Flock to Fedora 2019 Trip Report

I just flew back from Flock 2019 in Budapest, Hungary, and boy are my arms tired!

Flock is the Fedora Project’s annual contributor-focused conference. This was my first time attending Flock, and I’ve only attended a handful of previous conference in general, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was also my first-ever experience presenting at a conference, and I’m not a fan of long flights in cramped seats—so I arrived for the conference with a bit of anxiety in addition to jet lag. However, sampling the local food and beverage choices helped me adjust.

I found the four days of events to be filled with interesting sessions that sometimes required difficult choices when deciding what to attend.

Based on my impression of sessions I attended and discussions in which I participated or observed, here are several topics that seemed to be generating a lot of interest and activity within the Fedora community.

Modularity: I attended talks on the topics of whether or not to modularize, mass branching/rebuilding of modules, and modularity and packager experience, as well as presenting my own talk on tools for making modules. There seems to be a general feeling that “modules are hard,” and some people are actively ignoring or avoiding modularity as much as possible. Others have been diligently attempting to make use of modules in cases where, it turns out, they shouldn’t have. So, while modularity may currently have a few rough edges around the corner cases, it’s nothing that a little documentation and user interface improvement shouldn’t take care of! Also, during the Q&A following my talk, a couple RFEs related to scratch module builds were identified and tickets (here and here) were created.

Automated Testing: I attended talks on the topics of automated build checks, gating rawhide packages, human-friendly configuration for testing and gating, and the Fedora CI objective. There are a lot of things happening to improve the quality of Fedora by automating testing and preventing updates from accidentally breaking composes. As with modules, there are still a few rough edges, but it’s real and people are actively working to make it better and easier.

IoT: I only attended the overview of IoT session on this topic, but there are many people interested in getting Fedora to run their light bulbs and the likes. I also attended the minimization talk, which has a lot of promise to make things little—and ties in well with IoT, containers, and almost everything else.

3D User Interaction: While there weren’t any sessions that specifically pertained to this topic, the most valuable benefit I found from attending Flock was the direct interaction with others in the Fedora community who I had previously known only by their IRC/FAS/e-mail user names, or seen on video conferences!

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