases for it, so it finally had to go.

By the time the ayttm change was done, it was time to leave. But before that, Kushal asked me to take a look at libraw to see if I could pitch in with something there. So I will be looking at autotoolizing it and packaging it for Fedora. I was supposed to do it today, but all of my day was spent in playing catch-up with work at my day job. Maybe I'll have more time tomorrow for it.

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