Fedora 24 Release Party [Post Event Report]


Furthering to our efforts of writing tests; organizing a few sessions [http://sumantrom.blogspot.in/2016/03/getting-started-with-fedora-qa-series-1.html] where one can learn about testing and we can do things together etc. All this while, it has been fun - I’ve met new people, learned things and also realized that sharing even small pieces of knowledge and experiences makes it easier for newcomers to feel welcome.

So, at one point when Fedora 24 was released, it was exciting as we were closely involved with Fedora Release validation testing [https://fedoramagazine.org/release-validation-testing-fedora/]and so wanted to put together a release party. All open source projects encourage their communities to celebrate software release and similar milestones. Ours was a simple plan - we were having a really good time learning together and we wanted to get more people to know that there is a better way to gain knowledge - by sharing and working together.

We put together a page on the Fedora wiki
[https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Release_Party_F24_Bangalore_India] and asked locals (at Bangalore) to join in [https://lists.fedoraproject.org/archives/list/india@lists.fedoraproject.org/message/7VK5TK6GOPJXIDSIRZPY5VGNMYDX7JV5/] . We wanted to show how versatile Fedora is - talk a bit about the new features in Cloud, Workstation, Server and Spins. Also, we had a small session put together to help those interested take the first couple of steps in becoming a contributor.

                                       
Enthusiastic woman participation

On Sunday, we were happy to see that around 50 individuals wanted to spend a bit of their weekend sharing our joys, our efforts and wanting to know how to become part of The Fedora Project. Got help from some of Red Hat employees and together we worked through the logistics of organizing a party.
                             
Cake cutting and ice breakers!

We started off at 1130 with celebrations and ice-breakers. A release party has a cake and we started off with cake. That said, we introduced The Fedora Project, talked about the values and also how various projects within Fedora provide opportunities to tinker with innovative ideas.
                                        
Lunch and discussions

The audience was a mix of those who were learning about Fedora and others who have been participating in the project for some time. Along with the small demos for robotics and such, it was good to see that the traditional perception around “Fedora is a Linux Operating System” was addressed.
                                      
                              
Booths and discussions

The post lunch (“pizza” - yay!) sessions included an bit of Linux history by Sachidananda. And then others came over to share how working and collaborating helped them gain confidence as well as enabled them to take on new and often complex challenges. Suraj (Deshmukh) talked about his participation in upstream projects via the Durgapur LUG(DGPLUG) and emphasized on using IRC like communication to seek solutions to vexing problems. Richa shared her journey with Wikimedia Foundation and how the Outreachy program helped her improve programming skills.

 
                                  
Arvind , Richa and Sachidananda

We had planned for some lab sessions - a hands-on for those, around 25 of them, interested to take their first steps in being a Fedora contributor. Machines were set up with Fedora 24 and we tested updates as well as some bits of Fedora 25 (Rawhide). Explaining the nature of Rawhide or, a continuously evolving release was fun too. At the end of the day we have around 70 updates tested and recorded. Some of the participants shared feedback and I’ll link to them in a later post.

                                       
The hands-on-labs!
Looking at the enthusiastic response to testing (and breaking things ;)) we will be putting together some follow-up meetings - just getting together, having fun and learning by doing things in testing. That would be a good way to understand the workings of various projects and how they interact with Fedora. Hopefully, a few contributors would also find it interesting to contribute to documentation - a lot of projects can help on-board new contributors if structured documentation and sequence of things were available.
                                        
Yeee! It was fun
I had fun. Arvind tells me that it was a good thing for him too and others present at the party had similar things to say. So, job not done yet, I guess ;) - the next step is to continue to have a calendar of small events where we do things and help make Fedora better.
                                         
Contributors earning badges!
Finally some participants spoke about their experience

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