Archivo de la etiqueta: Argentina

Pondering personal outcomes from FUDCon Cordoba 2015

Traveling to the other side of the world is a basket of surprises. I can’t help to be amazed by tiny details. Having furnaces for heating, gas boilers for heating water and keys that look from a fantasy world; changed a lot my first contact with Argentina. I was no longer bothered by funny power sockets or the toilet water sniping in the wrong direction.

In some graffiti I read something like, there is no worst nostalgia like the one that come form things that didn’t happened. I longer for walking the city. At Managua is not possible, people usually think about the temperature. Managua is aggressive toward the pedestrian which has no side walk and can not expect priority crossing at an intersection. Pedestrian also have to endure this over long distances as the city is disperse. So been loose in Cordoba with so many pedestrian pass on the center was a bless. I was amazed that the city has critical mass to sustain business like bookstores, electronic stores, photo processing among others. I was jealous. Wantend to walk in every direction and see every corner. Walking 15 or 20 blocks was such an opportunity to see the architecture. Tall buildings, side to side. Managua grew flat scared from the mayor earthquake on 1972, you have few buildings to look up. My leg ached every night and woke up with cramps every morning, but I was happy.

Food took time to become something. Minimalist breakfast is not for me. Get to eat at a shopping center didn’t spark it either. But as FUDCOn satarted and I move into the hotel, they did a great job giving us different samples of Argentinian food: pizza (Argentina has a strong Italian culture due several waves on immigration), choripan (real sausage with bread) and Argentinian grill. Beto’s gave us the taste of popular food with its lomitos (big sandwiches) and french fries with egg on the side. There is also the sweet side Argentina savoring ‘dulce de leche’ and alfajores. I still do not know what to make of Fermet, a digestive drink. People suppose to love it or hate it, I am still puzzled. Street bakery giving us cheeses mandioca bread, ending up with a big bag, more that I should ate. Luckily was easy to share. Sorry Argentina, but the top prize for food was for Jared’s pancakes. He messed with me, I am now spoil. From that moment on, every single pancake will be compared to Jared’s pancakes and will fail miserable. For the rest of my life I will think of Jared when I ate pancakes.

I always saw Fedora people as special, Laura gave me a better word, they are magical. Getting to see old friends, attach a face to a email or irc nick name, get to know the people when is happy, sleep deprived, thoughtful, or silly make understand better what drives them. Beyond that as part of the project you understand better at what they are the best so you can point them as a valuable source of knowledge that I don’t have.

Energy is the most key element of the event. People recharge at FUDCon. They get recharged to keep doing the marvelous thing that they do for our beloved project. This alone I think is the most valuable gain for Fedora Project, get people ready to keep collaborating. Even better is contagious, because this people are overcharged, so when the get home the pass energy and excitement to other people.

I have to said that the recharging issue has changed for me. Either I am getting older or I am maturing as a collaborator after 8 years on the Project. Maybe is both and maybe is a good thing. Previous years I got over excited wanting to do everything. Now I got plenty on energy, but I get exited about certain stuff and not about other. Hopefully this means that I get to do fewer stuff but better, sustained, with deeper impact.

I wanted to do a lot regarding Icaro an educational robotics project. I did just a little bit. More of my attention went to 3D printing, which I hope will bring a boost to Icaro when I became proficient in printing robot parts. Again time is scarce. We did a lot of shopping for nuts and bolts, testing, and assembling for the 3D printer that it shattered my heart to dismantle it to be able to put it on the suit case. At least the care of packing paid off and everything seems fine.

Another topic that I wanted to engage was documentation. Some people struggle to write, I have to see how I keep things short. But for me, I needed better grasp of the tooling around Fedora Documentation. I have to deeply thanks to William Moreno who gave me a big push into practicing the basic of publican. During FUDCon that paid off as I have time with Jared Smith (the before mentioned pancake wizard) who help me understand some working of publican with the current version of Fedora. Some tweaks and some advises. Short time but highly valuable.

I pushed as hard as i could before the FUDCon to make space for a meeting about the future of LATAM and FUDCon. It worked out, we got the meeting, there were several ideas, some concerns were aired and some actions proposed. Not sure how this will evolve, but at least is moving. This lead to a very interesting session one on one with Remy Decausemaker. I am on board of Comm-Ops, I see that as the place that I should be helping the project. Just as now we have a partial translation of the web site What can I do for Fedora to Spanish. We should work with website team to make it fully translatable. Get a new domain in Spanish, maybe?

From the bottom of my hear I want to thanks the event owners, FUDCon game me so much. Laura who was watching over us, making sure that we were fine. Shared a systematic way of thinking that is unique to me, hope the hints that I got help me to be better at deconstructing problems. She also gave the map to the hidden paradise in Cordoba, a candy supermarket. Matias who orchestrated the event and opened his house, pick most of us at the airport and shared his quick and sharp sense of humor. Valentin gave a place to stay in Cordoba and he organized the sessions. I owe him big time for all the time, effort and money that he put into making my 3D printer a reality. I tried to repaid as much as I could his expenses, but he keep bringing more and more stuff.

There are maore people to thanks but the list of names is mixed up with nicknames and is becoming increasingly confusing who gave that special idea, that profound thought or even just sharing the highs and lows of live.

What FUDCon is really about?

The most common assumption is that FUDCon is about create user base, recruit collaborators and strength the community. But if you think about it, it is difficult to achieve all of them at the same time with high degree of success on all of them. On top of that you have great people that undertake the task of logistics, promotion and obtain sponsorship. FUDCon needs more budget to do so all that. People doing this job are subject to regular scrutiny by the community. Sometimes people ask about how preparation are going with good intention of helping, sometimes they are just curious and sometime just to complain. The local team most likely has no experience and no expertise on this kind of undertake. Also local team has no idea of how budget has to be handled, as nobody has explained to them. On top of that there is a overhead cost for event owners for running the event: crossing the city to meet potential sponsors, paying gas, taking time off from work. Most likely all those expenses are not reported and not reimbursed. So, obviously, high performance on three different areas becomes more challenging when you take into account the context like people demanding information, radinness, and your own hability to pay your share for the event.

But really, What FUDCon is really about?
There is no common agreement on this at the region level, just a fussy idea. There is no clear direction from any stakeholder higher up on the Project. Maybe, will be better to say stakeholders with a more community wide role. This is kind of crazy, because it is impossible to give an idea of success if there is no clear direction.

Create user base.
From my stand point, creating user base is a long process that requires long time effort of guidance and nurturing. It can be boosted by a spectacular conference, but will require follow up anyway. Having said that, I think that every FUDCon is an amazing collection of stars. As a new friend said, Fedora people is magical. But I will not said they are all rock stars, as we have a very rich collection of bachata, nueva trova, cumbia, reggae, bossa nova and so other marvelous musics talents. Well not me, because I suck at music.

Seriously, we have the best talents of the region in one place, but we are talking about virtualization and robotics, graphical design and network monitoring, software translation and 3D printing. If we fall asleep on conferences, is not only about jet lag and after hours hacking, it is also that none of us can really follow all those diverse topics. We should think how to better organize and categorize topics, so we can reach niches where we could boost user base that has been seed before the event.

Recruit Collaborators
From my stand point, the way to recruit collaborator is to push into the water people that is looking into the pond. You can get people in the water to make more laps, true. You can get people on the water to try a different styles, also true. But we need new people, to have a healthy communnity means people comes and goes. Definitely will be bad if you drag someone from far away into the water. Trying to get people from zero to collaborator in three days is non sense.

The key point is to identify those people that are proficient on Linux using git, ssh, rsa, ftp, vim and all the rest of letter soup and show them things that they can and may like to do for Fedora. Maybe you can find people creating amazing software and invite them to package their software to be part of Fedora repos. This is a task for the local team, and they need time to focus on find them. What local team from the rest of the Project is the people that can teach the ropes, can provide credentials and even have a showcase of a example to fast forward the entire process, so people that will become collaborators have a wide view of the task, while they engage in small steps.

Let me spell it out clearly how I see it. We should sponsor people that have the talents and credentials to guide people into collaborating to the project if we are going to recruit collaborators. We should provide time, space and resources to deploy this guidance. Bad internet at small hotel is not good for this. A noisy corner at the back of the conference room is not good either. We need hacking space.

Strength the community.
Community is the key word. We get together, we do stuff, we share and we recharge energies to keep doing more stuff. The problem with this is how to measure success on recharging people’s energies? Preaching to the choir it is not the best way to do it, although some times may be good for sharing. We need to hack the community. We need to plan how to conquer the world and then eat cookies (or alfajores). This activity need time to debate and discuss, write proposals. Probably we need to select people with certain skills related to community building to be there.

Energy is contagious, one people traveling will share experience when returns to his or her local community and pass on the good vibe. Swag is a way of making this more tangible, but it is not required.

The silver-lining.
You can not engage in any of these activities without having certain impact on the other categories. If you make an event for recruiting collaborators, you will get some spill out on creating user base and most likely you will help to strength the community. So picking which you will focus does not entirely cancel positive effects on the other areas. Focusing on one or two, creating a new style of running the event, will always have good effects on those areas that we choose not to engage directly. Simplifying the event, will make life easier for local team and improve performance.

The horrible true.
I may be wrong. I am operating on the general paradigm of FUDCon which lacks direction. So, if we start asking about what FUDCon should be about, we can end with other expectations from the event. Hopefully with clear objectives. Hopefully with a better way to reward people that made FUDCon possible.

Our debt to FUDCon event Owners
All people attending to FUDCon gave a lot of hugs and thanks to organizers. Would be nice a pat on the back form major stake holders of Fedora Project thanking them for their effort and commitment. So, if you didn’t have the opportunity to attend to FUDCon Cordoba 2015, please drop a line and say thanks, they deserve it.