I recently returned home from Prague, where I attended the Flock conference. In it’s second year, the Flock conference is a gathering of free software developers, most of whom work in the Fedora community. Rather than give a blow-by-blow account of every talk I attended and every conversation I had (which would be exhausting), I’ll instead focus on the highlights of the conference.
Location, Venue, and Accommodations
I was very impressed with the location of the conference. The university was within a five minute walk of the hotel, and close to several convenient tram and metro stops. The classrooms were well furnished with power connections and comfortable seats, and the larger auditoriums were big enough to handle a big crowd. The hotel was very nice as well — the lobby was spacious, which made for lots of impromptu meetings and hanging out. Getting from the airport to the hotel was super-easy as well, as was the return trip. Also, the cafeteria where we had lunch was was exceptional — the food was delicious, and the location couldn’t have been more perfect.
There were several themes that resonated with me as I attended the conference. The first was around the changes to the Fedora release products (collectively referred to as Fedora.Next) in Fedora 21 and future releases. Whereas at last year’s Flock conference there was a lot of apprehension and negativity some of the proposed changes, this year I noticed a remarkably more upbeat attitude toward the changes. There was a lot of great discussion round how to get the technical work done that’s needed in order to make Fedora 21 (and 22, and so on) a success.
The next theme that resonated with me was documentation. Maybe it’s because I was giving a talk on documentation, but I felt there was a lot more interest and cohesion around doing a better job of documenting Fedora than I saw at last year’s conference. Both my talk (on Docbook and Publican) and Jaromir’s talk on Mallard were packed, and the two documentation workshops were very well attended as well. At one point during Friday’s workshops, I counted 22 people (besides myself) in the room working on Docs. We also had several new people dive right in and start working on writing documentation, so that was great to see as well.
The third theme that I focused on was ARM processors. The support in Fedora for ARM has grown tremendously over the past couple of years. Peter Robinson’s “ARM State of the Union” talk showed just how far support for ARM has come — both in 32-bit ARM as a primary architecture and with 64-bit ARM as a secondary arch. The ARM workshop on Saturday was great too — I was able to confirm that as of the 3.16 kernel, we now support the Plat’home OpenBlocks AX3 and Mirabox as two more Marvell Armada-based devices that will work great in Fedora 21. (They both require appending the .dtb to the kernel, but other than that, they seem to be working great.)
Last but not least, it was great to have a lot of hallway discussions with friends and colleagues. I had too many discussions to be able to remember them all, let alone discuss them here on my blog, but I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with many old friends and making some new ones as well. I always look forward to opportunities to rub shoulders with so many of the fantastic people that make the Fedora community great.
Thanks to Ruth and Spot and Josh and Miro and all the other folks who worked hard to organize the conference. Thanks to Red Hat for sponsoring my flight, and thanks to my employer, Bluehost, for sponsoring the conference and allowing me the opportunity to be in Prague for the conference. Also, thanks to each one of the presenters for making Flock 2014 a great conference.