Northeast GNU/Linux Fest 2014, Boston

April 12th, 2014 by Aditya Patawari 1 comment »

ne-linuxfest-logo-200pxI am just back from Northeast GNU/Linux Fest 2014, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. It is a one day event organised by a couple of volunteers in Boston.

Lately I have been helping to migrate the existing Puppet modules to Ansible at Fedora Infra team. So I was invited to talk about “Building Orchestration and Configuration with Ansible at Fedora Project“. I reached the venue, Residence Inn – Marriot, and went to Red Hat booth. I met up with Matthew Miller. He works on Cloud related technologies at Red Hat and Fedora and I hope to contribute towards Docker so we had some chat about getting some easy fix stuff done. I have already contributed a bit to Scott Collier’s repo of Dockerfiles. Talking to Matthew was exciting. He had a lot of insights on Fedora.next and the upcoming cloud offerings.

Mario was also supposed to be there and talk about Status of Fedora Projects but he had to cancel at the last minute so we had an impromptu session by Matthew who volunteered to answer the questions regarding the Fedora Project. I also attended a session on Docker by Will Weaver who gave great demos on how to use Docker and its benefits. My talk was just before the keynote talk. I think it went great. One key difference which I observed with American audience is that they are much more interactive. The session involved a great deal of involvement from audience which was very nice. I attended Jon “Maddog” Hall‘s keynote next. That was a session filled with unparalleled energy. I loved every bit of it. Maddog talked about the evolution of Linux and how it became what it is today. That was a really amazing talk.

With this one, the Northeast GNU/Linux Fest came to an end. I stayed for a few more days and roamed around Boston, Cambridge, MIT Museum and MIT Media Lab and had a great time.

Releasing Getting Started with ownCloud

July 29th, 2013 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

Getting started with ownCloudGetting Started with ownCloud got released last week. This book is a result of six month long effort and a lot of night outs to get the job done. This is the first book on ownCloud and I feel really happy about it. The feeling to see your name on the first page of a book is extra ordinary.

Writing a book is a humbling experience. It makes you realize how little you know about certain technologies. Many things that you took for granted or simple ignored suddenly becomes important because that reviewer wants to know more about it. However it is an amazing experience and I would thank entire Packt Publishing team and all my friends and family for their support (that sounded clichéd).

The book has a foreword by Frank Karlitschek, founder of ownCloud. He has blogged about it as well. It got launched on Amazon.com stores, Barnes & Nobles, Safari Books and many other major book sellers.

So guys, take control of your data with you. Check out ownCloudBook.com for more details.

I am joining BrowserStack.com

September 18th, 2012 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

Yup! It is time to move on. While working at Directi and Talk.to, I have met some of the most amazing and knowledgeable people, it is time to try out something new. I would be joining BrowserStack.com.  This means that I’ll be moving out of Bangalore, saying good bye to all my close friends and colleagues and going to Mumbai. To be honest, I am not fond of Mumbai. There are just too many people there in that city. I think I prefer calm and quite environment to the environment where no one ever sleeps but I guess BrowserStack.com may be worth a shot.

A little bit about BrowserStack.com; it is a start-up which facilitates cross browser testing of web apps. It is one of the few start-ups in India which is growing at a very high rate without any external funding. I think it is going to be great. I will be looking after their entire setup including Amazon AWS and colocated data centers comprising of Linux, Windows and Apple Mac machines. I’ll be creating entire automation suite, monitoring setup, log analysis infra and much more, all from scratch.

Road looks challenging ahead. I hope it’ll be fun too.

FUDCon KL, Day 2 and Day 3

May 24th, 2012 by Aditya Patawari 1 comment »

FUDCon KL Day 2 had talks for newbies. There was very less for me to do since my talk on Puppet was the next day. The day started with keynote from Joshua a.k.a. sitapati. He talked about documentation and translation and encouraged the local people to contribute in building the first ever crowd sourced book in their regional language. After keynote, I went to hangout room to check if someone is there. I wanted to package graphite and nodejs and revive the kde netbook spin. Day 2 for me was mostly hacking around and talking to people as they came with questions. FUDPub was scheduled later that evening. I did miss the noise created at FUDPub Pune but the cake at KL was delicious. There was a point when my stomach was full but the temptation of cake..!

Day 3 was more eventful for me in the sense that I had a talk to deliver and not to mention it was the last day of FUDCon KL. My talk was scheduled at 11 am so that was the first thing I did. It seems that Ankur recorded it and uploaded it on archives.org. Goh Choon Ming’s talk was a short one. For the first time I got to learn the difference between hypervisor based virtualization and container based virtualization in a proper way. Post lunch we shifted to a bar camp style format again. Syamsul’s talk on Boxgrinder was amazing. I am planning to use to to build some custom stacks for ec2. Closing keynote was as inspiring as it can get. Abu Mansur delivered it and he talked about how and why we should encourage open source. The benefits we can get out it. I must say, he speaks with power and authority which is expected from a keynote speaker.

The FUDCon KL came to the end. I guess it was the least disastrous FUDCon ever. All the guys Izhar, Maverick, Gurdeep and all the volunteers did an excellent job. Putting together an event of this magnitude in just 8 weeks is really impressive. I hope I’ll see them again in some other event.

Postmortem:

I have packaged graphite (3 packages total) and they are up for review. I think Praveen has already taken graphite-web.
Here are the links for the Review request:
graphite-web: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=824357
carbon: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=824348
whisper: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=824361

With help of Danishka’s kickstart file, I think I would be able to revive kde-netbook spin in a short time. I already have a build with me. I need to test it out before going ahead.

FUDCon Kuala Lumpur, 2012. Day 1

May 19th, 2012 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

Here I am, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with some of the awesomest contributors of Fedora Community writing about the events of last day. The flight landed a day before here and Ankur, Praveen and me went for some sight seeing on the first day. We saw The Petronus Towers and visited Central Market. We came back hell tired, met everyone and went to sleep.

The Day 1 of FUDCon KL started with Christoph Wickert giving keynote on leadership. As with every FUDCon keynote, it was awesome. One thing that Christoph said in the end really strike me “It may not always be pretty, and it may not always be easy, but persistence wins”. Amazing thought.

The Day 1 was dedicated to bar camp style talks. Immediately after the keynote, the pitching started. I guess a little over than 20 talks were pitched for about 15 slots which, in my opinion, is a good number. I pitched two talks, one on Git and another one on Metrics Collection. The git one got through, sadly(well, not that sad) the Metrics Collection was shot down. Most of the selected talks revolved around students contributing which was a good thing given that most of the audience consisted of students. I got a handful of people interested in Git who were happy to talk to me about it after the session.

We had a big face-to-face APAC meeting back at hotel. We did missed David Ramsey and Harish. Several important points were discussed during the meeting including budget, swags, mentorship and general promotion of Fedora across the Asia Pacific region.

The day ended along with several discussions on a bunch of topics. I guess several emails on the lists will appear soon about the action plans.

GNUnify 2012 and SysAdmin Track

February 19th, 2012 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

I was in Pune last weekend to attend GNUnify and give a talk on “Introduction To Puppet”. As usual I got an early morning flight to Pune and reached there by 11 am. GNUnify is held by Pune Linux User Group and the Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research. This year they had a specific track of my interest, SysAdmin track.

As I reached the venue, I was put up in a nice guest house close to the venue itself. I met the regular crowd Suchakra, Shreyank, Neependra, Ramki, Saleem and other regular folks. Shreyank was just out after giving his talk. We chatted for a while and I went to the guest house for a break. There was a speaker’s dinner in the evening where I met Deependra Shekhawat (openbysource) and Atul Jha (koolhead17). Deependra is working on Eucalyptus which is a cloud computing software platform. We discussed a bit about building rpms for Fedora and EPEL. I think very soon Eucalyptus will be packaged for EPEL. Atul told me about some of the api issues he has seen with openstack. I had a chance to talk to Alolita also. She mentioned that they are using openstack to serve out the thumbnails. Use case looks interesting, I hope to use openstack myself sometime soon. Arky told us about the story behind GlusterFS and its founder Anand Babu. What an inspiring story! One thing I would never forget about this evening was Ramki telling me about career path. It was one of the best advice I got in a long time.

Next day, I started off by my own talk. It was good to find an interactive audience and everything went well except a part in demo where I did not realize that college authorities have blacklisted port 8140 which was required for puppet to run. Following it was a talk by Arun Tomar about chef. I realized how similar both the tools are. With each day passing by, puppet and chef are providing nearly same features. Post lunch I went for Deependra’s workshop on Eucalyptus. He showed how to set up a cloud platform using Xen hypervisor in a couple of hours. It was very cool.

Gnunify 2012 ended here for me. Hope to visit again next year and a lot of thanks to Directi for sponsoring my visit.

Linux Workshop At SASTRA University, Thanjavur

February 9th, 2012 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

Last weekend I visited Thanjavur with Arun and Srishti. We were invited in SASTRA University for a two days Linux workshop. The college is situated between Thanjavur and Trichy, closer to Thanjavur. They are very strict with discipline, clothes, timings for hostel and most of the things which I found superficial but that is just my personal opinion. I was initially asked to talk about Linux kernel and I was astonished. Students in Indian colleges don’t usually have basic Linux skills, kernel was something way beyond the reach. Till date, I am not sure if I understand kernel well enough to talk about it. We created a talk schedule comprising of some basic talks on Linux, python, git, vim, django and similar topics and handed it over to the organizers from SASTRA.

We reached there on Sat, 4 Feb after 6-7 hours of bus journey on bumpy roads. I hardly slept for 2-3 hours, same for Arun. We had two classrooms full of students. Arun picked one and started with Introduction of FOSS and Linux while I took the other one and started with Python Introduction. Srishti talked about Qt after that. The day went by and we had talks on Vim, Emacs, Python, Qt, RPM packaging by Arun, Srishti and me. As my initial expectation, the level of Linux awareness was not much. I guess that is the problem with most of the colleges in India.

Day two started with me talking about the basics of DNS and Load balancing and Arun talking about Django. We dialed down things to the beginner level and tried to explain things in as simple form as we could. I was kinda skeptical about both of my talks, Load Balancing as well as Puppet, because these are fairly advanced topics but students kept their patience which I should appreciate. I asked them to configure a puppet master on the spot and all of them were able to do the same after an hour of debugging session. We closed on a good note (I hope) and some fun moments.

We visited a temple afterwards, a huge temple. I still fail to understand why would they spend so much time, resources and money to build a temple but i guess faith is something which is beyond my understanding. A few non-linux points about this workshop:

  • We saw a doll which Arun loved. The doll, made up of wood, i think, swings its head.
  • Srishti likes to click photographs even when food is at stake.
  • Arun has replaced pink slippers with yellow ones.
  • Food at SASTRA canteen is far better than what we had in my college canteen (Birla Institute of Technology).
GNUnify, Pune this weekend :)

Stuff Happening Around: Talk.to, EC2 And WAZI

January 20th, 2012 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

Seems ages since I last wrote here. Work is taking a toll these days and I find very limited time to blog. A lot of things have happened and I am enjoying every bit of my professional life. Seriously, things couldn’t have been better at work.

First off, the project I am working on, Talk.to, is growing at a good pace. We have released an Android client and the web client and few others are in beta and would be launched soon. As the user base grows, the load on system grows and the challenge on system administrator (that is me) increases. Till now we were hosting the Talk.to services on our co-located data center. Only problem there was that with rapid increase in user base, scaling was becoming a headache. Procurement cycling was also not optimal. Don’t get me wrong, co-located data centers work great once you stabilize. We still have hosting and mailing servers in out co-lo data centers. So decision was made to move to something dynamic with high availability, better scaling and shorter procurement cycles (read cloud).

Enter Amazon Web Services. It is a nice platform (sad, it is not open sourced). Horizontal scaling with AWS is easy and that was the feature which attracted us the most. We have built the entire infrastructure from bare bone machines, overcoming a lot of issues which we never accounted for like Django cannot be installed on Amazon’s default ami from epel because of some package clashes. Also managing stuff with puppet was also not easy given the dynamic nature of AWS nodes. Thanks to Biju (my manager, former xfce dev, Linux India webmaster and what not) who wrote an automation to get around this issue. I had to build most of the puppet classes from scratch or clean up the existing ones. Coordinating with team members sitting in Mumbai, Delhi and parts of USA (I am in Bangalore) gets tricky at times. Communicating your point of view and understanding their’s is not easy specially when reasons at both the sides looks valid. I finally understood why devops clashes are there. I have leaned a few things and I think there is more to come. Cannot thank Directi and my team enough for these opportunities and open environment which they provide.

And lastly, I wrote a twitter api script in python and made it tweet my (personal) server’s health. It was kinda fun. You can find the script on Gitorious. I blogged about it and it got posted on Linux Today. I got a mail from Lee from OpenLogic’s WAZI who offered me to write posts for them. So far I have written two which kinda consumed the bits and pieces of free time I had.

I’ll be going to SASTRA University with some of my friends for a workshop and will check out a few temples and places there.

Rest In Peace Dennis

November 10th, 2011 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

This year will end in a few days but never can we forget the man behind almost every thing a computer runs. Rest in peace Dennis Ritchie, the creator of C and Unix.

FUDCon Day 3: Hackfests :D

November 7th, 2011 by Aditya Patawari No comments »

My day finally arrived. I had to conduct a hackfest on Puppet. I planned on creating some basic puppet modules which could be used by newbies and beginners to understand and modify to use. Sadly there were no contributor, only newbies so I converted the hackfest into a workshop. I taught them how to install and configure puppet. Sadly only one of the guys was able to do it properly in one go. Most of them, though configured it correctly, were not able to use it properly because of lack of fqdn on the laptops. Anyway, I had to wrap it up since it was the time for my flight. I had an amazing time with everyone. It is not always when you meet such awesome people under one roof with a single goal of doing good for community. I loved the spirit that nobody boo’ed away people using other distributions. Everyone was welcomed with great spirit.

As a closing thought, the number of contributors in Bangalore are increasing. With Arun SAG moving here and Srishti Sethi starting to contribute, we might be able to have a FAD sometime.