FUDCon 2 at LinuxTag.

It LIVES! MU-wahahahahaha!

What do I think today?

1. I love Karlsruhe. It’s a beautiful town, even if it’s incredibly hot right now. Met a cool guy in the biergarten of our hotel last nite, who informed me that Karlsruhe is the home of the supreme court equivalent in Germany. Plus, big castles. Plus, sunset after 10pm. Plus, being able to wander over to the university, find a party, and just dance until 3am. Big fun.

2. Wow, were our FUDCon sessions crammed full today. I didn’t figure it to work out that way at first; the first session was slated to begin at 10am, and at 9:50 there were three guys sitting in our room. Two hours later, Daniel Veillard’s Xen session had 150 people packing the room so tight that people were standing out in the hall, jumping up and down to see the stage. It was *incredibly* cool. So far, seems to me like doing FUDCon Europe at LinuxTag is a great idea for an annual event. Hell, yeah!

3. Alasdair Kergon and Mark Cox are so smart that it gives me headaches. Teethaches, even.

4. Face-to-face meetings are just so freaking useful. The Fedora Extras Steering committee met for 3 1/2 hours, and got more stuff decided than normally happens in a whole month. The key is to balance these meetings with proper communication — all thanks to Colin for sending out the notes from this.

5. Attended Benjamin Mako Hill’s talk about funding community projects, which happened to be right next door to the FUDCon sessions. The title of the talk was something like “How to raise money,” but he acknowledged that the talk was really more about how to spend money. The points I found most interesting, especially in light of the direction we’re taking with Fedora:

a. Be judicious about paying developers in a volunteer project, because this may create the perception of inequity between participants. Or: “hey, why are you paying Joe Bob for work I’m doing for nothing?”

b. Spend money on hardware, because you need it, and because it makes it easier for people to help you. Building capacity, in other words. Particularly interesting in light of the discussion we had in FESCO on Thursday about arch build policy. Can’t build software for arches you can’t test, right? But providing play systems of all arches for users to test packages on still seems like a good idea to me. One worth funding. And hey, we’ve actually got a PPC build box on its way to Mesa, w00t!

c. Spend money on conferences, because they bring people together, and smart people gathered together for a common purpose can do incredible things. Exactly why we do FUDCons. See point 4, above.

d. Spend money on hack-a-thons. A useful derivative of c.

The one thing I’d ding Mr. Hill on, just a little bit, in passing, because I can’t help myself: when asked whether Debian should move to a timed release, he discoed around the question for a good five minutes, repeatedly saying that he could go either way. It was quite impressive. Other than that amusing aside, though, his talk was spot-on. Tomorrow, he will be giving a talk about “Ubuntu and Debian,” in which he describes the process by which Ubuntu selects goodies from Debian-land and Ubuntu-izes them. Evidently, he intends to point out how incredibly difficult it is to keep everybody happy while doing this. I can sympathize.

6. A gentleman named Phillippe (did I get that right, Phillippe?) called me out and said “you need to do better reaching out to the community.” I said, “okay, what are we doing wrong?” And he said, “you make it too hard to contribute.” When I pressed him for examples, he admitted that he hadn’t tried to contribute to Fedora in over a year. I politely suggested that he give it another try. We’ll see how that goes, but there are a couple of lessons here:

a. Things change. What was true yesterday isn’t true today.

b. I can’t help anyone with anything if I don’t have concrete examples of what’s busted.

FUDCon 2 at LinuxTag.

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