Flock to Fedora 2017

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This year Flock to Fedora took place in Hyannis, Massachusetts at Cape Cod. It was mostly focused on so called do-sessions or workshops and was therefore action-oriented.

Marie riecatnor and I did our usual Badges Workshop on day 1. A quick recap: I think (hope) we’re getting better and better each year. We started off with the presentation and went through badge structure and process. Badges have migrated to pagure since last year, so we made quite a few additions to the presentation. Another very welcome change was having a co-presenter: Kanika a2batic, who is working on a symbol library to make it easier to make badges resources. She gave a small presentation during badges intro. You can take a look here. After that we moved on to actual designing and several people finished their badges by the end of 3 hours. Everyone got a Padawan badge for attending – we came up with the idea for it at last year’s Flock.

Days 2 and 3 had a lot of design-focused activities, too. For example, on Wednesday afternoon I attended a talk about Micro Usability Testing by Jenn Kotler. She is an interaction designer, and often does usability testing in her daily work. Jenn talked about the importance of early user testing, using the example of an amusement park app. I was very interested to find out how a micro-test is different from regular usability test or hallway testing, for example. Turns out, usually it has fewer participants (5-10 people), looking for early problem identification. It really helps to test the product or feature early, since people would be more open to changes before they have put in a lot of effort. Then she told us how to choose people for testing. One should focus on targeted users; also Jenn shared a tip from personal experience, which is “techies make bad testers”. They tend to get caught up in technology and get sidetracked on implementation details.

Then we discussed interacting with testers during the test; the most difficult part is pretending not to be there. One should also be very mindful of language and body language, trying to stay as neutral as possible. That includes neutral wording of tasks, as the questions and tasks should not include neither positive nor negative language. You might have guessed that neutral is the core word here 🙂

After that Jenn talked for a bit about designing a user test. In that phase you have to be very specific and define what you are trying to learn, thus establishing a goal. Decide what the pivotal feature of the app is. Then you can break this bigger goal into objectives that are going to be the basis for you tasks. It’s usually a good idea to ask users to rate tasks difficulty on a 1-5 scale after performing each one, and also ask them to fill in a System Usability Scale or SUS questionnaire in the end.

Jenn gave us some advice on conducting the test itself and offering assists to testers, which brought us to the topic of evaluating the results. This has always been the most interesting topic for me. Jenn’s advice is to create a spreadsheet, input  data, count successes and fails, get average ease of use score for each task. Then you can look for trends and repeated user comments, which will help you define successful features and main points.

On Thursday the whole afternoon was devoted to design topics, which was great! Let me give you a short summary. First Suzanne Hillman talked about her experience with Outreachy and regional hubs design. If you’re not familiar with Fedora Hubs, take a look at Mo’s blog here. And this is the link to Suzanne’s presentation. Suzanne talked a lot about research, analysis and design, her main point being: it’s a never ending process, which one has to repeat over and over again throughout the development of a feature or product. She walked us through her work on Hubs, which included defining goals, competitive analysis, doing interviews, creating mockups, working with developers and much more. This is the ticket she worked on on pagure. Her internship has ended now, and I hope she will be able to do more work on Hubs!

After that Máirín spoke about Pattern libraries and in particular the one her intern has been developing this past summer. The idea is to use atomic design and create elements that look ‘Fedora’-like, that the developers can use for creating widgets, apps and websites. In the open source world it’s hard to make projects have the same look and feel, and pattern libraries can be a solution to that problem. Basically patterns are organized in terms of how substantial they are and developers can take and copy parts of it without having to think about styling and CSS too much. You can see the structure on Pattern Lab. There are several levels of depth: atoms are basic html elements, e.g. buttons; brand colors, fonts; parts of forms and other basic components. Then you move on to molecules; e.g. a form. Next come organisms, e.g. cards. Then come templates, e.g. a blog index or a dashboard. In the end come actual pages. I am excited by the idea of atomic design and having style guides in general, and I find this project extremely interesting.

The next steps will be to upstream CSS and HTML into Fedora Bootstrap. Right now they are collecting patterns; later plan is to create more documentation around it and make it more usable for devs; possibly create a how-to guide for Fedora Bootstrap. Some testing will benefit the project, too.

That conference day ended with a Design Team Hackfest which is my most favourite thing ever, because it brings us all together IRL and allows to solve whatever issues need solving X times more quickly than on IRC or commenting on tickets.

Let me sup up by saying that I greatly enjoyed this Flock, Cape Cod and meeting everybody, can’t wait to see you all next time!

 

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Flock to Fedora 2017

Fedora Design Interns 2017

Here’s an update on internships. Older post linked to here. Quick recap: there’s been 2 long-term interns for Fedora design team since February, and one short-term guy, who came for 2 weeks at the beginning of June. Guys have been doing an amazing job, I can’t stress enough how happy I am to have them around.

So let me give you a short overview of their work:

Martin Modry

PUNK

Martin has created some lovely designs before he moved on to pursue other endeavors in life 😉 Here are some examples of his work:

Badges

Artwork

He’s created several designs for L10N roles, his work is now continued by Mary in this ticket. He’s shown true understanding of the design issues, and worked directly with ticket creators.

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Martin Petr

Martin Petr worked with us for 2 weeks 6 hours a day, which allowed him to tackle many projects for Fedora Design and different teams at Red Hat. As always we started of with badges work, soon moving on to other design issues.

Badges

Artwork

He’s created really cool icons for Lightning talks group; they chose the red one in top row for their page. It does work best when resized to be smaller and incorporates references eg to lightning, as well as a neat design solution.lightning_all.png

He also helped create Fedora Release Party poster, which has been widely used. For example, see here. Martin worked on a Fedora telegram theme, and even started to mock up an updated graphics for this year’s devconf.cz site. Martin has an eye for latest trends in design and is super-creative.

Me and many other people are looking forward for him to come back and stay with us for 2 more weeks at the end of September!

Tereza Hlavackova

Terka has been around the longest  – since the end of February and going strong! She’s done an impressive amount of work and I really love her designs. She’s a great help with badges, as well as with some other artwork issues.

Badges

Artwork

Some of her designs include FAF, podcast and Fedora diversity icons. She’s done a great job working with requestors and going through design iterations. Terka’s been away for some time, and I’m looking forward for her to come back, too!

Conclusions and future projects

Altogether I find the Internship program extremely helpful for myself, for Fedora Design team and for some Red Hat teams as well. Both Martins and Terka are great designers, and I hope, they in their turn, only benefit from working in a professional environment, using open source products and communicating with real customers. Not every design issue can be solved easily, some require discussions and iterations, and these guys have been handling them beautifully.

Fedora Design Interns 2017

ProfsoUX 2017 Trip Report

Why did I want to attend it?

First of all, I was invited to come and give a talk by a friend, who lives in St Petersburg and works as a UX specialist (more about him later). He said people will be very interested in how open source design happens, what tools we use and what problems we face. It was an excellent opportunity to promote Red Hat and Fedora and meet professionals in my field of work. Furthermore, the UX scene in Russia is a bit different, and I was interested to find out how they work and what projects are going on. As always, conferences are great networking events, and I was happy to find out some people even came specifically to see me talk. So, altogether I really enjoyed ProfsoUX, now let’s talk about it in more detail.

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City and venue

The conference was held in St Petersburg, Russia. It is a very beautiful, huge and cold city, that does not need much introduction. The venue itself I really liked: a couple conference halls just big enough, as well as a standing area, coat room, and resting zone.

My talk

I talked about open source and design, including both graphic and UX stuff, tools and processes and how and why to get started, mostly focusing on work of the Fedora Design Team. Slides (partially in Russian) can be seen here. I just had 15 minutes, so it turned out to be more of an overview. We did have quite a bit of time for questions after, and I’m happy to tell you that the topic is hot-hot-hot, especially questions ‘Why do anything if you are not getting paid?’, ‘Is open source software good enough?’ and ‘Where do you get money from?’. Some people came specifically to listen to me talk and I’ve spotted a couple open source enthusiasts in the crowd. Others had trouble using open source software some time ago and came to just bring that up. All in all, I think it went pretty well, and although they put me last on a program, the hall was not empty at all! I received some comments and suggestions on what to focus more and will try to give an improved version of my talk in English this Saturday at UXCampAMS.

Keynote: Eric L Reiss, http://fatdux.com/, https://twitter.com/elreiss, slides

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You can find a description of his keynote here (look for English text). Eric talked about the importance of having a UX strategy, talking to all key stakeholders, especially upper management, as well as the definition of user experience. He defines UX as a sum of a series of interactions, in which case we can easily talk about UX of a city. He also mentioned that UX is situational, so, for example, UX of a city visitor differs greatly from UX of someone living in said city.

He talked a bit about customers and users and said that while all users are your customers, not all customers are users. Going on to strategy (what?) and tactics (how?).screenshot-from-2017-04-18-12-35-50.png

His main point being: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re never going to get there”.  Then he talked for a bit about the importance of measuring and optimizing user experience, and how everyone needs to be on board with UX. Mr Reiss is a great person, wonderful performer and I recommend everybody to take a look at his talk.

UPD video is here

Other talks I attended

Often I wished I could be in 2 tracks at once, as the majority of talks promised to be spectacular. Some talks I did go to:

Actionable and useful stuff

Some interesting things I learned there: Kirill told us it might not be necessary to ask a person questions while conducting user testing, if you can monitor brain activity directly with the help of OPENBCI.  Good thing about it is that it’s open, fast-growing community with technology available for everybody, and volunteers practically find themselves – everybody is willing to test the new cool technology!

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While we were waiting for the next presenter, we were introduced to a term of Fundamental attribution error, which is an interesting psychological effect: people tend to explain their own behavior with external factors, and the behavior of others with their personal traits. So for example, when someone is late we tend to think it is their own fault, while the person in question will feel that it’s the external factors’ fault: the weather is bad, their sock ripped or there is a traffic jam, for example. We need to remember this in daily life in combination with assuming positive intent.

Following the keynote, I’d like to underscore the importance of having a UX strategy, as well as involving all the key stakeholders in the process of defining one and working on the user experience as a whole.

One more interesting thing I learned was when and how to use diary studies, a research method I haven’t used before. Its main application is to monitor user behavior over a prolonged period of time, when you need to find out how the feature will be used over time, if the person will continue to use it and why. It is a fairly huge and expensive type of research, which poses many problems for the researchers and users both, but sometimes it’s the only way to go. For example, one of the tasks ladies from mail.ru group talked about was how they got qualitative data on how people find, choose and read media online.

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To sum up, I really enjoyed the conference and want to thank all presenters, guests, volunteers and organizers for a great event. Hope to see you all next year!

ProfsoUX 2017 Trip Report

Fedora badges: how to

Fedora badges is a perfect place to start if you want to help out the Fedora Design Team. ‘I’m not a designer!’ ‘I can’t draw!’ ‘I’ve never opened Inkscape’ – you might say. And that is totally fine! Everybody can help out, and none of those reasons will stop you from designing your first badge (and getting badges for designing badges ;)).

So let’s look at how to get started! (all of these can be found in our presentation here)

  1. Badges resources

    Inkscape Download: https://inkscape.org/en/download/

    Fedora Badges: https://badges.fedoraproject.org/

    Fedora Badges Open Issues: https://pagure.io/Fedora-Badges/issues?status=Open

    Fedora Badges Design Resources: https://pagure.io/Fedora-Badges/issue/raw/66de8abf46b1a554666d4ddb3ff20253d40350afbfe8801acca300e121364a35-FedoraBadgesResources.zip

    2. Anatomy of a badge

anatomy

As you can see, badge consists of several elements, all of which will be different for different badges based on how you categorize them.  More on those as we look at Resources.

3. Resources

So now go ahead and download the Fedora Badges design resources

ATTENTION! VERY IMPORTANT! Prior to designing check out the Style Guidelines that you can find inside the zip file.  Couple of things to keep in mind here:

  • background and rings colors: it is important to keep badges consistent – please categorize your badge and based on that choose colors from the palette. If you need help categorizing, ask on IRC #fedora-design or during our bi-weekly badges meetings every other Wednesday  7-8 US Eastern on fedora-meeting-1@irc.freenode.net.
  • pallette (pp 12-13): if you need some other color, pick one from the palette. You can even download and install it on your computer to use straight from Inkscape. To import them, save the .gpl files to the ~/.config/inkscape/palettes/ directory.
  • fonts (pp 17-18): use Comfortaa and pay attention to do’s and don’ts listed there.
  • do’s and don’ts: it is very important to keep those in mind while designing, so all our badges are consistent and beautiful.

Another tip for consistency: once you’ve have picked a badge, go look at ALL the badges here: https://badges.fedoraproject.org/explore/badges. If you are just starting, it’s a great place for inspiration; you can see how similar badges have been categorized, and what imagery and patterns have been used. Download one of these badge artwork files and use it as a template or starting point for your badge design. To do that, simply click on a badge and go to its ticket. Usually .svg can be downloaded from there.

Selection_0472.png

4. Design

  • Look at similar badges on badges index.
  • Choose a concept for your badge. Look at similar elements, consider suggested concepts from the ticket, or come up with something yourself if you feel like it!
  • The easiest badges are Conference and event badges. They are all the same colors: purple ring, grey background for conferences and dark blue for presenters. Use the template or even re-use last year’s badge and put your conference logo / year on it – Congratulations! You’re done!selection_048
  • Gather inspiration & resources. This means going on the internet and researching images and concepts. For example, if you want to draw a badger on a bike, you might want to search for a photo or an illustration of a person on a bike to use as a reference. No need to reinvent. This may not be necessary for the simpler badges.
  • Categorize your badge using the Style Guide or ask one of us for help.
  • Open the corresponding template, Save as… your filename and get designing! Here’s a link to some nice Inkscape tuts: Fedora and Inkscape. Keep it simple and pay extra attention to resizing stuff. You don’t want to change background size and positioning, so don’t move it around. That way all the badges look the same. When resizing other elements always hold CTRL to maintain proportions. Also don’t worry too much, we’ll review your badge and help if necessary.
  • Feel free to reuse and remix other badges elements. Also remember to SAVE! Save all the time 🙂
  • Once you’re done with the first draft, go to Export PNG image, select a place where to export, name your file and choose Export area – Page. Check that your badge is 256×256 and there! All done! Congratulations!
  • Upload png to the ticket and ask one of us to review your design.
  • Now work with a mentor to finish it and with a developer to push it.
Fedora badges: how to

Fedora Inkscape Tutorials

I must admit, my most used and favorite program must be Inkscape. I just love working with vector graphics, and it’s perfect for that.

If you want to try using Inkscape on Fedora, be sure to check out these tutorials. Ryan and a2batic have created them, and I personally think they are just great at explaining the basics. So here, I’ve put them together, enjoy:

Getting started

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Adding color

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Draw a wallpaper

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Working with paths

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Fedora Inkscape Tutorials

FAD and Flock to Fedora 2016

Brace yourselves, this is going to be a long one! In the past 2 weeks I’ve been traveling a lot: first to Westford, US for Design Team Fedora Activity Days 2016 and then to Krakow, Poland for Flock to Fedora 2016.

FAD July 29-31, 2016

This year part of the Fedora Design team met in Westford, MA. Mo Duffy gathered together Sirko Kemter (gnokii),  Marie Nordin (riecatnor), me, Chris Roberts (croberts) and  Radhika Kolathumani (radhikak). FAD is a mini-conference focused on recruiting (and enabling the recruitment of) new designers to Fedora via the Fedora Badges and Fedora Hubs projects.

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Day 1

On the first day we did a lot of design team planning and preparations for the next day, for which an Inkscape bootcamp / workshop was scheduled. Everybody mentioned above + Ryan Lerch and Justin Flory were present (Ryan and Justin for a bit via Bluejeans). There was a lot on our agenda: newcomers, Pagure migration, status of ticket queue, meeting times, badges, distribution related design, CommOps thread. We managed to actually discuss most of it.

We talked a lot about newcomers and criteria of becoming a Design Team member. First of all it seems that there are not enough tickets for them or they might be unable to choose the appropriate ones. We decided that it makes sense to assign each newbie a mentor, as well as tag newbie tickets appropriately. Defining a number of tickets needed to be accepted into the Design team needs to be combined with their difficulty: for instance, changing a number on a badge != designing a logo from scratch.

Meeting times need to be different in Western and Eastern hemispheres, the idea being that we could read through each others meeting minutes at start of our own meets.

We need to ‘unseparate’ distro design queue from the trac tickets and have them all together in one place, so the former are more visible. The same goes for badges: we decided that it would be a good idea to have a separate badges meeting and clean up the ticket queue at least once a month.

We also talked about swag and need for design team overview over printed matters, since it is crucial to choose the right files for printing in order to maintain quality. Looks like more communication is needed here between different teams in Fedora. Sometime during this discussion Marie and I took a little break to go through badges trac and choose the ones appropriate for the workshop next day. 30 people were registered, so we went through all of them to have a good number.

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Later that day we got supplies for our event and had a lovely dinner.

Day 2

We set out to the Red Hat Westford office bright and early, as 30 people had registered for our Inkscape-learning workshop. I could write about it quite a bit, but no need – Mo has already written a great post describing it in detail here.

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TL;DR people liked it, all the reviews are positive, but we might have underestimated the amount of time needed and there was almost no time for badges. But no worries, since we do our badges thing all the time and Flock was just a couple days away ↓↓

Day 3

On Sunday most of us were flying out from Boston Logan, so we took a day to see Boston: visited Isabella Gardner museum and Mo gave us a walking tour, which was all pretty great!

Then I did a BOS-FRA-VIE flight, bus to Brno, bus to Krakow travel and arrived at Flock!

Flock to Fedora 2016, Krakow August 2-5

 

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Day 1

The venue: very conveniently the same hotel where everybody was staying. It has all conference rooms close together on the ground floor. Light and bright, breakfast in the morning, lunch every day, snacks and drinks – all in all very pleasant experience.

Twitter feed: you can check out tweets and pics at #flocktofedora.

The schedule is still here on sched.org.

The talks

I was a little bit late to the party and missed all talks in the 1st part of the day, because I was traveling. I finally made it to the 15:30 talk by Paul Frields: Fedora Magazine and what it teaches us about users. You can see some of my notes on Paul’s talk on page 1 here.

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16:30 Sylvia Sanchez: Thoughts on Fedora and Arts. Frankly, I was not the biggest fan of this talk, seemed a bit unprepared. I’m sure there are notes somewhere, if you are interested.

17:30 Ina Panova: Software Repository Management with Pulp. I didn’t take notes, but you can see the whole preso here. Pulp is a platform for managing repositories of software packages and making it available to a large numbers of consumers. I’m also going to rework their logo a bit 😉 Oranges and packages, what could be more fun!

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Evening: we had a guided tour of Krakow, which is a beautiful city! The weather was nice, our guide interesting and funny, so I enjoyed an official city tour, which doesn’t happen very often.

 

Day 2. My notes for August 3 are here starting on page 2.

9:00 Keynote #2,  Radosław Krowiak Co-owner, Akademia Programowania. He gave a talk about teaching kids programming and maintaining creativity levels, that are often diminished at school.

10:00 Matthew Miller: Kirk, McCoy, and Spock build the future of Fedora. Matthew talked about our goals and strategy and Star Trek and unicorns. To sum up – we all need to work together and see my notes above =) Here come the unicorns:

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Here is a list of talks I visited later that day (see notes for Brian and Dusty’s talk and diversity panel): 11:00 Brian Exelbierd and Dusty Mabe: Bringing developers into the Flock, 1:30 Ralph Bean: Factory 2.0, 2:30 Maria Leandro and all: Diversity panel, 3:30 Pierre-Yves Chibon: Pagure: Past, Present and Future, 4:30 Sayan Chowdhury and Ratnadeep Debnath: Realtime IRC on Fedora Hubs, fewh that was a lot of talks! 😉

I want to really point out here Sayan’s and Ratnadeep’s work on IRC for Fedora Hubs, which IMO is essential for newcomers. There was a live demo and it appears to be working, synchronizing between the widget and the IRC client as you type. We talked about it later on Friday and guys have created a ticket for mockup on pagure.io. Some people argue that IRC is outdated, but really we still need it, since everybody in the community uses it still, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

After all the talks that day we had dinner on a boat and a cruise of the Wisła river, which was very enjoyable and outside. Everybody got to do a lot of social networking, which might be the most important thing at conferences. After talks, of course 😉

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Day 3

Thursday was dedicated to lightning talks at 9 am, and following workshops. Marie and I had our Fedora Badges Workshop scheduled for the after lunch session at 1:30. We lost some audience to the Infrastructure workshop, but frankly it might have been one of our most successful ones yet. There were ≈10 people in the audience, almost all of them followed through with the tutorial, we had 3 badges submitted and 2 approved all in just 2 hours!
How it works: Marie and I give our presentation, which you can download here (and we need to add to the new badges guide). First we talk about badges in general, then do a quick walk-through of a new badge creation. After that we allow people to choose badges they’d like to work on from a list pre-selected tickets for first time badge creators. And then people work on badges using Inkscape with our guidance and help if needed. This time, since it’s Flock, there was no need for creating a FAS account. Sirko was there for our workshop, so he helped, too.  Thanks to Sinny Kumari for taking a pic, I had no idea 😉

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Later that day there was a Design Clinic organized by Sirko and in the evening we had a party at a brewery. People say the beer and food was great, I was not feeling 100%, but they are probably right. Check out the bus, too:

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Day 4

On Friday before we left for Brno, there were 2 workshops / hackfests scheduled at 1:30 that I visited: Sirko Kemter: 101: Poster & Infographic Design, where he taught people to make a poster for a party using Flock design elements and Pierre Yves-Chibon: Fedora Hubs Meetup / Hackfest, transcript by jflory7 here and a video (more of an audio) here. I really miss working on hubs and want to start helping out again. There is a number of tickets, that need mockups, and many of those mockups need implementation, too.

All in all

Flock was a lot of fun: great talks, amazing people, new acquaintances, fun activities, beautiful city! Big thanks to organizers and hope to see you all next year!

FAD and Flock to Fedora 2016

FLOCK 2016! Learn How to Get Involved in Creating Fedora Badge Designs

We’re having a workshop on Thursday, everybody is very welcome! Learn about Fedora badges and Inkscape 🙂

riecatnor

Another year, another wonderful FLOCK! Thanks to everyone who put in the hard work to make this event a success. The first day and a half have been informative and fun, learning about what everyone in Fedora is up to, catching up with new and old friends and seeing some of beautiful Kraków. Just before I made my way here to Poland, I met up with the Fedora Design Team in Boston, MA, for a FAD. We tried out a new event for our team that was free to the public, an Inkscape and Fedora Badges Bootcamp, with success! So riding on the tail end of that I am excited to be here with the rest of the Fedora family and to continue working on Fedora Badges and getting people involved.

I will be holding a Fedora Badges Workshop this year at FLOCK with Mariia Leonova on Thursday…

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FLOCK 2016! Learn How to Get Involved in Creating Fedora Badge Designs