A fortnight ago, I started my journey to Flock 2018, the Fedora Annual Developer Conference. And in the next four days, I met engineers and developers working on different parts of the Fedora Project.


RHEL + Fedora was the main theme of many of the presentations. CoreOS and Modularity were the most discussed topic. Modularity is a radical change to the way distributions work today. IoT, Cloud and Atomic workstation, rechristened as Silverblue, also got emphasis with each having multiple sessions dedicated to them.

Day 1

We started Flock with the “State of Fedora” keynote — with awesome statistics and visualizations by Matthew Miller, the Fedora Project Leader. Peter Robinson gave a wonderful overview of the Fedora IoT and the progress we are making in that direction. Dusty Mabe presented the roadmap of Fedora Cloud and Server editions and what will be its roadmap with CoreOS joining the Fedora family.

We had a second keynote by Josh Boyer and Brendan Conoboy, who talked about the relationship between Fedora, CentOS and RHEL and how are three teams working together.

Later in the afternoon, In “Advanced Ansible: Extending with plugins” Adam Miller presented some “killer” slides explaining Ansible, it’s plugin architecture and how can plugin development help customizing Ansible for our requirements.

The next was the “Fedora Infrastructure onboarding process” where Rick Elrod discuss what the Fedora Infra team does and how could we join the team and learn the processes by joining as an “apprentice”.

Day 2

On the second day, I presented a talk about the “State of SELinux in Fedora”, how are the policies designed and written in Fedora currently, how they will be impacted by modularity and a small discussion on how to secure containers using SELinux.

The outcome was several suggestions for improving the state of SELinux:

  • The most prominent of them was to make a push for keeping policies together with code, which will help the release-engineering folks to test them easily.
  • Another major suggestion was to contribute our policy files to the upstream project, so that other distributions could also coordinate on the work we do.
  • An interesting suggestion that was also suggested was to develop a tool that uses a high-level DSL and generates a targeted SELinux policy for applications. This tool mayalso generate policies for other MAC frameworks such as AppArmor. The upstream projects are more likely to accept these instead of maintaining two sets of security policies.

The talk by “Langdon White”, titled “How Distributions are Changing” demonstrated how the packaging and software distribution in different distros are evolving. The session touched flatpaks, snaps, and modules and drew a comparison among them.

In the afternoon, we had a session about CentOS infra, how they are different from the things at Fedora and how they are adopting more and more Fedora tooling.

Day 3

On the third day, I along with other GSoC and Outreachy students and our respective mentors showcased the work we did as the part of our internships. We explained our ideas, challenges and the way we overcome them.

We also had a talk on how OpenShift is being used in Fedora infra by Puiterwijk. It was an interesting discussion on how conditions are enforced in order to maintain reproducibility of the infra.

Not just all tech

Apart from all the tech talk, we had the the awesome candy night, where I brought “Sonpapdi”, a traditional Indian sweet, to the table. It was full of surprises. We got a new rating scale for the flavours Hajmola (a digestive candy), starting with TNT to the classic variant being named as the Nuclear Bomb. Other surprises were the salt chocolate and the liquorice candy from Switzerland, and the “Pulse” candy by Sumantro and Vipul.

I got the chance to appreciate the renaissance architecture of the buildings at Dresden we were hunting during our Sightseeing hunt, which involved an unexpected lot of math! (please put algorithms in place of math — it’s scary)

This was my first abroad travel and it was full of interesting experiences — it started with a delay of 5 mins at Bhubaneswar, followed by another delay of 30 minutes at Bangalore followed by a complete airport evacuation at the Frankfurt airport which resulted in an additional 4-hour delay. It was fun to click pictures and tweet about the delay along with Adam Miller, and be a reporter! :) This is definitely going to be memorable!

Computer Whisperer. Open-source contributor. Find me at https://amitosh.in/