Flock 2017

This was my second Flock conference. The last Flock I attended was in 2014. This time it happened in CapeCod, MA, US from 29th August to 1st September. This Flock was also a nice experience.

This time there was no keynote session (as per schedule and also as told on flock-planning list) but the only first talk for day 1 was “Fedora State of the Union” from Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller.

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He talked about history of Fedora releases their usage, downloads per release in graphs. One of the graph showed number of IP connections to Fedora update servers is getting increased per release, another graph Geologic Eras of Fedora showed which Fedora release series was used most by users. He then given importance that Fedora Atomic CI and Fedora Modularity are the upcoming development in Fedora.

I attended some talks and Do-sessions from which I will write here for few of them.

Workshops

I attended workshop on “Become a Container Maintainer“. This was a very useful workshop. I have been doing a package reviewing for many years now. Fedora project added namespaces in PkgDB which enabled containers, modules which made adding containers and modules easy in Fedora. For the last few months I found few Container specs that is Dockerfiles have been submitted for reviews.  I was interested in trying reviewing few of Containers but did not get time but after attending this workshop, I got to know few concepts that Fedora has introduced while writing Dockerfiles for Fedora containers. During workshop we formed a group of 2 peoples and asked to write a Dockerfile for whichever software we want to containerize. Then our dockerfile has been given to another group for review. This was very helpful exercise. Hopefully I will look more into Container guidelines and try reviewing Dockerfiles getting submitted to Fedora. Thanks to Adam Miller and Josh Berkus for such a nice workshop.

Another workshop I attended was “Atomic Host 101“. For this workshop Dusty already provided needed lab files and images that I already downloaded day before. So it was easy start for me for this workshop. Dusty first gave introduction to Atomic concept. The workshop was divided into parts. Starting with preparing for this workshop as part0 to containerizing applications as part05. If someone want to follow this workshop stepwise then start with this blog post. This workshop provided how to use rpm-ostree commands, few things about container storage, how one can upgrade or rollback atomic host, some commands to try the experimental features Atomic is providing currently.

Talks

One of the talk I attended was “New Container Technologies” where Dan Walsh presented about new things coming for Containers. He discussed about Open Container Initiative (OCI) which is designing open standard for containers, Skopeo project which provides pulling container images from remote registries, images information. Then he discussed about image signing goals, System containers which can be installed by atomic command where skopeo is used to pull image and ostree to store image layers on disk. Then he discussed about standalone containers, container image development tools buildah. Then he gave some introduction to CRI-O project and shown some kpod tools which is management tools for CRI-O. This was one of the good session to know what development is happening for containers currently.

Another talk I attended was “Automate Building Custom Atomic Host with Ansible”  where Trishna Guha talked about architecture of Atomic host, conventional way of 8 steps on how to compose own tree. Then she explained how this much 8 steps work can be simplified with the usage of Ansible. With the use of Ansible it become already easy to deploy things now.

Conference Organization

This time Flock was organized differently that mean specific topic wise tracks. These tracks were having a mix of Do-Sessions and Talks (and 2 hrs lunch break daily). I like the concept of such schedule but then I saw some advantages and disadvantages. The advantage I saw that 2+ hours Do-Sessions proved to be very productive. As it was for longer duration and covered the given topics in detail, the attendees got that topic learned in detail. But for few such sessions there was another parallel good talks were going that I could not attend. The point I want to say here is that if there are only talks in parallel then one can choose one and skip others and can watch video later. But when you need to choose between one 2 hours workshop vs one or few talks then it becomes difficult. Also, one can say here that I can just attend workshops and watch videos of talks later but then you will loose chance to listen to the session presenter and if you got some queries then you can resolve it at the same time in the talk session.

Final words

Overall Flock was a nice experience. All we saw people were talking about these words only Atomic, Containers, Modularity. One of the good thing was the session “Advertise your session” on first day where I got a chance to see every session owner and also got to know about what they have planned for their session. Another good thing was on last day, last session where people talked about what they achieved and what they have planned for future. Also, first 3 days were having 2 hours of lunch break which really proved good to discuss some topics with other Flock attendees. Keep these things for next Flock also.

My suggestion for future Flock conference will be to keep only talks in parallel for say 2 or more days and rest of day workshops or daily morning session talks and post lunch workshops but not to mix them.

I want to thank to Flock organizing committee for such a nice selection of hotel and conference venue. I liked it much. Also thanks to Red Hat for sponsoring my air travel to this Flock.

 

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