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Finding a Tahr (or two!)

Tomorrow the next Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS) release comes out, 14.04, development code name Trusty Tahr. In preparation, I was putting together some materials for our release event next week and found myself looking for the Tahr artwork when I remembered that it was included in the installer. So now I’ll share it with you as well!

If you go to this source page you will see a “download file” link which will allow you to download a .png of the tahr artwork.

Trusty Tahr

I haven’t found an svg version of this logo, but I’ll be sure to update this post if I do.

Looking for something slightly different? The Xubuntu team also included a tahr in our installer, created by Simon Steinbeiß:

This png has transparency, which make it show grey on white, but you can flavor it with any color you wish!

You can grab it at this source page where you will see the “download file” link. I’ve also uploaded the svg: art_tahr.svg

Enjoy! And happy release everyone!

PyCon 2014 wrap-up

As I mentioned in my post about the PiDoorbell workshop, this past week I attended my first PyCon in beautiful (if chilly) Montreal, QC. I did some touristing, but I’ll write about that once I have all my photos up…

But now, the conference!

It was the first conference I’ve attended where I volunteered to help out with the HP booth. I was worried that my role as an engineer on the OpenStack project would leave me completely unprepared to answer questions about HP specifically, but I was instead greeted with kinship among most folks who I spoke with as they could appreciate HP’s investment in open source (and Python). I was also pleased to learn that the guys from the local HP office who came to help out with the booth were also all engineers, focused on either network or printing. Having the actual engineers to helped design the hardware we had on display at the booth was really cool.

Plus, I’m sure it helped that we have a bunch of open Python, OpenStack and other cloud jobs, so plenty of folks were eager to hear about those.

I wasn’t at the booth all weekend, I attended all the keynotes and several talks throughout the event. I think my favorite talks ended up being Track memory leaks in Python by Victor Stinner, Subprocess to FFI: Memory, Performance, and Why You Shouldn’t Shell Out by Christine Spang and In Depth PDB by Nathan Yergler. Upon reflection this makes sense given my work in ops, I’m much more likely to be debugging Python code in my typical day than writing something, so the talks about tracking down problems and performance issues are right up my alley.

The keynotes all three days were great. On Sunday I was particularly struck by the conference gender diversity. In addition to having a reported 1/3 female speakers and attendees, all the leadership in the Python community seem genuinely dedicated to the issue. I’m so used to projects that are still arguing over whether a problem exists let alone taking solid, unapologetic steps to correct the cultural bias. So thank you Python community, for giving us an opportunity to catch up, it’s working!

And finally, since I can’t go anywhere anymore without getting pulled into an OpenStack event, I finally met Dana Bauer from Rackspace this week and she invited me to come help out with a short OpenStack workshop for women on Sunday morning from 10 until noon. The lab they had set up didn’t quite work out, but it gave attendees the opportunity to go in the direction they wanted to. I was able to help a bit here and there, and James E. Blair gave a mini-presentation to a few folks on how to get going with DevStack.

At lunch I was able to meet up with Tatiana Al-Chueyr to chat some about the contribution workflow for OpenStack, which is always a lot of fun for me.

I’m pretty much exhausted from all the socializing, but as always with these conferences it was great to meet up with and chat with friends I haven’t seen in a long time. Thanks to everyone for such a fun week!

Tonight the weather started to turn chilly again, time to head home.

San Francisco 14.04 Release Party on April 24th

The release of Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) LTS is coming up on Thursday, April 17th!

To celebrate, the Ubuntu California team in San Francisco will be hosting an Ubuntu release party at AdRoll! Huge thanks to them for offering us space for this event.


AdRoll is located at 972 Mission Street in San Francisco. It’s within easy walking distance of the Powell Street BART and MUNI stations, which we recommend since parking can be expensive downtown.

Our party will be very casual with free pizza and drinks for attendees. But we do have planned…

  • Mini presentation highlighting Ubuntu 14.04 features
  • Laptops running various flavors of 14.04
  • Tablets and phones running the latest Ubuntu build
  • Ubuntu quiz, with prizes!

So if you’re in the area and would like to join us, please RSVP here:

San Francisco Trusty Release Party

Alternatively you can email me directly at lyz@ubuntu.com and I’ll get you added to the attendee list.

I'm going to the Ubuntu Release Party

San Francisco isn’t the only active part of the state this release, San Diego is also hosting an event, on April 17th, details here. If you’re near Los Angeles, Nathan Haines is collaborating with the Orange County Linux Users Group (OCLUG) to do an installfest on Saturday May 24th, learn more here.

Not in California? Events are coming together all around the world, check out the LoCo Team Portal to see if there is an event being planned in your area: 14.04 Release Parties.

PiDoorbell workshop at PyCon 2014 was a success!

This week I had the opportunity to attend PyCon for the first time. Since beginning to use Python in my systems work so much last year, I’ve had increasing interest in participating in this conference in some capacity, so when the opportunity came around at work to staff the HP booth here in Montreal I was happy to volunteer.

I was also brought to PyCon to be a Teaching Assistant for the Build your own PiDoorbell ! – Learn Home Automation with Python with fellow CodeChix members Rupa Dachere, Akkana Peck, Deepa Karnad Dhurka, Serpil Bayraktar and Stuart Easson.

We spent several weeks preparing for this tutorial. I made the trek down to Palo Alto twice to attend mini-sprints so we could test out the instructions in person prior to the event. We were able to add a number of improvements to both the code and documentation through these events and worked out some of the logistical issues of doing such a hardware event at a conference venue.

Workshop leads and TAs

The actual tutorial was held on Wednesday afternoon. Attendees quickly piled in and we were able to distribute our kits. Somehow we ended up with a few too many registrants but were able to scramble together a few extra pieces to make it work for everyone.

The tutorial was split into several sections, with the tutorial leads (Rupa and Akkana) giving presentations and us TAs going around and helping everyone with their setups when they got stuck. The biggest challenge for most was getting their system to talk to the Raspberry Pi, as we had folks on various operating systems with all kinds of network and USB setups.

Once we got everyone talking to the Pis, it was time for the fun stuff! Akkana gave a great presentation that was a tour of the hardware of the Raspberry Pi, including the setup of the GPIO pins configuration. For more about some cool hardware stuff she’s been doing with the Pi, I highly recommend her blog posts on the topic.

Then we had an led.py script to allow folks to make an LED blink:

As you can see, we’re using solderless breadboards so we didn’t have the complexity of soldering, thank goodness.

Then came the meat of the tutorial, wiring up the distance sensor (and camera if they had one) to actually detect when objects passed and take a photo. I brought along both my Raspberry Pi NoIR Camera Board – Infrared-sensitive Camera and my webcam from my desk at home so attendees could play around with them if they didn’t have ones of their own.

The last step was using Dropbox and Twilio to have a space to upload the photo to and then send out a notification.

Surprisingly for a hardware tutorial with such a diversity of host systems, I’m happy to report that most of the students were able to get the tutorial fully completed – at least to the point of taking pictures, if not the upload and notification portion. It was a lot of work for us TAs as we ran around helping everyone and debugging serial and networking issues, but it was worth it to see how much fun everyone had when they finally got an LED to blink or took their first picture.

All of the slides and source code is freely licensed, but the repository hasn’t been made available yet as Rupa wanted to fix some important bugs first (can’t have people frying their Pis!). But never fear, I’ll be following up to make sure it’s made available as soon as possible so others can do this too!

I’ve uploaded more photos from the event here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157643750475463/

May 3rd keynote and talk at LOPSA East

I’ve had a very busy year so far talk-wise. Back in January I gave a handful of sysadmin focused talks at Linux.conf.au in Perth, Western Australia. In February I did similar at the Southern California Linux Expo. In May I’ll be drifting slightly away from a Linux-only crowd to present at LOPSA-East in New Brunswick, New Jersey on May 3rd.

LOSPA-East 2014

First up on the schedule I’ll be doing my Code Review for Sys Admins talk:

I’m a member of the OpenStack Infrastructure team which is a geographically distributed team of systems administrators from several different companies who work together in public to maintain the infrastructure described at http://ci.openstack.org.

To achieve this, we use a code review system that leverages Gerrit as the interface for peer review and Jenkins to run some basic configuration and code syntax checking against our submissions. This allows us to maintain for code and config file integrity and gives us a nice platform so that our fellow systems administrators can comment on and improve solutions we come up with. We also use IRC, Etherpad and more for collaboration, which I will discuss.

I love giving this talk and I’m excited to be giving it at a conference focused at sysadmin-type folks in the industry.

But it gets better, they’ve also asked me to keynote on Saturday evening!

I’ve titled my talk Universal Design for Tech: Improving Gender Diversity in our Industry (thanks to Leigh Honeywell for the title idea):

Universal Design is a principle in accessibility that accessible design makes things better for everyone. A key example of which are curb cuts and door openers which help those who are disabled but also folks with luggage and parents with strollers.

Elizabeth will discuss ideas on how to improve gender diversity in our industry, but many of the tips will help everyone beyond improvements that come through diversity. From offering formal education for systems administration to offering flexible schedules and work arrangements, there are many things that can be done to attract much-needed talent.

As someone who has made it in the industry I’m keen on preserving the environment that I’ve grown and thrived in, but also in making small changes that I know would have helped me along the way and will help others, including women.

I also took some time to chat with Tom Limoncelli about my talk, which he’s posted on the Everything Sysadmin blog: Interview with LOPSA-East Keynote: Elizabeth Krumbach Joseph

Registration is still open for the conference and I hear there might even be some space at the hotel left (but it’s filling up fast!). Hope to see you there!

Sharing the Beauty: Organ Class

This past Sunday MJ and I went over to Congregation Sherith Israel to learn about the organ that graces the sanctuary.

The organ has always been a big deal for me. Even though I’m not religious, I do have warm feelings and memories surrounding the stunning, old cathedrals that have organs and I’ve made an effort to visit more from Dublin to San Juan. As such, having an amazing one in the synagogue we attend made me feel at home and I’ve really enjoyed the music there.

For the class we had Jonathan Dimmock, regular player of the organ at the synagogue (and at cathedrals and more around the world) there to tell us all about it and play for us. The first thing we learned is what the organ is. It’s a symphonic organ made by the Los Angeles Organ Company, reorganized from the Murray M. Harris Organ Co. so they call it a Murray Harris.

It was also interesting to learn that in the Reform Judaism movement that the installation of organs in synagogues was something that started in the Western United States and moved east, making this one in San Francisco one of the first in a synagogue and a magnificent example of this history. It was also the first in a house of worship in San Francisco to have a three-rank echo division, which is located in the dome and created ethereal and “far away” sounds, which he demonstrated.

It was really interesting to hear about his experience around the world playing on different organs and how they all have their own character. He explained that one of the things of note with this organ was due to its age and purpose (worship accompaniment), it is one of the warmest, softest organs he’s ever worked with, as it had to account for services where there were no microphones.

Now I’ve seen organs up close before, so I was delighted by the opportunity during this class to learn more about the internals and to see inside. There are several pipes that are visible and decorated, but the organ has over 2000 pipes total! And we had the opportunity to walk behind the facade to actually look up at some of the other pipes.

Below the pipe room, was the guts of what powers the whole thing, a surprisingly loud machine with a belt that powered the wind going up to the pipes. I had to walk from the room to the sanctuary a couple of times to reconcile how loud it was in the room with how silent it is where congregants sit.

In all, it was a great learning experience.

This was the last class to wrap up Sharing the Beauty, I wrote about all previous ones too:

More photos from the organ class are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157642824330104/

March in Maine visit

I spent the past week in Maine staying with my sister to visit with her, my nephew and my mother. In addition to obvious quality time with my sister and mother, I really wanted to have some bonding time with my little 20 month old nephew Xavier. And to not put them too much on the spot to entertain me (or me entertain myself) during the whole trip, I took advantage of my flexible work situation and decided to work while I was there. It ended up working out very well, I was very productive and also able to be present with my family all week.

Typically when I go to New England I fly into Manchester and spend some time visiting other family and friends who are still local, but this time I was on a shoestring budget and decided to simply fly into Portland and ask for family to pick me up. No rental car, no expensive detours. It had been years since I had flown into the Portland Jetport, so flying into such a small airport that only takes the smaller regional planes was my first adventure. I greatly enjoyed the Bombardier Q400 that I flew in on, it had propellers!

My mother picked me up and we began the drive 2 hours north to where my sister lives. She had a lot more snow than Portland does.

The week was spent mostly at Annette’s place, where I was sleeping, but we also had the opportunity to go over to my mother’s several times. She has a number of cats, one of whom was an older Siamese named Simon who I particularly bonded with:

I also got to hold George, my mother’s beautiful red-tail boa.

On Wednesday I took a long lunch to go with my mother to L. L. Bean. I had to exchange a raincoat that had begun to come apart (very unlike a coat from them!) and buy some other clothes. While we were in Freeport I also took the opportunity to have my lobster roll of the trip at Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Kitchen:

Wednesday night it snowed, so we woke up to 8 inches of snow on the ground for Thursday, the first day of spring. Since I didn’t have anywhere to go Thursday this ended up being perfect for me – not enough snow to cause trouble, but enough to be beautiful! Annette did have to move her car for the plow truck though, during which Xavier showed me what he wanted for breakfast and we sat down together to eat it.

He’s so adorable.

Thursday night we made our way out to La Fluer’s Restaurant so I could get my lobster pie. Friday was another long lunch day where we went up to Augusta for a Chinese buffet and to do some shopping. My trip wrapped up Saturday with Maine barely letting go of me — it was snowing when the plane took off and we had to be de-iced.

In all, a great trip. I hope to do it again next year! More photos from my trip: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157642749270203/

Life, hardware tinkering and my grandmother

Hard to believe it’s the middle of March already. My 9 weeks of Couch-to-5K has been stretched out a bit due to getting another cold a couple weeks ago and then working from the office in Sunnyvale for a week, which left very little time for exercise. I re-did a couple interval runs from earlier in the week to get back up to par, and I’m on schedule to finish week 7 tomorrow. On Friday I’m taking a redeye to visit my mother, sister and nephew in Maine so it looks like Sunday’s run will be and interesting one done dodging snow banks!

In project work I finally managed to move my primary desktop to a RAID1 array. As is with most of these projects, it waited until I started getting disk errors…and a bit longer, before I was forced to complete this. It took me longer to do than I anticipated due to attempts to use the Ubuntu graphical installer to set up RAID+LVM, at some point I gave up and used the MinimalCD which uses the ncurses Debian Installer, my favorite!

I was also happy to join Rupa Dachere and Serpil Bayraktar this past Sunday to work on the Raspberry Pi tutorial we’re presenting next month. Our experiences that day gave us a whole list of notes about what we’ll need for attendees and possible problems that may occur on site. Plus, I was able to hook up my Pi via console for the first time, which was fun.

A couple weeks ago I also helped organize an Ubuntu Documentation Day, summary here. The Documentation team has really been transformed over this past year and I’m proud of the work the team has been doing to attract and onboard new contributors, which this day was a part of.

In less cheerful news, I took the loss of my grandmother a bit harder than I expected. I think this was in part due to there being no scheduled service of any kind right now and distance from family, I felt isolated. I think visiting my sister next week will help. MJ and I are also planning to go back to Philadelphia to visit some time this spring and hope to make it up to Ridgewood to visit the Schoolhouse Museum that my grandmother worked with for many years and was always a highlight of my trips to visit them. It will be nice to relive some memories. Her obituary is here.

This week MJ and I went to a hockey game, with promise of a good game with the Sharks playing the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Sharks one 6-2 in a brutal but enjoyable game, for Sharks fans anyway! I hosted an Ubuntu Hour on Wednesday night but skipped the Debian Dinner so I could get home and work on a project.

I’m looking forward to this trip to Maine. My sister keeps insisting that it’s boring and cold there, but I think that’s the change of pace I’m looking for. Plus, I’ll be working throughout the week and playing with my nephew, so I can’t get too bored!

OpenStack Infrastructure March 2014 Bug Day

Today the OpenStack Infrastructure team hosted their third bug day of the cycle.

lady bug chocolate lollipops

First, I created our etherpad: cibugreview-march2014 (see etherpad from past bug days on the wiki at: InfraTeam#Bugs)

Then I run my simple infra_bugday.py script and populate the etherpad.

Then I grab the bug stats from launchpad and copy them into the pad so we (hopefully) have inspiring statistics at the end of the day. Once bugday makes it into infra proper I hope to update that to include us too, there is a bug for that, which I updated today.

Then comes the real work. I open up the old etherpad and go through all the bugs, copying over comments from the old etherpad and making my own comments as necessary about obvious updates I see (and updating my own bugs).

Last step: Let the team go to town on the etherpad and bugs!

As we wrap up, here are the stats from today:

Bug day start total open bugs: 293

  • 50 New bugs
  • 51 In-progress bugs
  • 5 Critical bugs
  • 23 High importance bugs
  • 15 Incomplete bugs

Bug day end total open bugs: 245

  • 0 New bugs
  • 45 In-progress bugs
  • 4 Critical bugs
  • 24 High importance bugs
  • 21 Incomplete bugs

Thanks again everyone!

OpenStack TripleO mid-cycle sprint kicks off

On Monday, March 3rd, we kicked off the TripleO (“OpenStack on OpenStack” ) mid-cycle meetup at the HP offices in Sunnyvale, California.

The day began by splitting up into groups with our specific focuses, including Ironic (bare metal) and Continuous Integration, where I ended up.

I was able to spend the day following up on a couple patches I had outstanding for the work I’ve been doing with Fedora on the infrastructure side and get some work done on another patch.

After lunch, Derek Higgins of Red Hat gave participants a walk through of how we’re doing testing, with a tour of the setup for our testing environments and the “TripleO cloud” itself that’s currently being used for testing, running on a rack of servers provided by HP.

After the tour, he made the diagram he used available to get a better picture of everything:

(Click for full version)

My day wrapped up by having a chat with some folks from Mirantis about some of their multi-node testing plans and how that may tie in to the work we’re doing in TripleO and the rest of infra.

The rest of the week so far has been spent over at the Yahoo! offices in Sunnyvale. Most noteworthy to what I’m working on, the Red Hat folks were able to make progress on getting their own rack up to supplement the current testing rack from HP in order to have redundancy in testing. I was also able to make progress in getting Fedora into the testing pool and had the opportunity to use the high bandwidth time with colleagues to work on some SELinux issues I’ve been running into and do some in person debugging.

Last night HP sponsored a fun dinner for all sprint attendees down at Gordon Biersch in San Jose. Today, Thursday we’re continuing our work which will wrap up tomorrow.