FUDCon Live: Status

A while back i posted a call for volunteers for a new concept for FUDCon, which i called FUDCon Live. Not surprisingly, i didn't get an overwhelming number of raised hands, since i think this is a new concept that not many people get. Instead, i think we should restructure the planning just a bit.

There are a couple elements to this idea. The first is having an organized #fudcon-room-* channel for each physical space we have, complete with a meetingbot instance and any other tools people might want to use. Depending on the kind of session, running gobby and other tools will also go along way to helping things along. I'm assuming the people on the ground can help out here because they know what the rooms are. Setting something up like this is pretty low level work.

The second element is the logger. This is someone in each session who is recording the conversation and taking notes via IRC. He's (or a she, but i think FUDCon is still mostly attended by guys) also taking comments from IRC and repeating them to the group. This requires making sure there are enough volunteers. This also means making sure someone is tracking who the volunteers are and are enforcing enough typing breaks. Having done this before, i can tell you it can be stressful to do this for an entire day. Yes, you're a nerd, yes, you type all day, but you don't type at this pace for long stretches. Finally free drinks are involved, anyone who volunteers gets a beer (or other beverage, or well any other reasonable consumable if you don't drink) from me, as a thank you.

The third element is you. To make this worthwhile, you will need to interact with it. If you're at home, use it to follow that session you really wanted to see. Ask questions. If you're at FUDCon, hang out in channels to follow two sessions at once. Find out if there's a session more interesting than yours. Use the extra information to decide where to be. Finally, provide feedback. Let us know how it worked out.

The last element is the organisation. Since i only got a couple of volunteers so far, i want to do things a bit differently. This should solve a few issues all at once. Let's take a page out of Google's playbook. At the Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit, as part of each presentation, the guy running the session was required to ask for a volunteer to log the session. Let's take this route. For everyone giving a session, before you begin, find a volunteer in the room. There's a good chance that someone in the room already has an emotional investment in the session and will be willing to document things. One of the organizers (the original volunteers) will make sure to monitor the channels and update the wiki after each session. This way we know who's been volunteering.


Apologies in advance

Apparently Adam Williamson thinks my Glögg recipe should be nominated as the new QA drink. When Fedora 13 doesn't work as well as Fedora 12, you all have my apologies. It will have been my fault.


Since Nicu got us started with a meme about mulled wine, i bit the bait and decided to throw in my own recipe. Keep in mind, what Nicu said about coding after having one or two cups of this applies three fold for my recipe. Anyone who knows me knows not to drink my mulled wine unless they aren't planning on driving for the next three days. That's because my favourite technique is based on the Swedish variant of mulled wine known as Glögg. Anyone who knows a little drink called Glühwein, this is definitely not it. Glühwein is for kids in comparison. So without further ado.

I can't show this with the same fancy pictures nicu had, but the recipe is more or less the same. If nicu wants to make a cartoon version of me getting wasted off this stuff, that would be awesome, but if you need the ingredients, just follow his recipe and add the couple of things i throw in. If you don't know what an orange looks like, you'll have to use your imagination.

1 Orange, washed, preferably locally grown or organic so you know it's not covered in pesticides, you need the rind.
Cinnamon sticks
Whole cloves
A couple of table spoons of brown sugar or even molasses to taste.
1 Bottle of whiskey or brandy, Wild Turkey won't cut it, get a bottle that costs more than 5 bucks.
1 Bottle of port, find the nicest port you can afford, go down one notch, and get that one instead.
1 Bottle of an adequate red table wine. Bum wine and Liebefraumilch just won't cut it.

For true glögg, you really need cardamom in the pods. I feel a bit rude calling this drink glögg, but i've never had any cardamom around to try it with. After a few sips, you won't care what it's called. Swedes also like to add sliced almonds and raisins to the drink. I like my drinks with as few things floating in them as possible. If you like bobbing things in your drink, i highly recommend it, because it tastes good.

You start by dumping the contents of the bottle of wine into a big pot, adding the cinnamon sticks, the cloves, and the orange rinds. Put it over a low heat and slowly bring up the temperature. At no point should it ever boil, and if you see bubbles forming, lower the heat a bit. While mulling over the wine, the universe, and the essential meaning of life, enjoy a nice orange. Once the wine is warm, add a bit of the sugar or molasses so it can loosen up in the heat. If you use sugar, the goal is to have it very slowly caramelize.

Then add the port and the brandy or whiskey. Add the rest of the sugar, do a taste test to make sure it's not too sweet. Continue to let it mull for a while over the flames. Make sure the flavor from the spices and orange peel are infused, but don't let the hard alcohol mix in too too much. It's a trick of timing where you know that the spices are infused enough to add the hard stuff. If you let the harder stuff infuse too far, then you won't taste the alcohol.

Finally, when the taste is just right, and half the pot is gone from taste tests, remove it from the flame and serve warm. [Insert cartoon of loupgaroublond completely off his rocker.]


Too many irc channels

I'm going to be dropping a few IRC channels, since i've realized i rarely pay attention to them, and they are distracting during work hours. If you're looking for me, there's always a million and one ways to reach me. Just letting those people know, in case they wonder why tab completion on my name doesn't work anymore.

RPM Database Corruption issues

Today i noticed that i was having issues with Yum and RPM on my work machine. It's running a fresh install of Fedora 12, so it's most likely something just weird and out of the ordinary happened. It probably had to do with yumex hanging and then killing it by hand. Fixing it was simple for me. I realized that the problem was most likely corruption, one google later, i knew which files to delete (and backup first) and what to do to rebuild the RPM database. Woot, everything back to normal.

This is a big fail whale. It has nothing to do with the coding skills of any of the RPM, Yum, or Yumex maintainers, and i'm pretty sure between them and the PackageKit guys, they've gotten more than a life's share of flames and trolls already. This is a failure, because if i were the average user, say my dad, after smacking the keyboard once or twice to get yumex to continue working, i would have restarted the machine. Then i would be just as stuck.

From where i see it, telling someone to try to rebuild their RPM database on the command line is error prone and coudl just make things worse. Fortunately, the process itself is pretty simple. You backup some files, delete them, and run rpm --rebuilddb. The entire process should just work, so long there aren't bigger failures. From the perspective as a sysadmin, i know that if the RPM database is broken on a server, then chances are other bits, like package headers could be missing or corrupted too. Running such an operation as a knee-jerk reaction would be wrong. On a desktop though, that chance is there, but there's also a better chance that the database got corrupted due to something such as a power outage, or a well placed boot up the computer's sphincter. Such a process, including said backup, would be relatively non destructive if presented in a 'recovery toolkit' of sorts for the end user. Especially, perhaps, if there was a way to verify that the package headers were intact from the last known good configuration.

So in all seriousness, when these things go wrong, how can we offer an option to the user to try and recover the system?

Can haz Fedoar 12?

Fedora 12 is out, and i'm already installing it. Once again, another release goes by and i'm wishing i could have done alot more to help out. There's alot of things i certainly could have been doing if only i made more time for it. Well, there's always Fedora 13 to focus on.

Since i always tell people that Fedora should be just as good as Debian when doing live upgrades, i think it's time to give it a test. At the moment, my system's installing the 2026 packages needed to upgrade my system. All that XZ goodness is definitely coming in handy. Even if Dutch internet is notoriously fast. At work i've contributed some serious bandwidth to seeding torrents. Unfortunately, my computer only has a 100mbit connection to the network so i cannot even try to saturate the network without some serious forethought. Still, if you're in the Netherlands, be sure to try using a torrent, because there's a good chance you'll get a damn fast connection from Utrecht. I just hope my computer isn't a smoking pile of rubble from all that torrenting when i go back to work on Thursday.

In a completely unrelated note, Jan Wildeboer wins the Silly Dutch Word of the Day Award. Rijksoctrooiwet. It's a national legal body.

Get to know a Fedora Contributor

Name: Yaakov M. Nemoy

IRC Name: loupgaroublond

Channels: #fedora-ambassadors #fedora-haskell #fedora-nl #fedora-unity #fedora-devel #fedora-admin #fedora-science #fedora-bacon #fedora-social #smolt #haskell #xmonad #wplug #unixnl on freenode, #dyne #freej-devel on dyne, #eth0 on eth0, #piratenpartij on piratpartiet

About Me: Fedora Ambassador, Packager, Hang Arounder and No Good Doer.