Fedora @ BitCamp 2017: Event Report

So what is Bitcamp?   Bitcamp is an MLH sponsored Hackathon.  A Hackathon is more or less as one of this year’s attendees’ tweeted: “Bitcamp is like woodstock for nerds!!”. where hackers and mentors work together in this case over a 36 hour period to:

  1. make some new technology (or extension of existing one) –i.e. new or better module for VR controller, DIY Arduino Thermostats, IP camera monitors.
  2. Learn how to code (in most if not all languages out there and used)
  3. Network with vendors, other attendees, vendors and make more connections that can help them or their teammates in future ventures/learning.

We (Mike Depaulo and I) attended Bitcamp for yet a second year this past weekend.  We showcased Fedora’s Security and Robotics Labs as well as Workstation. I personally spent a large portion of my time helping several teams with mostly Web app/Website design and implementation of 2 Factor/multi-factor back-end support  (namely the OAuth2 and OpenID APIs).  DVD Media of 25 Workstation was in HIGH demand, so much so that of the 100 DVDs we had at the start by the start of Saturday morning’s Breakfast we had to start rationing distribution so as to have some throughout the event.

Surprising to me was the,  in general, decent knowledge of 2FA/MFA but the lack of its implementation server side for apps, largely due to, from what I heard from hackers, ‘It’s too hard, and will take longer than the hackathon to implement and polish up the app!!”. Thankfully in the case of the team behind ‘Scandicash’ a currency brokerage startup in attendance I was working with, we proved that statement wrong!!.  The public facing site is still in the works so sadly no link for publishing at the time of this report.

During intermittent wifi stability, I happened to show a few very interested Developers some of the finer things and options of Cockpit and using locally stored mirrors for development pods and deployment. (That part was REAL fun).

Sadly, I was called back to work mid-event but I was pleased with the connections and time I was able to spend with my colleague Mike AND the hackers and other vendors.  I was even asked about having Fedora sponsor or at least provide mentors for a few NE hackathons in the coming fall term, Namely YCPHacks and HoyaHacks



With any luck, Fedora will be in attendance in some manner for at least one of those upcoming Hackathons.

In closing, I’d love to give a few shootouts,

BSN, Back Stage Networks, in collaboration with MAX Media for the Donated Ethernet and whilst dodgy at times also the WiFi. With special Shootouts to Dan and Josh.

UofMD, Events / Concessions Staff, This was a VERY WELL executed Hackathon 

Major League Hacking, who works with SEVERAL Universities and sponsors/partners to make such Hackathons like Bitcamp a recurring success.

and of course, not the least of them all ALL of you HACKERS, that continue to push both your mentors and technology/mindsets to and often beyond the current perceived envelope of feasibility and doing it year round in 24-48 hour cram sessions where Humble mentors/sponsors like my colleague and I and Fedora may continue to be amazed.





Fedora@LISA2016: Event Report

LISA 2016 (Large Install System Admin “Sysadmin” Conference) 2016 Dec 4-9th,2016, Expo Dec 7-8th,2016.  Hosted Sheraton Downtown Boston.

Attending Ambassadors, Fedora Contributors included: Corey Sheldon (linuxmodder), Nick Bebout (nb), Mike DePaulo (mikedep333), Beth Lynn (bethlynn), Matthew Miller (mattdm), Stephen Gallagher (sgallagh).  Having a rather nice spread of the Fedora Community among us made for a very productive display and sidebar chats amongst ourselves and the Redhat / Centos Table folks we were with. Among us were several conference talk attendees and even a GPG Signing Party (as a BoF).

Day 1 — Wednesday — (Expo):

Things started off a bit sluggish til just after lunch when there was the first break from all talks on Wednesday.  We had folks from all sectors of the industry coming to the booth, and they had mostly upgraded to 25 already.  A few common questions revolved around what was in the pipeline for modularity and issues/gripes with systemd.  Being a ‘ Large Install`  centric conference we saw plenty of folks also asking about using Dockerfiles and cockpit, which mattdm so happily had displayed on one of the two monitors we had been provided at the booth.  Thanks to some pesky hardware or a bad burn, we even had the pleasure of helping one of our own clean install F25 at the booth (bethlynn).  Among several of the talks that some of us attended there were:  Beginner Wireshark, SRE: At a Startup: Lessons from LinkedIn, SRE: It’s people all the Way Down, The Road to Mordor: Information Security Issues and Your Open Source Project. Also of interest to both booth staff and many attendees was LISA Build, think of that as a Cisco NET+ hands-on event, where all skill levels learned/taught things on building networks, configuring routers/load balancers and setting up native IPv6.  Day one ended with a small number of DVDs (F24, as F25 media was not just available) about  75% of our unixstickers supply and about 50% of the combined USBs from the RedHat / Centos booths.

Day 2 — Thursday — (Expo):

Day 2 started at 10a as far as the expo was concerned but several of the team took advantage of the late start to visit local restaurants for breakfast, braving the wind and cold all the while.  Day 2 saw a lot of the same questions and some more complex questions regarding more complex deployments including ones with advanced SELinux and docker images which given the selection of talks that day was quite understandable.  There were several BoFs (Birds Of a Feather) talks on day 2 as is customary at LISA conferences, the note-worthy one from the Redhat / Fedora / CentOS team was the GPG key signing party which saw less than expected numbers with only 13 attendees but several were either new to key signing or the practice itself. As an uncommon occurrence would have it 3 of the attendees (including Nick Bebout the organizer) that were CACert validators, which would have allowed any interested folks to get over the required 100 points to become a certifier in their own right, sadly this is an aspect of the Web Of Trust (WoT) that is too under publicized.

Several of the booth staff stayed for the Thursday night Google Ice Cream Social, which is always a great networking event that is very low key and laid back.  Nick Bebout (nb) even won (via raffle) a signed copy of the SRE book on website optimization.

All in all, while we still had media on the table at the conclusion, we shared plenty of the other swag and had PLENTY of awesome user interactions with seasoned users and new users alike.  We also had a blast talking and working out ideas amongst ourselves at the booth.


#RedhatDID: Retrospective and a look ahead to future events

Oct 6, 2016:  The day several Redhat trainers and industry folks met to talk about best practices and give feedback on the vision and mission ( and speed of progression) of Redhat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and upstream /  downstream projects and products.  Among one of the most popular Sessions was the one by Robin Price and Martin Priesler on OpenSCAP which was a standing room only  session with nearly  1/3 of attendants in attendance for this talk / session.  Rita Carroll and others setup a interest list for those that would like to attend another OpenSCAP Workshop (mainly centered on a hands-on event but other venues seemed open for debate). If you’d be interested regardless of whether you like me were in attendance please email Rita @ rita@redhat.com with a simple subject line referencing OpenSCAP Workshop (Tysons Area).

All slide decks will be up on the RedHatDID site used for registration within the coming week or two ( some presenters were not  Redhat afterall).

The above link has all the info about all 4  tracks presented and the topics, If you would like more info or a company visit on any topic shown ( or maybe something more topical to your organization) feel free to contact Rita or another event coordinator to schedule.

Next Event will be on Nov 2, 2016 at the Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City, Va  and is FREE for Gov’t folks when registering for the rest of us Industry folks that’s still only $195 for a 8 hr symposium with some of the most authoritative folks in the industry.

NGA Hackathon series: AngelHacks w/ Blue Compass to host two Hackathons in Sept & Nov

NGA Hackathon / Demothons in Sept & Nov 2016

This back to school season, look at these two prize money / possible job placement Hackathons/Demothons.

The NGA ( National Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency  — https://nga.gov ) is looking for new fresh ideas for big data analysis and dataset collection and has opened the Disparate Data Challenge.  This Hackathon & Demothon is a 2 stage engagement with stage 1 open to US citizens and stage 2 only open to stage 1 winners. Stage 1 submissions due by Sept 19, 2016.

Also part of NGA’s Hackathon series and backed by the AngelHack as well as Blue Compass LLC, is  ExpeditionHacks, hosted at Hunter College, NYC On  Nov 12-13,2016. This Event is more of the traditional 24 hr hackathon. Where teams of UP TO 5 can show their merit on a Geo-spatial conservation and efficiency hack session.  Show you can provide a sustainability, or ‘come-up’ solutions for indigenous communities.




Bitcamp: Fedora Booth Review

Slideshow  Featured: Chaoyi (cydrobolt), Mike (mikedep333), Justin (jflory7), Corey (corey84),  Mohammed — attendee, and repeat visitor to booth, whom I helped with a pesky Dell xps 15 Developer edition dual boot with Windows.

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So what is BitCamp ?

BitCamp is one of  several Hackathons hosted by MLH (Major League Hacking).  As  is apparent from the above links,  BitCamp and all hackathons hosted by MLH, are centered on a  mentoring  mentality more of the McGyver aspect rather than the typical nefarious aura that is  painted on the hacker community  at large. This year  was centered mostly on Electronics hacking so  ‘How can I get this  Raspberry Pi,  Arduino Board or  other household DIY circuit  board to do X, Y, Z?’

So what did Fedora and its ambassadors do at  bitcamp?

  • Helped with at least  6  installs  of Fedora 23  on  new  / current /  return  users  laptops.
  • Chaoyi helped with several Js attendees as a registered  Js mentor.
  • I helped  with several installs of  dual boot ( with at least 2 nvidia  and / or  efi + secure boot).
  • Justin helped me with showcasing the XO, even using his  personal RIT issued one to showcase some advanced features and flexibility. If you wish to get one of your own, although a  newer model as the one we have is no longer on sale, direct donation purchases are still a thing [1]
  • Mike and I had a very engaged and  informative  ‘ Our Road to Open Source’  campfire  talk with attendees on Saturday evening.
  • Mike and I had several visitors to the booth interested in x2g0  / remote access options as well as  a surprisingly  high amount of  interest in a  kali alternative, which I had loads of fun showcasing  the Security spin (technically a lab ) [2]  to quench that thirst :).

Think events like this are your thing?  Wanna join the Fedora team doing these kinds of things or other non conference / hackathon things like coding, UI/UX refactors,  ? Cool check out the links below  for more info on how to do so.


[1] https://authorize.payments.amazon.com/pba/xo

[2] https://labs.fedoraproject.org/en/security/

[3] https://whatcanidoforfedora.org