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Preparing for FUDCon -- Fedora Activity Day

September has been a very busy month for me with Siddhi going to UK for her studies, Mom moving in with us and my role change at work. In all of this confusion, a Fedora Activity Day (FAD) was planned for 10th September. I had to skip it because I had to go to Mumbai to spend the week with Siddhi before she left for Manchester. (Un)luckily, that FAD was rescheduled because of some last moment issues at COEP and it finally happened today at our office.

This FAD was planned to be something of an initiation for students so that they could do much more at the FUDCon than just attend talks. Going with that theme, I pitched in to do a rerun of my autotools demo that I had done last year, and even in the Fedora classroom. It is one of the basic things that a Fedora packager ought to know and if we're doing sessions on packaging, we might as well throw in some autotools foo.

There were a bunch of talks planned, mostly by Rahul Sundaram and Shakthi Kannan and then some by me, Prasad, Kashyap and Shreyank. But only a few of those talks actually happened. Essentially, since I came in, only I, Shakthi and Rahul spoke at all.

To begin with, I was late. According to the schedule, the talks were to happen in two meeting rooms in parallel and me and Shakthi were to do the autotools demo in parallel in both rooms. But when I reached office, I saw that there were enough to fit into one large meeting room, so scheduling talks was going to be easier.I had missed Rahul's first talk and he had already begun talking about packaging. Rahul walked everyone through the process of packaging the hello world app. After joking around a bit with Pai and Kushal, I joined Kushal and Shakthi in helping those who got stuck in the packaging demo.

Lunch followed the rpm walkthrough and we literally destroyed the pizzas that came in - there weren't enough in the end and we had to order a few more pizzas.

While the pizzas were being delivered, Shakthi walked everyone through version control using git. The main theme was managing love letters to various bollywood superstars using git. Pretty entertaining :)

After the second lunch break (where more pizzas were quickly destroyed), I was to start my demo on autotools. Before it started, Pai and Kashyap had a couple of quick 2 minute talks. Kashyap because he was asked by a number of attendees on how upstream, Fedora and RHEL were related. He showed a quick 1 minute video in which Paul Frields explained how bits come in from upstream into Fedora and finally into RHEL and how engineers from Red Hat are involved at every stage with the community. Pai wanted to gauge audience interest in databases and their role in ERPs -- there were a fair number of people who were interested, so we might see a talk from him on those lines at the next FAD.

My autotools walkthrough ended up being the last thing on the agenda because I (just like the talks before me) took more time than was allotted to me to finish. We finished with some good feedback and suggestions for improvement from the audience.

The best takeaway from this session was the involvement of all of the students who attended today's FAD. The schedule was quite gruelling and all of the walkthroughs were very intense. Despite that it was refreshing to see all of them putting their heads down and giving it their best, asking good questions and not giving up at any stage. I am hoping that we will have a similar if not better response in our next FAD in October.

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