Flock Day One: All Containers, All the Time

This year, Fedora’s Flock conference is being held in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, following the tick/tock cadence of North America/Europe. Last year, I was helping to organize the conference (in Prague), and this year I get to turn up and enjoy the event while other folks (like Brian Exelbierd, Jen Madriaga, and many others) wrangle the event. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot more fun attending than running a conference.

Day one kicked off with Matthew Miller (Fedora Project Leader, for those folks not heavily involved in the Fedora Project) giving a “State of Fedora” overview. I’ll probably write more about this later, but the tl;dr – things are good, as far as uptake of Fedora. But they could be better. Fedora 25 and 26 have seen great uptake, people seem to be liking the latest releases, and they’re getting good reviews.

But we might be getting complacent. We need to be innovating more, and that usually comes with a little pain. So we should be breaking more things and taking more risks, while trying to remain relevant to early adopters and innovators. Tricky, but what fun would it be if it was easy?

The schedule was a little light between the keynote and lunch, at least for container-related content, which is why I’m here this week. After lunch, we had a good overview of the Fedora Layered Image Build System (FLIBS) by Adam Miller. What do we mean by “layered image”? Layered images are basically a base image plus an application or service layered onto the image. (Get it?)

FLIBS is based on the OpenShift Build Service, and the current work is moving from just x86_64 images to multi-arch, so we can produce layered images for ARM64, and other architectures.

Right now, FLIBS can only produce layered images from base images + applications that are in RPMs. Adam says that, at some point, we may be able to pull content that’s not in RPMs – but we need the ability to curate that content and provide auditing/sanity checking rather than allowing packagers to just pull random content into a build using curl or something like that.

After Adam’s talk on FLIBS, Josh Berkus led a workshop on maintaining container images for Fedora. One of the few downsides of this year’s Flock – and really, a hard problem to solve overall – was the conference venue’s weak WiFi. Flock isn’t a huge gathering, but the hotel’s internet capacity just isn’t up to 40 people in a session pulling down container images simultaneously. So the workshop was a good walk-through, but the actual building was left for later as an exercise to the attendee. But, people seemed to enjoy the session and get quite a bit out of it – and I think the session may yield a few additional container contributors.

My overall enjoyment of the first day of Flock was a bit muted by the fact I was getting over some sort of unpleasant stomach bug. Even so, it was a pretty good first day for Flock and day two is looking to be even better with Dan Walsh talking about new container technologies, and sessions on Atomic Host and system containers. More to come tomorrow and beyond.

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