A couple weeks ago I was in Montreal for PyCon 2014. It was an amazing conference, but I was also glad to have some time to explore the beautiful city that is Montreal.
On Thursday (2nd day of tutorials) I didn’t have anything scheduled conference-wise, so I met up with my friend and long time Ubuntu contributor John Chiazzese (IdleOne). We’ve worked together online on Ubuntu for several years, and even both lived in the same area at the same time at one point, but we never managed to meet. My love of zoos landed us at the Montreal Biodome, housed in a former Olympic building.
The Biodome takes you through 4 different environments where they have mini-ecosystems for each and animals that populate the zones. The lynx were a big draw for me:
The river otter was also quite adorable and looking for attention. I also quite enjoyed the monkeys! And the penguins!
One of the evenings after the conference I joined a few of my colleagues to see And Then There Was Light sound and like show at the Notre Dame Basilica, not far from the convention center.
As a fan of historical religious buildings, I was eager for my chance to walk around the basilica as a tourist. The “sound and light show” portion of the show was a bit cheesy, giving folks a history of the French colonists and the basilica itself, but we had fun. Afterwards, we had 15 minutes to walk around and take photos, hooray!
Once they had pulled up the curtains used during the show, the interior did not disappoint. The alter in particular was spectacular:
I was also exposed to a lot of great food in Montreal, only a fraction of which I could eat. I had unfortunately fallen ill just before my trip and was on a strict bland diet – no red meat, no alcohol, no fatty foods. In a city full of steakhouses, wine and cheese this was a special kind of torture, but it did allow me to explore the menus beyond what I might typically order (and I did cheat a bit with the cheese). I ate a lot of chicken, fish and vegetables.
I was fortunate to have decent walking weather during most of the trip, but as the event wound down I found the chilly weather coming back, I even hear that there were some flurries the day after I left. Montreal is great, but was nice to be on my way back to California when the snow returned!
More photos from my tourist adventures in Montreal here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157643982902633/
Tomorrow the next Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS) release comes out, 14.04, development code name Trusty Tahr. In preparation, I was putting together some materials for our release event next week and found myself looking for the Tahr artwork when I remembered that it was included in the installer. So now I’ll share it with you as well!
I haven’t found an svg version of this logo, but I’ll be sure to update this post if I do.
Thanks to Tom Macfarlane of Canonical for emailing me a copy of the svg version! You can get a copy here.
Looking for something slightly different? The Xubuntu team also included a tahr in our installer, created by Simon Steinbeiß:
This png has transparency, which make it show grey on white, but you can flavor it with any color you wish!
Enjoy! And happy release everyone!
As I mentioned in my post about the PiDoorbell workshop, this past week I attended my first PyCon in beautiful (if chilly) Montreal, QC. I did some touristing, but I’ll write about that once I have all my photos up…
But now, the conference!
It was the first conference I’ve attended where I volunteered to help out with the HP booth. I was worried that my role as an engineer on the OpenStack project would leave me completely unprepared to answer questions about HP specifically, but I was instead greeted with kinship among most folks who I spoke with as they could appreciate HP’s investment in open source (and Python). I was also pleased to learn that the guys from the local HP office who came to help out with the booth were also all engineers, focused on either network or printing. Having the actual engineers to helped design the hardware we had on display at the booth was really cool.
Plus, I’m sure it helped that we have a bunch of open Python, OpenStack and other cloud jobs, so plenty of folks were eager to hear about those.
I wasn’t at the booth all weekend, I attended all the keynotes and several talks throughout the event. I think my favorite talks ended up being Track memory leaks in Python by Victor Stinner, Subprocess to FFI: Memory, Performance, and Why You Shouldn’t Shell Out by Christine Spang and In Depth PDB by Nathan Yergler. Upon reflection this makes sense given my work in ops, I’m much more likely to be debugging Python code in my typical day than writing something, so the talks about tracking down problems and performance issues are right up my alley.
The keynotes all three days were great. On Sunday I was particularly struck by the conference gender diversity. In addition to having a reported 1/3 female speakers and attendees, all the leadership in the Python community seem genuinely dedicated to the issue. I’m so used to projects that are still arguing over whether a problem exists let alone taking solid, unapologetic steps to correct the cultural bias. So thank you Python community, for giving us an opportunity to catch up, it’s working!
And finally, since I can’t go anywhere anymore without getting pulled into an OpenStack event, I finally met Dana Bauer from Rackspace this week and she invited me to come help out with a short OpenStack workshop for women on Sunday morning from 10 until noon. The lab they had set up didn’t quite work out, but it gave attendees the opportunity to go in the direction they wanted to. I was able to help a bit here and there, and James E. Blair gave a mini-presentation to a few folks on how to get going with DevStack.
At lunch I was able to meet up with Tatiana Al-Chueyr to chat some about the contribution workflow for OpenStack, which is always a lot of fun for me.
I’m pretty much exhausted from all the socializing, but as always with these conferences it was great to meet up with and chat with friends I haven’t seen in a long time. Thanks to everyone for such a fun week!
Tonight the weather started to turn chilly again, time to head home.
The release of Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) LTS is coming up on Thursday, April 17th!
To celebrate, the Ubuntu California team in San Francisco will be hosting an Ubuntu release party at AdRoll! Huge thanks to them for offering us space for this event.
AdRoll is located at 972 Mission Street in San Francisco. It’s within easy walking distance of the Powell Street BART and MUNI stations, which we recommend since parking can be expensive downtown.
Our party will be very casual with free pizza and drinks for attendees. But we do have planned…
- Mini presentation highlighting Ubuntu 14.04 features
- Laptops running various flavors of 14.04
- Tablets and phones running the latest Ubuntu build
- Ubuntu quiz, with prizes!
So if you’re in the area and would like to join us, please RSVP here:
Alternatively you can email me directly at email@example.com and I’ll get you added to the attendee list.
San Francisco isn’t the only active part of the state this release, San Diego is also hosting an event, on April 17th, details here. If you’re near Los Angeles, Nathan Haines is collaborating with the Orange County Linux Users Group (OCLUG) to do an installfest on Saturday May 24th, learn more here.
Not in California? Events are coming together all around the world, check out the LoCo Team Portal to see if there is an event being planned in your area: 14.04 Release Parties.
This week I had the opportunity to attend PyCon for the first time. Since beginning to use Python in my systems work so much last year, I’ve had increasing interest in participating in this conference in some capacity, so when the opportunity came around at work to staff the HP booth here in Montreal I was happy to volunteer.
I was also brought to PyCon to be a Teaching Assistant for the Build your own PiDoorbell ! – Learn Home Automation with Python with fellow CodeChix members Rupa Dachere, Akkana Peck, Deepa Karnad Dhurka, Serpil Bayraktar and Stuart Easson.
We spent several weeks preparing for this tutorial. I made the trek down to Palo Alto twice to attend mini-sprints so we could test out the instructions in person prior to the event. We were able to add a number of improvements to both the code and documentation through these events and worked out some of the logistical issues of doing such a hardware event at a conference venue.
The actual tutorial was held on Wednesday afternoon. Attendees quickly piled in and we were able to distribute our kits. Somehow we ended up with a few too many registrants but were able to scramble together a few extra pieces to make it work for everyone.
The tutorial was split into several sections, with the tutorial leads (Rupa and Akkana) giving presentations and us TAs going around and helping everyone with their setups when they got stuck. The biggest challenge for most was getting their system to talk to the Raspberry Pi, as we had folks on various operating systems with all kinds of network and USB setups.
Once we got everyone talking to the Pis, it was time for the fun stuff! Akkana gave a great presentation that was a tour of the hardware of the Raspberry Pi, including the setup of the GPIO pins configuration. For more about some cool hardware stuff she’s been doing with the Pi, I highly recommend her blog posts on the topic.
Then we had an led.py script to allow folks to make an LED blink:
As you can see, we’re using solderless breadboards so we didn’t have the complexity of soldering, thank goodness.
Then came the meat of the tutorial, wiring up the distance sensor (and camera if they had one) to actually detect when objects passed and take a photo. I brought along both my Raspberry Pi NoIR Camera Board – Infrared-sensitive Camera and my webcam from my desk at home so attendees could play around with them if they didn’t have ones of their own.
Surprisingly for a hardware tutorial with such a diversity of host systems, I’m happy to report that most of the students were able to get the tutorial fully completed – at least to the point of taking pictures, if not the upload and notification portion. It was a lot of work for us TAs as we ran around helping everyone and debugging serial and networking issues, but it was worth it to see how much fun everyone had when they finally got an LED to blink or took their first picture.
All of the slides and source code is freely licensed, but the repository hasn’t been made available yet as Rupa wanted to fix some important bugs first (can’t have people frying their Pis!). But never fear, I’ll be following up to make sure it’s made available as soon as possible so others can do this too!
I’ve uploaded more photos from the event here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157643750475463/
I’ve had a very busy year so far talk-wise. Back in January I gave a handful of sysadmin focused talks at Linux.conf.au in Perth, Western Australia. In February I did similar at the Southern California Linux Expo. In May I’ll be drifting slightly away from a Linux-only crowd to present at LOPSA-East in New Brunswick, New Jersey on May 3rd.
First up on the schedule I’ll be doing my Code Review for Sys Admins talk:
I’m a member of the OpenStack Infrastructure team which is a geographically distributed team of systems administrators from several different companies who work together in public to maintain the infrastructure described at http://ci.openstack.org.
To achieve this, we use a code review system that leverages Gerrit as the interface for peer review and Jenkins to run some basic configuration and code syntax checking against our submissions. This allows us to maintain for code and config file integrity and gives us a nice platform so that our fellow systems administrators can comment on and improve solutions we come up with. We also use IRC, Etherpad and more for collaboration, which I will discuss.
I love giving this talk and I’m excited to be giving it at a conference focused at sysadmin-type folks in the industry.
But it gets better, they’ve also asked me to keynote on Saturday evening!
I’ve titled my talk Universal Design for Tech: Improving Gender Diversity in our Industry (thanks to Leigh Honeywell for the title idea):
Universal Design is a principle in accessibility that accessible design makes things better for everyone. A key example of which are curb cuts and door openers which help those who are disabled but also folks with luggage and parents with strollers.
Elizabeth will discuss ideas on how to improve gender diversity in our industry, but many of the tips will help everyone beyond improvements that come through diversity. From offering formal education for systems administration to offering flexible schedules and work arrangements, there are many things that can be done to attract much-needed talent.
As someone who has made it in the industry I’m keen on preserving the environment that I’ve grown and thrived in, but also in making small changes that I know would have helped me along the way and will help others, including women.
I also took some time to chat with Tom Limoncelli about my talk, which he’s posted on the Everything Sysadmin blog: Interview with LOPSA-East Keynote: Elizabeth Krumbach Joseph
Registration is still open for the conference and I hear there might even be some space at the hotel left (but it’s filling up fast!). Hope to see you there!