Author Archives: Rafał Lużyński

Fedora 29 Release Party at Linux Autumn: Event Report

Release Party attendees: Making the group photo. This photo credits: Julita Inca Chiroque.

During this year’s Linux Autumn we organized Fedora 29 Release Party. These kind of events are organized around the world after the new version of Fedora is released. It’s likely that it was the world’s first Fedora 29 Release Party (for this version) because the official poster design was not yet ready and nobody had asked for it before.

Again, being an organizer, I must warn you that my perception of the event may be different than the one of an attendee. But on the other hand I saw more behind the scene events.

The party was attended by the Linux Autumn attendees. Its organizers included two Fedora ambassadors: Julita Inca Chiroque from Peru and Dominik “Rathann” Mierzejewski from Poland. Julita, as always, brought lots of balloons with Fedora and GNOME logos, and Matej Marušák from Red Hat Brno brought Fedora stickers and other swag.

We allocated little time for this event, only 25 minutes. That’s short but initially we had thought it would be enough. For a longer while we had been discussing what should we do during the party. We did not have to tell the attendees what Fedora was because those people knew it well. It was worth to mention what’s new in this release compared to the previous ones but none of us was able to mention any new feature except modularity.

Of course, the core point of the event was the cake with Fedora logo. However, we did not want it to be the only point so we decided to talk about Fedora Accounts System: how to create an account and to become a contributor of Fedora. We also planned to talk about Fedora badges and mention that a badge will be awarded to the attendees of the Fedora Release Party. We decided that Julita would talk about it because she had been the most experienced of us all. But during the party Matej who had his laptop already connected to the projector and was near the microphone talked about everything and showed examples on the screen. He talked so perfectly that there was nothing more to add.

25 minutes turned out to be much too little. The following talks had to wait. But I think that nobody complained. Even if one was not convinced to use Fedora (instead of other distros) then at least liked the cake.

Linux Autumn 2018: Event Report

Linux Autumn, the 16th annual conference of Linux and free software enthusiasts, organized by PLUG, was held from 9 to 11 November. This year, same as last year, we met in Ustroń, southern Poland, but we changed the venue: this time it was Hotel Gwarek.

I must say that my report may be little biased because I was included into the organizing team and I took it seriously. 🙂

But honestly speaking I think that this year Linux Autumn was very successful. We had as many as three foreign guests including some from outside Europe, plus of course many great people from Poland. Slowly our conference becomes more international. If you have not been there – you have good reasons to regret.

Day #1: 9 November

I managed to attend two talks, both very interesting. First Dominik ‘Rathann’ Mierzejewski was talking about common bugs in the development of packages for Fedora and similar operating systems. Dominik is a long time Fedora contributor and ambassador, maintainer of multiple packages, so he knew well what he was talking about. The second talk was given by Maja Kędras, a student from Wrocław University of Science and Technology. She summarized the graphics editors available in Linux: GIMP, Inkscape, Blender, and Krita. Those applications make great alternative for popular commercial packages. Sadly, they are not commonly appreciated.

The day ended with a dinner which extended into late night socializing talks, board and old video games traditionally delivered by DKiG Foundation (Old Computers and Games).

Day #2: 10 November

Marcin Zajączkowski talks about fish

On the second day there were much more events than on the first one. At 9 AM Marcin Zajączkowski gave a talk about Fish shell, an interesting alternative to bash. The second speaker was Julita Inca Chiroque, long time Fedora ambassador from Peru and GNOME Project contributor, currently studying High Performance Computing at the University of Edinburgh. She talked about parallel computing libraries for C and Fortran: OpenMP and MPI. Next we had a little change in the agenda: instead of Maciej Lasyk who arrived only the next day Błażej Święcicki gave his talk about log analysis.

Unfortunately, as an organizer I was unable to attend all talks so I don’t mention them here. The full list can be found at the organizer’s website. The next point for me was the lunch followed by two hours long workshop about parallel programming with OpenMP hosted by Julita Inca Chiroque and her fellow student from the University of Edinburgh Ana Maria Garcia (from Columbia). I really regret that so few people attended it because it was really interesting.

Then there was the real centerpiece of the event: we organized Fedora 29 Release Party. I will describe it in a separate article.

The next talk Securing your daemons using systemd was given by Zbigniew Jędrzejewski-Szmek, one of the main contributors of the project. Big shout to Zbyszek who was probably the first Polish speaker brave enough to give his talk in English thus making it accessible for the foreign guests.

The last speaker of the day was Matej Marušák from Red Hat. Matej works in ABRT project and that’s how I had a chance to have met him before. He talked about that project.

The day ended with an open air barbecue party, slightly delayed because of the tight timetable.

Day #3: 11 November

Unfortunately, due to my organizer’s duties I was unable to attend any talk that day. It’s a pity because from the agenda I know that Dariusz Puchalak talked about Ansible (fortunately, I attended his talk a year before) and there were two workshops: about development of RPM packages for Fedora and about Ansible for beginners. During that time I took care of the foreign guests. We went to the Krakow Balice airport but before we managed to sightsee Krakow for few hours and even some parts of Lesser Poland. It was funny as well.


Last year Linux Autumn saw a little decline but this year it was much better. If we keep this trend, next year we will have a really great conference. Schedule it in your calendar already, see you next year!

Announcing Linux Autumn 2018


If you have ever wondered, like I have, whether there will be an autumn (the Linux Autumn) this year then the answer is: yes.

Linux Autumn is an annual meeting of Free Software and Linux enthusiast from Poland organized since 2003 which means this year it will be its 16th time. This year it will be organized in Ustroń in the southern Poland from 9 to 11 November. The town is the same as the last year but in a different hotel.

As the place is located near the Czech and Slovak border we would like to invite more people, both speakers and attendees, from other countries. We are aware of strong presence of Fedora contributors in Brno and other nearby cities just across the border.

This conference has always been mostly Polish (in terms of the language) but there was always at least one foreign speaker who gave a talk in English. It has always been a chicken and egg problem: there are not many English talks because there are not many foreign attendees; on the other hand there are not many foreign attendees because there are not many English talks. I think we all will be happy to change this. We have already one foreign speaker confirmed, others are in progress.

Currently the registration is open but the organizers are still accepting talk proposals, the CfP deadline has been extended to 19 October. Please hurry with your talk proposal!

If you don’t know what is Linux Autumn about please see my articles about the event in 2017 and in 2016 or see the organizers’ website.

Fedora 28: Updates for Czech, Catalan, Greek, and Lithuanian Users

Continuing my previous article I’d like to write about the more recent updates in date formats in glibc. These updates will be included in Fedora 28 final release. On March 29 a new version of glibc 2.27-8 has been released in f28 branch. Together with the unreleased version 2.27-7 it features the correct date formats in Czech, Catalan, Greek, and Lithuanian.

Unfortunately, these updates have not been included in the recently released Fedora 28 Beta ISO image so all Fedora 28 users must update their systems first.


Bugzilla link:

These changes are the most controversial. While talking to my Czech friends I had various answers to my question whether a genitive form of a month name in a date is obligatory in Czech language or not. Is April 10 in Czech 10. dubna or 10. duben? Because of these doubts the changes for Czech language were not included in glibc 2.27 initial release (February 1). But since the Czech translator has added the genitive forms of the months names to glib2 (whose aim is to provide the same features for the systems which do not support genitive forms of months names) I decided that there is no reason to wait any more.

So, this is a short message for Czech users: if you can see a date formatted incorrectly in Czech language because a month name should be nominative rather than genitive, then you must change the date format specifier from "%B" to "%OB" in the translation of an application as soon as possible. I am sorry about the confusion but other inflected languages require a genitive case here. The "%OB" format specifier has been introduced in order to support the cases where a nominative form is required.

By the way: probably the same problem will be in Serbian and Slovak but so far no changes have been introduced in these languages. It would be good to make some decisions before glibc 2.28 is released which is planned on August 1 this year, and better not in the last minute – one month or more before would be recommended.


Bugzilla link:

We are in April which is a good time to discuss the Catalan language because April in Catalan is abril and the date April 10 is 10 d’abril. The next month will be May (Catalan: maig) and the date May 10 will be 10 de maig.

As I wrote in the previous article, this update had already landed in Fedora Rawhide but now it has been also included in Fedora 28 repository. However, this is not the only change. It turns out that in Catalan the de preposition (or d’ if the following noun begins with a vowel) obligatorily must be added before the abbreviated months names, so there is not only d’abril but also d’abr.

This causes some problem: the ls command line utility which displays file modification timestamp (ls -l) limits abbreviated months names to 5 letters. Let’s see how it looks in Catalan if we use the correct genitive case:

$ LANG=ca_ES.utf8 ls -l
total 0
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0  1 de ge 00:00 20180101.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0  2 de fe 00:00 20180202.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0  3 de ma 00:00 20180303.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 14 d’abr  2018 20180414.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0  5 de ma  2018 20180505.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0  6 de ju  2018 20180606.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0  7 de ju  2018 20180707.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0  8 d’ag.  2018 20180808.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0  9 de se  2018 20180909.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 10 d’oct  2018 20181010.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 11 de no  2018 20181111.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 12 de de  2018 20181212.test

March and May are both displayed as de ma and June and July as de ju. I have already filed the request for enhancement against the coreutils project and it has been added upstream – we are waiting for the coreutils 8.30 release which I suspect will be in a month. Will it make it to Fedora 28 before the final release?


Bugzilla link:

These changes are not revolutionary but still interesting. Greek is an inflected language (same as Slavic languages and Latin) and the differences between the genitive and nominative cases are visible even in abbreviated forms of some months names. For example, the month May in Greek is Μάιος in the nominative case and the genitive case is Μαΐου; the abbreviated forms are Μάι and Μαΐ, respectively. From now this difference is correctly supported in Linux.

The change is also visible in an output of ls -l command:

$ LANG=el_GR.utf8 ls -l
σύνολο 0
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 Ιαν   1 00:00 20180101.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 Φεβ   2 00:00 20180202.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 Μαρ   3 00:00 20180303.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 Απρ  14  2018 20180414.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 Μαΐ   5  2018 20180505.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 Ιουν  6  2018 20180606.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 Ιουλ  7  2018 20180707.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 Αυγ   8  2018 20180808.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 Σεπ   9  2018 20180909.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 Οκτ  10  2018 20181010.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 Νοε  11  2018 20181111.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 Δεκ  12  2018 20181212.test


Bugzilla link:

These changes are minor. The Lithuanian translator had just asked to use in glibc the same abbreviated months names as he used in glib2 and which are also provided by CLDR – so for example the abbreviated name of April will be displayed as bal. rather than Bal now.

This change could be already visible in the ls -l output – unfortunately, for now only the numerical date formats are used:

$ LANG=lt_LT.utf8 ls -l
viso 0
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 2018-01-01 00:00 20180101.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 2018-02-02 00:00 20180202.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 2018-03-03 00:00 20180303.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 2018-04-14 20180414.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 2018-05-05 20180505.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 2018-06-06 20180606.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 2018-07-07 20180707.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 2018-08-08 20180808.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 2018-09-09 20180909.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 2018-10-10 20181010.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 2018-11-11 20181111.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 2018-12-12 20181212.test

Is this only because the Lithuanian translators did not like the abbreviated months names and they decided that the ls command line utility should display only numbers? If this was the reason then you can restore the text format now. I can’t speak Lithuanian but I would suggest this form:

$ LANG=lt_LT.utf8 ls -l --time-style +"%b %e"
viso 0
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 saus.  1 20180101.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 vas.   2 20180202.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 kov.   3 20180303.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 bal.  14 20180414.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 geg.   5 20180505.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 birž.  6 20180606.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 liep.  7 20180707.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 rugp.  8 20180808.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 rugs.  9 20180909.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 spal. 10 20181010.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 lapkr 11 20181111.test
-rw-rw-r--. 1 rl rl 0 gruod 12 20181212.test

For now the dots after lapkr and gruod do not fit but, as I wrote above while discussing the Catalan language, the problem has been already fixed upstream and sooner or later the update will land in Fedora.


After adding Catalan and Czech support now we have 9 languages which display the dates correctly using the required genitive case (with previously supported Belarusian, Croatian, Greek, Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian). Belarusian and Russian are not the only which require the different genitive and nominative forms of abbreviated months names, the same is required in Catalan (because of the de or d’ preposition) and in Greek.

Same as previously, if you see in the screenshots in this article any errors in date formats which can be fixed by translators, like missing punctuation marks or incorrect day/month order then please contact the translators of the respective applications.

Fedora 28 and GNOME 3.28: New Features for Eastern Europe

This time this is not fake, edited, patched, nor a custom build from COPR but the real screenshots of the unmodified downstream Fedora 28 planned to be released on May 1 this year. Here is how the default calendar widget in GNOME Shell looks in Greek, Polish, and Ukrainian:

For those who can’t speak those languages: the major change here is that the month names are displayed in a correct grammatical form, both in dates and standalone. This is a new feature, or rather a new bugfix, in GNOME 3.28 which has been released on March 14 and pushed to Fedora 28 (prerelease) stable updates today. The series of bugfixes in GNOME was preceded by the similar bugfix in glibc 2.27 released earlier this year.

What Is Eastern Europe

This term must be explained because it is ambiguous. Usually when we say eastern Europe we mean the eastern end of our continent (as opposed to western, northern, southern, and, last but not least, central). But in this context I mean the eastern half of Europe (as opposed to western, and nothing else). I often strongly emphasize that this feature is not just for Slavic languages but also for other language groups of our region: Baltic, Greek, partially also Finnish, and even some western languages like Catalan or Scottish Gaelic.

More Applications

Of course, dates are now displayed correctly in all applications, not just GNOME Shell. In most of them this happened automagically. Few of them, however, needed some minor updates to make sure that the month names are displayed in a genitive case only where needed, not just everywhere. Here is an example of a correct month names display in GNOME Calendar, this time in Croatian:

Please note the difference between the nominative name for March (ožujak) and its correct genitive case as used in date (ožujka; literally: of March).

Western European Languages

English does not have any unsupported features but, while at this, I have examined the date displays in some other western European languages and few features were not supported. For example, some Romance languages (Spanish, Portuguese, etc.) also use the genitive case of both the month name and the year number but they construct it just adding the de preposition before. This feature although so simple was not yet supported so far but now it has been added to GNOME 3.28. Here is a screenshot of the same calendar widget in Spanish:

Please note the correct header saying diciembre de 2017 as opposed by the incorrect diciembre 2017 which is displayed by the older versions.

More Languages

The genitive case of month names is currently supported in Fedora 28 prerelease in only 7 languages: Belarusian, Croatian, Greek, Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian. But the support of more languages is on the way: Catalan and Czech have been added to GLib and they are already used if the latest GNOME is ran on older systems. The support of these languages has been also pushed to glibc upstream and eventually will reach Fedora 28 but has not yet as of today. However, it has already reached Fedora Rawhide. If we have this chance, let’s take a look at the screenshot of GNOME in Fedora Rawhide in Catalan:

Please note the correct Catalan preposition of genitive case: de març (of March) vs. d’abril (of April).


I’d like to thank all the people from Fedora and GNOME communities and from the outer world who supported me in this challenge: Piotr Drąg, Mike Fabian, Zack Weinberg, Carlos O’Donell, Masha Leonova, Ihar Hrachyshka, Dmitry Levin, Igor Gnatenko, Charalampos Stratakis, Robert Buj, Philip Withnall, and more.

PS. If some date formats in these screenshots are incorrect please approach the respective translation teams.

Internationalization FAD, Pune 2017

For the second time in a short period of time I participated in an important Fedora event. November 20–22, 2017, an Internationalization FAD was organized by a group of Fedora contributors from Red Hat Pune. FAD stands for Fedora Activity Day, it is a mini-conference. It differs from large conferences like Flock because it is attended by small number of people and it is focused on one subject.

Day #0

November 19, 2017

Actually I should write Day #-1 (November 18) and Day #0 because my as well as some other attendees’ travel lasted more than 24 hours. Due to the time zone difference and all the mess it’s difficult to define when a day ended and when it began. In general, the travel went smoothly and without any problem except one: I spent 1.5 hours in a huge queue to the immigration desk at the Mumbai Airport. Somewhere far behind me there was Mike Fabian and even further behind him there were Takao Fujiwara, Akira Tagoh, and Peng Wu, who arrived little later than me.

The long queue in Mumbai Airport

The long queue in Mumbai Airport

I really don’t know why it took so long. Probably because several large jumbo jets with many foreign tourists arrived in a short time. The immigration officers worked rather fast and without unnecessary delays. However, we all met and left Mumbai only after 4 AM local time and we reached our hotel in Pune before 8 AM. Big shouts to Sundeep Anand and Parag Nemade who despite the night and the weekend were contacting us online all the time, giving us advices and making sure that we were OK.

Our first day in India must have been spent on taking some rest after the journey. The hotel turned out to be very comfortable. Parag perfectly organized our time: first he let us take as long rest as we wanted and then in the afternoon he took us for a Red Hat office visit. That was my first Red Hat office visit ever so everything was impressing for me. A brand new office building, some places still being finished, everything in a perfect order.

Day #1

November 20, 2017

The actual first day of the FAD was for presentations. It started with an official opening and self-introductions.

Opening and self-introductions

Opening and self-introductions: Jens Petersen, Pooja Yadav, and Pravin Satpute.

Next everyone had an opportunity to present their current works. It turns out that each of us works on a tasks which are personally familiar. Takao Fujiwara, Akira Tagoh and Peng Wu work on rendering (Pango library) and input (IBus) of the text in East Asian languages. Unfortunately, I know almost nothing about these languages so I don’t understand much of their work – except obvious things like that it’s more complex than in European languages and needed for their speakers. But, on the other hand I spoke about my current work on formatting dates in inflected languages. Each time I talk about it to the foreign people I have a feeling that the audience don’t know that I’m talking about. I guess that time it was the same.

My talk about formatting dates. Photo credits: Jens Petersen.

My talk about formatting dates. Photo credits: Jens Petersen.

Inflection is an original feature of Proto-Indo-European language which disappeared totally or almost totally in most of the contemporary Indo-European languages. However, it still exists in Slavic and Baltic languages, also in Greek, Sanskrit and several more. But this diversity of the discussed topics only means that the term “Internationalization” is very broad, it includes features local to some groups of languages. There is a place for both inflected languages and logographic scripts and more phenomenons than you can think of.

There were more familiar for me topics discussed as well by Mike Fabian with whom I have been working directly since July this year on the maintenance of locale data in glibc project, and Jens Petersen who works on improving the localization support in Fedora (separation of translation packages from the main software packages, installing them depending on the languages chosen by the administrator etc.)

It’s nice that Mike Fabian, Takao Fujiwara and others work on a better support (input and displays) of emojis in Fedora.

Transtats project is getting more and more interesting. While at this, I learned that Sundeep Anand is not working on it alone. FAD was attended by several people from the Quality Assurance team of Red Hat who support him. Those people also actively test other projects, like IBus and East Asian fonts.

Day #2

November 21, 2017
Working on our projects

Working on our projects. Photo credits: Jens Petersen.

The second and the third day were meant for the common work on our project. Most of the time I spent working with Mike Fabian. Despite my initial plans we were neither working on my project of formatting dates in inflected languages nor on the automatic locale data import from CLDR to glibc. Mike says that my work is basically completed and we can’t add anything more, we can only wait for more positive reviews. Instead of this we were working on fixing the collation orders in Latvian and Polish, the nearest plans include more languages, like Czech and Upper Sorbian. It’s a really hard and dirty work. In most of the languages there are established rules of collation order of the letters of their proper alphabets but what should we do if there are foreign letters? Language scientists are free to say “this is unlikely to happen” or “we don’t define how to handle this” but we developers must be able to handle every Unicode string. Moreover, some languages have really unusual collation rules. Usually the rules say that we should compare the letters starting from the beginning and towards the end. If there is a difference between letters it determines the collation order. If the letters differ in the diacritical marks only then some languages treat them like different letters and some like the same letters. But in French language there is, or rather there was a rule saying that if two words differ in diacritical marks only then for the collation order we must take the diacritics… counting from the end of the word! This rule is so weird that finally it has been rejected from most of the French variants but it is still in use in Canadian French. How to deal with this? But Mike has managed to fix it.

We were talking with Jens about the Fedora bug 1401096. While installing Fedora Workstation you can select the user interface language but the localization packages are not installed because they are missing from the installation disk. They must be downloaded from the net. This problem does not occur with the network installation which by definition downloads the packages. I think that we need a way to mark in the package management system that some packages are required and they should be installed in future, as soon as the network becomes available. It’s crucial that I understood the problem because in the past I contributed to gnome-software (and I still hope to contribute in future) and I think this is a task for that project or rather to powering it PackageKit.

Another unplanned task which we had together with Mike and Pravin Satpute was adding the Filipino language to Fedora. Actually all we had to do was to coordinate some tasks because most of them had been finished already or must wait until at least one application translation is ready.

After this hard working day we spent the evening bowling and having BBQ at Amanora Mall. We also celebrated Takao Fujiwara’s birthday.

Day #3

November 22, 2017

The last day of FAD was similar to the second one: we were working on our projects. Also I continued yesterday’s works with Mike. Besides this, I files some more suggestions of changes in glibc:

In the afternoon there was also the Fedora 27 Release Party. How was it? There came more people working in the same office and a large cake with the beautiful printed image was put on the table.

I have a feeling that the Release Party was dominated by us, the FAD attendees. The organizers asked the oldest of us, that means Mike, Jens Petersen and myself to cut the cake. It was really yummy!

That was, unfortunately, my last (so far!) day in India. I warmly thank the organizers for all their help, mostly I thank Satyabrata Maitra but also Parag Nemade, Pravin Satpute and Sundeep Anand. I really regret that I couldn’t stay longer.

Day #4

November 23, 2017

Most of that day I spent traveling which went absolutely without any problem. See you online or in real life! नमस्ते!

Linux Autumn 2017


Linux Autumn is an annual Polish conference dedicated to the free software and GNU/Linux. This year it was its 15th edition and this time it was held in Muflon Leisure Center in Ustroń.

Shortly speaking: the conference was interesting but my participation was limited due to a virus¹ attack.

Day #1: September 22

Not much has been planned for that day because the attendees were only arriving. The event started at 4 PM and the first speaker was Igor Gnatenko from Red Hat. He talked about the dependencies between the packages, especially about the new kinds of dependencies added in RPM 4.14. I was a little late to this talk but thanks to YouTube I know how it was like and I must admit that it was interesting. I like the idea of a talk which focuses on a small subject which do not requires advanced skills to understand it and at the same time provides important information to the attendees. It’s very worth to be mentioned here as it was the only talk in English:

The second speaker was myself. I talked about preparing an application for internationalization and avoiding typical errors. How it was – you should judge on your own. Unfortunately, this talk and all others were in Polish and English translations do not exist so I don’t provide links here.

My talk about preparing an application for internationalization. Photo: Igor Gnatenko.

In the evening there was a dinner and long conversation about professional and non-professional subjects.

Day #2: September 23

In the morning I woke up with a sore throat and I knew that the conference is actually over for me. Luckily, I had given my talk the previous day when I still had felt good. Despite this I pulled myself together and attended all talks. I’d like to mention two most interesting ones in my opinion. The first was Maciej Nabożny‘s talk about his libdinemic project. In his talk he included many subjects like cryptography, certificates, but first of all Maciej comprehensibly explained how blockchain works and how it powers bitcoin. The second talk was by Dariusz Puchalak about OpenSSH, Ansible and other network tools. Usually I’m less interested in administrative stuff than programming but Dariusz’ talk was really zestful and impressed me. I recommend his talks to everyone, he is a really great speaker.

Piotr Kliczewski from Red Hat talks about oVirt

Day #3: September 24

So this was really the end for me. In the night I had a fever, shortly after the breakfast I packed my things, said goodbye and went back home. I wish I could recommend you watching the videos on YouTube, unfortunately they are mostly in Polish. Please come next year, the more foreign speakers and attendees we have the more likely we switch to English.

PS. Regarding the virus, as it usually happens, the next day I felt much better and two days later I was quite good.

¹ Virus: a biological structure similar to but unrelated with computer viruses. They attack the cells of living organisms and are totally safe for computers.

Flock 2017

Flock to Fedora, the annual Fedora users and contributors conference, was held this year from August 29 to September 1 in Hyannis, MA, a tourist resort located at the Atlantic Ocean coast. As I was privileged to participate in this event here is my report about it.

Day #0

August 28, 2017

Usually this is a day of arrivals and hotel check-ins. Sometimes there are unofficial pre-party events organized, like hanging out in a bar together. This time additionally at 7 PM a training for people who volunteered to run the A/V equipment was organized. Unfortunately, I was unable to participate although I did volunteer. All I could to was to express my regret for being late at the discussion channel as I was still traveling from the airport to Hyannis. Several people traveling on the same bus with me responded “same here.” As a result, the organizers had no other choice but to repeat the training the next day at 8:00 AM.

Day #1

August 29, 2017

The day started with the short outstanding A/V training and the main conference began. Each day started with a short intro by Brian Exelbierd who announced the events planned for the day and which tickets to use to attend them. Then there was a keynote by Matthew Miller. As usually, this was a summary of Fedora popularity statistics. Matthew emphasized that the statistics may be incomplete because Fedora respects the users’ privacy, does not register their IDs, does not track their activity. The only source of information is download servers traffic. We don’t know how many persons share the same IP address. There is no world map of users, we don’t know what is their geographical distribution. The countries where the Internet access is expensive or simply unavailable may be underrepresented in the statistics. Besides that, only GNOME and KDE automatically check for updates, other desktop environments do not have these features. There are no statistics about Fedora spins and editions.

Matthew Miller and Fedora statistics

Next all speakers had an opportunity to advertise their sessions: give a pitch of their talks and workshops. The aim was to attract potential attendees. Great idea in my opinion, not everyone might be attracted by the title and summary alone or even worse might have skipped it.

A long queue of the speakers willing to give a pitch of their talks

Lunch was deliberately scheduled for 2 hours, the ogranizers aim was to make an opportunity for unofficial and spontaneous talks between attendees. Really great idea, how many times I had spent a conference time on long lobby discussions rather than on official talks in the past!

I attended Owen Taylor‘s talk “How to make your application into a Flatpak.” I must admit that although Flatpak is a very promising application distribution technology it is still mostly unknown to me. As it reminds me (I’m not sure if correctly, though) the distribution methods of OS X and Android I asked Owen what is the difference between them. Owen emphasized that Flatpak offers much better security. By default an application has no special permissions. They are granted only when needed. Besides that I also attended Adam Williamson‘s talk about automated test systems in Bodhi and another short talk about IoT by Peter Robinson.

Finally there was a session which I liked most. Dan Horák and Sinny Kumari talked about their experiences in debugging programs being ported to alternative architectures. According to Dan, the biggest problem is endianness: porting from popular little endian architectures to big endian. Other obstacles are different sizes of popular types, especially char, and different definitions of size_t: signed or unsigned. Sinny talked about difficulties while debugging hybrid programs written in Python but using shared libraries written in C. Debuggers so far cannot step into the native functions. Sometimes a solutoin of a bug can be as short as a single line but it is hidden very deep in the code which makes finding it really time consuming. Unfortunately, this session was attended by few people only. A day later I talked about it to Paul Frields who commented “That’s why we call them alternative architectures.” But it had its advantage: the session converted into a free conversation in which we all shared our own experiences. I was very curious about the big endian architectures. I never worked with them so I asked whether Fedora actually supports any of them. Dan gave the examples: IBM System z mainframes and legacy PowerPC. The session time was over, the camera went off, and we were continuing our small talks.

As a result I skipped the “Build Your Own Fedorator” workshop led by Sanqui which was held parallelly with the Game Night. When I finally arrived I saw assembled and working Fedorators. But I didn’t lose much: Sanqui and Nick Bebout, who was also my roommate, shortly explained me what is that Fedorator and helped me to test it. It is a device powered by Raspberry PI computer with a dedicated touch screen and a single USB port, all in a trapeze shaped 3D-printed box. The software runs on Raspbian and has only one application: it writes any selected Fedora boot image (yes, any spin, any architecture, etc.) to a pendrive. Very handy for fairs, shows and conferences when one can generate and give the attendees the working images.

Working Fedorator

Another event held in parallel with the Game Night was the International Candy Swap, this time officially organized by Justin Flory. I brought Mieszanka Krakowska (Krakow’s Assorted Jellies which could be read as the last year’s Flock memory) but the most tasty in my – and not just my – opinion was bakllava brought by Jona Azizaj. Very interesting was freeze-dried official astronaut ice cream produced by NASA brought by Suzanne Hillman.

Balkan sweets: bakllava (middle), llokume (above), accompanied by Polish Mieszanka Krakowska (right)

Day #2

August 30, 2017

As always, it started with an intro by Brian and some more talk pitches.

Immediately after this a workshop about Fedora Websites led by Andrea Masala and Robert Mayr started. It’s rather strange that I attended this workshop because I’m mostly not interested in web development but I had lots of fun with this new kind of activity. I learned that the Fedora websites use Genshi framework to handle localizations and the translations are provided by Zanata service. The authors had put much effort to ensure that translators are unable to break HTML elements such as links. I was really surprised to learn that the web pages use Python. During the workshop attendees had an opportunity to fix one or more issues reported in the pagure repository. I was asked to remove a link to Moldovan Fedora community because its website no longer existed. While at this, I checked if the links to all European local communities work – don’t worry, there were only few of them – and discovered that the Romanian page neither does work so I removed both of them.

After the lunch, from 2 PM to 4:30 PM Stephen Smoogen hosted two joint sessions about EPEL (Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux). EPEL has its 10th anniversary this year. It provides additional packages for Red Hat’s commercial distributions since RHEL 4.0. Stephen explained why EPEL exists: people use it to build large, massive things which he compared to building bridges. Those people don’t care about the newest versions of their software. They accept using orphaned, unsupported packages because they need them for the existing scripts in their projects. EPEL provides them the packages which they need: security tools, statistics tools (e.g., the R language), alernative web servers (e.g., nginx), monitoring tools, configuration management.

Stephen Smoogen presents his unrealistic expectations of EPEL growth

The second part or more precisely the second session about EPEL turned into a discussion about what EPEL users need for their future. Stephen announced that EPEL repositories will have the same structure as Fedora repositories have now: release + updates (tested) + updates-testing (for the testers). He also announced that RHEL 5.11 will be released althoug the original plans were to make 5.10 the last release of 5.x series.

The day ended with Wackenhammer’s Clockwork Arcade and Carousel evening event. There were arcade games, amusement park style carousel, food truck and drinks.

Games at Wackenhammer’s Clockwork Arcade

Day #3

August 31, 2017

The organizers had a reasonable idea to start each day a little later than the previous one. This day started at 9 AM. The first speaker was Michael McGrath who talked about what does Red Hat want from Fedora. Shortly, the users have miscellaneous demands. Some of them want software updates to be delivered faster, some want them slower, and some have mixed expectations: some software faster, some slower. Fedora, as meant by Red Hat, is not supposed to be a place to keep the things as they are. Users may expect fast changes.

At 2 PM a track about globalization, internationalization and localization began. First speakers were Parag Nemade, Jens Petersen and Pravin Satpute. They summarized the known aims: delivering translations and settings like date formatting, currency, alphabetic sorting, paper size etc., contained in the glibc locale data. They also talked about the changes in input methods.

Progress of input methods

The recent improvements introduced in Fedora include: langpacks installed with weak dependencies, locale data in glibc split into subpackages (there is no need to install and place in ISO images the locale data for all languages because they take too much disk space). Currently there are about 80 langpacks in Fedora and the list is not yet complete. Fedora 25 inroduced IBus Emoji typing and full Unicode 9.0 support. We had a short discussion about how users should configure their preferred language packages. My suggestion is not to place the functionality into GNOME Initial Setup nor GNOME Software because they are part of GNOME which is not the only one desktop environment in Fedora. It seems better to me to move it to initial-setup or maybe to PackageKit which attempts to be a universal solution for all desktop environments and even all distributions. Pravin Satpute summarized his work on fonts, he asked for more input from local communities.

Pravin Satpute talks about fonts

The next speaker was Sundeep Anand who introduced his project Transtats. It is very promising, its aim is to organize communication between developers, translators, and packagers, and facilitate distribution of the packages. I will write more about it shortly below.

The last session of this series was held by Pravin Satpute, Alex Eng and Jean-Baptiste Holcroft. Pravin summarized the current progress of localizations. Translation sprints gather more than 50 contributors each. I18N test days gather more local communities than any other such events. Alex Eng talked about obstacles of Zanata and future plans. As the last speaker Jean-Baptiste Holcroft really rocked the place with his short but interesting presentation suggestively illustrating what we had achieved so far and where are we going next.

Jean-Baptiste Holcroft…

Further plans of the localization team, especially the Transtats project, provoked a long discussion which attracted Brian Exelbierd. The discussion was so long that we had to move to another room because the next session was just about to begin. Transtats seems to be the tool of the future: it connects multiple services (Zanata, git, etc.) It will prevent translators from translating old strings which have been already removed by the developers, will automate the workflow from develoers to translators and to packagers, will help enforcing string freezes.

Day #4

September 1, 2017

This day was meant as a summary. Speakers had a chance to talk about what they had achieved during the conference. It was a really short day because at 11 AM we were supposed to check out from the rooms. However, the hotel staff was really nice and allowed us tho hang up a little longer to finish the talks and say goodbye to our friends. This did not change much, though. The bus to the airport and the airplane back home would not wait longer, 3 PM was the last minute to leave Hyannis.

Some (but not all!) of my friends

I am thankful to the organizers for inviting me, I send my greetings to old and new friends who I saw during the conference. See you all next year or maybe even sooner!