RIP recruiting.gentoo.org

The recruiters team announced a few months ago that they decided not to use the recruiting webapp any more, and move back to the txt quizes instead. Additionally, the webapp started showing random ruby exceptions, and since nobody is willing to fix them, we found it a good opportunity to shut down the service completely. There have been people that were still working on it though (including me), so if you are a mentor, mentee or someone who had answers in there, please let me know so I can extract your data and send it to you.
And now I’d like to state my personal thoughts regarding the webapp and the recruiter’s decision to move back to the quizes. First of all, I used this webapp as mentor a lot from the very first point it came up, and I mentored about 15 people through it. It was a really nice idea, but not properly implemented. With the txt quizes, the mentees were sending me the txt files by mail, then we had to schedule an IRC meeting to review the answers, or I had to send the mail back etc. It was a hell for both me and the mentee. I was ending up with hundreds of attachments, trying to find out the most recent one (or the previous one to compare answers), and the mentee had to dig between irc logs and mails to find my feedback.
The webapp solved that issue, since the mentee was putting his answers in a central place, and I could easily leave comments there. But it had a bunch of issues though, mostly UI related. It required too many clicks for simple actions, the notification system was broken by design, I had no easy way to see diffs or to see the progress of my mentee (answers replied / answers left). For example, in order to approve an answer, I had to press “Edit” which transfered me in a new page, where I had to tick “Approve” and press save. Too much, I just wanted to press “Approve”! When I decided to start filling bugs, surprisingly I found out that all my UI complaints had already been reported, clearly I was not alone in this world.
In short, cool idea but annoying UI. That was not the problem though, the real problem is that nobody was willing to fix those issues, which led to the recruiters’ decision to move back to txt quizes. But I am not going back to the txt quizes, no way. Instead, I will start a Google doc and tell my mentees to put their answers there. This will allow me to write my comments below their answers with different font/color, so I can have async communication with them. I was present during the recruitment interview session of my last mentee Pavlos, and his recruiter Markos fired up a Google doc for some coding answers, and it worked pretty well. So I decided to do the same. If the recruiters want the answers in plain text, fine, I can extract them easily.
I’d like to thank a lot Joachim Bartosik, for his work on the webapp and his interesting ideas he put on this (it saved me a lot of time, and made the mentoring process fun again), and Petteri Räty who mentored Joachim creating the recruiting webapp as GSoC project, and helped in deploying it to infra servers. I am kinda sad that I had to shut it down, and I really hope that someone steps up and revives it or creates an alternative. There has been some discussion regarding that webapp during the Gentoo Miniconf, I hope it doesn’t sink.

moving services around

A few days ago the box that was hosting our low-risk webapps died (barbet.gentoo.org). The services that were affected are get.gentoo.org planet.gentoo.org packages.gentoo.org devmanual.gentoo.org infra-status.gentoo.org and bouncer.gentoo.org. We quickly migrated the services to another box (brambling.gentoo.org). Brambling had issues in the past with its RAM, but we changed them with new ones a couple of months ago. Additionally, this machine was used for testing only. Unfortunately the machine started to malfunction as soon as those services were transferred there, which means that it has more hardware issues than the RAM. The resulting error messages stopped when we disabled packages.gentoo.org temporarily. The truth is that this packages webapp is old, unmaintained, uses deprecated interfaces and real pain to debug. In this year’s GSoC we had a really nice replacement by Slava Bacherikov written in django. Additionally, recently we were given a Ganeti cluster hosted at OSUOSL. Thus we decided not to put up again the old packages.gentoo.org instance, and instead create 4 virtual machines in our Ganeti cluster, and migrate the above webapps there, along with the new and shiny packages.gentoo.org website. Furthermore, we will also deploy another GSoC webapp, gentoostats, and start providing our developers with virtual machines. We will not give public IPv4 IPs to the dev VMs though, but probably use IPv6 only so that developers can access them through woodpecker (the box where the developers have their shell accounts), but it is still under discussion. We already started working on the above, and we expect next week to be fully finished with the new webapps live and rocking. Special thanks to Christian and Alec who took care of the migrations before and during the Gentoo Miniconf.

Bootstrapping Awesome: The latest news

Overview of What Happened

In the last few weeks, the conference team has worked hard to prepare the conference. The main news items you should be awere of are the FAQ which has been published, the party locations and times, the call to organize BoF sessions and of course the sponsors who help make the event possible. And we’re happy to tell you that we will provide live video streams from the main rooms during the event (!!!) and we announced the Round Table sessions during the Future Media track. Last but not least, there have been some interviews with intresting speakers in the schedule!

Sneak Peek of the Conference Schedule

Let’s start with the interviews. During the last weeks, a number of interesting speakers has been interviewed, both by text and over video chat. You can find the interviews in our first sneak peek article and more in this extensive follow-up article about the Future Media track. You can find the video interviews also in our youtube channel and on our blip.tv channel.

Video!

Talking about video interviews, there will be more videos in those channels: the openSUSE Video team is gearing up to tape the talks at the event. They will even provide a live stream of the event, which you can watch via flash and on a smartphone at bambuser and via these three links via ogv feeds: Room Kirk Room McCoy and Room Scotty. Keep an eye on the wiki page as the team will add feeds to more rooms if we can get some more volunteers to help us out.

Round Table Sessions!

We’ve mentioned the special feature track ‘Future Media’ already and we’ve got an extra bite for you all: the track will feature two round table discussions, one about the value of Free and Open for our Society and one about the practicalities of doing ‘open’ projects. Find more in the schedule: Why open matters and How do you DO open?.

We need YOU!

Despite all our work, this event would be nothing without YOUR help. We’re still looking for volunteers to sign up but there’s another thing we need you for: be pro-active and get the most out of this event! That means not only sitting in the talks but also stepping up and participating in the BoF Sessions. And organize a BoF if you think there’s something to discuss!

Party time!

Of course, we’re also thinking about the social side of the event. Yes, there will surely be an extensive “hallway track” as we feature a nice area with booths and the university has lots of hallways… But sometimes it’s just nice to sit down with someone over a good beer, and this is where our parties come in. As this article explains, there will be two parties: one on Friday, as warming-up (and pre-registration) and one on Saturday, rockin’ in the city center of Prague. Note that you will need your badge to enter this party, which means you have to be registered!

Sponsors

As we wrote a few days ago, all this would not be possible without our sponsors, and we’d like to thank them A LOT for their support!

Big hugs to Platinum Sponsor SUSE, Gold Sponsor Aeroaccess, Silver Sponsor Google, Bronze Sponsor B1Systems, supporters ownCloud and Univention and of course our media partners LinuxMagazine and Root.cz. Last but not least, a big shout-out to the university which is providing this location to us!

FaQ

On a practical level, we also published our Conference FAQ answering a bunch of questions you might have about the event. If you weren’t sure about someting, check it out!

More

There will be more news in the coming days, be sure to keep an eye on news.opensuse.org for articles leading up and of course during the event. As one teaser, we’ve got the Speedy Geeko and Lightning talks schedule coming soon!

Be there!

Gentoo Miniconf, oSC12 and LinuxDays will take place at the Czech Technical University in Prague. The campus is located in the Dejvice district and is next to an underground station that gets you directly to the historic city center – an opportunity you can’t miss!

We expect to welcome about 700 Open Source developers, testers, usability experts, artists and professional attendees to the co-hosted conferences! We work together making one big, smashing event! Admission to the conference is completely free. However for oSC a professional attendee ticket is available that offers some additional benefits.

All the co-hosted conferences will start on October 20th. Gentoo Miniconf and Linuxdays end on October 21st, while the openSUSE Conference ends on October 23rd. See you there!

Bootstrapping Awesome: The Keynote speaker

The Keynote speaker for the Bootstrapping Awesome co-hosted conferences is going to be Agustin Benito Bethencourt. Agustin is currently working in Nuremberg, Germany as the openSUSE Team Lead at SUSE, and in the Free Software community he’s mostly known for his contributions to KDE and especially in the KDE eV. He is a very interesting guy, with a lot of experience about FOSS both from the community and the enterprise POV, which is also the reason I asked him to do the Keynote. I enjoy a lot working with him on organizing this conference, his experience is valuable. In this interview he talks a bit about himself, and a lot about the subject of his Keynote, the conference, openSUSE and SUSE, and about Free Software. The interview was done inside the SUSE office in Prague, with me being the “journalist” and Michal being the “camera-man”. Post-processing was done by Jos. More interviews from other speakers are about to come, so stay tuned! Enjoy!

Bootstrapping Awesome: FAQ

All common questions regarding travelling, transportation, event details, sightseeing and much more, in this Frequently Asked Questions page. Feel free to ask more questions, so we can include them in the FAQ and make it more complete

Bootstrapping Awesome: room names

As you probably have seen in the schedule, we have multiple room that have ugly names from university like 107, 155 or 349. We would like to rename them during the conference so people can remember them more easily. So try your creativity and send us some ideas!

Bootstrapping Awesome: The schedule

The Call for Papers has ended and the schedule is now up for the four in one event that is gonna take place soon in Prague. The full schedule of all the co-hosted conferences can be found here! Don’t forget to register!

Gentoo Miniconf: It will take place on Saturday and Sunday with a plethora of amazing talks by experienced Developers and Contributors, all around Gentoo, targeting both desktop and server environments!

On Saturday morning Fabian Groffen, Gentoo Council member, along with Robin H. Johnson, member of the Board of Trustees, will give us a quick view of how those two highest authorities manage the whole project. Afterwards there are going to be a few talks regarding various topics, like managing your home directory, the KDE team workflow, the important topic of Security and a benchmarking suite, all performed by important people for the project. A cool Catalyst workshop will be next, followed by a workshop regarding Gentoo Prefix, and at the end we’re going to participate on BoFs regarding the Infrastructure and the Gentoo PR, which will cover hot topics, like the Git migration and our website. 

On Sunday we’ll see how a large company (IsoHunt) uses Gentoo, the tools it has developed and the problems it has encountered. Then, a cool talk about 3D games and graphic performance is going to take place, followed by a presentation on SHA1 and OpenPGP, which is the precursor of the Key Signing Party!! The second part of the Catalyst workshop is next, along with a Puppet workshop. At the end there are again two BoFs, the first about automated testing and the second about how we can grab more contributors and enlarge our cool project.

And a sneak peek on the other co-hosted conferences:

Future Media, which will be held on Saturday is a special feature track talking about the influence of developments in technology, social media and design on society. It will have talks like the future of Wikipedia and Open Data in general by Lydia Pintscher or using FOSS and open hardware for disaster relief by Shane Couglan.

The first day in the openSUSE Conference, Michael Meeks will tell you all aboutwhat’s new in LibreOffice, Klaas Freitag will give everyone a peek under the hood of ownCloud and for the more technical users, Stefan Seyfried will show you how to crash the Linux Kernel for fun and backtraces. Saturday night there’ll be a good party and the next day musician Sam Aaron will talk about Zen and how to Live Program music like he did during the party. Later, Libor Pecháček will explain the process of getting software from the community into commercial enterprises and at the end of the day Miguel Angel Barajas Watson will show us how a computer could win Jeopardy using SUSE, Power and Hadoop. The openSUSE event continues on Monday and Tuesday with many workshops and BoF sessions planned as well as a few large-room discussions about the future of the openSUSE development- and release process.

On Saturday the LinuxDays track features a number of Czech talks like an introduction to Gentoo by Tomáš Chvátal with his talk titled “if it moves, compile it!” (‘Pokud se to hýbe, zkompiluj to!’). Fedora is represented by Jiří Eischmann & Jaroslav Řezník later in the day. There also few real ninja-style talks about low-level programming like Petr Baudiš about low level programming and Thomas Renninger on modern CPU power usage monitoring (these both are in English). During the Saturday there will also be track of graphics workshops in Czech (Gimp, Inkscape, Scribus) followed by a 3D printing workshop (reprap!). Sunday is kicked of by Vojtěch Trefný explaining how to use Canonical’s Launchpad as a place to host your project (CZ). Those interested in networking will be taken care off by Pavel Šimerda (news from Linux Networking) and Radek Neužil who explains how to use networks securely (both CZ). You can also learn all about how to set up a Linux desktop/server solution for educational purposes (EN) and follow Vladimír Čunát talking about NixOS and the unique package manager this OS is build on. The LinuxDays track will be closed by Petr Krčmář (chief editor of root.cz) and Tomáš Matějíček (author of Slax) talking about future of Slax (CZ).

Find your way to your favorite talks. Come on, it’s easy!

Bootstrapping Awesome: Need a Gentoo force!

The schedule of all the events will be published soon, so stay tuned!

P.S. To avoid confusion, I’m reminding everyone that the Gentoo Miniconf and the czech Linuxdays conference will be held on 20-21 October, while the openSUSE Conference has two extra days, so it will be held on 20-23 October

P.S.2 Thanks a lot to Joanna Malkogianni and Triantafyllia Androulidaki for the pacman banner

P.S.3 Thanks a lot to Anna Mineeva for the animated banner

Bootstrapping Awesome! Gentoo Miniconf Promo Video

I am going to Bootstrapping Awesome!

Pick one, put it on your blog, SPREAD IT AROUND!! Don’t forget the Facebook and Google+ events. Special thanks to Anna Mineeva for creating those beauties, and her boyfriend who is a gentoo user and managed to convinced her to contribute