Atomic at Flock 2017

Flock 2017 was hosted in the beautiful city of Hyannis last week. Personally it was the first Flock I’ve attended, and it was very eye opening listening to the new and upcoming technologies in the Fedora space. Perhaps more importantly, there was a focus on “do-sessions” this Flock, where attendees were able to get their hands dirty with the presented material. These labs and sessions made good use of the time to interact with the audience and get them immersed into the content. In this post I will highlight 2 such sessions from the Fedora Atomic community, a relatively new effort in Fedora focused on container technologies.

Dusty Mabe presented a very good lab titled “Atomic Host 101” on Wednesday afternoon. The lab is focused on allowing new users to familiarize themselves with a Atomic Host, the lightweight and immutable host built to run containerized applications. Dusty started with a quick introduction to Project Atomic and the Atomic Host in general, and then opened the floor to allow attendees to go through his prepared lab at their own pace.

The lab itself was split into 6 sections:

  • preparation: creating a VM and local server for updates/container images
  • getting familiar: learning about the status of a running atomic host
  • container storage: how to set up the storage drivers
  • updates: how to update, rollback, rebase an atomic host system
  • experimental features: package layering and livefs
  • applications: running containerized and non-containerized applications on the host
Dusty Mabe presenting the Atomic Host 101 Lab

The lab was very detailed and well prepared in terms of presenting the Atomic Host and its features to a new user, and even taught old users (such as myself) new tricks and functionality. Dusty put in extra effort to prepare the lab beforehand, distributing VM images and lab material on USB sticks to ensure everyone can follow the lab given poor wifi at the conference. The use of local webservers for update/rebase material was also a good touch that allowed a smooth experience for attendees. During the lab time Dusty moved around and helped users that experienced issues, as well as had good discussions with community members. Overall it was a very well prepared and presented lab.

If you’d like to try this yourself, you can find the steps in Dusty’s Blog.

Another session I attended was the Fedora Atomic Doc Work session hosted by Josh Berkus and Trishna Guha on Thursday morning. There has been efforts to create a new, consolidated documentation repository for Project Atomic related features in the upstream repository on github, and this session was a follow-up from an earlier VFAD on the same subject. This session was more tailored towards members of the community who already have experience with Fedora Atomic, since the session was much like a community work session to kickstart the new docs repo.

The session began with a quick introduction to the current state of the docs, as well as a tutorial on how to use Asciidoctor format that is used for the new docs repo. After that attendees were encouraged to each take an issue from the repo and start writing documentation for the issue. The repo had already created templates and issues for missing docs, so the work was well broken down and easy to get started with.

Josh and Trishna introducing the workshop

After working on the docs for awhile, participants were encouraged to put their work up for review, and we spent some time swapping reviews for each other. Overall there was good progress on many of the documentation and features.

Personally I very much enjoyed these lab/work sessions, and I learned quite a bit from all the great content that was presented at the conference. Hopefully there will be more and more good work within the Fedora ecosystem, and we can have better and better Flocks to compliment that.