Ryan Lerch

Flock 2016, Krakow

Last week, I got to attend the 2016 edition of Flock — the Fedora Contributor Conference. As always for Flock, the 2016 edition of Flock (in Krakow, Poland) provided an amazing opportunity to meet up and work alongside many of my fellow Fedora contributors for a week of talks,  hackfests, workshops, and evening events.

Flock Swag

Every year, the awesome Fedora Design Team jumps in and helps create many of the physical items that make Flock both memorable and (we hope) more usable.

Traditional Flock T-Shirt

One of the most prominent (and sought after) swag items each Flock is the memorable Flock t-shirt and this year, the awesome Krakow-themed Flock artwork that adorned them was created by Máirín Duffy and Mary Shakshober.

The Awesome 2016 Flock Krakow T-Shirt

Booklets & Schedule

Every year, I help contribute to the Flock Swag by putting together the booklets for Flock. These typically contain all the important information that attendees might need during Flock in a format they can shove in a bag, and refer to when needed. The major elements of the booklet is info about the host city (including maps), info about the evening events, and the schedule. If you are interested in having a look at the booklets (and their sources) — they are all available in the flock-booklets Pagure project. Special thanks to Máirín for doing the final edits & proofreading of the booklet just before printing, and to both Máirín and Mary, for the design from the t-shirts that was used on the front cover of the booklet too.

Some well-used copies of the Flock 2016 Booklets

One extra thing I did this year was to create a large versions of the schedule out of smaller strips of paper (one strip for each talk), to be stuck up in a hallway somewhere for all attendees to view and use.  I also did the same thing for each room that was holding talks, so attendees could walk past each room and easily see what was going on. When I was cutting out the close to 150 individual strips of paper, I kept hoping that it would be useful, and watching the amount of people using the big schedule each day, it appeared to work very well. The idea of having each talk on a single strip of paper was so when talks inevitably got moved, changed or canceled, we could update the big schedule to be accurate.

The big schedule on the wall at Flock on the Friday

In fact, talking to Josh Boyer (who awesomely put the schedule itself together) we agreed that in the future, it would probably be worth not putting the schedule in the booklet at all — as it tends to change a fair bit after the printing of the booklets — and just having the big wall schedule.

Lanyard Badges

This year, the awesome lanyard badges were put together by Masha Leonova, using the same design from the shirts by Máirín and Mary. These were printed (with individual names printed on them too) on quite thick (about 4-5mm) plastic and were super durable and awesome.

The Lanyards Badges from flock 2016

Other Swag

Attendees that pre-registered for Flock this year were also treated to a few more swag items, including a Fedora tote, a Fedora waterbottle, and a sheet of Fedora stickers:

Talks

As always at flock, the first two days of Flock 2016 event are crammed-full with nearly 80 different talks ranging from the Kernel Talk to using Fedora for Art and Design. Some of the stand-out talks for me on the first two days were:

The State of Fedora-Infra

Lead by pingou and nirik, this annual talk was a high-level overview of what happened this year so far from both the infrastructure side (lead by nirik), and the fedora-apps side (lead by pingou). It was awesome to see all the hard work that that has being doing the fedora apps including Pagure, FAS3, Bodhi — being summarized and listed out.

Fedora Magazine and what it teaches us about users

Paul Frields talk about the Fedora Magazine, was also a great overview of how far we have come with the Fedora Magazine — in a few years it has grown into a Million+ hits a year way for the Fedora Project to communicate with our users. It is now also the primary way that we deliver major announcements (like the Release Announcements) to the world. Paul credited this uptick to the re-focusing of the Magazine to be aimed at Fedora users.

GNOME Software: You’ll never guess what happens!

Richard Hughes provided a great summary of the design and development of the Software application that we use in Fedora Workstation. Richard started with a quick overview of the graphical PackageKit tool that we had before, and the design choices that went into creating GNOME Software — with the primary decision being to focus on applications as a base unit rather than Packages. Richard also covered one of the exciting new features that dropped in Fedora 24 on Software — the user reviews, and i learnt the interesting fact that the user reviews we see on Software in Fedora are not just Fedora user reviews, but reviews of users from all other distros using the Software application too.

Don’t Destroy your machine with Development

Dusty Mabe led this tutorial style talk on the basics of using Vagrant on Fedora when doing development tasks. It was a great overview on using Vagrant on Fedora, including the use of the libvirt vagrant provider, and syncing files to your Vagrant development environments using the Vagrant sshfs plugin. This was all great information for my campaign to get all the Fedora apps that the infra team develops to start shipping Vagrant setups for first-time developers to use when beginning to hack on these tools.

Diversity Panel

The Diversity panel at Flock was led by Amita in the room at Flock, and remotely by the Maria Leandro. It was a great panel to just sit and absorb information about how the Fedora Project is going at the task of expanding our contributor base and plenty of ideas and opinions on how to get more people from all backgrounds and skill levels contributing to the project.

Pagure

Pingou led the Pagure talk this year, and it was amazing to see the changes that the project has gone through over the past year. Pagure now has many more active contributors, with many new features and a new UI rolled out over the past year.

Hackfests

The hackfests and workshops at Flock have to be my favourite part of the Flock meetup, as we all get to sit together in a room, discuss and hack on projects that we typically do remotely all year long.

Fedora Docs Learn & Hack

Brian Exelbierd led the Docs hackfest this year with an overview of the new tool and content strategy the Docs team is rolling out. The idea is to move away from monolithic books, and towards smaller article-based docs that will help users find the answers to their issues quicker and easier. He also did a tutorial into getting the new Pintail-based toolchain working.

Bodhi Hackfest

One of the main things I got from the Bodhi hackfest was a to-do list (this is always a good thing in my book). A little bit ago, i began porting the Bodhi interface to fedora-bootstrap, and i also got to run some ideas for improving the interface of bodhi from users in the room. One other item on my to-do list (that i started hacking on in the hackfest) was moving the bodhi development sourcesfrom github to Pagure (yay!)

Fedora Hubs Hackfest

It was great to see Fedora Hubs in action at Flock in this hackfest, at it is amazing to see how much it has changed and improved from the last time i played around with it a few months ago. The new live updating feed widget is impressive with a lot of potential. And the ability for a user to drag and drop widgets around was super neat as well.

Evening Events

I know i must say this every year, but the evening events at Flock 2016 were amazing! I missed the walking tour on the first night, but all reports from people that did go were *glowing*, having a tour of the host city is such a great idea for a lower-key first night event.

The second night was Cruise Krakow, with dinner served on two separate boats, with one of boats doing two seperate trips along the river in Krakow. The final event was at Brewery Lubicz, and as you can imagine featured both tasty food and beverages.

 

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