FOSDEM 2010: all was well

Posted in conference, FOSDEM, open source by elisehuard on February 10, 2010

This weekend we had our 10th edition of FOSDEM. Fosdem is the Free Open Source Developers European Meeting. It’s the second year that I’m part of the staff – my reasons to join the team was that since I’m using a lot of open source, but contributing precious little (working on it), I might as well give something back in another way. Since then I found another reason to enjoy working on FOSDEM: it’s amazing to bring about such a mammoth event with just a dozen of people and a larger group of volunteers.

Since FOSDEM is entirely free and doesn’t require people to register, it’s always difficult to estimate the attendance. Judging from the numbers of t-shirts and the booklets, and the constant throngs of geeks in the hallways, the general impression is that we had even more participants than last year. To the point that we start wondering if we’re not going to grow too large.

The organization was a success. Kudos to the whole team for doing a good job.
Sponsoring and donations were crisis-insensitive. The network was up on friday night (respect to Gerry, Jerome, Peter, and all who made it happen), with a glass fiber gigabit uplink. During the conference the geeks didn’t even use 10% of the bandwidth. In one of the hacker rooms there was a sign ‘please use more bandwidth’. The devrooms were mostly packed, and the main tracks were (I think) interesting. It’s not always easy to get brainiacs who can speak in front of an audience, but I think we hit the spot most of the time.

Where last year I had to run around like a headless chicken, this year there were plenty of opportunities to sit down for 20 minutes at a time ! Which meant I got out of it feeling marginally less exhausted than last year.

I think we can say that the organization has now reached a nice plateau, and everything was ticking along very smoothly. The only danger is to grow complacent – it’s never a good idea to let your guard down.

Heart-warming: to have faithful volunteers who help us until the bitter (or should I say dirty) end. To have a great atmosphere, and to get heartfelt thanks from participants. If you’ve got any feedback of your own, tips you’d like to share, let us know.

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Rails Bugmash

Posted in open source, rails, ruby by elisehuard on August 7, 2009

This weekend, we have an unique opportunity to get involved (or attempt to) in the Rails core development: the Rails Bugmash, organized by RailsBridge.
The idea is to resolve as many bugs as possible on the stable version of Rails (2.3.x) – with some assistance of established Rails core members (through IRC on Freenode #railsbridge). A level of playfulness, or competition, is added by the fact that you get awarded points for bug reduction, and there’s a few small prizes. The main prize, in my opinion, is the opportunity to participate to a well-managed open source project like Rails.

You’ll find relevant information here. And what to do to have your environment ready: here. The railscast is also a good intro.

A few notes that might be useful:

  • I installed a variant of Relevance’s ruby switcher. I’m using zsh myself, not bash: if this is your case, you’ll find the relevant dotfiles in the spicy-code’s repository. Good source of inspiration, but since I’m fairly happy with my configs, I just took over ruby_switcher.rb and ruby_installer.rb. Since I didn’t want to reinstall versions i already had on my machine, I changed ruby_switcher.rb to use the paths of existing installations (look at the update_path function to see what to use) and then i added the following line to my .zshrc .
    source ~/.zsh/ruby_switcher.zsh
  • To run the activerecord test set, you need a few databases, and a user ‘rails’.
    create user rails;
    create database activerecord_unittest;
    create database activerecord_unittest2;
    grant all on activerecord_unittest.* to rails@localhost;
    grant all on activerecord_unittest2.* to rails@localhost;

    on postgres the grants of course are
    create user rails password 'password';
    grant all on database activerecord_unittest to rails;
    grant all on database activerecord_unittest2 to rails;

    Strictly speaking, you need to test on as many dbs at possible – i’ve got mysql, posgres and (duh) sqlite3 – might add the jdbc’s to that list.
    You can change configs in activerecord/test/connections/native_/connection.rb . For mysql, I had to add my :socket in there, which defaulted to something strange. For postgres, i had to add user and password (though i suppose you could grant to PUBLIC).
    If you want to just test activerecord for one type of database, you go into the activerecord directory, and do
    rake test_mysql
    rake test_postgresql

    and similar. In fact, it’s adviseable to run ONLY the tests you need at first, because the test set is obviously sizeable, and takes a wee while to run (using env variable TEST=).
    Note: I must be missing a grant for postgresql, because i get a load of errors – I’ll update if i fix this Update: i ended up using the superuser.
  • You also need to start memcached. 11211 is the default port.
    memcached -p 11211 -d
  • especially this week-end, i’d do git pull regularly, to avoid surprises.

Interesting, anyway.

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