18 February 2011

Romanian Fedora community at crossroads

By the official numbers there are 9 Fedora Ambassadors for Romania, this sounds like a healthy number but: some of them I know nothing about, from some didn't hear in more than a year, some are busy with life, some working exclusively on derivative distros, some left the country and some left the country with a paid job on a competing distro... Also, I am not an Ambassador, so not included in the list above. Yet.

We had our little Romanian Fedora community in Bucharest: two ambassadors (one contributing code and packaging, another focusing mostly on our own infrastructure) and me, having a hand in many things. We are joined at times by an Ambassador from a far-away city (he works mostly in localization) and another Ambassador from Bucharest disappointed enough by Fedora to become a CentOS refugee and contributor. Not big, but I can say we are friends and were able to to some things: organize release parties, represent Fedora at event and conferences, work with other organizations, maintain a website with news and user support (forum)... in a word be visible. All this while having a lot of fun.


What's our status now? Well... one of us left the country to work on a competing commercial distro, one will leave the country in a few days and will get probably swamped with work at a new job, one as I said before, moved completely to CentOS and the other was promoted and is also swamped with work. Soon the community in Bucharest will be left only on my shoulders, me who I also am quite disgruntled and wondering what to do for the future, with Fedora being less and less the distro and the community we all knew, loved and contributed to.

I am looking forward and those are the options I see:
  • do nothing, continue by inertia and leave the things to evolve naturally. If there will be a genuine need, people will come and help "make it", if not, let it die by natural death, it was not needed;
  • reborn, find somehow the needed energy (I am really empty by now) to raise awareness and recruit new contributors, inject new enthusiasm, make friends, get exciting things happen;
  • give-up, acknowledge "they" destroyed Fedora, acknowledge my friends already left or are far away, I can't "make it happen" and go away, where the life will lead on.

So, not trying to be overly dramatic, what should I do? Why? I am sure other people from the community passed trough similar times and may be helpful to learn about their experience.

PS: this is not and invitation for other community distros to try to "recruit" me


A better home for our LUG videos

After enough troubles with video hosting services we decided to take our destiny in our own hands: we have the infrastructure, don't have to be held hostages.

So I imported (manually...) the archive in the new site, videos from December 2009 until today, a total of 51 recordings, summing 11.3 GB, all available freely in free formats (Ogg Theora) in the Media category of the ProLinux website (or under the video tag, if you fancy that).

Now it the time to assume my deserved blame: 3 months are missing from the archive - May 2010 when due to life happenings I simply forgot about editing and uploading the videos (sources are available, will do it at a later time), August 2010 when I misses the monthly meeting (was at a Metal festival, out of the city and unable to record) and November 2010, when again due to life happenings, I didn't record the meeting, even if I attended. Sorry.

And for the future I will take more care with encoding, not relying on external services will try not to strain our resources too much, compress more aggressively and save storage space and bandwidth for everyone. Of course after the Firefox 4 release (it that will ever happen :p ... it was delayed so much...) will investigate moving to WebM for video delivery.

Enjoy the viewing! (of course, all the content is in Romanian)


16 February 2011

Feeds and aggregation

I wonder if the invention of a censorededited version of Planet Fedora is an invitation for the rest of us to open the content gates for everything on the "normal" planet.

Hmmm... should I start by posting a few Fedora-related photos (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) and then see where it goes? My fingers are itching so bad...

PS: I have no intention to apply to the new aggregator (it seems you have to apply and be approved)

Video woes / February RLUG meet

I know people wait for me uploading the videos from the February RLUG meet and I am delaying more than usual but is not my fault!, all the blame is on crappy video hosting services, especially blip.tv.

When you upload video presentations from your Linux User Group you obviously want them in a Free format and playable out-of-the-box on a Linux box, so Flash-only is not a solution, YouTube is not a solution until they will have guaranteed WebM delivery (I upload there HD videos, they are still Flash-only)... the best solution seems to be blip.tv, but it fails the expectations very often.

I complained it in the past when the frustration was big enough, then it worked for a while and now again it does not work: quickly after the meet last Thursday I started editing and uploading and by Friday everything was up... but queued for Flash conversion, without what playback is almost impossible. In the past when the conversion failed, it failed after a few hours, this time they are stuck: waiting in the queue and nothing happening.


I did wait, one, two, three, four days... until it was enough and wrote a ticket to the support system, asking about the status (remember, the conversion was, and still is, queued, not failed, not successful, not anything). Of course my ticked was closed as solved with the following resolution:
Hey Nicu,

We're huge fans of free software and OGG in particular. We're very much looking forward to the day when a majority of Web video is encoded using free tools like OGG.

That said, unfortunately, blip doesn't offer any active support for .ogg or .ogv conversion to Flash. It works sometimes, but not always. We use ffmpeg and ffmpeg2ogg for conversion to an intermediary format, and from there to Flash. Unfortunately it's hit or miss.

Until we have a reliable OGG/OGV transcoding solution (and we're working on it) you're probably better off uploading MOV, WMV or FLV files as your "primary" format. You can still upload OGG/OGV files as an "alternate" format so that people using GNU/Linux can watch in that format if they choose.


Thanks for nothing! Sweet talk and no action - they didn't even look at the files, they are still "queued", it was a standard answer (and is true the Theora tools sucked always, that's why the format pretty much failed).

But enough with apologies, I have to deliver something, surely people are waiting... what can I do is to link directly to the OGG sources on blip.tv, people will be able to see them with a competent browser and blip.tv won't receive full page views and ads display... sorry, they let me with no choice.

So the February RLUG meet was again hosted by ROSEdu in the Universitatea Politehnica Bucuresti and we had a number of talks:
And, of course, there is a photo gallery from the event, hosted as usual on our Fedora local website.

Since I was lazy enough not to prepare formal slides, under the excuse my presentation were live demos, showing applications in use, I feel I needed to deliver more, so as they were short enough (remember, lightning talks), I also uploaded them on YouTube: Entangle, MeMaker.

I have no idea what to do with my videos next month, suggestion welcomed.

15 February 2011

Mischief: how it's made

Now that Nihed published his own FOSDEM 2011 photos is a perfect opportunity for me to steal one of them and use it as a "making of" poster for my own stuff, how mischief is dealt and then shared.

ph34r teh 3v1l gr1n!

Thanks Nihed!

11 February 2011

Bye Nokia, it was a fun journey

My current phone is a Nokia, my previous phone was a Nokia, in fact all my mobile phones so far were Nokias. My next phone will not be a Windows Phone. I think is the time to say goodbye, Nokia is not any more the company I trusted and willing to make business with.

There is a good part here, now I am pretty sure my next phone will be Linux powered and way more open. Thank you Nokia for driving me to Android, which most likely will be the OS of my future phone. And thank you Nokia for helping me to stop crave for a MeeGo device.


08 February 2011

After FOSDEM 2011

I need revenge! Biertie stole my thunder and taking advantage of my rest after the travel back home he posted first the group photo from the FOSDEM finale. I must take revenge on him... maybe searching one embarrassing picture of him from the event? Let's try:


Or should I take revenge on the rest of the world, with a "behind the scene" picture from the event? Let's try that too, this was the world behind the desk of out booth:

But anyway, it ended, so we departed in (crocodile?) tears:

If you want more pictures showing the FOSDEM 2011 story, I have this full gallery with unedited photos (too many for my time, trying now to put on some with food and the city).

06 February 2011

Keysigning madness

This is keysigning madness: everyone signs with everyone:


Crossdistro talk @FOSDEM

Three community leaders, representing from left to right Debian, Fedora and SUSE in a talk about disto collaboration:


OLPC + Fedora + FOSDEM

We have an OLPC at tge FOSDEM Fedora booth, so this shoot was pretty much obligatory:


Transnational Republic

Temporarily, the Fedora booth at FOSDEM is hosting an office for releasing identity cards for the citizens of the Transnational Republic



Of course I have to have mine too:

And now I am a transnational citizen.

Come to get your too :)

FOSDEM 2011 day 2

The second day of FOSDEM started, our awesome ambassadors are in positions doing their job, I am trying to sort and send some photos and plan for more posts covering the event... some of them will really, really disappoint people but... theey will make other people happy.


05 February 2011

Survival guide for FOSDEM

To survive in Belgium you basically need two things: the first one is fries:


and the other one is trapist beer:

...oh wait, I think I got the order wrong! But important is that many survived...

The Girls of Fedora

Mwahahaha! I hope my centerfold-sounding evil title attracted many eyes, so I can point from a big soap box to the anti-girl scouts roaming around at FOSDEM in Brussels:

girls of fedora

Sudden Death?

I have only two comments about this picture taken at the FAD yesterday, before FOSDEM started:

  • for those who don't speak Frech, "mort subite" means "sudden death"
  • i was assured by a trusty voice it won't be sudden, but long and painful :)
mort subite

To the FOSDEM 2011

I should start by acknowledging I prepared myself for FOSDEM, to fit the new Fedora target audience, as I should also acknowled at the time I was not (yet) intoxicated in any way.


Traditionally, any FOSDEM start for Fedora in the same place, the "A La Mort Subite" pub, doing the same thing, a FAD:

The FAD was telling, is interesting to see all the ambassadors acknowledging they are not happy with the current Fedora state, is good to se ideas and possible solutions. Things may happen.

Also a traditional thing to do is a dinner together before the, also traditional, beer event:

Of course the beer event is, as every year, of epic proportions:

And of course we had the best of time:

Today morning FOSDEM started officially:

But not before our team has set a nice booth:

Stay tuned for more stories and photos... brief during the event since is busy around here, but more in detail during the next week.

02 February 2011

Nicu at FOSDEM 2011

I am looking forward to the upcoming FOSDEM conference at the end of this week, there will be present a large Fedora group, mostly Ambassadors (including my Greek roommates) but also a large Romanian group, mostly from ROSEdu, so plenty of people to hang with.

What I will be doing here? A lot of photography, of course... and as I am still crazy about my new wide lens, most of them will be bad, using that lens in the most inappropriate situations and screwing opportunities. I will also available talk with those interested about the bad state and direction of Fedora and the things that make me, and everyone else I know, unhappy about it. If anyone will want to find me, I will probably roam around the Fedora booth, but not serving at the booth, as I am not a full Ambassador, nor someone that will talk now only in superlatives about the distro.

fosdem 2011                   give back fedora

What I won't do there? >No activities involving the Fedora Design Team, still, I may be available for general graphics stuff (however, no more bribery) and, if needed, may be available for some design tasks for "the revolution".

PS: I heard some rumours about people wondering about me during the Tempe FUDCon, if anyone is curious, I was home over that week-end taking photos (they should be able to know how to reach my other blog for them).

01 February 2011

Viva la Revolucion

Shamelessly stolen from Kital:


Second part this week-end in Brussels. I promise way more pics >:)