Saturday, August 27, 2011

» My talks at the openSUSE Conference 2011

Big mistake, big mistake. At the call for papers deadline, we ended up with not having any sessions about packaging at all except one by Jan Engelhardt.

Now, that would have been quite a ludicrous situation, as our core activity is precisely to build packages, without which it wouldn't be a distribution in the first place.

So I picked up an early email from Lars Vogdt who proposed a few sessions on the topic of packaging. Unfortunately, it was really early in the call for papers phase and we weren't quite organized yet, which caused his proposal to remain unanswered for a few weeks. I tried to contact him by email a few times, but he didn't reply (until now, that is), and I nevertheless took it up on myself to do a few packaging related sessions at the conference.

Introduction to Packaging

One thing that some people in the project have been bugging (me) about on a regular basis is an introductory presentation about packaging for openSUSE. Having been doing that for around 10 years on an almost daily basis, I can indeed understand that it appears as a daunting task and somewhat of a black art (which it is).
So here we go: Introduction to Packaging (Sunday 11 Sept in Brendl, at 11:45). The key here is that I am not assuming any prior knowledge at all. If you're already versed into packaging, this isn't for you. But if you always wanted to know about the main activity of our project, at least in technical terms, you totally have to be there.

Mind you, after that presentation, you will not be able to write your first package, but it will give you an understanding of what packages actually are, the terms, the ecosystem, the process, the toolchains and... well... what the hell it actually takes to create an RPM package for openSUSE. It does sound boring, and too technical, but it isn't. Trust me, we'll have a good time. I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of folks there with an appetite for finding out, and a lot of questions I'll more than happily be able to answer.


Obviously, we're not going to stop there. For those who will have attended the above mentioned presentation, as well as for the folks who have a fuzzy idea of how to build packages, but have never actually tried to do so (or did but failed), there is something for you as well: Packaging, hands-on: on Monday, in the BR-Room, at 14:00, I will guide you for two hours through your first steps at accomplishing what is next to witchcraft: building your first package, on your own, on your notebook.

The purpose here is to take every fear away at barriers to enter the secret cult of RPM wizardry. So bring along your notebook, a shell, vim or whatever editor you prefer, an openSUSE Build Service account (go to this mind-boggling URL to create an openSUSE account if you don't have one already -- if you have an openSUSE account, you have everything you need), and we'll do it step by step, slowly, to bring you to the overwhelming feeling of joy once you will have your first (and hopefully not last) RPM package for openSUSE on your harddisk.

Upping the ante

Can we do even better than that? Sure, we can. On Tuesday, there will be a second workshop session: Advanced Packaging, at 14:00 in the BR-Room. That one will be a bit more improvised, but we'll take on more complex scenarios, depending on what we will not have covered in the previous workshop. Things like subpackages, -devel packages, distribution integration, shared library packages (and the openSUSE packaging guidelines that apply to them), packaging Perl modules, Python modules, etc...

And the rest...

There are quite a few additional sessions that have my name on it, but I won't be able to organize those as well. So I'm looking for people to take them on.

Oh, and please bug me at the conference. I'm tall, and look evil, and can be evil at times, I have a creepy looking G+ profile photo (on purpose, I like it), but I don't bite, I don't pose, I'm a rather nice guy. As I'm not German, I don't mind hugs either, much like our all around nice guy from the flat of the land.

I've been in this project for a very long time, been involved in various bits of it, and have quite some experience in several technical (and not so technical) areas. I hope we'll be able to un-organize some small sessions on various matters you'd like to know more about, I'm sure I can help, and I totally want to spread my experience around. This conference is YOUR conference, so make the most of it (want to stress that so much that I even adhere to the bad practice of using <b/> tags in HTML). Drop your cultural habits for a few days, don't be shy, let's talk, have some beers (or water), get to know each other and, most importantly, have a lot of fun.

So, hopefully, see you there!

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