First day at LinuxCon NA 2014

Porec

Interesting to pass from vacation with family in Croatia to France after 10 hours of drive and then the day after being in a plane, flying to Chicago to attend my 3rd LinuxCon, held this time in the mythic Chicago city.

Chicago

While I arrived Monday evening, I had time to catch up some mail, make some conf calls on Tuesday before attending the first part of the event, which was the VIP dinner. An opportunity to talk to HP colleagues I met for the first time physically, even if we already interacted electronically previously.

VIP dinner

A view on the VIP Dinner

Wednesday the 20th was the first day of the event which started as usual with Jim Zemlin’s Keynote. This time he chose to talk about what the Linux Foundation rules disallow: The Linux Foundation itself ! And more largely about the roles of foundations to support open source development, their key cleaning facility role.

Jim Zemlin

Jim had a quite funny slide exaplining how everybody is seeing him, while what he is really doing is cleaning stuff so Linus, Greg and thouands of others could code and manage Linux.

He also announced the new LF certification program (Certified sysadmin and Engineers). While I understand the need of having more recognized Open Source ad Linux Professionals, unlinked to a company (such as the RHCE one) I wonder whether we were needing a new certification wile we do have LPI. I hope the 2 will cooperate to avoid again proliferation. Not that proliferation is bad per se. But why dedicate multiple times efforts to create training supports, manage registrations, … when someone already works on that, maybe in a different way, but maybe patchable to be adopted by the LF. Hopefully this will be solved somehow.

LF certifications

After that we had the also traditional Linux Kernel panel moderated by Greg Kroah-Hartmann with Andy, S, Andrew Morton and Linus Torvalds of course. Nothing really new came out. Anyway, it’s always refreshing to see our heros on stage full of confidence and hope for what they do.

Kernel Round Table

Linus insisted once more on the fact he wants Linux to be more dominant on the desktop market. As a 21 years linux desktop user myself, I can only be in agreement with that. Where is however the docker of the desktop, that will make everybody want to change and move to it ? When people see my Mageia distro they’re always surprised how many stuff you can do out of the box with a Linux Desktop. Phones have helped people go away from the monopoly interface but Macs do not help bringing back people to Linux. If at least all people attending LinuxCon and developing FLOSS would run Linux, that would be great !

Linus Torvalds

Then it was time for elective sessions. I chose first to know more about devstack.
Sean Dague from HP presented OpenStack in 10 Minutes with devstack
devstack pulls everything from git. As it heavily modifies your system so do rather that in a VM/Container. devstack launches tempest (the OpenStack test suite) at the end for the install. Sean insisted on the flow of requests generated inside OpenStack and demonstrated how you can easily modify the devstack environment and re-run it to test easily your modification.

devstack provides an easy way to support modifications through a conf file. Example given if you add
API_RATE_LIMIT=False
you’ll avoid waiting for an answers from the server in case of devstack exceeding the standard rate of queries.
You can also use localrc.conf to pass specific variables up to the right component.

In order to use it, you’d need 4GB RAM (recommended). It can run in a VM (cirros will work nested). Sean warned that it does not reclone git trees by default and clean.sh should put everything back in order (but cleans stuff !)

Sean Dague

Good presentation, easy to follow and having a quick demo part which confirms that devstack is easy to use :-)

Then I attended Joe Brockmeier’s (Red Hat) presentation around Solving the package issue

Joe explained the notion of SW collections (living under /opt). It’s Available for RHEL, CentOS and Fedora. It brings a new scl command. If you type for example
scl enable php54 “app –option”
that app uses now php 5.4 while the rest of the system ignores it.
For that you’ll need new packages: scl-utils and scl-utils-build
There is a tool spec2scl to convert spec files to generate scl compatible packages.
For more info you can look at http://softwarecollections.org

A remark I made to myself and which was later explicitely said during the presentation is that scl is useful for RHEL to provide newer versions of SW onto the enterprise distributions, while it can also help provide older versions of SW into Fedora (which is moving so fast that not all SW can adapt !).
It’s a sort of Debian backports for RHEL.
Joe also presented rpm-ostree (derived from ostree, git-like for system binaries providing an immutable tree). Under development for now, so not completely usable and probably the least interesting solution.
He moved on with docker, but was pretty generic (on purpose) and seeing it as complementary to package management, whether I think docker is another way of deploying software, which is not caring of packages by providing a layered deployment approach. While I have packaged docker for Mageia, I’m not yet familiar eough with it to be sure of that, and I’m currently working on combining it with project-builder.org. So will comment later on on that.

Joe Brockmeier

Then it was time to animate the FLOSS Governance roundtable for which I was attending LinuxCon. I had what I think is probably the best panel to cover the vast topic with Eileen Evans from HP, Tom Callaway from Red Hat, Gary O’Neall from Source Auditor Inc., Bradley Kuhn from Software Freedom Conservancy (and of course 45 minutes wasn’t sufficient to talk about all the subjects part of this), but I think the interactions were very interesting and lively and hope the audience enjoyed them and learned new aspects of this capital topic for our ecosystem. Of course we talked about licenses, SPDX and its future new 2.0 version, but also of foundations (echoing Jim Zemlin’s keynote), contribution agreements or tax usage (Thanks Bradley !).

FLOSS Governance Roundtable

And this is just the first of a series of such round tables I’ll lead in future events, but more on that later on.

After that, I discussed with Bradley Kuhn and Jilayne Lovejoy about licenses, AGPL, and various related topics, and their feedback were as usual very rich.

Was then time to go back to the latest keynote sessions. The first one I followed was from a new company (for me) CEO, Jay Rogers from Local Motors who tries to make open hardware in the automotive sector.Worth looking at and following whether they will be successful.

Jay Rogers

Then, our own Eileen Evans was on stage to explain her view on the new FLOSS Professional. And I think at her place I’d have been even more impressed as she had a full room so probably some pressure to talk to all these devs and devops. And I think her voice showed that at the begining. But when she entered in the details of the presentation, she did as usual a great job and was particularly convincing. She showed how the FLOSS professional was more than others issued from diverse backgrounds, as she illustrated with her own one. She also showed the variety of activities that each of these people have to cope with everyday, again with an illustration of one of her day of work passing from a contract management or OSRB meeting to an OpenStack foundation board conf call.

Eileen Evans keynote

And that approach of the new FLOSS professional was a convincing echo to Jim Zemlin’s call for more professionals and the focus on people that many speakers have underlined. The FLOSS ecosystem indeed needs so many various competencies in addition to developers and FLOSS is so ubiquituous that the lack of resources is delaying some projects. And Eileen explained why this notion of FLOSS Professional is arising now. Which is in short because FLOSS usage has moved from hobbist developing for themselves to professional developing during work hours. And she also covered the impact on companies where the work in network/communities, between peers is the rule compared to the siloed classical approach. And so companies need people understanding this way of working to evolve.

Eileen Evans

It was then time to catch a bus and enjoy discussing with peers at the Museum of Science and Industry during the evening event where we could also explore the museum.

Museum of Science and Industry of Chicago

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One Response to “First day at LinuxCon NA 2014”

  1. Speaking at LinuxCon EMEA 2014 | Bruno Cornec's Blog Says:

    […] again animate a round table on FLOSS Governance. I’m now contacting potential panelists for this […]

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