#214 December 5, 2023

KubeCon NA 2023

Hosts: Abdel Sghiouar, Kaslin Fields

This episode, Kaslin went to KubeCon North America In Chicago. She spoke to folks on the ground, asked them about their impressions of the conference, and collected a bunch of cool responses.


Do you have something cool to share? Some questions? Let us know:

News of the week

Links from the post-interview chat

KASLIN FIELDS: Hello, and welcome to the "Kubernetes Podcast" from Google. I'm your host, Kaslin Fields.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: And I'm Abdel Sghiouar.


This episode, Kaslin went to KubeCon and CloudNativeCon North America in Chicago. She spoke to folks on the ground, asked them about their impressions of the conference, and collected a bunch of cool responses.

KASLIN FIELDS: But first, let's get to the news.


Reptar is not just the name of a big green dinosaur from a '90s kids show. It's also the name of a new CPU vulnerability discovered by researchers at Google. This new finding impacts many Intel desktop, mobile, and server CPUs. The vulnerability is related to how CPUs interpret redundant prefixes.

In a nutshell, prefixes are special flags that enable altering of the behavior of instruction sets. Normally, CPUs would ignore conflicting or duplicated prefixes, but that's not what this research work revealed. This could be especially problematic in cloud multi-tenant environments where, if exploited on a guest machine, it could cause the host machine to crash, resulting in a denial of service attack. Details about the research are in the show notes.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Spring Boot 3.2 is released. The very popular Java framework for VMware was announced on November 14. The new version comes with a lot of new features-- virtual threads, CRaC, or Coordinated Restore at Checkpoint supports, advanced observability via macro material, JDBC and REST clients, ActiveMQ integration with test containers, Docker Compose support, Kotlin 1.9.0 support, and hot-loading of SSL trust materials.

KASLIN FIELDS: The videos from KubeCon and CloudNativeCon North America 2023 are available on YouTube now. One video we'd like to recommend is Tim Hockin's keynote from the last day of the event. Tim talked about the success Kubernetes has experienced over the last 10 years and how the conversation around AI risks adding complexity to the project, which could make it less agile and more complex than it needs to be. We left the link in the show notes for the keynote and also for an interview that Tim had with "The Register."

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: The CNCF and TAG security has released a new book a, comprehensive guide dedicated to assessing and understanding the security of open-source software projects. The book is a culmination of five years of TAG secure assessments learning, insights, and collaborations with experts in the field. The book is free, you can find it on GitHub, and we have also a link in the show notes.

KASLIN FIELDS: The CNCF's report on KubeCon and CloudNativeCon North America 2023 is out now. The event had 13,666 attendees, with 8,972 of those being in person in Chicago. More than half of the attendees were first-timers. The CFP received 1,871 submissions and saw an 11% acceptance rate. Make sure to check out the link in the show notes for more stats about the event. And that's the news.


I'm Kaslin Fields with the "Kubernetes Podcast" from Google, and I'm here at KubeCon CloudNativeCon North America 2023 in Chicago. And I am speaking with--

AUDIENCE: My name is Charlie Zambrano. I'm a fresh grad. I just graduated with my computer science degree. Born and raised in California. First time at any conference.

AUDIENCE: I am Carly Lam, and I'm a software engineer attending the conference. I like to say I was serving Java before I was writing it, and I've got a bit of a non-traditional background. I was working as a barista. Somebody told me about a boot camp. I got started in tech and haven't looked back since.

AUDIENCE: Tim Banks. I'm a Lead Developer Advocate with Dell Technologies.

AUDIENCE: Hey, everyone. I'm Kunal, and I work as a DevRel manager at Civo. I'm a CNCF Ambassador. Been involved in community since I can remember and really excited to be here.

AUDIENCE: Hi, I'm Justin Garrison. I'm a long-time attendee of KubeCon and a contributor to Kubernetes.

AUDIENCE: Ananya Sehgal. I'm currently a junior studying computer science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

AUDIENCE: My name is Arjun Malhotra, and I work at Openly at the moment. We are into housing insurance. And why did I come to KubeCon? Like, how did that happen is because of I've been working in Go programming language for the last three years, and that's what got me to Kubernetes 2023. I live in New Orleans, Louisiana, and at the moment I'm standing with Kaslin in Chicago.


AUDIENCE: Hi, my name is Jae Jackson, and I'm a Senior Engineer for TotalCX.

AUDIENCE: Troy Connor, Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft slash Maintainer of Order.

AUDIENCE: Hi, I'm Rob Koch, and I work as a principal at Slalom as a builder. Slalom Build. So we do MVP for companies. When our clients need assistance, we provide services to them. We do some development.

We have a lot of resources. We've been around for a while. So we go in and we help out with maybe a skill that they're lacking. We provide access. We implement different MVPs. And we make clean transition-- gradually, we take over the hosting and the development.

AUDIENCE: So I'm Frederick Kautz. I am a co-chair for this KubeCon-- the outgoing co-chair. And I am also the Director of Research and Development at Testify Security.

AUDIENCE: Hi, my name is Destiny O'Connor, and I'm a software developer also. I'm a chair for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Working Group for CNCF.

AUDIENCE: I'm Shivay Lamba, and I'm a Developer Relations Engineer at Meilisearch. It's an open source Rust-based search engine. But I've been a contributor to a number of different CNCF projects. I started my journey with contributing to this project called Meshery, which is a service mesh plane and mostly to the Service Mesh community. I was a maintainer and also a long-time contributor over there.

But for the past 1 and 1/2 years, I've been mainly contributing to Cloud Native WebAssembly space, primarily with the Wasmedge project, which is a WebAssembly runtime that's currently incubated into the CNCF. And I've been mainly contributing to a lot of machine learning stuff over there. And I'm super excited to talk more about that in today's podcast.

KASLIN FIELDS: What were you hoping to get out of KubeCon?

AUDIENCE: Honestly, just knowledge and networking. So I came here knowing nothing and expecting something, I guess, kind of. So my friend Carly, a really good friend of mine, she invited me out, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But I knew I had to do something, so I just jumped on it. And I was like, all right, I'm going to figure it out when I get there.

My idea was just to meet people and get as much knowledge as I can and as much of I can understand.

AUDIENCE: Yeah. So, you know, golden rule, you grow up, you hear "hang around with people that you want to be like." So I signed up for a conference to really be surrounded by remarkable minds and make connections with really cool people that are doing really cool things.

AUDIENCE: The value add for KubeCon or any other conference has always been the hallway track-- connecting to the people. Talks are great. Talks are talks. I can see talks on the internet. If there's anything I learned from the lockdown in the pandemic is that the community, the opportunity we have to bring together a bunch of brilliant and smart people in one place and talk about things is far more valuable to me than any vendor booth or any talk.

AUDIENCE: I was most hoping to connect with friends and familiar faces that I've known in the community. This isn't my first KubeCon, but it's been a while. It's been a hot minute. So it's really good to have that quality time, and connect once again, and talk about some future cool things. And yeah, just to be more excited than I was before I got on that plane.

AUDIENCE: To be quite frank, I've spent 98% of my time in the sponsor showcase-- I'll stop in the booth, doing interviews, just like you Kaslin. Not as good though. And I was walking around the project pavilion. Always nice to see what's happening over there.

What I was hoping to get out of KubeCon is meet new people. Even though it's amazing to meet friends that I see at every conference, and I always look forward to that, but part of the reason I'm also here is to meet new people whom I don't know. And similarly, for the afterparties. Like, it's always nice to party with your friends and stuff like that, but I'm also looking forward to like new people, new friends, connections, business contacts, news and announcements. And yeah.

AUDIENCE: I was honored to come to KubeCon on the Dan Kohn scholarship, which is a special scholarship that's set aside money for people that are out of work or don't have travel. And I have known Dan Kohn, and I am very honored to receive that as part of being part of the community and what they have set aside for people that weren't able to come otherwise.

And what I was wanting to get out of it was really just to be here for the community, to meet more people, to inspire and hopefully get more people involved. I mean, they're already here at the conference, and in being able to come as someone who's been a long-time attendee to KubeCon-- I think I've come to all but one North America KubeCon. So I've been coming for a very long time, and I know a lot of people, and I would love making connections for people and helping them understand just what this entire space is about.

AUDIENCE: As a student, right now, like, I'm extremely interested in distributed systems and networking. And I also have always wanted to learn more about the open-source community. And so, I thought this would be a great way-- you know, it's an event in Chicago, it's only a two-hour drive from me-- that this would be a great way to learn a bit more about what's going on in the community.

AUDIENCE: For me, I'm a backend engineer, too, at Openly at the moment. My intention when I came to KubeCon was to make connections with the open-source contributors, so that I can get associated with some of these folks from the open-source community, and get to introduce myself, get to know them, and then be able to contribute back to the community now.

AUDIENCE: This is my very first conference that I've ever attended, so I was really hoping to come and learn more about what goes on in this industry, learn about Kubernetes. And really, I'm just here to learn in general.

AUDIENCE: Community. I like the fact that we come to this conference every year and then get to establish relationships and build a better ecosystem for not just the projects that exist but those that are coming into the CNCF.

AUDIENCE: Well, what I hoped to get out of this conference was to get involved in the community, experience the people, the energy, just the vibes, and just take all of that and bring it back to work with me to motivate my work. And sometimes you kind of get lost at the tunnel, and you just need a new perspective, a new vibe-- something new to upgrade what you do. Maybe learn some new tech. And so, I was really excited to be here and be a part of that. All of us are really just so passionate about this tech space, and it's been nice to be all in the same place at the same time and just share in all of it.

AUDIENCE: So being a co-chair, I have to ask myself that question every day. And it was actually, for me, less about what can I get out of it, and it was more about what can I do to make sure that everyone gets something out of it-- that they have an excellent time here and a wide variety of experiences. So the thing that I got out of it was more-- I actually really enjoyed-- I got a lot of pleasure out of seeing the execution of that and seeing how it all came together, and that's made me really happy.

AUDIENCE: I didn't really have any expectations. But, I mean, my expectations have been exceeded. [LAUGHS]. It's my first time here ever-- first time I've ever been to a tech conference. So after watching this keynote, I've been so overwhelmed with everything. I'm so excited. It's been an amazing experience.

AUDIENCE: I think this is my fourth in-person KubeCon. I'm super grateful that I've been given the chance to attend each and every KubeCon after COVID. And I just feel that every time there's something or the other to learn. I guess when my first ever KubeCon my single focus was to get to meet new folks and just get to be able to start contributing to the CNCF projects. But since then, I think my focus has changed a bit because now I've been exposed to be able to contribute, I have been regularly attending the SIG meet-and-greets, the Quantum Fest, the Kubernetes Contributor Summit. And all of these experiences have just shown that the entire Kubernetes community is very inclusive, and I guess one of the most inclusive.

And I just feel that I personally want to make the entire CNCF landscape and the entire Kubernetes community more inclusive in my own local communities. Because I feel that English as a language is widely spoken, but there is still a lot of scope for introducing concepts like Kubernetes to folks who might not come from a traditional English language background. So I've been doing a lot of work helping with documenting the Kubernetes documentation in Hindi and also just teaching concepts related to Hindi. So I personally am just looking out to connect with more folks and expand on this inclusive content-- that we can have more and more people from non-traditional backgrounds join and contribute to Kubernetes.

KASLIN FIELDS: What big trends are you seeing at the conference?

AUDIENCE: The big ones are, like, AI and Kubernetes. I don't really understand much of either, but that's what I keep hearing over and over again. And a lot of security stuff too, I would say, a lot of these booths. So that's what I keep seeing over and over again.

KASLIN FIELDS: So, surprisingly, I'm seeing a couple trends that are really awesome, one of those being sustainability in Kubernetes. Which I wasn't really expecting and not something that I normally think about. But it's given me some exposure to it, and it makes me want to Google more about it, as well as security. Kubernetes has grown a lot of trend lately, so the more that tech evolves, the more security is needed. So those are two really big things that I've been seeing.

AUDIENCE: It's AI. It is AI, as we all know. And it's almost becoming cliche to say at this point, but it is still the thing. It has gained a lot of gas and speed. You know, there's also GitHub Copilot, GitHub Universe at the same time and how they're basically an AI company. And that's the trend, for good or for bad.

AUDIENCE: AI is used in marketing, but I'm going to skip that one because I have thoughts. Moving on. I think maintainability around projects is particularly noticeable this time year around. And to name-drop projects, etcd, love you guys. Things are picking back up, and there's heaps of projects that are receiving more maintainership, which is super important and valuable to see. And we all benefit from it, so go contribute to etcd.

AUDIENCE: There's quite a few in a lot of domains. So looking forward to some LLM companies being showcased at some of the sponsors maybe next year. But I saw CNCF launched their LLM starter pack. So I'm looking forward to playing around with that after I'm back home.

So that's one. But I'm also seeing a lot of companies focused on helping developers-- so the dev side of DevOps. The whole license change conversation that has been happening and how folks are trying to make it easy for-- because we all know Kubernetes is complex, right? But the real question is, now, what are you doing about it?

So many cloud providers, they're doing their own thing, like managed Kubernetes. And Google does it to have their own services. OK, serverless is there. And it all depends on what kind of use case you have.

But onboarding to Kubernetes, it's always, like-- take KubeCon for example. I meet so many people, and they're like-- I'm like, have you heard of Kubernetes? Like, yeah. Are you using it? No, it's complex. I don't know where to start. And it's like resources in terms of time and budget or whatever it might be to train their staff or whatever.

So I'm seeing a lot of companies that are like helping developers who want to work with-- and then there's a platform engineering thing which we can talk about on and on. There's a lot of companies around platform engineering. And yeah, it's been really fun.

AUDIENCE: One of the biggest trends I would say I'm seeing is cloud-native computing is following the trends of the technology and the industry. And there's been a lot of domains that have switched from .io to .ai. And a lot of pivots into spaces that maybe don't make sense but also might try to show some value in new ways and helping people in more interesting ways than what we were seeing in the past with standard automation and tooling.

AUDIENCE: There are a few things I've been seeing across like a lot of companies. I think, in general, the systems and AI integration across a lot of companies is pretty cool. For example, Azure was talking about how running OpenAI deployments on AKS. Another thing I've been seeing is a lot of companies using eBPF which is making runtime adjustments to Linux kernel code. I was also seeing this one company-- extremely interesting-- just get creative with making optimizations and stuff. Like, one company here was doing-- essentially created their own operating system in C because there's a lot of bloatware that comes with running an entire desktop-enabled Ubuntu container, like Linux container, in Docker, when there's like a lot of things you don't really need to account for.

AUDIENCE: There are some big trends, I must say. Because there's so much things that are going on at KubeCon. One joke that I was sharing with people is KubeCon is not a conference. It's a festival.


There's so much things going on at one particular moment that you cannot be everywhere at once unfortunately. That's because we are humans. And let's see-- so, according to me, the two big trends that I've seen is related to WebAssembly. And the other thing that I'm seeing is related to the Crossplane thing. So yeah, these are the two big trends that I came across personally.

KASLIN FIELDS: You want to say a little bit about what WebAssembly and Crossplane are?

AUDIENCE: Yeah, sure. WebAssembly is a way that lets you run any language on any runtime. So let's say you want to write your code in Python, and you want to run it in the Go lang runtime-- WebAssembly is there in the middle to help you facilitate that. And Crossplane, from what I understood from my not too much of knowledge, Crossplane is in between data plane and the control plane. So it's trying to capture the functionalities of both at once from what I understand. Hey, if you're listening to this, and if I say anything wrong, don't hold it against me please. I'm still taking my baby steps in the community.

AUDIENCE: Well, again, being this is my first conference, I don't really have a lot to compare it to. But I'm seeing that Kubernetes is really growing. I'm seeing a lot of it in my work. I'm starting to use documentation and containers. So I'm expecting to see more of that in the future.

AUDIENCE: The trends I'm seeing around the projects that exist are adoption. I like to see the fact that AI is getting a big push. Security is being actually prioritized. I see a lot of things that are in incubating stage graduating. I'm watching a lot of people adopt things that are actually making products better for their community as a whole, and I love to see where that's going in the future.

AUDIENCE: The biggest trend, I would say, is the Gen AI. So we're just seeing a lot of that. It's really spreading really everywhere right now. So we have a lot of work to coordinate all of that, but it's also a very exciting space to be in. So it's a way that our lives can be improved. We can become more efficient through the use of AI.

We're just really discovering different ways that that can be applied. We're getting closer to the time when we're seeing some of the outcomes. So I think it's a great trend to be seeing. And, of course, the cloud component of it as well.

We're using and leveraging the cloud more and more. That would probably be one of the main things I'm bringing back is the cloud optimization component. It's just really an exciting time to be in the tech world.

AUDIENCE: There are several trends that I would definitely like to point out. So the first one is security continues to be a major theme. That is right in my wheelhouse. But even if it wasn't, the fact still remains.

I also see a lot of things coming around with eBPF. It continues to gain more traction. We had a significant increase in artificial intelligence that people are asking questions around, especially generative AI and LLMs. We even saw some generated AI slides in a previous talk-- hint, hint, it's mine.


But we're also seeing-- one of the ones that really surprised me was we always had people talking about environmental sustainability, but it was always, like, a afterthought or-- and now, we have, not just here, but throughout the world, it's becoming more central. It's becoming a major theme. In fact, one example is I was talking with a person and asking him, hey, are you going to come over to KubeCon North America. And he was in Amsterdam before-- he was based in Europe. And he said, no, my company is-- I've already exhausted my carbon credit allotment coming out.

So it wasn't a financial limit. It was actually an environmental limit instead. So that tells me the companies are starting to take it much more seriously, and they're starting to think about how to address their usage. And it also gives a very interesting question because how does KubeCon evolve in order to live in this new environment that's coming forward?

AUDIENCE: Well, I'm hoping that accessibility will continue-- not just be a trend. But I prefer that they continue to have accessibility for this conference that becomes a foundational part. I'm hoping that everyone will see that they can be a leader in accessibility for conferences and see what that looks like. And other people can provide accommodations, accessibility.

I mean, they've been amazing. We gave them a few weeks, and they've just done it. It's been amazing.

AUDIENCE: As I mentioned, I have been, for the past 1 and 1/2 years, contributing to WebAssembly. And I'm actually giving a talk at KubeCon this year for the WebAssembly Working Group which is going to be under the CNCF TAG runtime. And the entire idea for this working group is to help more and more CNCF projects basically understand how they can incorporate WebAssembly.

A lot of work, especially in Kubernetes, has been able to run WebAssembly workloads within Kubernetes itself and also integrating WebAssembly support in the community scheduler. So what we're seeing-- one of the biggest trends is a lot of companies are actually adopting WebAssembly now. Projects like eBPF then you look at a lot of the WebAssembly runtimes, a lot of like serverless AI is going around at the KubeCon and a lot of GenAI. But a lot of stuff is also related to how you can efficiently run AI on Edge. And WebAssembly proves to be a very good way of being able to run AI because you know that you want small compute and you want inference, and WebAssembly does provide you that.

But, of course, apart from that, a lot of startups are adopting GenAI. So that also means that a lot of companies that traditionally did not have MLOps architecture, they are now adopting MLOps pipelines. Because we know that as compared to standard DevOps practices, you need specialized hardware like GPUs. How you can do model splitting or data splitting to basically make GPU efficiency more and run these really huge, large language models efficiently, whether it's on the Edge or in general day-to-day compute. I think like those are definitely the biggest trends that we are seeing at KubeCon.

KASLIN FIELDS: What is your favorite thing you've learned so far?

AUDIENCE: My favorite thing so far is knowing that everyone's sharing the experience I'm having now, where everyone has that same feeling of anxiety and feeling like they don't belong. Carly explained it to me very well. She said that it's something called imposter--


AUDIENCE: --syndrome! Thank you. Yeah. So it is comforting knowing that we all kind of suffer together in a weird way at one point of our lives. But it does help out a lot, and it gets rid of a lot of the anxiety, and you do feel like you belong eventually.

AUDIENCE: The sustainability has been something that's been really awesome to learn about. Definitely something I've never really thought of. I'm very, very new to the Kubernetes community. So very cool to see things like that.

AUDIENCE: Favorite thing I've learned so far? Ooh, that's a good one. If I had to pick one thing, right, it is some of the work that's being done as far as instructional-wise. There's been a lot of work to hype people up being on the cloud, and on Kubernetes, and things like that, but it's kind of very geared as, oh, this is how you do Kubernetes. Right? But what I'm seeing is a lot more folks who are taking the time to do some introspection and do some engagement with the users to figure out exactly how they need to be engaged, right?

Because it was kind of a one-size-fits-all. So many people are using Kubernetes now in so many different ways. They're coming from so many different backgrounds. And so, we can't approach them all the exact same way when we teach them these things. So seeing some of the things that I've seen companies doing to get the data from the user and to find out how they need to be taught is really exciting to me. So I think we're going to see a good jump in skill of the practitioner over time here shortly.

AUDIENCE: Well, when I got here, Gateway API has graduated to V1. And so, I really like having had learned that. Also, those folks are really good. I enjoyed learning about that.

AUDIENCE: Wasm's new thing. It's like Wasm has been picking up the pace.Fermyon booth I was talking to the founders there. They're doing some Cool Stuff with Wasm and GPUs with the whole sustainability thing that is going on right now. So the whole carbon neutral mission that I'm sure many companies have, including Google.

So yeah, interested to see where the Wasm ecosystem is going to head. It's not obviously as big as the cloud-native ecosystem right now, but it looks pretty promising. I think it's always nice to embrace new technology. So I'm really excited about what's happening in Wasm.

And Solomon Hykes is here-- so the Docker person, founded Docker. I was at the Dagger booth. I spoke to him about making CI/CD better. So they're doing some stuff with CI/CD, making it faster.

And it's also nice to see a lot of innovative companies there. Like, they're just starting. I went to this one booth-- not sure if I can name them, but the company has three people. That's it. And they're doing something with making Docker images faster or something like that. So it's always nice to see new companies and also visionaries.

Like, Kelsey has been walking around. He was at the-- I think he was at the kasten booth book signing, and I got my book by Mauricio-- shout out to salaboy. Liz Rice, she's been signing books. But yeah, it's been a good KubeCon. Yeah.

AUDIENCE: One of my favorite things I've learned is there's still so many new people and so much stuff to do still that there's still a lot of opportunity. This isn't a Kubernetes been around for 10 years and we're done with it. Everyone's growing with it still.

Everyone-- not everyone, but there's a lot of people in day-two trends where they have to learn how to scale things, how to upgrade things, how to keep things sustainable long term. And there's also a lot of talks around sustainability and cost optimization and the other pieces of it that we weren't talking about five or six years ago because we were just trying to get it to run. And now, it's much more around how do we make this sustainable for the next generation and help make it easier for new people to come in and not only contribute and became maintainers but to run these things as systems evolve.

AUDIENCE: I think, going back to that systems and AI integration, how important optimization is when running these heavy workloads. For example, a lot of the interactions I've had with AI through ChatGPT or something, maybe looking at like the OpenAI API, playing around with that, looking at IBM's Watson. But at a deeper level, all of the things that you need to account for in terms of putting these things up to scale and not wasting resources.

AUDIENCE: Oh, a few things. Let's do one technical and one philosophical. One philosophical thing that I learned from the community in the last couple of days is go for what you actually love to do. I mean, it's a very cliche advice at this point because everyone says it. But I can really see it around me that people are actually doing what they love to do, and that's why we see so much awesome results around us.

There are folks who are focused on Kubernetes itself, and then there are people who are working on WebAssembly. There are people who are working on other things. But it shows when you talk to people that they really are working on things that they really love to do. So that was one philosophical thing I learned. Again, that was an iterative thing for me, and iteration is not bad at times.

The other-- one technical thing that I'm taking away from here is probably about WebAssembly. What about specific in WebAssembly would be WebAssembly is, kind of, it seems to me, personally, the future. There's so many big advocates of WebAssembly in KubeCon this year.

So one technical thing that I learned is, in regards to WebAssembly itself, if you have two different binaries, if your one binary is in Python and the other binaries in Go, they can still communicate with each other using WebAssembly. So that was really impressive and really cool. I think the guys at Fermion are doing this with-- so they also call that control panel or control plane. I don't remember. But that was a good technical thing I learned.

AUDIENCE: Oh, wow. Everything. Really, just everything. It's been overwhelming, but it's been a lot of fun. It's been a fantastic experience.

This has been such a wonderful community. They've been so supportive, and friendly, and welcoming. Very inclusive. So I've just been so built up by all of that.

AUDIENCE: What I've learned so far is the projects in the CNCF, the landscape around how that's been developing to become better things, and the Kubernetes project as a whole, how they're breaking it up in structures to where it's accessible to more people.

AUDIENCE: My favorite thing that I've learned? I would say, I have learned who my collaborators are-- different members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Workgroup. We've learned about their journeys in the tech space. We've heard their stories. It's just been really amazing to see.

We've also had an opportunity to learn about the different companies, about Buoyant. And they're working on the Linkerd. They're contributing some of their time. Catherine, who works there-- Catherine Pagnini-- gave us some of her time to assist with setting up this Deaf and Hard of Hearing Workgroup.

And it's just been really great to work with them. We're just really so grateful for the time that she's donated to help making our Deaf and Hard of Hearing Workgroup possible. I've been learning how Kubernetes projects are incubated and then graduated and just how the community contributors-- just, they're brilliant. It's just mind-blowing to see what everyone is contributing.

AUDIENCE: It's not really learning, but I enjoy meeting new people. So I've learned a lot of new names. I've learned a lot of what people are doing, where people have moved towards. But for me personally, to really dive into the kind of question you're trying to ask, my main thing is I always look for what are the trends, what are the strategy. I even did this before I was co-chair of KubeCon.

And I want to know how things are progressing forward. Because us, working in the community, it becomes vital for the health of the community for us to be able to maybe not perfectly predict it, but we do have to be in tune with that. And that's something that I hope to continue to try to provide guidance with others or provide influence and, of course, listen as well. It's important. You can't do that effectively if you're not listening to others.

AUDIENCE: I've learned so much. I love the community feel. Everyone that I've met and networked with or talked with has been so supportive. It's been so great. Everyone has been so open. They want to learn. Just this feeling of community has been amazing.

I just feel like other places, or other meetings and conferences, have a different feel than this. I feel like home. Everyone you meet really wants to know you. They're genuine. You know, they want to get to know you better and like keep the real connection. It's not just like a surface, oh, hello, and then that's it.

AUDIENCE: I think like the best thing I really loved was Priyanka's demo. I saw that at one point in time there was a small issue with the database connectivity, but it went pretty well. But we are just seeing how quickly people are adopting to new technologies at KubeCon.

One of the previous podcasts, we were talking about sustainability. I worked very closely with Divya Mohan from Rancher and Saiyam civo. They basically ran this entire sustainability week in CNCF India, and I was able to contribute to that. But, I think, just becoming more environmentally aware, and understanding how Kubernetes as an ecosystem is growing, and how new and more CNCF projects can get better at being able to incubate.

Because I know that earlier it was not the most streamlined process, but now we are really seeing that for new projects to come into the CNCF landscape, there's a very clearly defined path that is being followed. From getting their incubation, to sandboxing, and, of course, to graduation. So as we have more and more projects, getting that feel, I think, it will be easier for newer projects to also capture that. And especially, I foresee that also in the WebAssembly space, as we'll see more and more adoption in Kubernetes and in CNCF, a lot of open-source projects related to WebAssembly might come into the CNCF landscape. And hopefully it becomes easier for them to also go through this entire incubation and graduation process.

KASLIN FIELDS: What would you like to see at future KubeCons?

AUDIENCE: Honestly, I would like to see maybe a booth that's strictly for the new people. You know what I mean? Like, where they have like a dumbed down version of everything. That'd be amazing. Because there's some terms that I-- I came in, I'm like w-what? So something like that would be great, where you could just like go there and kind of learn some of the verbiage and what it means, so you can go to other booths and understand what other people are actually saying. So I think that--

AUDIENCE: --fewer kind of like government actors or people that catered to selling the tools of war. I do not believe that that keeps in with the CNCF at least principles. Maybe not written down but what we're kind of going for. Obviously, people who they're going to contribute to the community, but we don't really have to have them here to do that.

AUDIENCE: I would like to see the separation of Co-Located Events and Contributor Summit again. Because I like the other things as well, but I also like being a part of the Kubernetes community. So it makes it a little bit more challenging, though I did really enjoyed the Kubernetes Contributor Summit, as they always are so lovely. So yes, see me.

AUDIENCE: One thing I'd like to see is that KubeCon is-- when I entered the venue, it's like an airport. It's so big. And the sponsor showcase in itself is huge. I've definitely lost weight, you know? Walking around and everything, I have got my steps in and everything. Which is a good thing.

But the thing is that when the CNCF releases their After KubeCon Report, so, for example, last year, it was like 65% were first-time attendees. So for a first-time attendee, it's overwhelming. And that's fine. There's nothing wrong with that.

But I think one thing CNCF can do is maybe organize a guided tour or something. That'd be nice. If not for everyone, then at least for students. So many students here! I saw plenty. So I think a guided tour would be fun-- like Disney or something. Because it is big enough for a guided tour.

So it can include sessions, and networking events, and then booths crawl for the students together, and a little guided tour. And we had SIG Boba yesterday. It was sponsored by CNCF. Non-alcoholic afterparty. So that was really fun. Yeah. Thanks CNCF for supporting that.

AUDIENCE: I would love to see new faces being in the maintainer tracks, and being part of the chairs, and stepping up in ways, and being able to take ownership of a lot of the things that people like myself have been around. And it's not that we're doing all the work, it's that it's inspiring to see new people take it and make it their own. And I really like to see people take it in new directions and make their goals and realities out of it.

AUDIENCE: I think, for me, I'm a beginner within the open-source community. This is my first KubeCon. I think that I'd like to see more beginner-friendly stuff. I think a lot of this is geared towards industry professionals even though there is like a section for academics or for students-- undergrad students. So just me, personally, wanting to learn more from ground up type stuff. But yeah.

AUDIENCE: I would love to see more open-source projects given the contribution talks. Like, we had a few this year. I'm not sure if we used to have it previous year as well. This is my first KubeCon. But that is something I would love to see more of-- more sessions of contrib, as they put it, in that category.

The contributors getting into the room with the guys who want to contribute or who have been contributing. They get to meet them. They get to see them. So yeah, that is more of what I personally would love to see. But again, because I'm a backend engineer too, I mean that answer could be different for different person when you talk to different people around here.

AUDIENCE: I would like to see more inclusivity, more accessibility, more interpreting, and also better captioning during some of the sessions. Just more efforts to increase the accessibility inclusivity.

AUDIENCE: I would like to see more representation of maintainers being more diversified and hopefully new leaders where those diversified ideas can naturalize into a position to broaden the community outside of its original intention and allow more adoption for underrepresented minorities and also people who have challenges contributing to open source.

AUDIENCE: Well, right now, I don't think I have anything to add because this has just been just a phenomenal experience. I didn't notice any issues where I feel like anything needed to be added, other than the accessibility and the accommodations. I mean, everything has been nothing short of amazing.

KASLIN FIELDS: Amazingly, no one has said better food yet.

AUDIENCE: (LAUGHING) Oh. Well, I mean, my perspective is that this is a community event, and it's a community-funded event, so you can't be picky about some of those things. You can't go overboard with the food either. Right? Right?


AUDIENCE: I'll take it. I would rather be here interacting with the community. So I'm good.

AUDIENCE: I'm probably the best person to ask this question. Wow! Unless you find Casper. He might be better to ask because he'll be in the know.

My hope is that in the future-- one of the things that really doesn't necessarily scare me, but it's-- because I think the community will rise through this. But there is a question as to what happens when KubeCon-- because KubeCon CloudNativeCon for the whole name, right? And there's a moment when Kubernetes will eventually reach a peak in development, and then it'll transition to more maintenance over time.

Every project goes through this at some point of its lifecycle. And the question then becomes, how do we continue to grow the community, and how do we continue to get that sustainability-- community sustainability specifically? And part of that is we have new people that come in. How do we guide those newcomers into new projects or projects that they're interested in?

And that's where our broader ecosystem becomes even more important because that's how we maintain the total community that we're doing here. So how do we get people to become first-time contributors that they come here? I would love to get people where it's their first time coming to a KubeCon and getting their first commit into any project. Like, I would love to see that kind of dynamic start to occur. It's something I'm going to recommend to my colleagues, the future co-chairs, who are going to do the next one and the one after that, with the hope that we can continue to get that collaboration.

AUDIENCE: Keep it how it is. [LAUGHS]. Keep this whole-- this conference has been-- like I said, it's foundational how it's set. Just keep doing it the same the next one, and the next one, and the next one. Just to keep going. This longevity is amazing.

AUDIENCE: So I think one thing that I have really loved is how we can make KubeCon more inclusive for beginners. So as I mentioned earlier, as part of my podcast, I initially started off by just attending a lot of these SIGs meet and greets. Because that gave me exposure to SIGs are how you don't have to be scared to reach out to folks within SIGs. But at the same time, I got my first-ever contributions to a number of different projects by attending the Quantum Fests. I literally spent from early morning in the day to evenings just contributing to projects, and I had so much fun.

Because we know that when you are working remotely, it's a lot harder to reach out to maintainers and get one-to-one support because it's not physically possible for a maintainer to give time. But when you're sitting in front of the maintainer and they are helping you make your first-ever pull requests, I feel that that's a good thing. So seeing more of these kind of initiatives so that contributors who are not just looking to contribute to the docs but also perhaps to the major projects, perhaps to the Kubernetes projects itself, having more initiatives towards first steps-- taking baby steps-- towards making your first contribution will go a long way definitely. So that's one thing that I'm really looking out for.

KASLIN FIELDS: Thank you very much.


ABDEL SGHIOUAR: All right. Well, thank you very much, Kaslin, for that, that was cool.

KASLIN FIELDS: I always like doing the interviews. I learn so much from it. Because every time-- I think I mentioned this the first time that we did this style of episode-- every time I come back from an event, everyone's like, all right, tell me all about the event. What were the trends? Like, what were the big, big things? And I'm always like, UH, I only have my own subjective perspective.


KASLIN FIELDS: But I love doing these interviews because I get a lot more perspectives. And you can see how they vary.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Exactly. I think in this style of interviews, by far the WasmCon one was the most interesting just because the technology attracts people from different fields.

KASLIN FIELDS: It was very varied. Yeah.


KASLIN FIELDS: KubeCon and CloudNativeCon are probably, in terms of interest, quite homogeneous compared to WasmCon. That's just my opinion.

KASLIN FIELDS: Yeah. Even-- usually, for these interviews, I just go out in the hallway and find random people. Because I really want to get folks that are not just folks that I know. This time-- yeah, we got a variety as well, I think. So.


KASLIN FIELDS: There is variety but also homogeneity.


KASLIN FIELDS: [LAUGHS]. So fair point.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: I guess we start with the elephant out of the room. There was a picture on Twitter of you doing interviews with the deaf and hard of hearing community.

KASLIN FIELDS: I'm so excited about those.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: How did that go? How did that happen actually?

KASLIN FIELDS: Yeah. So after the keynotes on the last day, I had already decided maybe during the keynotes that day, or maybe it was the night before-- I don't know, KubeCon is a blur. But at some point, I had realized like the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Working Group folks had already been on stage in the keynotes, and also one of the folks did a Lightning talk. And it was the first time that I've ever been to a talk that was given in sign language and then had to be interpreted into English.

And I was just so excited about all of this stuff that was going on with them at the event, and at some point I realized, I could interview them. Because they've been walking around with interpreters. And so, I could have someone help us out, and we could get audio of their interviews. Which has made me think about all sorts of things with the podcast. But anyway-- [LAUGHS].


KASLIN FIELDS: So it occurred to me this was a possibility. And then, at the end of the keynotes on the last day, they were kind of hanging out as folks were clearing out. And so, I went up to them because they had an interpreter right there. They had two interpreters. Which was nice, since they just did the whole interpretation of the keynotes. Which, by the way, was really important that day because the captions actually cut out at one point during the keynotes. Because the audio feed for the captioner cut out.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Oh. Oh, that's bad.

KASLIN FIELDS: And there was a note that just popped up on stage saying the captioner lost audio connection. No more captions for you.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Oh. Wow, that is bad.

KASLIN FIELDS: It was like, wow, (LAUGHING) really glad that we had those interpreters there.


KASLIN FIELDS: So they were hanging out on the last day, and it had occurred to me that it was a good idea. And so, I asked them, and they were up for it.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Nice. And just to be clear, the audio that we hear in the interview is the interpreter, but there was two or three people, right, in the interview itself?

KASLIN FIELDS: Yes, there were three people. And there were two interpreters actually that did it, but they were both women. And the folks that we interviewed was two men and one woman.


KASLIN FIELDS: So that's another limitation of trying to translate from sign language into English is you don't get to hear their actual voices. But at least we hear their voices in some respect.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Yeah. Yeah, that was cool. The picture that was going around on Twitter was taken by Aurelie. Because I think Aurelie saw the whole interview and then she took a picture. And then, it was like--


ABDEL SGHIOUAR: --copied around with a bunch of people.

KASLIN FIELDS: Yeah. They actually recorded video of those interviews so that, for the deaf and hard-of-hearing folks, they can watch the video so that they can also see the signing and get a lot more context out of it than we are able to get here through the English interpretation. Because there's so much energy and emotion in their signing that doesn't quite come across in the interpretation. So Abdel and I, we have been talking about doing video as part of this podcast, and hopefully we can grab those videos and maybe start a YouTube channel. So look out for that in the future hopefully. [LAUGHS].

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: I think-- I mean, this is not a promise, but I think I'll bring my camera gear to KubeCon EU, and we'll try to do some videos there and we'll see how it goes. Right?

KASLIN FIELDS: Just right around the corner.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Yeah. I like the-- I forgot, is it KubeFM by Bart. Right? Because he does videos.

KASLIN FIELDS: Oh, yes, yes. Bart.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Bart. I think it's Bart, yeah.

KASLIN FIELDS: Bart. @birthmarkbart on Twitter.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: I knew he does videos, but most of what I saw on social media was just like him interviewing people virtually. But the first one that popped up was in the CNCF Ambassadors channel, where he interviewed Katie who is running the ambassador program.

KASLIN FIELDS: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: So that was pretty cool.

KASLIN FIELDS: Yeah, he was going around with camera equipment at KubeCon North America. Also, fun fact, Bart did a rap once that I was featured in.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Oh, yes. Yes, we have to have a link to that.

KASLIN FIELDS: I'll have to grab the link for that for the show notes.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Yes. Yes, that was really cool.


Cool. Yeah, there was quite a lot of interesting things. Obviously, the trends are, as one would expect, AI, ML, Wasm, platform engineering.

KASLIN FIELDS: There was at least one or two interviews where, when I showed folks the question-- I show folks these questions before I ask them so they have a chance to decide if they're OK with this--


KASLIN FIELDS: (LAUGHING) --before we do it. And at least one or two of the folks was like, nnh, I really would like to say something other than AI, but I don't think I can.


ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Yeah. And this is another reason why I think if you made it so far to the podcast, you should go and listen to the keynote by Tim Hockin because he specifically talks about this. And it's only 15 minutes. It's not too long. And then he did a bunch of interviews with a bunch of very popular tech publications. And, of course, his wisdom is very important-- so.

KASLIN FIELDS: Also, I should have mentioned it while we were talking about the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Group folks, but I also recorded a little tidbit by one of the folks who was hanging out with the deaf and hard of hearing folks. He's not deaf or hard of hearing, but he can do sign language-- speak sign language. And so, he was hanging out with them a lot, and he had some really fascinating insight about that community, and their experience with conferences, and how difficult it is for them to be a part of the community without proper accessibility.

Anyway, it's a really fantastic quote. We'll play that at the end of this little chatter segment. So if you stick around to the very end, you'll get to hear that, and it's really, really cool.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Awesome. Of course, very happy to see that SIG Boba is going strong.

KASLIN FIELDS: Yes. (LAUGHING) If you all heard our KubeCon North America episode last year, 2022--


KASLIN FIELDS: Someone mentioned the idea of SIG Boba in an interview. That was Lee Capili. He and Kunal have been running that for the last couple of KubeCons. It's really awesome.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Yeah. That was-- I'm very happy to see. We have to start a new SIG. We have to follow the continuous tradition of starting new things in this podcast.

KASLIN FIELDS: Or at least continue the tradition of following what's going on with SIG Boba.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And then there was one thing that I found really interesting. So I forgot the name of the person, but somebody was saying that this was their first KubeCon or maybe even their first conference if I'm not mistaken. And they found it-- obviously, it's overwhelming. KubeCon is huge. And the proposal, which if you are from the CNCF and listening to this, we would like to work with you on this, would be a newbie booth. Right?

KASLIN FIELDS: Yes. I'm so excited about that proposal. We really need to talk with the CNCF folks about that. We can hit a few different channels with that between our connections.


KASLIN FIELDS: But I would love to see that.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: So the idea that would be booth with a bunch of people that will help newcomers or first-timers. Which, as we heard, it's always more than 50%, right?


ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Kind of make sense out of all these terminologies, all these keywords they hear, all this stuff. Right?

KASLIN FIELDS: Yeah. An Explain Like I'm Five station or an Ask Me Your Dumb Question station.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

KASLIN FIELDS: I think that would be so fantastic. And I think Kunal, in his interview, also suggested doing tours--


KASLIN FIELDS: --for new folks. I think that would be really cool too-- offering an opportunity to register for a tour and maybe having the CNCF ambassadors lead tours through the convention center before the event actually starts. Maybe on day zero. And walk through and go, like, here's the showcase. Here's what you can do here, and here are the main areas for the breakouts. And we could probably even find out which tracks are in which areas and tell people all sorts of stuff about how the event works, because it can be really confusing.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Yeah. And it's 8,000 people. Amsterdam was 10,000 people. And moving between breakout sessions was so much walking, right?

KASLIN FIELDS: Also, I think this is the first time that EU was bigger than NA in person.



ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Yeah, Amsterdam was 10K.

KASLIN FIELDS: Valencia was close last year. 2022 was close. And this year, EU overtook NA in terms of in-person attendance.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Yeah. As you said, it will be interesting or cool to help people whose it's first time coming to the conference kind of navigate the space and figure out where to go if they need to find stuff. Right?

KASLIN FIELDS: Yeah. So CNCF, free ideas for you.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Yes, please. By the way, you don't have to listen. We're going to follow up on Slack. We're going to hit a bunch of people.

KASLIN FIELDS: Yeah. But also, they should they should listen to--

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Yeah, they should listen as well. Of course.

KASLIN FIELDS: Because there's lots of other really cool feedback.



I think one of the most-- like, you did all the interviews, and then toward the end you asked somebody, like, I'm surprised no one talked about the food.


ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Because that's something that people complain about a lot in KubeCon.

KASLIN FIELDS: Yeah. Last time I did these interviews, at least in Detroit, I think in NA, there were at least several that said the food. I think even in EU, a couple folks said the food. And by the way, the food at this was terrible. (LAUGHING) It was not-- not good.


ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Just putting this out there.

KASLIN FIELDS: Yeah. But nobody mentioned it this time. They all had other things they wanted to talk about, which is good and maybe bad. [LAUGHS].


KASLIN FIELDS: I think it's good.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: I'm very curious about how the food will look like in Paris.


ABDEL SGHIOUAR: The capital of the gastronomy.

KASLIN FIELDS: There have been years it's been good.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: (LAUGHING) Yes. We'll see. We'll see about that.

KASLIN FIELDS: It's too big these days.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Feeding 10,000 people is not easy. Just put it this way, right? It's like-- it's a lot of work.

KASLIN FIELDS: It's just sandwiches these days.

ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Exactly. Well, that was pretty cool. Do you have anything else-- like something that you-- some of your favorite moments? Something you want to mention?

KASLIN FIELDS: I'm really excited, of course, that we got to interview the deaf and hard of hearing folks. I hope that we get that video version of the podcast spun up so that it's more accessible for folks-- for technologists who are deaf and hard of hearing. I'm really glad that we got to have their, quote, unquote, "voices" on the podcast this time. And like you said, the new newbie feedback I'm really excited about too. So.



ABDEL SGHIOUAR: Cool. Thank you very much, Kaslin.

KASLIN FIELDS: Yeah. We'll see you all next time.


KASLIN FIELDS: Let's go ahead and play that quote.

AUDIENCE: As somebody who's not deaf but sort of deaf adjacent-- I grew up with deaf friends-- one of the things that's been really encouraging for me is to see the folks here and all the support and the accessibility. I've been going to conferences for over 10 years now in my role as a developer relations advocate, evangelist, whatever, and I always put on Instagram or LinkedIn a message in Sign language that if you want to speak Sign language and that's your main mode of communication, come find me in booth whatever. And nobody has ever come because it hasn't been accessible.

And this event-- I mean, for a lot of the folks that you heard from, this is their first conference ever because they can. And that's been really encouraging and really amazing to see. And as someone who's been, again, sort of adjacent to the deaf community, to see that they're able to participate and show their opinions has been wonderful for me.

KASLIN FIELDS: Thank you so much.

AUDIENCE: No problem.


ABDEL SGHIOUAR: That brings us to the end of another episode. If you enjoyed the show, please help us spread the word and tell a friend. If you have any feedback for us, you can find us on social media @kubernetespod on x or reach us by email AT <kubernetespodcats@google.com>. You can also check out our website at kubernetespodcast.com, where you will find transcripts, and show notes, and links to subscribe.

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