The 2012 edition of the Linux Plumbers Conference concluded recently. I was there, running the virtualization microconference. The format of LPC sessions is to have discussions around current as well as future projects. The key words are ‘discussion’ (not talks — slides are optional!) and ‘current’ and ‘future’ projects — not discussing work that’s already done; rather discussing unsolved problems or new ideas. LPC is a great platform for getting people involved in various subsystems across the entire OS stack in one place, so any sticky problems tend to get resolved by discussing issues face-to-face.
My article on FUDCon Pune 2011 appeared on opensource.com last week:
Apparently my initial submission was about 3x longer than the average article on opensource.com. I’ve covered events running up to the conference on this blog, and with the osdc article, I’ve covered the conf as well. There still might be a few things left which I’ll post about here in the coming days.
My second talk at FUDCon Pune was on Virtualization (slides) on day 2. While I had registered the talk well in advance, I wasn’t quite sure what really to talk about: should I talk about the basics of virtualization? Should I talk about what’s latest (coming up in Fedora 16)? Should I talk about how KVM works in detail? My first talk on git had gone well, and as expected for this FUDCon, majority of the participants were students. Expecting a similar student-heavy audience for the 2nd talk as well, I decided on discussing the basics of the Linux Virt Stack. Kashyap had a session lined up after me on libvirt, so I thought I could give an overview of virt-manager, libvirt, QEMU and Linux (KVM).
And since my registered talk title was ‘Latest in Linux Virtualization’, I did leave a few slides on upcoming enhancements in Fedora 16 (mostly concentrating on the QEMU side of things) at the end of the slide deck, to cover those things if I had time left.
As with the previous git talk, I didn’t get around to making the slides and deciding on the flow of the talk till the night before the day of the talk, and that left me with much less sleep than normal. The video for the talk is available online; I haven’t seen it myself, but if you do, you’ll find I was almost sleep-talking through the session.
To make it interactive as well as keep me awake, I asked the audience to stop me and ask questions any time during the talk. What was funny about that was the talk was also being live streamed, and the audio signal for the live streaming was carried via one mic and the audio stream for the audience as well as the recorded talk was on a different mic. So even though the audience questions were taken on the audience mic, I had to repeat the questions for the people who were catching the talk live.
I got some feedback later from a few people — I missed to introduce myself, and I should have put some performance graphs in the slides, as almost all users would be interested in KVM performance vs other hypervisors. Both good points. The performance slides I hadn’t thought about earlier, I’ll try to incorporate some such graphs in future presentations. Interestingly, I hadn’t also thought of introducing myself. Previously, I was used to someone else introducing me and then me picking up from there. At the FUDCon, we (the organisers) missed on getting speaker bios, and didn’t have volunteers introduce each speaker before their sessions. So no matter which way I look at it, I take the blame as speaker and organiser for not having done this.
There was some time before my session to start and there were a few people in the auditorium (the room where the talk was to be held), so Kashyap thought of playing some Fedora / FOSS / Red Hat videos. (People generally like the Truth Happens video, and that one was played as well.) These, and many more are available on the Red Hat Videos channel on YouTube. There was also some time between my session and Kashyap’s (to allow for people to move around, take a break, etc.), so we played the F16 release video that Jared gave us.
Overall, I think the talk went quite well (though I may have just dreamed that). I tried to stay awake for Kashyap’s session on libvirt to answer any questions directed my way; I know I did answer a couple of them, so I must have managed to stay up.
I had targeted the session for beginners; however I had some help from Shakthi, who conducted a session on git during the 2nd FAD and from Ramky who spoke on version control systems in the talk before mine. So I could skip a few basic things and get right on to the demo.
I didn’t really get the luxury to prepare in advance; I had in my mind what I would do in general, but got the slides and the flow ready just the night prior to the talk. Organising FUDCon wasn’t too taxing, but there are a few last-minute things that have to be done, well, at the last minute. And the presentation, etc., had to wait.
I have earlier seen students just attend sessions but not really follow up on what they were being taught. So I thought I’d make this an interactive session, inviting people from the audience to participate in the session by someone coming up on the stage and writing a .c program, someone else coming up and creating a git repo, then someone else modifying the code, doing another commit, and so on.
While I thought about this, I recalled Rusty’s session at foss.in a few years back where he did such a thing successfully. Now emulating that feat would be really difficult. People who have attended Rusty’s talks would know what I mean. He puts in hours and days for such talks. I’m sure he’d have thought about how to pull it off even if the person to come up on stage wouldn’t know how to type.
There were about 50 – 60 people attending the talk. So what I did, instead, was to ask the attendees about who knew how to write C programs, and who knew how to type fast. I called up one such attendee and asked him to write a simple ‘Hello, World!’ program.
I then called up someone else (Aditya) to commit the first version. Thankfully, the original C file did not have any punctuation in the ‘Hello, World!’ string, so the idea for the 2nd commit was ready. Once Aditya initialised the git repo and did the first commit, I modified the program output to add the comma and exclamation point and make that the 2nd commit in the git repo. I then moved on to create a new C program that prints out ‘Goodbye, World’ (we had dedicated the conference to Dennis Ritchie). This was done in a new branch called ‘goodbye’. Next was to create another branch, called ‘fudcon’, and write another C program to show ‘Hello, FUDCon’. Then a few lessons on merging, switching branches, viewing commits and logs from other branches followed. The slides have the list of commands that were shown.
The last step was to clone this repo into another local one, commit a few things there, do a push into the original repo, make some other pulls here and there, and the session participants were ready with hands-on git lessons that they could use.
I had quite a few questions during and after the session, and I even heard of people trying out the examples after the talk. So I’d call the talk/demo a success.
Things had been going on smoothly so far: banners, posters and booklets had arrived, wireless routers had arrived, the guys in charge of adding power outlets to the venue were going to arrive on time.
Jared Smith, Joerg Simon and Robert Scheck were already in Pune that day and we hosted them at the Red Hat office after lunch.
However, with just one day left for the conference, a little amount of panic set in.
We had planned to go to COEP and register the volunteers to minimise the rush on the registration counters on the first day, and also to have a brief chat with the volunteers on how the event would proceed. However, we were informed the students had classes till 1730 that day. Also, the t-shirts would have to be kept on the other side of the campus (across the road) on the 3rd floor of the building (which doesn’t have an elevator). Lugging the huge T-shirt boxes isn’t something we wanted to burden anyone with, so we decided not to do the distribution / registration that day, but call the students earlier on the 1st day. We decided on meeting at 0730 hours to register the volunteers on day 1. Satya, who was in contact with the volunteers, conveyed all these messages across.
However, I sensed a bit of agitation in Satya’s voice. Looks like she had been in touch with all the speakers landing in, and they were landing all through the night. She was then also co-ordinating with the cabs to get them to Pune (for those coming in from Mumbai). Some speakers missed their flights, some chose to hang around in Mumbai and shop around. Getting in touch with these folks became difficult, and with the cab drivers asking for details from Satya, it was clear to see what she had gone through: no sleep, and working overtime to figure out if everyone is safe and sound and coming in properly.
She wasn’t complaining, but definitely there was something wrong. She had too much to do on her plate. I’m not sure how that happened; we had delegated most of the stuff to people, but Satya somehow got caught up with volunteers, registration desk and hospitality. And all of these things got pretty active in the final days. We’ll have to keep that in mind for the next time. Satya’s been a great sport, though, and she’s ensured people got in and out of Pune on time.
A note to speakers and those whom we approved travel sponsorship for: please help us help you. Keep a phone handy and call us immediately in case of any change of plans (or delays). Please respond to all emails we send out asking for information and call us the moment something unexpected happens. Helps maintain everyone’s sanity!
Back to the action: while Prasad (PJP), Shreyank and Kashyap went ahead to the venue to set up banners, power outlets and wireless routers, the rest of us stayed back at the office, started the registration session for Red Hat speakers and attendees, handing out their badges. Things weren’t too smooth for the folks who went to the venue, either. Power had failed and they couldn’t test the wireless capabilities. The electricians adding power outlets could go on doing their work using mobile phone flash lights, though. It took a good hour and a half for the power to be restored. We worried if the event could go on without glitches…
Jared Smith: ‘Our biggest enemy is ourselves’
Sitaram Chamarty: ‘English is never going to be as precise as perl or shell. That’s my biggest problem in life.’
Joerg Simon (kital): ‘The event was really smooth. All talks started on time, with German precision. Almost feels like a German event.’ (In an offline chat with me).
Jared Smith: ‘Best FUDPub EVER!’ (on-video, off-video, in multiple locations, in multiple voices)
We’re in the final stages now, and things are mostly in place:
- Website: http://fudcon.in working fine
- People have started arriving, cabs booked for all coming via Mumbai
- A couple of them missed their flights, but they’re on their way with a new schedule
- Posters, booklet, banners printed
- Budget is under control
- Videographing set up (but will only be available for one room)
- Hotel and Guest House rooms ready for speakers coming in
- Lunch and FUDPub menus finalised
And we have an overwhelming response for the conference:
- About 50 speakers
- About 60 sessions (talks, demos, workshops, hackfests)
- Almost 500 registered attendees
- About 40 volunteers from COEP
Looks like this FUDCon is set to be the biggest in terms of attendance. We’ve had to propose a draft schedule to avoid confusion with such a huge crowd. The schedule’s put up at http://fudcon.in/program/fudcon_schedule.
- Adding power extension boards for classrooms and auditorium — scheduled for tomorrow afternoon
- Checking wifi access at venue. We have rented a few routers to boost their signals if needed (we think they’ll be needed)
- Setting up banners around the campus — tomorrow, after classes
Hmm, amidst all this, I have to find time to ready my slides and prepre for my talks. /me runs to get it done.
No, this post isn’t about FUDCon-branded currency, though we’d love to have those!
In addition to herding cats, I’m also keeping tabs on a spreadsheet that lists the various expenses we will incur and whether we’re within our allotted budget. The summary is that we’re doing fine, and are nowhere near declaring bankruptcy (yet).
Right from the start of the FUDCon planning process, Rahul and I have been sitting together, thinking of all the expenses we’d have to incur and the income sources we have. The details were computed on that spreadsheet to begin with and a few highlights were put on the FUDCon wiki. All this before we even submitted our bid. We were given a budget of $15,000 from the Fedora Project, and before we submitted our bid, we would have to be sure we could pull the event off.
Now, of course, as the event is almost upon us, we have a much better idea on things and instead of the hand-waving, we have concrete numbers.
Foremost, the folks at the College of Engineering, Pune, the venue for the event, are graciously sponsoring the auditorium as well as classrooms for the talks. They are also sponsoring the Internet bandwidth and electricity. This takes off a lot of monetary burden from the budget.
In addition to the $15,000 from the Fedora Project, groups within Red Hat Pune have given us an additional $8,000: $2000 from Red Hat GSS and $6000 by Red Hat Engineering (they initially gave us $3000, but later raised by another $3000).
According to current calculations, we’re going to be spending $19,047 out of the $23,000 that we have.
The spreadsheet has all the details, of course, but a rough breakdown is:
Travel + Stay: $8918
Swag, Banners, Posters: $4088
Those are the major categories. We’re still unsure of the local travel costs (Mumbai – Pune – Mumbai and hotel – venue as well as venue – FUDPub venue), so I’ve used some rough figures, they should get confirmed by this weekend.
We decided to sponsor speakers and volunteers’ lunch on each day, FUDPub (beer + food on Saturday) for speakers and volunteers, travel to/from COEP to FUDPub venue, and travel and stay (includes breakfast) for out-station speakers.
We have some money earmarked for infrastructure (wireless repeaters, access points, power plugs, power extension boards) that we think may be lacking at COEP.
The FUDPub budget got increased a bit recently as we had to hunt for a covered space to host it instead of in the open, as planned earlier. The rainy season may have passed, but the rains are continuing to pour in Pune. The last week has, in fact, recorded the highest rainfall for this season. Scouting for new venues has in fact been a positive thing: we now have a really great place to go to with great facilities (and food, and music, and of course, beer!). This also means we’ll have to arrange for some local transportation for ferrying the people from COEP to the FUDPub venue and back, but we believe it all is going to be worth the extra effort and money.
Running this conference is proving to be a real joy ride. It’s fun especially because of the tireless and fantastic volunteers. I’ll post about all of them in a later note. I don’t really want to distract them from their work into re-reading praises about them.
Names in bold have action items against them; please follow up with me / Rahul on progress.
13 Oct 2011
Attendees: Amit Shah, Rahul Sundaram, Kashyap Chamarthy, PJP, Saleem Ansari, Shakthi Kannan, Anurag Patel, Satya, Murty, Shreyank, Ramki
- Add COEP, Red Hat logos to banners before printing
- Suchakra on it
- Ankur Sinha on it
- Welcome letter from Jared received
- Aiming for completion by this weekend (Oct 16)
- Call for localisations — translations of blog posts?
- Website – Saleem
- Upgrade tier on hosting – site gets unavailable often
- To blog about new site and registration / talk submisison there.
- the places for stalls are identified within COEP campus
- cucoon requested for an extra room to keep the MRP items as they called them, they don’t want to carry things back and forth for 3 days
- Cucoon wants to setup Staellite Kitchen
- For heating food
- TODO: send them a final menu
- PJP to do this ASAP
- Setup Coupons for Speaker Lunches
- Another item for printing
- Wifi and power supply at COEP – Shreyank
- the only power points the audi has are near the stage
- and they have only 2 wifi access points in there.. so they say at max 30 people can be accommodated
- wifi repeaters/routers — 30K ~ cost — Get back to this.
- the rooms mostly have power points on both sides. Though we’ll need the longer extension cords along with the power strips — We have 14
- 15 amps junction box — Mr. Murthy will take a look at it on Saturday.
- Inauguration ceremony
- Some traditional welcome and opening for the event
- Talk from the director
- Begins at 8
- TODO on staurday at COEP
- Electricity checks – Shrink + Murty
- Wifi Router/ Repeater checks — Ensure things are working
- Shrink: ensure there’s a wifi signal in the rooms we will be allotted. This makes sure we only need repeaters / signal boosters or if we need to add routers too.
- Identify banner sites and sizes to be printed depending on the locations. – Rahul
- Posters need to be put around the campus
- Check for viability and setup place for satellite kitchen – PJP + Murty
- Meet Volunteer team; get them all together once for briefing – pick a suitable time – Rahul
- Need to arrange commute for people from COEP -> FUDPub
- Anurag handling FUDPub at venue
- Volunteer team from COEP to be prepped on handling outflow of people from COEP to FUDPub venue.
- Satya to talk to volunteer team about this
- 15 OCT — A sample tshirt will be provided.
- Rahul will send spreadsheet info to Murthy w/ details of international people and their travel schedule.
- Murty will arrange for cabs for Mumbai-Pune (and back) travel
- General Volunteer team meeting
- This saturday — 15 OCT 2011
- Fedora Mirror Setup
- F15, F16, Rawhide trees are synced
- Saturday(15-OCT) — to check
- Kashyap to work w/ Rahul
- 23rd is the hard date to submit for talks, etc. Here is where you need to register — http://fudcon.in/node/add/session
- As we approach final stages, we should have a draft talk schedule ready to avoid last-minute hiccups
- Should be ready about 10 days before event
- Coupons for ‘Lunch – day 1′, ‘Lunch – day 2′, ‘Tshirt’, ‘Swag’ printed and given to participants
- Still under discussion for best way to do this
- F16 release too late to produce media; instead have a computer do isotousb conversions for participants
- countdown timer for blogs?
- Saleem + Rahul to look at this.
- ₹12 per piece from Venus traders
- Kushal to get quotes
- Kushal to pick logo
- Registration desk – Satya
- users need to register during FUDcon
- Printer, power, laptop, papers and volunteers required for registration desk
- need to have coupons for ‘lunch’, ‘swag’, etc.
- FAD – Shakthi
- Two FADs now scheduled
1st on 24th Sep at RH office– done 2nd run on 8th of October at COEP
- No progress — will drop this.
Videos from the KVM Forum 2011 are being uploaded at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7C0F52E2227156B3