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Charms as Babies, Chapter 1: The Cloud, Juju and Charms

Welcome to the first chapter of the Charms as Babies series. This chapter is dedicated to explain what are the Cloud, Juju and Juju Charms.

Have you heard about the Cloud? No, not the ones in the sky. THE Cloud. Let’s insert an XKCD comic for reference.

Interesting, huh? Yes, the Cloud is a huge group of servers. Anyone can rent part of a server for a period of time. Usually these are hours.

So, let’s put an example. I am Mr. VP from Blogs Company. I host… well, a blog. Instead of renting hosting like I would usually do, I decide to host my blog on the Cloud. So I go ahead, let’s say to Amazon Web Services. I tell Amazon I want an Ubuntu 14.04 server, with this amount of RAM and this amount of disk space. Amazon provides it to me for a price, and bills me per hour. It’s not renting me a username inside the entire server, but instead is launching a virtual machine (or VM) with the specs I requested, and giving the entire VM to me (including root access).

How is this different to common hosting, you ask? Sure, hosting is a practical solution when you just want things done, maybe FTP access to upload your site and that’s it. However, you can use the Cloud for whatever you want (within what’s legally accepted, of course). I may host my blog, but someone else on the other side of the world may host complicated data analysis applications, or maybe a bug tracker. Also, the Cloud gives you the possibility to rent a VM per hours. If I want to launch a server to try how to install MyProgram, then I launch a VM, install MyProgram, have fun with it, and destroy it right ahead. That way someone else can rent it after you’re done with it, and then you’re billed for the number of hours you used it. Everyone ends up being happy! There are several other benefits that come with the Cloud, but we will get to them later.

As I mentioned, you can do a lot of stuff with the Cloud. However, for most things, you need to know how to use a server, install stuff, compile code and more. Why don’t we simplify stuff and make it a lot easier? Why not run a couple commands and have whatever you want in a matter of minutes, without all the hassle? Well, that’s the basic idea behind Juju. With Juju you can execute simple commands such as `juju deploy wordpress` and you will have a WordPress instance set up for you, in the cloud of your choice (some restrictions apply), within minutes. Isn’t that amazing? However, all of this work is contained in what we call a Juju Charm. Charms are a set of scripts that help us automate the orchestration we see in the cloud. When I execute that command above, there are some scripts that are ran in the machine to install and configure. And someone else has written that charm to make your life easier.

I’m not going to dig deeper on how to use Juju, but want to highlight that even though things seem to be automated, there is a hero behind that automation, who helped you out doing the hardest part, so you can execute a command and get what you want.

What? YOU want to become the hero now?! Sure! In the next chapters we’ll see how can you become one the heroes in the Juju ecosystem. That’s all I have for this chapter, but if you have any questions about Juju and Charms, make sure to leave a comment below. Or drop by our IRC channel, #juju on irc.freenode.net. Look, there’s even a link that will take you to the channel on your web browser!

Charms as Babies: Introduction

Hello everyone, and welcome to my new blog post series: Charms as Babies. It’s been a long time since I’ve written something about charms.

My purpose with this series is to introduce you to Juju, Juju Charms, and it’s development and maintenance flow. At the end of the series you should be able to develop your own Juju Charm, and know how to take care of it. You may even become a Juju Charmer!

In the next couple days I’m gonna be posting little pieces on how to develop and take care of your own charm, or maybe even adopt a charm. Later today I will be posting an introduction to Juju and Charms. Make sure to keep an eye on my blog and Planet Ubuntu for the upcoming posts!

Oh! We are also having a “What is Juju?” session at UbuConLA, this time given by my fellow charm contributor Sebastián Ferrari. If you are not coming to the conference make sure to tune in to the livestream, at summit.ubuntu.com

This post is going to be used as an archive. Each chapter will be linked here. You can see all the chapters posted so far below.

How UbuConLA 2015 evolved in the past months

Wow, what can I say. To be honest, I am really impressed on how UbuConLA is shaping. So far there’s been a lot of stuff going through my head since I just finished finals, but now that I have a clear view of the entire panorama I really like how this conference is turning out to be.

In the past I’ve staffed booths and given talks in conferences, as well as organized small-ish events. However, this is my first big conference, and you can’t just imagine the excitement smile I have on my face when I see things are running as expected. It’s been some rough past months trying to balance conference planning with booth planning at TXLF, as well as studies and some other communities I contribute to. However, it’s been such an amazing experience.

Several months ago I was in the middle of a dillema, since the venue we were thinking of changed some requirements. Fortunately, my university, University of Lima, has been extremely helpful. I cannot thank enough all the people I have met on the way and who have given me such a big help whenever things were starting to turn in the wrong direction, and all we have accomplished so far.

In the past couple days I have received the name badges and banners we will be using for the conference, and even though there’s still some stuff in the way I can’t be more excited about how things are starting to look. Last week everything was just in ideas, and we’re starting to see the digital come into a physical object. That, for me, is one of the most exciting parts.

Luckily (and at the same time unfortunately) we had to close the registration form yesterday. The auditorium that was given to us has a capacity of 233 people, and counting volunteers, speakers, staff and more reduces that a bit. How many people have registered so far, you ask? Three. Hundred. That means we’re gonna fill that auditorium! A full room, what more can we ask for. If you haven’t registered for the conference, do not fear. The registration is just a fast track and it’s first-come, first-served. So make sure to keep an eye on all the social media pages for information on how to attend.

The next couple weeks are going to be the most difficult ones. We have a public holiday coming up until Thursday here in Peru, and from then on we need to start the final preparations. This is looking so good, I hope you all are surprised when you come to the conference.

After going through some of the process of organizing a medium-sized conference I can now really appreciate all the effort it takes to organize a big, and even a medium-sized conference. If you go to a conference and see the chairs or organizers, make sure to give them a pat on the back and thank them for all the efforts. They’re the people we need to thank for keeping the human touch and interaction alive!

And I think that’s all. Hope to see you in August, can’t wait for UbuConLA to happen!

UbuConLA 2015: Call for Papers // UbuConLA 2015: Llamado a Charlas

[ES]

¡Y llega la hora del año en la que abrimos el llamado a charlas para la UbuConLA 2015!

La conferencia se va a realizar en Lima, Perú el 7 y 8 de agosto. Tendremos slots para ponentes en Inglés y Español, con charlas en formato Plenario y Workshop.

El día miércoles se va a abrir el registro de asistentes, donde se publicará más información sobre la conferencia.

Si deseas proponer una charla, por favor rellena el siguiente formulario.

[EN]

And it’s this time of the year when we open the UbuConLA 2015 CFP!

The conference will take place in Lima, Peru, the 7th and 8th of August. We’ll have slots for speakers in both English and Spanish, with Plenary and Workshop talks.

The attendee registration will open on Wednesday, where more information about the conference will be published.

If you want to propose a talk, please fill out the following form.

Community Appreciation Day

And again, I don’t know how to start a blog post. I believe that one of my weak points is that I don’t know how to start redacting stuff. But meh, we’re here because it’s the Ubuntu Community Appreciation Day. And here am I, part of this huge community for more than three years. It’s been an awesome experience ever since I joined. And I am grateful to a whole bunch of people.

I know it may sound like a cliché, but seriously, listing all the people who I have met and contributed with in the community would be basically impossible for me. It would be a never-ending list! All I can say right now is that I am so, so thankful for crossing paths with so many of them. From developers, translators, designers and more, the Ubuntu community is such a diverse one, with people united by one thing: Ubuntu.

When I joined the community I was a kind-of disoriented 14-year old guy. As time passed, the community has helped me develop skills from improving my English (Spanish is my native language for those who didn’t know) to starting me in programming (thing that I didn’t know about a couple years ago!). And I’ve formed great friendships around.

Again, all I can say is I am forever grateful to all those people who I have worked with, and to those who I haven’t too. We are working on what’s the future of open computing, and all of this wouldn’t be possible without you. Whether you have contributed in the past are or still contributing to the community, rest assured that you have helped build this huge community.

Thank you. Sincerely, thank you.

3 years and counting…

On a 15th September, 3 years ago, I got my Ubuntu Membership.

There’s only thing I can say about it: it’s been the most wonderful and awesome 3 years I could have. I would’ve never thought that I would find such welcoming and amazing community.

Even though I may have not worked with you directly, thank you. You all are what makes the community awesome – I wouldn’t imagine it without one of you. We are all building the future, so let’s continue!

As I said on the title, I hope that it’s not only 3 years. I’ll keep on counting!

FOSSETCON in two weeks – See you there!

A while ago I posted about FOSSETCON (Free and Open Source Software Expo and Technology Conference), but now the time has come. In less than two weeks the conference will be taking place, and I cannot wait to fly over there!

FOSSETCON will start on Thursday, September 11th with day 0. We will have an Ubucon the whole day! Panels, workshops, make sure you don’t miss it. I’ll be flying during that day and hope I can get there at least for the last session.

During the 12th and 13th there will be an expo hall, as well as several talks! I will be with the Ubuntu Florida LoCo Team in the Ubuntu booth. Make sure to visit us there if you want to take a look at the Ubuntu phones and tablets, and maybe get some swag? Who knows.

On the other hand, I will be hosting a 40-minute Juju Charm School during day 1 (September 12th) at 10:30am local time. Make sure to attend if you wanna get a glimpse of what’s up with Juju and all the things you can do with it, including a bit of development.

In case you’re wondering. Yes, I will have the so-loved Orange Box! If you want to see it in action or just give it a hug, make sure to go to FOSSETCON!

You can buy your tickets for FOSSETCON by clicking here. There are three ticket options: the Training Pass, the Conference Pass and the Supporter Pass. You can find more information about each ticket type on the link.

Also, if you have already got your copy of the Official Ubuntu Book, 8th edition and want me to sign it for you, I will be more than happy to.

Don’t be shy and say hi, maybe we can grab a coffee after conference hours. See you all there!

Juju’ing with t1.micro instances on AWS

Since February, when I decided I didn’t want to use the local provider with Juju because my internet connection has a download speed of 400KBps, I opened an AWS account. This gave me 750 hours per month to use on t1.micro instances, which are awesome for Juju testing… until you hit some problems.

Main problem with the t1.micro instances is that they only have 613MB RAM. This is good for testing charms which do not require a lot of memory, but there are some (as nova-cloud-controller) which do require some more memory to run properly. Even worst, they require memory to finish installing.

I should note that, in general, my experience with t1.micro instances and the AWS free tier has been awesome, but in this cases there is no other solution than getting a bigger instance. If you are testing in cloud and you see a weird error you don’t understand, it may be that the machine has ran out of memory to allocate, so try in a bigger instance. If it doesn’t solve it, go ahead and report a bug. If it’s something on a charm’s code, we’ll look into it.

Happy deploying!

FOSSETCON in Florida – Coming Next September!

Next September, from the 11th to the 13th, FOSSETCON will be held in the Rosen Plaza, in Orlando, Florida.

FOSSETCON stands for Free and Open Source Software Expo and Technology Conference. Organized by the awesome Bryan Smith, it will have a variety of workshops, talks, certifications, and a HUGE Expo Hall, where even the Ubuntu community will be featured! If you want your company to be featured during the conference, this is the perfect place to apply to be a sponsor. On the other hand, if you want to see many awesome things with regards to the Free and Open Source world and it’s close to you, then it’s the right place for you! Plus, attendees get a special discount in their tickets for Universal Studios parks, and more deals coming ;)

Best thing about it is that in Day 0 (11th September) there will be an Ubucon! That’s correct, a whole day dedicated to Ubuntu and the state of the art! What else could one ask for in a conference? Beer? I’m sure they will have some.

If you are planning to be around make sure to visit the Ubuntu booth, there’s still plenty of time to plan your trip!

Juju: Multiple environments with just one account

Today, I was checking some charming as usual, and found myself in a problem. I wanted to have different environments for automated testing and manual code testing, but I only had one AWS account. I thought I needed an account in another cloud, or another AWS account, but after thinking for a while I decided it wasn’t worth it, leaving those thoughts in the past. But suddenly I asked myself if it was possible to just clone my information on my environments.yaml file and set up another environment with the same credentials. Indeed, it was.

The only thing I did here was:

  • Open my environments.yaml file.
  • Copy the exact same information I had for my old EC2 environment.
  • Give a new name to the environment I was creating.
  • Change the name of the storage bucket (as it has to be unique).
  • Save the changes, close the file, and bootstrap the new environment.

Easy enough, right? That way you can just have multiple environments and execute different things on each one with just one account. I am not sure how this will work for other providers, but at least for AWS it works this way. This just adds more awesome-ness to Juju than it already has. Now, let’s play with this environments!

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