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FUDCon Toronto 2009: Day 1, Part 1

A bit late, but finally have some time to post about the Fedora Users’ and Developers’ Conference, aka FUDCon, which was recently held in the Seneca College buildings on the York University campus, in north Toronto.

Apart from attending the Fedora Ambassador Day at Ohio Linux Fest 2008 in Columbus, this was the first ‘official’ Fedora event I’d ever attended, and didn’t know quite what to expect. There were an amazing number of people attending from across North America and quite a few from Europe as well, so I knew this was going to be a great learning opportunity and chance to contribute!

The York campus is pretty large, but well-marked and after driving around a bit I was able to locate the parking garage behind the York Lanes mini-mall. A short walk south a bit and in to the Seneca @ York building.

I happened to meet Mel Chua from the Red Hat Community Team and she got me my nametag and t-shirt. I was just in time for the barcamp pitches that would be the focus of the first day.

Wow! That was really the line for the barcamp pitches?! There must have been 40-50+ people in line, waiting to give their 30-second summary of what they wanted to present that day. I’d been to one barcamp before, but it was nothing like the size of this, and it was amazing really to see how this model can scale to a meeting with 175+ people. It was really great to put faces to names that we see on the Fedora lists and in the Fedora Weekly News beats each week. The sessions were broken down into two tracks: User and Developer. This offered a nice mixture of general to specific, novice to advanced topic sessions, and with such a variety that it would be hard to choose what to actually attend!

As people finished their pitches, they passed their one page sheets to get posted outside the room on the wall, where people could vote on the sessions. Considering each proposal that we’d heard, all the attendees placed a mark on the sessions that they thought were worth having from a broad perspective, not just what they planned to personally attend. A bit of controlled chaos here, as folks were released into the hallway to vote a couple rows of seats at a time. Next, after everyone had voted, the sessions that had the most votes were placed on another wall, into the schedule for the day! There were about 10 concurrent sessions, running 50 minutes each from 11:00 am through 6:00 pm with an hour for lunch. A lot of the sessions were team-presented, really showing the collaborative community that is Fedora, and also leveraging different and complementary skill sets that co-presenters brought to the session.

The schedule went up on the wiki, so both attendees and remote folks could see what sessions were going on in which room at what time for the remainder of the day.

We had five rooms on the first floor of the building and then another 4-5 on the second floor.

Attendees were encouraged to live transcribe the meeting on IRC channels that were set up for each room, which was an interesting way to engage remote attendees in each of the sessions. Fedora uses something called zodbot on the fedora* channels on irc.freenode.net, which allows one to record a meeting and have log files automatically output to a location where they can be linked to to more widely share. A great idea, as this essentially documents the Con as we go along through the schedule with very little effort!

Tomorrow I’ll get into the rest of FUDCon Toronto 2009 Day 1. Stay tuned!

Filed under: fedora,