Foss.ntua @ TV

That was a nice experience. Last Monday I had the chance together with Giannis Tsiouris to be on National Television (ET1) EsC show. We were invited to speak on behalf of Free and Open Source Community of National Technical University of Athens – Foss.Ntua (our uni), about Free Software, its culture and its status.

Overall I think that we managed to cover almost all the basics for Free and Open Source world and mentioned extensively Mozilla Firefox and other open source alternatives. We emphasized the community aspect of the projects and why we consider it important.

Added to that I had the chance to showcase Gnome 3.0 on Fedora 15 which was installed on my laptop.

Enjoy the recording below and help us translate it and subtitle it :)

Fosscomm 2011 & Fedora Activity Day

May was here again, and it was time for our annual Greek Meetup. Fosscomm is the (now-standard) annual meetup of Greek foss communities, and this year it was Patras time to host it. My good friend Vasilis and the rest of his gang have done extraordinary good organizational job (arranging our accommodation, creating custom web apps for the conference, providing extensive info and material etc), and in overall I can say safely that it was the best Fosscomm so far.

Fedora team, mature enough this time, was ready to step up its presence on the event. So we decided to have a Fedora Activity Day so we could focus for a whole day on Fedora specific talks, workshops and socializing. As expected Fosscomm organizing committee was more than welcoming to our initiative so we sat down with all the team and created a full schedule of activities. Fosscomm spans over the weekend, so on Saturday we gave a talk about Fedora 15 on the main room, advertising in parallel our Sunday FAD. Initial reception was great and that filled us with power for the long Sunday :)

On Sunday we woke up early (or at least tried for that) and headed to the venue. We had a room full of computers allocated to Fedora Activity Day and this is what we did:

Transifex and Fedora Translations
It would be a shame not to have the Indifex team joining us as they are based in Patras. They gave a thorough introduction to Transifex translation platform and then explained the l10n procedure of Fedora. In parallel 3 of our translators were working on translating Fedora, helping out with new translators as well.

Linux Color Management
I was next on the list of presenters, ready to amaze everyone with the ease of use of our new color management capabilities. ColorD and gnome color management were mixed with general introduction to Color Profiles and Color Spaces. Photographers, artists and color freaks were there and I really enjoyed sharing my color management experiences and getting feedback on the procedures and ease of use.

RPM Packaging Workshop
A much needed talk for the Greek audience, by a skilled new packager Nikos :) We went through the basic intro to spec files and build procedures and by the end of the talk we have all managed to package a streaming tool not packaged for Fedora yet!

Linux SSD Optimization
It was my time again to showcase the latest developments on storage devices (as SSDs get more and more popular) , how the work and why we need to optimize things. Garbage collection, TRIM, ext4 and btrfs support were covered and also we showcased live some operations and their results on our disks. It is interesting how many misconceptions are surrounding the SSDs nowadays, and I was more than happy to resolve some of them :) (yeap you CAN NOT overwrite directly data on SSDs!)

Surviving with Gnome 3
Nikos joined me on this one, as we presented and showcased Gnome 3.0 with Gnome Shell. The “wow” factor went up, and we detailed the basic and some extended features (try pressing Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). We also focused on the “surviving” factor and debunked many myths concerning customization and fallback modes on our new desktop manager.

Greek Edu: Building your own Fedora Remix
Nikos and Christos were there to inform the Greek public about the recent compilation a Greek Education Remix. The highlight for this Remix is that it includes packaged all the educational material for the primary and secondary school in Greece, so you are ready to go as a student or teacher in Greece! Congrats guys!

Of course, in parallel with our talks/workshops we had people working on our forum, website and consolidating our outreach channels.

Our booth was continuously running thanks to Kostas, Anastasis, Evelina, Thalia, Ale, George and Dimitris. Excellent job by all the team! Once again, the Greek Fedora guys and girls were on their best and set the standard high for the communities to follow ๐Ÿ˜‰

After this successful event, we all need some rest… And then we are back in track for our next goal. Just two words : “FUDCon Athens” (phew.. I said it!)

Photos can be found here (thanks Thalia!) and here (kudos to Dimitris)

Ntfsfix saves the day

You have probably encountered that. An external hard drive that after many switch offs and switch ons (without safely unmounted it) refuses to mount with an error like this :

“Error mounting: mount exited with exit code 13: $MFTMirr does not match $MFT (record 0).”

The solution to that would be to run chkdisk on a Windows machine, but if you are like me (totally free of MS) then you are out of luck.. or not? Not! because you can use a handy set of tools that come be default in Fedora (namely the ntfsfix tool) that can help you repair the damaged NTFS partition. Just make sure you run it as root, appending the name of the drive (e.g. /dev/sdc1) that has the problem.

Remember that applies only for external disks formatted as NTFS and unable to be mounted due to trouble caused by abruptly switching them on and off.

More info can be found here

Fedora 15 ~ Ambassadors Schedule


We did the test last release, but things went not as planned. We tried to enforce a Schedule for Ambassador Specific activities in sync with the release of Fedora 14, but most of the tasks were not pursued in time. It is not time to point fingers so lets look for Fedora 15 Schedule of Ambassadors!

This time FAmSCo (and personally I , as chair) takes full responsibility of making sure the schedule will be followed as planned. After the election of the current FAmSCo (November – December 2010) we did a review [1] of the draft schedule from J.Poelstra (our previous schedule wrangler) and with help of Robyn Bergeron (our beloved current schedule wrangler) we updated it to meet Ambassador specific needs.

Also we have new naming of the tasks to help us understand the owner of task more easily (it was a problem on the old one).

Who will enforce it?
FAmSCo will make sure the owners of each task have whatever they need to make the action

How will we report back and review schedule?
The Schedule will be part of our weekly FAmSCo calls so feel free to drop by to raise an issue. If this is not possible raise the issue on the mailing list of Ambassadors.

Is the schedule flexible?
We are human beings and sometimes we cannot meet some deadlines :) This is totally understandable and FAmSCo will be there to help out, and in extreme cases reform schedule to meet some updated needs.

Is this the final form of the schedule?
Although we tried to deliver a schedule that took into consideration all of our needs, we understand that the schedule will need some reform and fine tuning for our next release (e.g. Fedora 16). After the Fedora 15 release is over we will gather all available feedback and discuss it to make the appropriate adaptions.

Where is the Schedule anyway?
The schedule can be found here :

along with the rest of the Fedora 15 schedules

Is this schedule describing all Ambassadors Tasks?
Of course not! This schedule is only for release-specific Ambassador tasks (i.e. tasks like Release Parties, media production etc). Feel free to host events and make action out of the schedule as always! But if your actions are release-specific please help us meet the guidelines.

Feel free to comment (as always) and step up on specific regional tasks. I will post and nudge on the mailing list towards the adherence to the schedule :)


FOSDEM 2011 ~ Day 1

As expected, FOSDEM this year was so exciting and busy on the same time for me :)

Today we had our first day, and from the morning everything went great : we set up early the Fedora booth (full of swag and at last with a nice tablecloth) and we had a busy booth throughout the day! Special thanks to Zoltan, Cristoph, Jared, Marios, Gent and Max for making sure that our booth was rocking all the time! (You are stars guys!)

On devrooms side, I followed some interesting talks (especially the M.A.D. one and the keynote) and also did some time on the Mozilla one (fully packed as always)

After the end of today’s FOSDEM, we had our Mozilla Meeting to catch up with everyone and play some laser tag! Unfortunately I had to leave early (sorry Kadir) cause I needed to attend the Freedentity meeting, where we had nice chatting over Identity issues on the emerging globalization and how open web can be part of the solution (I guess a thorough post on that will be needed).

Tomorrow I will try to spend more time on Mozilla Booth, helping out Milos on keeping our booth perfect :)

ps. cannot write any more.. so tired and need some sleep to be in perfect shape tomorrow…
ps2. photos and more details just after FOSDEM :) (sorry mom ๐Ÿ˜› )

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!

Fedora Ambassadors – Conflict of Interest ?

I was thinking of it for quite a long now. If a person is an active Fedora Ambassador, can he be an Ambassador (or related term) on another project? The answer is conditional “no” and “yes” so lets take a look on those conditions :

Ambassadors and related sub-projects

I am going to assume here that “Ambassadors” within Fedora are the hard-core supporters, and I am doing that because “by design” Ambassadors are those that actively recruit new Fedorians and spread the word of Fedora. You cannot do that unless you are focused and determined. Likewise projects like OpenSuse and others have their take on Ambassadors. So here is the thing :

“If you are a Fedora Ambassador, you cannot be in a similar sub-project of another distribution”

Imagine being in a booth and been asked “Which distro should I try?” What would be the answer? … There is a small exception here. I believe that some target-specific distros (like super-light ones, or for embedded devices) can be actively promoted by a Fedora Ambassador. But this happens because there is a different target group, and then again there are not well formed groups as Ambassadors.

What about other parts of the project?

I do not believe that there is any blocker into being part of any Fedora sub-project other than Ambassadors and in the similar sub-project on other Distro. This happens a lot nowadays. We share translators with Ubuntu, packagers with Debian, marketers with OpenSuse and Designers with Mint (random examples). The whole foss ecosystem runs well and benefits from exchanging ideas and people resources. But this cannot be the case for Ambassadors.

What about other foss projects (not distros)?

Of course you should be free to support and promote any other foss project (like Mozilla, LibreOffice etc) in any ways that you can. This will add up to your foss contribution and make our world a little more Free and Open Source :)

Is this the “law”?

The above mentioned views are some thoughts I have on the subject. I am determined to form them with feedback from the whole community so we can reach a decision within FAmSCo (Fedora Ambassadors Steering Committee – the ruling body of Ambassadors). Then we will have a directive on this subject and we can enforce it or take action on that. Most probably “action” will be to actively persuade people to make up their minds and explain the situation :)

Why are we doing this?

I am determined that by shading a light on this not-clarified issue of our Ambassadors project, will both help Ambassadors thrive and be sure on their position, and will also clarify our connections and relations with other Distros. It is for sure for the best of our project :)

Feel free to comment on this post or on our mailing list.

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 ๐Ÿ˜› 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 ๐Ÿ˜› 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 Tuแบฅn Trฦฐฦกng 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 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!