Wednesday, August 31, 2011

openSUSE conference 2011

As promised a little look into the future: I will be attending the openSUSE conference in N├╝rnberg, Germany in 10 days. This years conference topic/focus is RWX3, which places a heavy emphasis on hands-on workshops and BoF's.  It should be a great conference with many side activities and a Wild West themed social event. I also hear that there will be some cooking workshops which I definitely want to be a part of, since I have a great interest in cooking and have cooked professionally for several years, as well as, with and for many hackers and community members over the years and they love it :-) Now,  this is the type of diversity and creativity all communities need to embrace!

In addition to my attendance, I  will also be presenting a workshop entitled 'Introduction to Cross-cultural Communication, Conflict and Collaboration' on Sunday the 9th of September from 14:30 to 15:50 in Salon Brendl. This workshop will definitely be hands-on and will include a conflict simulation which all attendees will take part in to help better understand their fellow contributors, as well as, themselves. I also look forward to learning more about Greg KH's initiative and future plans with Tumbleweed at his talk on Monday. More information on my presentation and all others including the full timetable can be found here.  It looks to be a pretty full timetable filled with hands-on sessions, so this event is sure to yield significant outcomes.

I look forward to meeting with those colleagues and contributors with whom I have met before, as well as, those new faces I have never met before, to have discussions and launch initiatives that support collaboration, organization and healthy community development. Most of all, I just look forward to (GTD) Getting Things Done!

See you there!

HCC Linux Day Bunnik NL: Looking back

I attended  HCC linux day on Saturday the 21st of May in Bunnick, The Netherlands. I have always wanted to see how the local communities present themselves at events in the NL, since I mainly attend the international events. HCC is one of the largest, if not the largest, communities in the NL comprised of members that use a variety of different distros and projects that support development within the FOSS ecosystem. This event's focus was on Security and was hosted at the Postillion Hotel.

I first arrived at the event at 10:00 and was quite impressed with the venue for such a small event. It was easy to get to (by car at least) and the hotel was quite new, which provided a quaint, by specialized feel. The presentation rooms were new and fitted with new equipment which gave the event an added feeling of style and prestige. I decided to attend some presentations held by Jos Poortvliet, the community manager for openSUSE whom introduced the new initiatives (OBS, SUSEStudio, Tumbleweed, Evergreen) and the different desktops that are supported in openSUSE latest release 11.4 within the course of two separate presentations. I also got a chance to visit the openSUSE booth, which seemed to have quite a buzz going around it and Jos was nice enough to introduce me to his local team which consisted of some new members who looked very enthusiastic about the event and being involved in the openSUSE community. I also had a chance to speak to some of the local contributors, some from Ubuntu and others who were developers, gamers and just interested users. Many of the people attending this event had been users of FOSS for quite a while, either as a hobby or in their work. I had a feeling that actually most could be classified as users and not your hardcore developer types. I see absolutely no problem with this as these users help spread the message and play a part in keeping the ecosystem alive.

Overall, I really liked the event since I was able to speak to people who are not quite your "normal" FOSSies and saw aspects of our communities from a different point of view, which is always refreshing. In addition, this was quite a low key event, so it also carried a very relaxed feeling to it :-) There is still a need for these types of events, as there are for the events on other levels, since these events provide access points for people of all types to get involved in FOSS. Especially the locals, whom cannot or do not want to travel far to get their questions answered and to hang out with those that share the same interest ;-)

Thanks again HCC, I enjoyed the event and look forward to attending another event of yours. Also a great thanks to Jos and the local Lizards for the constructive discussions, openness, and engagement demonstrated by the openSUSE team. 

LinuxTage 2011: looking back

Sorry about this post being quite belated, but I have been wanting to make this post for quite a while. This last May (11-14th) I attended LinuxTage in Berlin where it is hosted every year. It was my first time at the event and many of my hacker colleagues gave me mixes feelings about the event before I attended. There complaints with the event were that over the years that it has become more corporate oriented and that community presence has been less regarded over corporate interest when arranging and planning for community presence (booths, etc.).

I always try to keep and open mind when attending an event i which I have never been to before, so I arrived at the event on the 11th with a business colleague of mine to introduce him to the world of FOSS to see his thoughts on it, but more to try and give him a picture of what I have been investing a lot of my time into over the past 3 years. He, like many others, rarely see the point of FOSS and the meaning behind just having another operating system on your computer. As many others I have spoken to over the years, he had a hard time understanding why he should give FOSS a try when he had no problems with using Windows. My strategy was to just introduce him to the ecosystem and let him make his own assumptions on what he saw and then provide answers and support to the questions he had.

As we entered the exhibition hall, the first time, he was reluctant from the beginning and THEN he saw names of projects he was familiar with which he did not know stemmed from our ecosystem. Projects he used on windows, such as VLC, XMBC, to name a few. He then shifted his opinion to being a little less reluctant and began to open his mind a little more to this FOSS thing. We split up for a while, as I told him to get involved, ask questions, and just look around! In the meantime, I visited my old colleagues at the Fedora Project and CentOS to see how they are doing. Furthermore, I had a good talk with the Debian project about their plans, future development, and got all of of my questions answered in a nice informed way about the CUT/Rolling release initiative. In final, as always, I also had a chance to chat with some community managers and discuss some issues facing our communities and ecosystem and how we can improve cross-community collaboration.

Overall it was quite a decent event, I met some new people, got up to speed with the old and planted a seed in someones mind of what opportunities and tools FOSS can give the average individual and business person, but I will have to agree with my hacker colleagues, it was a little to corporate and presented itself as more of a hybrid event rather than a community one. Berlin, in itself is awesome, one of my favorite cities in the world, since there are just not too many places like it ;-) C-Base is also one of a kind hacker meeting place/lab which definitely demonstrates the unique qualities of this city and the local FOSS community in Berlin. Oh, and not to forget, my business colleague left with a greater understanding of our ecosystem and a smile on his face, so I think that speaks for itself ;-) Will be seeing you again shortly, Berlin, that I can guarantee!!

Catching up

I do not write blog posts very often, as you can see from my last post was over a year ago. That does not mean I have not been highly active within the FOSS ecosystem, but more so that the function I have and the topics I deal with (conflict management and community development) are not per say things I can freely speak about to those which are not directly involved. You might think, well, you are holding something back or being non-transparent, but that is not the case, it is more about trust. In open source, we all have our circles of trust. Those circles defined by who and what we trust and furthermore the level of trust that we have in these people or institutions. In my function, trust is at the highest level. I coordinate with many within our ecosystem to help resolve issues, some of these issue being highly sensitive for the parties involved. If I were to post these issues, I could foresee two things happening: a loss of trust from one or both parties, and furthermore, an escalation of the issue. Please remember that my function is compared to that of a doctor, just not a medical doctor, but an organizational doctor. Therefore, just as your doctor has ethical commitments to not share his/her patients information, the same goes for my function. 

That said, I can post about other things, that is true. I will post a couple more posts about the events that I have been to this year (something that has been on my list for a while) and some that I will attend in the near future.