Sunday, December 6, 2009

Future FUDCon Hackfest Request

I blame Mel Chua for any and all noise that results here. I'm a long time Fedora user, a Software Developer in the real world, and FUDCon just happens to be in Toronto this year. This was obviously too good an opportunity to pass up, so I ended up meeting a ton of awesome Fedora people, attended some neat sessions, committed my first patch, and ended up signing up for Planet as well (hopefully this worked). I also made the mistake of talking too much in IRC and getting roped into more stuff.

So the pertinent IRC discussion was about Packaging. Yaakov and Rex ran a good intro to Packaging during the Saturday sessions, but Mel mentioned in IRC on Sunday the idea of a packaging hackfest at future FUDCons. As a user that wants to learn to package, I have to say that I think this is an outstanding idea. Even after going through the packaging session, I'm mostly aware that there's a ton of documentation that I need to read before I really attempt much packaging on my own. Sitting down with a proven packager or two and going through the creation of a bunch packages to get used to the workflow. On the other side, the proven packagers can get some practice going through package reviews.

Now, obviously the packages aren't all going to get reviewed on the same day, they may not even be up to snuff to ever get included in Fedora, but certainly the experience would vastly accelerate the learning curve to end up as a productive packager. Mel mentioned this in IRC, and I wholeheartedly agree that it would be great to make packaging something that new people look at and go "holy cow, my 1st package was such a great experience that I want to do a 2nd one."

Now there's a couple obvious needs to pull this off at a future FUDCon:
  1. You absolutely need patient, experienced packagers to attend this hackfest and mentor the packager candidates.
  2. You need a list of relatively low-hanging fruit to package up during the hackfest. Fonts was one suggestion of an 'easy' package that provides lots of candidates without too much complexity to deal with. Another idea was to work as a group towards some kind of packaging goal (e.g. all of the components and dependencies for Zikula)
  3. Find homes for these nascent packagers within the existing packaging community so they don't fall off the radar after FUDCon
I'll be looking for this at the next FUDCon, attending for sure if I haven't figured out this packaging thing on my own by then.


  1. Ok, this looks like it's starting to gain traction; Fedora Classroom says we could do an entire "Learn To Package" theme week, with a different class each day teaching the same skills (packaging) with a different set of packages.

    That way we could do things like "You're interested in packaging fonts? Come on Monday? Educational software? Tuesday! Web frameworks? Wednesday!" and so forth - get folks from the different groups/SIGs/upstreams interested.

    But we need to figure out how to learn and teach packaging effectively online first, before we scale. Are you on the Classroom list? I think we're going to try to start the conversation there... ping me on IRC (mchua) sometime?