FOSDEM 2011 ~ Day -2

Ha! How refreshing this can be? FOSDEM 2011 is only 3 days away :)

I am leaving tomorrow just to be in time at Brussels to catch up with as many guys as possible! Laptop – check, cellphone – check, cloths – check I guess I am ready :) But once again I had some swag to bring with me to enrich Fedora booth!

I did some initial testing on printing on cd sleeves and after a few tries I ended up with a quite acceptable result! Zoltan will fill them up with Lightscribe discs (thanks Zoltan!).

This year FOSDEM trip will be more than busy for me. I will help on both Mozilla’s and Fedora’s Booth, have a few meetings and try to attend as many talks as possible. Really looking forward to see the joined session by Fedora Project Leader and Debian Project Leader (our future sounds promising). There seem to be a lot that we can learn from each other and we could also share some practices in the future. For one thing, this connection can really work on technicalities of our projects.

On Mozilla side, we have a full schedule for our Dev room and many star contributors will present their latest work on SuMo, L10n, Jetpack and Firefox 4! Can’t wait to catch up with all guys :) On booth I am prepared to stand up to the standards Milos will set! In Mozilla, this year’s FOSDEM marks a turn on our approach to it. I believe we did the right thing by now shipping *everyone* to FOSDEM so we can save resources to have *everyone* attending our next MozCamp Europe. Besides FOSDEM is meant to be a meeting place among communities so we had to focus on our outreach and connection and not to our internal meetups.

Spoiler : we are baking some nice news for you so stay tuned… (one word : ReMo)

On personal side, 3 other people will occupy my room on a joined Fedora-Mozilla mission. Christos Bacharakis (senior Fedora Ambassador), George Fiotakis (long time Mozilla l10n contributor), and our crazy Fedora photographer Nicu! This is a sample of his everyday life in hostels:

ps. told ya!

ps2. as always expect daily updates from FOSDEM and many photos!

Mozilla Balkans 2010 ~ Ljubljana

It’s been a week now that we have returned from Ljubljana and I miss the whole community more that ever :)

Mozilla Balkans is the twice-per-year community meetup of all the Balkan Contributors of Mozilla. It was kickstarted with a great success last May at Skopje and Slovenian team had the follow-up one week ago at Ljubljana.

We arrived with Costas early Friday having met with Bogo, Michael and Axel at the Prague Airport (-16 centigrades Celsius). The Celica Hostel was pretty amazing (old renovated prison) and our vital needs where met (wifi and beer)

First day went pretty well, and I was happy to catch up with all the old pals from Balkans and meet the new ones. The team seems to be steadily growing and I believe that the representation of each locale is quite sufficient.a

At Saturday we woke up early and headed to our venue. Kiberpipa (Cyberpipe) is a well equipped hackerspace at the center of Ljubljana with a computer museum inside! (Com64, Apple II and more!) Our sessions started on time and we had some constructive sprints around QA, Jetpacks, l10n and SUMO (the new support.mozilla.org is awesome!) I also gave a brief review of what happened to Mozilla Drumbeat Festival Barcelona as apparently I was the only one that attended it (William and Alina could not make it for Ljubljana :( )

I have to admit that Drumbeat still needs a little more push within our contributors. It seems like not many people within Mozilla understand the importance of it, but yet that’s why we are community, to have our inner workings and change/influence each other :)

During lunch time I gave a presentation about forming communities around ideals (in this case primarily around the “Open Web”) although I had some excellent feedback from Axel the rest of the team was in lunch-mode so next time we will not repeat the “Lunch Session” Eating and participating seems like a blocker for some :)

Saturday night we had excellent surprise!The new CEO of Mozilla Gary Kovacs, the President of Mozilla Europe Tristan Nitot, the Chief Marketing Officer of Mozilla Chris Beard and last but not least the head of Marketing Mary Colvig , joined us for a lovely dinner! Being around them just for this sort amount of time is simply not enough! I had an nice exchange of ideas with Mary about pushing forward the community engagement project and I am hoping to see more on this direction from our side (I am more than willing to participate on that!)

Sunday was the wrap up day (wasn’t that fast?). So after a nice wrap-up by remote-William we sat down in groups to form our assessments for the previous period and set some new more concrete goals. Mary was there and was kind enough to help us out with her expertise :) The outcome can be found here.

All things consider Mozilla Balkans meetups seem to form up and although we need some fine-tuning (especially with durations, and themes) we can safely say that we are on the right track :) Coordination of contributors and enabling them to expand Mozilla locally!

Huge congratulations once again to the local team, Matjaz and Brian and also to Milos and William for making this productive yet fun meetup possible :)

FOSSASIA 2010 ~ Day 3

Final day of FOSSASIA and the first half of the day was meant to be continuation of Saturday’s workshops and the rest of the day creative hacking :)

I was happy to give a workshop on Mozilla Sync outlining the initial thoughts around Weave (pushing to services etc) and the final result (Sync) integrated on the latest Firefox 4 beta. All the participants started to use Fx4Beta right away :)

After a nice closing ceremony, we had 3 hours face to face hands-on hacking on various projects. I brought my Arduinos and trying to finalize the HTML5 viz of the xbee bicycle we presented last week in Barcelona. (…getting there!)

I should write a post next week on some retrospective thoughts on FOSSASIA :)

Early at the hotel to sleep… Mekong Delta tomorrow! :)

ps. the album

FOSSASIA 2010 ~ Day 2

The day started with another crazy ride from our hotel to the venue :) I might get used to the swarm of motorbikes finally 😛 Hope not…

We got there just in time to start our Fedora Workshop! Truong (our local Ambassador) had a first round of slides in Vietnamese (they where many local ones :) ) explaining the basic of the project and then it was my turn to expand on contribution and collaboration techniques we use in Fedora :) I outlined IRC, mailing lists, fas, had a brief introduction to translations and then we split up in groups to work on what people wanted :) Hopefully we have 3 more translators in Vietnam now!

The session went pretty well and all the guys where invited to the Release Party afterwards (If only I knew…. :P)

Lunch time! We had some great time on a Chinese/Local place with *lots* of rice and some meat…

Quickly back to the venue, so Dietrich and I hosted a nice Q&A session on Mozilla Firefox and then we showed some HTML5 candies :) Gets them every time 😛 Mozilla hacks is as always the definite source for HTML5 Demos. Check it out!

Just after that, Fedora Design Suite on it’s best! Dave Crossland and Jon Phillips got 25 DVDs of Design Suite and booted a whole class of PC to introduce students to Font Creation and Inkscape.

On the same setup Dietrich and I hosted a session on Mozilla Labs focusing in F1 (easy share!) and Contacts (have them all together!). Everyone got to use Firefox 4 beta 7 and some nice Labs Add-ons!

After a nice lunch I called Truong who was already in the University preparing the Fedora 14 Release party. Apparently it was held in the center of HCMC Public University and we had to find the place! After some nice guidance from Truong and signs I got to the place….

I have to say something. Yesterday was my birthday :) The scene that I encountered when I got in the room of Fedora 14 Release party was one of the best birthday gifts I ever had.

A room *full* of people listening to Truong talking about Fedora 14 and Fedora Project. It was AWESOME :) At first I though most of them were there due to their teachers, but when we started a Q&A session I realized I was so wrong… they were asking about PAE kernels, broadcom drivers, dual boot and LVM etc!

I did my best to answer all the questions and Truong and An Nguyen where kind enough to help with translations :) Truong did an excellent job organizing the whole thing! Coffee and water was available, many lecturers from the University where attending and people wanted to know more and more about fedora. I gave also a brief introduction to open source software (not really necessary as half of them had tried a distro before!)

By the end of the party we gave out t-shirt, LiveCD and stickers to everyone :) 134 people where there! I believe that sets a new fedora record !

The local Vietnamese community was introduced and many people are already starting to send emails wanting to start translating :)

There was only one way to end such a day… Several rounds of beer with a dozen of guys :)

Thanks Truong for everything once again!

ps. album updated!
ps2. don’t be fooled… average age in those pictures = 23 yo … yeah.. I know :)

FOSSASIA 2010 ~ Day 1

After only 3 hours sleep , we managed to find our way to the venue to start Day 1 of FOSSASIA. After a brief (yet inspiring) introduction by Hong Phuc and Mario, the day-long lighting talks sessions started :)

Dietrich and me where set to briefly introduce Mozilla and its projects, so Dietrich covered Firefox and Jetpack (he is the expert :) ) and then I covered the rest of it, emphasizing a lot Mozilla Labs and Mozilla Drumbeat, which gathered much attention and follow-up questions. I guess many people are coming to our workshops tomorrow :)

I had the chance to ask “How many of you are using Mozilla Firefox” and I got an overwhelming response of everyone rising their hands! Ok, I say let’s get those people to actively be part of our ecosystem!

After the talk I finally had the chance to meet Anh Tuấn Trương our Fedora Ambassador in Vietnam and I was really surprised by the amount of stuff he created for our presence! I knew that he did an excellent job before FOSSASIA, but still this was impressive :)

Posters, flyers, CDs and together with my stickers, t-shirts we make an excellent combination to form an complete Fedora booth!

People really loved the swags and we I was very happy to find out that many people were using actually already fedora, but just want the kickstart to start contributing :) Hopefully this is going to be achieved tomorrow with our session and with our Release Party.

I also had the chance to meet Lilly Nguyen who is part of OLPC Vietnam and I introduced her to teachingopensource.org and POSSE. She was really excited and I believe that together with Mario we can kickstart a Sugar themed POSSE Vietnam. (Mel I need some feedback! :) )

On the food side it was an day full of discoveries. Organizing team booked us for lunch in a local pancake restaurant in which we had some delicious marine pancakes :) (sometimes full of vegetables)

During the day we had some local snacks (seemed like bougatsa cream-pie from Greece!) and we went to a noodles house for dinner, all accompanied by spicy sauces and a great variety of fresh vegetables.We ended up to a Beer bar for some socializing (and tasting local beers) and finally Dietrich was kind enough to introduce me to the local sandwiches which are *really*awesome! (I will explain thoroughly in another post)

Off for some good sleep (with Dave clicking continuously on his bed across the room :P)

ps. always check out the updated album!

FOSSASIA 2010 ~ Day -1 & 0

After the longest air trip of my life I managed to land to Ho Chi Minh city *not tired* (yeaah!) I literally followed all the ideas ad tips about long travels by air (dehydration, sleep, etc) and they did work out!

On the airport, after 1 hour waiting to get my visa, I got welcomed by a very friendly volunteer of FOSSASIA who gave me the “welcome envelope” with anything I needed to get started for the conference. Hotel directions, city map, SIM card for communicating with the organizing team (awesome!) and some suggestions on food and drinks.

Then the funny part started. I got in the taxi and the volunteer told him where I should go. Being on the roads of Vietnam with a car is like being a colorful flower on a bee-field… *Millions* of scooters and motorcycles around you in a crazy dance trying to get to their destination without hitting each other or you (and they dont always succeed on that) The experience was mind blowing! You cannot walk across the street without literally push some motorbikes! I thought I was used to heavy traffic environments in Athens but this was out of my league…

The hotel is a nice down-town cheap and clean hotel and I was the first one to arrive from “the computers” (thats how the receptionists call us :P) After a quick rest I took a walk down-town trying to explore alleys and markets. “Everything smells in Asia” and this is something that you can definitely experience in HCMC. I had also a quick visit in a super market , as I really like to see the differentiation between countries.

At night I was joined by Dave Crossland (who will serve as my patient roommate) and Jonas Smedegaard (a crazy-debian-danish guy). We had some really nice time debating about fedora/debian and ending up debating about financial systems 😛 (being interrupted by blackouts, heavy rain and some nice local soups :) )

Today we woke up really late, trying to adjust ourselves with the jet lag (5 hours for me) and we headed for the venue with Mario and Hong Phuc. We got into a taxi for 6 persons and firstly went to pickup our Fedora shirts! They are lovable especially when you consider the actual price for them (3 USD or something) !! Also we picked up the stickers and posters for the event. We did some preliminary set up at the Raffles College (thats the venue) and meet more volunteers :)

(that’s a bag full of fedora t-shirts and a bunch of stickers on top of them!)

Mario proudly presents one of our new t-shirts :)

Then quickly we headed back down-town for the speakers community meetup (=introductions + debates + flame wars + beers + food). There i met in person the fellow Mozillian Dietrich Ayala (our Firefox hacker/expert) that will help me tomorrow on Firefox and Jetpack. (as a matter of fact I could not have hosted a Jet pack session by myself :) ) I really had great time socializing with people, explaining the ideals behind open communities (in which everyone can participate in any form) and spreading the word of Mozilla and Fedora.

tomorrow is going to be an exciting day… i got a feeling…

ps. don’t forget to take a look on the photo-album !

FOSSASIA 2010 ~ Day -2

Here we go again! Another big event is on the way and I am fortunate enough and honored to be there! This time I am going to be double hatted :) (Mozilla & Fedora)

Wow… I am still amazed by the amount of job I can do in long layovers at airports. I am sitting at Doha International airport and the last 4 hours I am caching up with many sub-projects of Fedora :)

Unfortunately due to my long-leave I will not be able to attend many meetings like Fedora EMEA Ambassadors, Design Team meeting, Mozilla Balkans meeting and FAmSCo town hall (yeap i am running for FAmSCo :) ) Sorry all but I will be focused to Fossasia

Now on FOSSASIA! Fedora is set to have one talk for Fedora 14 (I am still trying to have hands-on experience on our brilliant F14 Talk Points), one talk on our thriving Vietnamese local community (given by our Vietnam star Anh Tuấn Trương) and a localization workshop that we will try to engage more and more people into Fedora l10n :)

On Mozilla side, Labs will be my main focus, and I hope that many people will be amazed (like me) by the awesome ideas Labs are exploring!(more updates on the next days). Also we will have a quick inspirational talk for what Mozilla stands for, HTML5 and the OpenWeb.  Most probably Dietrich Ayala (our Firefox expert) will join me giving a technical talk on Jetpack and Firefox!

Finally, on Saturday Jon, Dave and I will host a Libre Graphics Day focusing on Libre tools and Design :) I brought many arduinos and my processing.js mind from Mozilla Drumbeat Festival so if you are in HCMC join us to learn more on that!

As always, expect daily posts and live-blogging :)

See ya!

ps. Sorry Mom..No photos today… “convert” crashes on wildcards :S

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!