FUDCon North America – Bidding time is closing soon!

This is a friendly reminder to those of you out there who might be considering putting in a bid to organize the next great North American FUDCon.

Bids are due by the end of the day (UTC time) on April 8.

FUDCon NA 2011/2012 should be held in the 4th quarter of Red Hat’s fiscal year, because that is the quarter in which budget is allocated.  This time frame runs from December 2011-February 2012, though having it during December or January is very much encouraged, since things need to get reimbursed and paperwork needs to get filed by the end of the year, and I’m sure that Max can attest to the fact that this paperwork is not an overnight endeavour.

And now I bring you… informational links!

My best wishes go out to those of you submitting bids! It is a lot of hard work putting on a FUDCon, but totally rewarding. :)

Fedora 15 “Lovelock” Alpha is now available.

You heard it here (or possibly here): The Alpha release of Fedora 15, “Lovelock,” is now available for everyone to gloriously download and test. This release offers a preview of some of the latest and greatest in free and open source software innovation.

What is the Alpha release?

The Alpha release contains all the beefy features of Fedora 15 in a form that anyone can help test. This testing, guided by the Fedora QA team, helps us target and identify bugs. When these bugs are fixed, we make a Beta release available. A Beta release is code-complete, and bears a very strong resemblance to the third and final release. The final release of Fedora 15 is due in May.

We need your help to make Fedora 15 the best release yet, so please: Ketchup with what we’ve been working hard on.  Download and try out the Alpha, and make sure that the things that are important to you are working.

Features

You want ‘em, we got ‘em.  Think of them like condiments for your hot dog: A delicious variety of toppings that make something great even better.

  • Updated Desktop Environments. Fedora 15 will ship with GNOME 3, the next major version of the GNOME desktop. If you’re interested in other experiences, KDE and Xfce will also be showcasing the latest and greatest in desktop technology from their respective projects.
  • System and session management. Previously available as a technology preview in F14, systemd makes its full-fledged debut in Fedora 15. systemd is a smarter, more efficient way of starting up and managing the background daemons relied on by services we all use every day – such as NetworkManager and PulseAudio.
  • Cloud. Looking to create appliances for use in the Cloud? BoxGrinder creates appliances (virtual machines) for various platforms (KVM, Xen, EC2) from simple plain text appliance definition files for various virtual platforms.
  • Updated programming languages and tools. Fedora 15 features new versions of Rails, OCaml, and Python. GDB and GCC have also been updated. (Fedora 15 was built with GCC 4.6.0, too!)
  • Productivity Applications. LibreOffice is filled with tools for everyday use, including word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications.
  • Consistent Network Device Naming. Server management just got even easier. Fedora 15 uses BIOS-provided, non-arbitrarily given names for network ports, taking the burden off of system administrators.
  • Dynamic Firewall. Fedora 15 adds support for the optional firewall daemon, that provides a dynamic firewall management with a D-Bus interface.
  • Ecryptfs in Authconfig. Fedora 15 brings in improved support for eCryptfs, a stacked cryptographic filesystem for Linux. Starting with Fedora 15, authconfig can be used to automatically mount a private encrypted part of the home directory when a user logs in.
  • DNSSEC for workstations. NetworkManager now uses the BIND nameserver as a DNSSEC resolver. All received DNS responses are proved to be correct. If particular domain is signed and failed to validate then resolver returns SERFVAIL instead of invalidated response, which means something is wrong.
  • Go Green. Power Management improvements include the PowerTOP tool, which identifies the software components that make your computer use more energy than necessary while idle. Automatic tuning of power consumption and performance helps conserve on laptop battery usage, too!
  • Business Management tools. Tryton is a three-tier high-level general purpose application platform, providing solutions for accounting, invoicing, sale management, purchase management, analytic accounting, and inventory management.
  • New Package Suite Groups. The Graphics suite group has been renamed to the Design group, and the Robotics SIG has created the Robotics Package Suite, a collection of software that provides an out-of-the-box usable robotic simulation environment featuring a linear demo to introduce new users.

A more comprehensive list of Features is available to devour (much like one would a tasty, beefy, miraculous hot dog).  Additionally, there are nightly composes of alternate spins available for you to “take for a spin,” including desktop environments such as KDE, LXDE, and Xfce,

Issues, Details, and Contributing

This is an Alpha – we may still be working things out, but fortunately, a lot of the kinks have been smoothed over, thanks to great things like the Fedora Alpha Release Criteria.

However, if you’re looking for more information, the Fedora 15 Alpha Release Notes are a great place to start.  This document contains *great* stuff, including information on common and known bugs, tips on how to report bugs, and the official release schedule.  The Common 15 Bugs page is also a great resource if you are thinking about testing things out.

Bug reports are helpful, especially for Alpha. If you encounter any issues please report them and help make this release of Fedora be, quite frankly, the best ever!

What’s shakin’, Fedora?

Here are five fun things you should know about:

1) Fedora 15 Alpha comes out on Tuesday, March 8.  WOOT.

2) We now have an awesome sticker program. Send in your SASE to Spot, and he will fill it with a little bit o’ Fedora Love and send it back your way. What a great way to get some Fedora swag out to contributors and enthusiasts who haven’t yet had an opportunity to grab some.

3) Finance SIG! In case you haven’t read the news, a Finance SIG is being started up, with the first meeting being TODAY, Friday, March 4, in about 20 minutes. The goal is to try and make the whole process of getting Commarch money out to contributors and utilized for events, FADs, FUDCons, and other non-traditional avenues that we’d like to encourage more. Kudos to Max for organizing this first meeting.

4) Trusted Computing SIG! Oh, yes, that’s right folks: We got SIGs for everyone. The Trusted Computing SIG is, and I’ll quote directly so I don’t screw it up, “a collaboration area for interested parties with trusted computing requirements to discuss their needs with developers as well as hardware and software partners.” Sound cool? Sign up on their mailing list for more ‘deets.

5. Fedora 16 Release Name Time.  While my $1 USD challenge has been taken up on the link between “Lovelock” and “Beefy Miracle,” you, YES YOU, can help out and contribute a suggestion for an awesome name for Fedora 16.

And now, it’s time for the 16th occurrence of: NAME THAT FEDORA RELEASE

That’s right, folks: It’s time to pick out a release name for Fedora 16.

And that process, like so much else that is Good in Fedora, starts with YOU. Name suggestions may be proposed March 3rd through March 10th. Yes, you read that right: TODAY. Right now. So get on over!

“But how, Robyn, how do I suggest a name?” you ask. A-ha! I’m delighted you did.

There is a lovely wiki page set up for your suggestions.  That page also happens to contain the rules and other good stuff which will be helpful to you in your journey to pick out yet another EPIC NAME.

AND NOW: The fine print. I know, you were looking forward to this part, right?

  • There must be an “is-a” link between the name Lovelock, which is the Fedora 15 release name, and the name you pick. (For example: Fedora 14 was codenamed “Laughlin”; the link — Laughlin IS A city in Nevada, and so is Lovelock.)
  • The link must be different from previous links for Fedora release names. In other words: You cannot pick another city name. Nor can you pick rocket scientists, etc.  You can check out the history of release names for information on all the links previously used.
  • Names of living people and well-known trademarks will also likely be rejected.

To give a lighthearted translation of the above:

  • Unless you can find a link between “Lovelock” and “Beefy Miracle,” that name will likely be rejected. (For the record: I will give you one American dollar if you can find that link.)
  • “Bacon” has been rejected numerous times. For a variety of reasons. Just sayin’.
  • (I still fully expect that “Bacon” will be the first suggestion.)
  • “Lovelock is a correctional facility where O.J. Simpson has spent time, and so is _________________,” is *probably* in bad taste. Also: Charlie Sheen is alive (although possibly living on a different planet); thus, “Fedora 16: Charlie Sheen” will also not work, despite any link you may find. Please, use your Adonis DNA to come up with something better!

I challenge you to come up with a creative name.

Oh, of course: You want to know what I’m coming up with. I will be exploring the following avenue to see if it is a total dead-end, or has something interesting to think about:

Lovelock is a group of words comprising the first two syllables of the songname “Love Lockdown,” by Kanye West, off the album 808s and Heartbreak.

Also, I just happen to enjoy shaking my booty to that song.

I will be exploring various possible links, including, “Is there another song that is generically named enough to not get the pants sued off us that would be an interesting release name,” or even, “Love Lock(down) is a song that Robyn enjoys shaking her booty to, and so is _________________________.”

(Okay, not really on the last one. And no, “Fedora 16: Baby Got Back” IS NOT AN OPTION. Seriously.)

It’s a go! Fedora 15 Alpha has been declared GOLD.

As many of you know, the Fedora 15 Alpha slipped a week.

Well never fear, dear readers: There is no further slippage.  The Go/No-Go Meeting JUST HAPPENED, and the blockers are gone, and the tests are fun.

Expect the Alpha release of Fedora 15 to be coming to you on Tuesday, March 8. WOOT!

Congratulations to everyone involved. You guys rock. I’m very excited!

For those of you wanting to read all the details in their full, beefy, miraculous glory, minutes and full logs are available.

Next up: BETA! :)

We might be giants.

There’s a picture opposite me / Of my primitive ancestry / Which stood on rocky shores and kept the beaches shipwreck free

Though I respect that a lot / I’d be fired if that were my job / After killing Jason off and countless screaming argonauts

Bluebird of friendliness / Like guardian angels, it’s always near

Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch / Who watches over you / Make a little birdhouse in your soul.

I’ve been at SCaLE the past few days.  One of the things I love about regional Linux and F/LOSS conferences is the time I get to spend meeting other Fedora contributors that I haven’t met before, new potential contributors, and catching up with some of the people I already know.  Spot and I had a nice chat the other night, talking about Ye Olde High School things, and it reminded me of the blog post I’ve been meaning to write — which, friendly Planet folks, is what you are now reading.

One of my dear high school friends was our class Salutatorian.   His graduation speech: reciting the lyrics to “Birdhouse in your soul,” by the awesome They Might Be Giants.  It was a Totally Awesome Moment.  I still think about it fondly to this day.

I once was combing the Fedora wiki, looking for a banner of some sort or another, and came across some of the Fedora 12 banners, which featured blue birds.  I was immediately reminded of the “blue canary in the outlet by the light switch.”

Since then, I’ve thought a bit about it now and again, whenever the song comes up in my music mix.  The song itself, like so many other songs, is one of those, “What does it mean? Does it mean anything?” types of songs… but of course, now, in this age of intertoobz wonder, there are people who sit around dissecting songs FOR YOU! What a glorious thing.

So while I’m not going to go into gory detail (though you can certainly go read about it yourself if you want), I’ll give the 80-foot-view of what I believe to be the general premise of the passage I quoted above. Yeah, this blog post is TL;DR.  But I know you’re sucked in by now, so keep reading!

The voice of the song is a bathroom nightlight, shaped like a blue canary. Nightlights are friendly little things, particularly when you’re a child; they illuminate things just enough to see, essentially watching over you and protecting you.

The picture opposite the light, of his primitive ancestry? The one that stood on rocky shores and kept the beaches shipwreck free? A lighthouse.  (For some reason, people like the whole beach / lighthouse theme in bathrooms.)   He totally respects the lighthouse, but also understands, he’s not a  lighthouse; if he had to act as one, well, something terrible would happen, like killing off Jason and the Argonauts, since they wouldn’t be able to see by the light of a nightlight. [1]  But the similarity between the two is that they’re both beacons of light – one for the safety of people using the restroom when it’s dark, and one for the safety of sailors when it’s dark.

The metaphor? If Fedora is the Blue Canary nightlight in the outlet by the lightswitch – the picture opposite Fedora, of our primitive ancestry, is Red Hat. [2]  We totally respect them. But if we tried to do what Red Hat does – well, we aren’t designed to do that.  Just as a nightlight isn’t designed to guide sailors.  More importantly – we have our own strengths. And we embrace those strengths, just as the little blue canary nightlight does.

The rest is easier. “Bluebird of friendliness; like guardian angels, it’s always near /  Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch / who watches over you / Build a little birdhouse in your soul.”   Interpret at your own will, really. It speaks for itself.

I have a home for Fedora in my soul. My Birdhouse is filled with all of the things about Fedora that are near and dear to my heart. And I like to think that I continue to build that little birdhouse in my soul every day, in one way or another.   The Cloud SIG, the Marketing team, FUDCon… these are the things that are important to me.  The things I care about, and want to grow, and flourish, and eventually pass off to others to make even better.

I love Fedora because *anyone* can build a little birdhouse in their soul for Fedora.  It’s versatile, it’s flexible, it offers opportunities for people to build that birdhouse in their soul that you won’t find ANYWHERE ELSE.  And for every individual in Fedora, those things are different, and special.  And makes Fedora, Fedora.

A lot of times, we forget about that birdhouse.   I think that nearly every contributor has a reason *why* they’re passionate about Fedora, why they continue to contribute, what brought them to Fedora in the first place.  The birdhouse can tend to get cluttered with a lot of other crap.  You know what I’m talking about: Things you committed to at some point, but your interests have changed; frustrations about disagreements; getting stuck on a problem you can’t solve.  We get so wrapped up in those things that we forget to keep building that birdhouse – we lose sight of the things we love. And the things we love are really what keep us going.

I challenge you (one american dollar, not included): Think about your birdhouse a bit., maybe over the course of a few days.  Have you looked at it lately? What are the things that you are *passionate* about in Fedora? Have they fallen by the wayside? What can you do to get back to doing those things you love to do?

There really should be no “Might” in my blog post title. It’s really just a play on the band name. We are *all* giants.  We all possess the power to do great things in Fedora.  And even when some of the things we work on as individuals seem as though they’re diverging, or maybe don’t seem like they’re on the same general pathway — it all comes back to what Fedora has always been great at, and the reason why so many of us are here today: Fedora the Product is filled with the tools and materials you need to BUILD THAT BIRDHOUSE IN YOUR SOUL.  And as we individually build those birdhouses, we create more materials, more tools, for others to come and remix, and reuse, and build their own birdhouses.  And, in the end,  enable new contributors to stand on the shoulders of giants[3].

[1] This is the one minor detail that puzzles me, as they actually sent a dove between the rocks, and there wasn’t really a lighthouse involved, but, well, this works, I suppose.

[2] This is not an “upstream/downstream” metaphor; in that case, Fedora is really the ancestry of RHEL. What I’m talking about is more of a historical timeline.

[2] I promise that my next blog post will not be an allegorical interpretation of the song “King of Birds,” by R.E.M.  Even if it does say something about “standing on the shoulders of giants,” and “a hundred million birds fly.”