Title of Devroom: Distributions

Elaborate description of proposed devroom(Including possible Topics):

As more and more workloads are being considered for containerization in the future and are finally landing in virtualized environments today, distributions remain a critical success factor and are more important than ever. Containers, like virtual machines, are not magical and rely on piles of software being assembled in a way that is repeatable, reliable, and functional. This is at the very heart of the problem that distributions have always solved.

Each distribution is responsible for building, testing, and releasing software as well as managing the lifecycle of each application in the collection. Additionally, distributions do very important work in ensuring that various versions of upstream software work well together and can co-exist. Distributions are also, often responsible, for “de-vendoring” upstream software so that security fixes can be applied more quickly.

For this year’s distributions devroom, we want to focus on the ways that distribution technologies can be leveraged to allow for easier creation of a multi-verse of artifacts from single source trees. This includes the increasing move toward self-contained applications and providing multiple non-parallel installed versions of software. We also want to continue to highlight the huge efforts being made in shared environments around Build/Test/Release cycles. Hot topics related to the delivery problem as it impacts updates in terms of both size and rollback/reliability are expected to be featured.

Why does it fit FOSDEM?:

Far from being just something cared about by “the old guard,” distribution developers and maintainers are widely represented at FOSDEM. Many attendees are involved (in one form or another) in the distribution space, and would benefit both as a speaker or in the audience of the devroom. Additionally, as the OpenSource community grows, many FOSDEM attendees don’t realize how much of what they rely on is provided by distributions. This is not a platform for debate about the merits of distribution A vs B as much as a statement about why picking a distribution remains a critical success factor for many applications.

The talks are only part of the story, since many folks are interested in the distributions space it’s not uncommon to start a piece of software or feature request only to find that the principal authors (or commentors) are all in the room. Building in a dedicated space for this augments the fantastic hallway track at FOSDEM.


  • Preferred slot: Full Day

  • Primary Contact: Brian Exelbierd

    • Submitter’s affinity to the topic of the devroom: Brian’s work as the Fedora Community Action and Impact Coordinator puts him at the intersection of Fedora’s community, strategy and engineering. He focuses on making sure that the Fedora community is working in harmony and looks for ways to encourage cross-distribution collaboration. Brian has a background in engineering and his contact with users allows him to look at how engineering efforts can serve users the best ways for different types of people.
  • Secondary Contact: Brian Stinson

    • Submitter’s affinity to the topic of the devroom: Brian’s work on the CentOS Infrastructure Team is focused on Continuous Integration and making it available to multiple distributions and projects that need stable test infrastructures that can not only validate their code, but also validate their code will work against the latest shipping version of libraries in a distribution. Brian routinely works with hiis colleagues in Fedora to build a shared infrastructure that serves each of the distributions and their guest projects in the best possible way.

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