Kenya Trip Day 3-4-5

After the Firefox 4 party (more here) Mozilla Kenya team was unstoppable! Early morning the day after, most of the members of the community showed up on the Kenya Mozilla meetup to review actions made, and set goals for the next quarters to come. The meeting minutes can be found here. Dietrich and I were more than happy to be present and advise when needed, enabling actions to happen as soon as possible.

Sunday was a day off for the team (at least its morning). Dietrich, Cliff, Vicky and I woke up 5am to head to the “Nairobi National Park” just outside Nairobi, for a much needed Safari :) Lion was only the start as we ended up enjoying the whole spectrum of animal kingdom in the wild. Photos can be found in this album.

During the afternoon of the same day we had the chance to catch up with Kennedy Kasina (Fedora Ambassador in Kenya) and we laid down and start working on some ambitious plans: Having a Fedora Activity Day (with Mozilla presence) in Kenya during the summer. Kennedy is a great contributor -true doer- so I am pretty sure that Kenya FAD will be soon true :)

For Monday, Alex has booked our schedule for the whole day! 3 different presentations about Mozilla and Firefox 4 :)

We started with AkiraChix (an women-only webdev group) where Dietrich demonstrated the usage of our new integrated Web Console. Akira girls were impressed by the ease of use and the added functionality it provides. (well done for those who built that!)

Then it was time for Nairobits. NairoBits is a Digital Design School that provides education to the Nairobi slum youth. The concept is more than interesting and inspiring, and being able to be among so many cool kids building the future web was our privilege. While questions about firefox 4 were fired we also showcased a lot of HTLM5 awesomeness :)

For the end of the day we had Kenya University, where we had a group of graduate students on CS attending our talk. Unfortunately Dietrich was on his way to the airport so I was alone in the wild :) And it was wild! We had over one hour of Q&A for topics ranging from mozilla in general to quite technical things about XUL and JS. Alex was always there to give the latest updates from the local community side (thanks Alex!) and I am pretty sure that the ml subscribers of the local list doubled after our tours… More fresh blood to the already hyper-active Mozilla Kenya!

Overall, our trip in Kenya has been a super productive week full of Mozilla and Firefox 4 goodness :) Mozilla Kenya has a firm base that within Mozilla we need to take as example and replicate that to neighboring countries (that’s next item on the list!) Congratulations to all the local guys for setting all these up. On a personal level, although exhausting, last week was a life experience for me (foss, mozilla, fedora, events, socializing, safari, africa, nairobi and the list goes on…)

Africa is up and coming, and Mozilla will be there!

ps. pressing “Publish” and heading to the airport now… last action items tackled with Alex here. Till next time : ” Tuonane Afrika ! “

Kenya Trip Day 1-2 and Firefox 4 Party

After a long flight via Istanbul, I finally landed to Nairobi well after midnight. Straight to the hotel downtown and tried to get some sleep.

Waking up next day, I had the pleasure to catch up with Dietrich Ayala (my fellow tripster), Alex Wafula and the rest of his team, shortly before hoping in a bus and head 4 hours North from Nairobi to give a talk about Firefox 4 and Mozilla to Egerton University at Njoro.

The atmosphere there was great and we had the chance to amaze and inform people about Firefox 4 :) Dietrich did an excellent job presenting all the new cool feature of Firefox and Alex closed the presentation with a brief introduction of Mozilla Kenya community.

Overall first day was exhausting in terms of travelling (~8 hours in a bus crossing Kenya, but with 3G in the middle of nowhere!) but it was rewarding to say the least, having the chance to be with more than 100 people talking about Firefox 4 :)

We went to sleep early because Day 2 would be Firefox 4 Party day!

Some meetings we had early morning where moved so we headed to iHub from early morning. iHub is an awesome hackerspace/co-working place in Nairobi and certainly a place to be if you are a geek traveling in Kenya :) Cool place, internet, and great people to meet!

That was the venue of our party so we stayed there to help with the preparations, although there were not many things to do as Alex and Linnet (our local Mozilla stars) had took care of almost everything! The place gradually got dressed up in Firefox colors and restructured so it could fit our needs. Projectors, invite list, tables, food were in place so we are about to start:

Although we were expecting 100 people to show up, we ended up having more than 200 people! Linnet was the MC for the night, while Alex was taking care that everything was in place :) Big team doing great stuff! We started with a presentation of the new Mozilla Kenya Website and then moved into a summary of Mozilla Kenya activities. Time for Dietrich and me to give our Firefox 4 and generic Mozilla talk! The room was full and we had the chance to amaze once again everyone that didn’t know things about Firefox 4. Short Q&A followed and then we split up into groups spending the rest of the night answering questions and getting feedback for Firefox 4. (we also had some awesome cake! at least everyone had some except from me :( 😛 )

Overall, the event was a total success, engaging people around Mozilla Kenya community. Congratulations once again to the Mozilla Kenya team! They certainly set the bar high for all the communities around the world!

You can find the photos from first two days here.

Stay tuned for updates and photos for the upcoming days :)

POSSE South Africa – Aftermath

It’s been two weeks now that POSSE South Africa is over, and I believe it seems like the right time to reflect back on this awesome event.

On the practical side the event was pretty successful! We actually showcased many collaboration technologies and got all the participants started on their projects. We outlined mock-up techniques, collaboration practices, governance models of foss projects :) By the end of the event everyone had a hands-on experience on all basic concepts of a foss projects and most significantly we made sure that they know how to pass this knowledge on and on :)

On the theoretical side, it was a productive and interactive workshop that served as a hub for exchanging ideas on passing on the foss know-how, and also we (as instructors) had the chance to fine-tune some views of ours on foss projects. My personal gain from POSSE SA was (apart from meeting awesome guys and girls) that I learned and reviewed many methods of handling situations within foss projects (thanks Mel and Jan !) and I had the pleasure to help kickstart some nice foss projects of other POSSE participants.

POSSE turns out to be a well structured, organic, productive and fun event that suits perfectly its purpose: Kickstart and enable new foss teachers and projects. I am very glad I had the chance to be part of it and I really hope that I can repeat that (how about Athens?)

I guess I will come back in a couple of months on that , seeing in retrospective the actual long-term aftermaths of POSSE SA (next POSSEs, projects, people etc..)

ps. I still owe some pictures and this post *will* be updated with some :) Check back soon..

ps2. HUGE thanks and congratz to Michael Adeyeye for organizing and hosting the whole event :) it was just great!

POSSE South Africa – Day 3

Today is going to be possibly the most productive one :) We sat down and outlined some Projects that the participants wanted to work hands-on and we get down to business helping them (basically enabling them to use the tools we use)

The projects proposed were: Fedora Mirrors in SA (already done), Package Building, fossification of existing projects and Translations. We actually got everyone started in some project :) On localization side I had Grat initiating Afrikaans Translations of the main Fedora Websites :)

Getting many people from diverse environments in the same place, discussing on the same topic (“Open Source Ecosystem”) you end up with a lot of ideas that need to be outlined and expressed :) Thats why Mel and I created a nice artwork on a whiteboard (plain good old analogue stuff) and Jan was kind enough to photo it and clear it up. So here it is!

Last day for me tomorrow :) Many projects and commits coming up :) Stay tuned…

ps. possibly I am going to write the last post after returning to Athens (have to catch a plane! :P)

POSSE South Africa – Day 1.5

Here we are just finished the 2nd day of POSSE South Africa :)

He had a nice time teaching GIT and having everyone get their first patch and apply it. It’s really refreshing to see fresh guys to be able to handle the strings around and be actual contributors just in a couple of days. Physical interaction is a key concept in these meetups so people can get started with committing *way* faster than they start remotely :)

Food was ok today (fortunately) and I hope I will not have the same yesterday problems 😛

View of the session room

View of the session room

Everyone seems to get used to using collaboration tools and much of the work is done through IRC (thats nice!). Today we basically covered the “getting code, changing, diff, patching” and also the “Web submissions/management” like Transifex etc.

Mel explaining Publican

Mel explaining Publican

Hopefully today we are also going to visit the Table Mountain. See ya around!

POSSE South Africa – Day 0.5

Part of our schedule is to blog on the day we just had (which was fantastic by the way :) ) and comment on what happened…

We started with a great introduction on the Open Source World and history by Jan (I really envy him for having the chance to give this talk as part of the high level orientation in RedHat EMEA) Then it was Mel time to outline the principles of online collaboration, so we covered a lot on IRC, mailing lists, EtherPad (great tool!). Then after a great lunch (with local food) I made an introduction to the Wiki way of collaborating (editing, discussing, commenting, logs etc).

Then everyone was asked to create their wiki pages on and they all did successfully! The weird thing was that during that time we were not allowed to speak but we needed to resolve our issues through IRC (kinda cool!). It appears to be a nice exercise on online geeky collaboration.

Jan was also kind enough to introduce us to the netiquette :) I am going to continue this post at night with some nice pics etc . See ya!

POSSE South Africa – Day -1

How constructive a flight can be? A *lot* as it turned out. Good things came from the get-go. A mistake (or capacity mixup) in Emirates got me in Business class so I was able to enjoy a nice and cosy sleep till Dubai :)

DXB West wing

DXB West wing

Then the DXB experience came :) I was afraid that 4 hours were going to be long in Dubai for layover, but I was wrong. 1 hour to get myself shown around, 1 hour trying to spot the guy that broadcasted “FreePublic Wifi”  in Ad-hoc just to fish some codes, 1 hour to walk from East to West side of DXB and a final hour to board on EK 770 to Cape Town :)

Yeap thats Burj Khalifa :)

Yeap thats Burj Khalifa :)

Because I had checked in online kinda late I ended up with a middle seat on the right wing section (on a 3-3-3 seat section). Between a lady and a guy that apparently knew each other :S I kindly offered to change seats but they said it was OK and they would change only if I was bothered by their fighting cause they were South Africans. (?) Roughly this is what followed:

– So you are from South Africa?
– Can’t you tell? We are shouting all over!
– Seems natural to me…I am from Greece :)
– … Greece! nice…. and what brings you to Cape Town?
– I am here for POSSE South Africa (and I went on explaining what POSSE is about)
– Well well, little man! We can use some help here…
– ? (I thought this was a comment on their Windows 7 laptops)
– Me and Sharah are working on the public sector here in the Municipality of Cape Town and we were thinking about sustainable Open Source solutions.
– ! then it must be your lucky day! I am going to be here till Thursday and I would love you to to stop over CPUT and see what foss can do for you :)
– nice! (booting up her mail client) let me write an email to the head of our IT department and we can arrange a meeting while you and your colleagues are here.
-That would be fantastic!

The rest of the conversation went on about the options that an organization has to gradually move to foss solutions (partial transition, mass deployments etc) and I believe that I certainly got their attention with my Fedora 13 notebook showing them around on OpenOffice (LibreOffice is going to be :P) package management etc…

After long conversations and several chapters out of “Free Culture” we landed in the fancy renovated Cape Town Airport and I rushed to my hotel. I have to say that Table Mountain creates the most fantastic/dramatic landscape for a big city, untouched and filled up with clouds… (Mel & Jan we have to get on top of it!)

Nature and Development - SA has both (crappy pic I know)

Nature and Development - SA has both (crappy pic I know)

2 Euros and a long walk granted me a nice full dinner (prices keep surprise me) and I am sitting right now on my hotel room getting ready for a long much-needed sleep.

Tomorrow Mel and Jan will join me, but before that I am going to have the chance to conquer some waves :) (or be a delicious meal for sharks :P) Either-way see ya tomorrow from a lovely Cape Town!

POSSE South Africa – Day -2

Oh… the duration of the flight is *really* big for me to sleep throughout of it. So I made a selection of nice pdf readings to freshen up some ideas and learn more :)

  • Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig, an excellent book on the mechanisms and ethics of locking down knowledge and controlling creativity (know your enemy 😛 )
  • Free for All by Peter Wayner, a nice chronicle of the free software movement, with many dramatic elements :)
  • D.I.Y Satellite by Song Hojun. I am a big fan of space :) But what happens with the privatization of it? This zine explores the possibilities of DIY Satellite with an artistic view, combined with foss community elements :) Sweet!

Most of the things are packed and ready! (where are the cool swags?…oh.. right here :) ) Printed directions, maps, and clear head to enjoy, teach and learn on the upcoming weeks POSSE SouthAfrica.

Afore we go… to the airport!

POSSE South Africa – Day -3

By this time tomorrow I am going to be on a plane heading to Professors Open Source Summer Experience South Africa :) I have the honour to be invited over as an instructor on this POSSE concerning Fedora Project and involvement on Open Source communities.

POSSE is an initiative of aiming to educate people within the academic environment to use foss practises and procedures, and engage them in foss projects from around the world. It is kindly sponsored by RedHat.

Mel Chua (one of three instructors) of Fedora and Sugar fame, is doing a fantastic job organizing this POSSE :) (thanks Mel!)

The schedule is well articulated and the sessions shall be very interesting :) I am supposed to fill in on Community aspects and describe the “insides” of an foss community. The basic concept behind those classes will be to train the attendees into becoming active contributors, engaged in various foss projects and even trainers themselves :)

Pass on the awesomeness!

On the practical side I am looking on a 20hrs flight through Dubai, reaching Cape Town Saturday evening. My colleagues Mel and Jan will arrive the next day, so I am thinking on how to spend some time on Cape Town :) (plz comment with proposals!) I try to contact the local hackerspace (robotics mainly) to see if I can host a session on Fedora (or even Fedora Electronic Lab).. will see :)

More updates to come on the next days (with many photos and details)

Stay tuned…

Cape Town get ready for Fedora-style awesomeness 😀