Friday, October 7, 2011

FUDCon Milan

Last week end I participated to FUDCon EMEA in Milan.

This was my first FUDCon hence I did not really know what to expect from such an event, but looked forward to a great experience. 
I arrived on late Friday (could not leave work earlier, so I missed FUDPub), yet early enough to meet the first batch of Fedora friends in the Hotel hall; Christoph Wickert, Pierros Papadeas, Abdel Martinez, Gent Tha├ži (just to name a few) were all there. Meeting some people in person for the first time after months (if not years) of email/IRC communications was weird and refreshing at the same time.

I was very tired from the trip, so I tried to have some sleep but not before having a beer at a nearby restaurant with Jared Smith, Francesco Crippa, Robyn Bergeron and Federico Simoncelli

Day 1
Jared Smith started the event with an introduction talk, followed by BarCamp talk proposals. It was the first time I saw this kind of conference style in action and I realized it's a really a good way to keep the audience involved and focused.

It was very hard to choose between the great range of proposed topics. In the end, I settled for a mix of more descriptive (like Jared talk about the FPL role) and technical. In particular, I really appreciated:

  • the Boxgrinder talk by Marek Goldman, I'm sure this tool will be useful for me in the future
  • the RPM alternative packaging talk, I think there is room for improvements in package handling at the OS level
  • the talk about secondary architectures, and the plans for ARM in particular

The FUDCon group. We were a lot! 

When the talks ended we were guided in the Milan streets and metro by Jared and his clearly visible red hat. You never know when a piece of red garment will be most useful... We finally reached the chosen pizza place, named Troppapizza (translated "too much pizza"...)  and our cheerful group invaded the rooms :)

Really a lot of pizza was eaten (they continue to feed you unless your table signals everyone is full by turning a cube on the red side) along with liters and liters of beer... I'd call it successful event, yet the pizza IMHO was not at a very high standard.  The fun evening was very long and ended well beyond 1:00 AM so I decided to come back to the hotel and avoid a massive headache the next morning...

Day 2
The next day was for hackfest. I had my PC with me to see if I could participate in some random hacking, but in the end I just followed the secondary arch/ARM discussion (a very interesting, but deep and technical). We also had with some italian friends an impromptu packaging session where I was happy to show how they could build a simple rpm from scratch in few minutes.
This day, the most interesting/useful session was the Ambassadors one, were several topics about organization, reimbursements and streamlining the various procedures were discussed. I am confident the changes that will be implemented will help all the Ambassadors to better do their job to spread Fedora even more.

In terms of organization I think Francesco Crippa and his ByteCode crew did a fantastic job at preparing every details: location, catering, swag, social events were all top notch.
My expectations were mostly met, except for the hackfest session were I probably looked forward an easier way to get into areas of the Project I never participated into. I've read elsewhere this was an unusually short FUDCon, so maybe it contributed to this particular shortcoming.

All photos by Nicu Buculei

I just found out this video, featuring few nice shots including the Beefy Miracle appearance at the pizza dinner!

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