Tuesday, February 24, 2009

First ever Fedora Ambassador Tech Talk

Gave my first tech talk as a Fedora Ambassador, I presented to the student organization at the University I attend known as "Sam Houston Association for Computer Scientist" (SHACS for short). I wanted to introduce my fellow classmates to the wonders of open source, Linux, and most notably: Fedora. I was lucky enough to have received an Ambassador Kit from my sponsor so that I was able to hand out free media, buttons, stickers, and a couple t-shirts to those in the audience who were already on the Fedora band wagon and were just interested to hear what I had to say. This was a big hit, I thank inode0 for my kit.

Key Points that were covered:

* What is open source?
- Open source is software such that you can download, modify, and redistribute its source code as per the license it has been released under.
- Open source != freeware, open source is not inherently "free as in beer" that is just a common side effect. (Case and point: Red Hat Enterprise Linux)

* What is Linux?
- Linux is a kernel that is coupled with the GNU userspace along with thousands of open source projects to provide a full featured operating system, and in the end is commonly referred to as "Linux" for short hand.
- Linux is currently the largest open source project of its kind and supports more hardware than any operating system in the history of computing (Thanks to Greg K-H for that zinger of a quote)
- Linus Torvalds wrote and released the first version of Linux as a sophomore in college (this is the time to develop and innovate in an open environment, we are the future)

* What is Fedora?
- Fedora is many things, it is a distribution of Linux, it is a community, it is an infrastructure, it is an outlet for ideas to come to life in ways that did not used to be possible.
- Fedora is a place to jump in and get involved in all stretches the Linux and open source world, it is a place to bring your interests, your talents, and your concepts in order to contribute to the greater good.

* Why should you care?
- Fedora means a lot to me because its a project that makes a point to work with upstream open source projects in an attempt to better the open source world as a whole. Its development process reflects this and if/when you get involved you will see this too.
- We are all computer scientists, we are all college students (or professors), and now is the time to get out there and do something with our knowledge, and do it in an open manner.
- Now is the time to truly innovate and do so out in the open (Notice I keep saying this? Hint, Hint).
- We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our community of developers and users, and we deserve better than the proprietary wares that have been peddled onto us for so many years.

* Who uses Fedora?
- Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux. Runs Fedora
- IBM Roadrunner, fastest supercomputer on the planet. Runs Fedora
- NASA and the FBI. Run Fedora.

* How to get involved?
- The wiki covers all sorts of documentation on how to get involved. I am planning another talk on how to get involved covering everything from making a Fedora Account to getting a package accepted by Fedora all the way to pushing it out to the repositories through the wonderful infrastructure that is available.

* How to get/give help?
- Referenced the audience to the wiki page on communications, discussed the different roles each mailing list plays as well as irc channels.

Ended with a QA section.

Special thanks to Max Spevack for his slide show that I based mine off of and also for maintaining the statistics, I covered them in my slides and it was nice to have real world numbers to show. The map was also a big hit, graphical goodness is always fun.

EDIT: Forgot to upload the presentation slides, now available here.