FLOCK 2013, Retrospective

Heya,

FLOCK just concluded last week. Given the very short time-frame, the conference was very well organized! (I know what pains it takes from first hand experience volunteering to organize FUDCon Pune, couple of years ago). While not undermining others’ efforts, I couldn’t agree more with Spot — “To put it bluntly, anything at Flock that you liked was probably her handiwork.”,about Ruth. Her super-efficiency shined through everything at FLOCK.

I attempted to write while in the middle of a couple of sessions, but I just couldn’t context switch. (For instance, I have a partial draft that’s started off with “I’m currently in the middle of Miloslav Trmač’s discussion about Fedora Revamp…”)

Here’s my (verbose) summary of how I spent my time at FLOCK.

Talks that I have attended

  • Matthew Miller’s discussion of “cloud”, and should Fedora care?: This was a very high level overview of the topic. For me, main takeaway was Fedora’s cloud SIG’s near term goals — more visibility, better documentation.
  • Crystal Ball talk/discussion by Stephen Gallagher which discussed where Fedora is going for the next five years. All the discussion and notes is here.
  • Kernel Bug triage, Live by Dave Jones. Dave walked us through the process of triaging a bug. And also introduced to some scripts he wrote to manage bugzilla workflow, and related triaging aspects.
  • Fedora Revamp by Miloslv Trmac — This was more of a discussion about how to improve various aspects in Fedora. On a broad level, various topics discussed: Making Rawhide more useable, need for more automated tests, etc. Previous mailing list discussion thread is here
  • What’s new with SELinux, by Dan Walsh — Top off my memory, I only recall a couple of things that I recall from this talk where Dan discussed: New confined domains, new permissive domains, sepolicy tool chain, and what’s upcoming (he mentioned a newer coreutils, with upgraded cp, mv, install, mkdir commands which provide -Z flag. Some context is here
  • Secure Linux Containers, by Dan Walsh: This was one of my faviourite sessions. I was interested to learn a bit more about containers. OpenStack heavily uses Network Namespaces to provide Networking, and I thought this session would give some high-level context, and I wasn’t disappointed. Dan discussed several topics: Application Sandboxes, Linux Containers, different types of Linux Namespaces (Mount, UTS, IPC, Network, PID, User), Cgroups. He then went to elaborate on different types of Containers (and their use cases): Generic Application Container, Systemd Application Container, Chroot Application Container, libvirt-lxc, virt-sandbox, virt-sandbox-service, systemd-nspawn.
  • PKI made easy: Ade Lee gave an overview of PKI, Dogtag and its integration aspects with FreeIPA. I worked with Ade on this project and associated Red Hat products for three about years. It was nice to meet him in person for first time after all these years.
  • Fedora QA Meeting : On Monday (12-AUG),I participated in with Adam Williamson and rest of the Fedora QA team. Video is here. Major topics:
    • ARM release criteria / test matrix adjustments
    • Visible Cloud release criteria / test matrix adjustments.

Among other sessions, I also participated in the “Hack the Future” (of Fedora) with Matthew Miller. I also enjoyed the conference recap discussion with FESCo (Fedora Engineering Steering Committee).

OpenStack Test Event

On day two of FLOCK, I conducted an OpenStack test event. Earlier I blogged about it here. This session wasn’t recorded, as it’s a hands-on test event. We had about 20 participants (capacity of the room was arond 25).

Some notes:

  • Russell Bryant, nova PTL, was in the room, not feeling qualified enough, I made him give a quick 5 minute introduction of OpenStack :-). Later, Jeff Peeler from OpenStack Heat project also gave a brief introduction about Heat and what it does. RDO community manager Rich Bowen was also present and participated in the event.
  • Notes from the test event is here.
  • Russel Bryant (Thank you!) kindly offered to provide temporary access to virtual machines (from RackSpace cloud) for participants who didn’t have enough hardware on their laptop, to quickly test/setup OpenStack. I know of at-least a couple of people who successfully setup using these temporary VM instances.
  • A couple of people hit the bogus “install successfully finished” bug. Clean-up and re-run wasn’t really straightforward in this case.
  • Another participant hit an issue where packstack adds ‘libvirt_type=kvm’ in nova.conf /despite/ the machine not having hardware virtualization extensions. It should ideally add ‘libvirt_type=qemu’, if hardware extensions weren’t found (this should be double checked). And, at-least one person hit Mysql login credential errors (which I sure hit myself on one of my test runs) with an allinone packstack run.

Overall: given the time frame of 2 hours, and the complexity involved with setting up OpenStack, we had decent participation. At-least I know 5-7 people had it configured and running. Thanks to Russel, Jeff Peeler, Sandro Mathys, Rich Bowen for helping and assisting participants during the test event.

TODOs/Notes/Hallway

These are arbitrary discusssions, notes to self, todos, amusing (to me) snippets from hallway conversations. Let’s see what I can recall.

  • I ran into Luke Macken in the hotel lobby, one of the evenings, we briefly talked about virtualization, and he mentioned he tried PCI passthrough of a sound card with KVM/QEMU, and couldn’t get it working. I said, I’ll try and get to him (Note to self: Add this as 198th item on the TODO list).
  • From discussions with Matthew Miller: we need to switch to Oz from Appliance Creator to generate Fedora Cloud images.
  • Try out Ansible’s OpenStack deployer tool.
  • Had an interesting hallway chat with Bill Nottingham, Miloslav Trmac, in the relaxed environment of the Charleston Aquarium (do /not/ miss this mesmerizing place if you’re in Charleston!). Topics: Various Cloud technologies, mailing list etiquette (the much discussed recent LKML epic thread about conflicts, strong language to convey your points, etc.)
  • Books: On day-1 evening dinner, Paul Frields mentioned ‘Forever war’ as one of his favorites and highly recommended it. Next day, during the evening event, at the Mynt bar, Greg DekonigsBerg said, “anything & everything by Jim Collins”. The same evening, while still discussing books, Tom Callaway said “no, that’s not the right book” (or something along the lines) when I mentioned ‘Elements of Style’. I don’t know what was his reasoning was, I liked the book anyway. :-)
  • I learnt interesting details about life in Czech Republic from conversations with Jan Zeleny.
  • A lot of little/long conversations with Adam Williamson (Fedora QA Czar), Robyn Bergeron Ruth Suehle, Christopher Wickert, Rahul Sundaram, Cole Robinson, Toshio Kuratomi, and all others I missed to name here.
  • Thanks Toshio for the delicious Peaches! (He carried that large box of Peaches in the cabin luggage.) Also thank you for the nice conversation on last Tuesday, and taking us to the breakfast place Kitchen, on King’s street.
  • Also, I tried Google Glass from Jon Masters. But it wasn’t quite intuitive, as I have prescription glasses already.
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