Event Report: OSCAL 2016

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Last weekend, I attended OSCAL 2016, a conference about open source in Tirana, Albania. I was looking forward to the conference very much because the Fedora community in Albania had been very active recently. I’d met some of the Albanian community members at other conferences, but I was curious to meet others.

The conference really surprised me with its hospitality which was second to nothing. The organizers provided us with a lot of useful information, arranged transportation from the airport to the hotel. What was a real nice touch was a welcoming package which was waiting for every speaker in his/her hotel room. I haven’t seen something like this at any conference before and it must have been a real effort because speakers are spread among several hotels in the city.

The activity of Fedora community in Albania has real results. The user base of Fedora among open source enthusiasts in Albania seems to grow really fast. Fedora was by far the most popular distribution among OSCAL visitors and the only one visible there. We had a booth, many Fedora related talks, several ambassadors around.

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Fedora booth

I had two presentations. One was supposed to be a workshop for 30 minutes – “Best Practises in Translating Software”. 30 minutes is too short to make a proper workshop, so it was rather a practical talk. It was targeted at beginning translators, because I know there are quite a few people starting with that in Albania. But when I asked the audience who translates software just two hands rose. Others were just interested in the area. My second presentation was about Fedora Workstation (who is it for, what we have achieved, what we’re brewing), the room was pretty full and there were quite a lot of questions which is a sign that it was interesting for the audience.

At the end of the second day, there was a Fedora community meetup. There were experienced ambassadors from abroad (me, Giannis, Robert Scheck, Ardian,…), local ambassadors (Jona), other local contributors (Elio, Boris,…), and other people who were interested in joining the Fedora Project. We discussed what the Fedora Project can do for the local community to keep growing. We also talked about translations of Fedora and GNOME to Albanian. There are many new people translators, but the coordinators of translations that approve new translations are either inactive or reluctant to accept new contributions. Six years ago, I helped with a similar situation in the Slovak translation team, so I gave local contributors advice how to start processes to resolve it.

A couple of community members were interested in becoming ambassadors. There were three ambassador mentors (me, Robert, and Giannis) and we shared with them what are our expectations, that there is no limit for ambassadors per country. If there are enough active people, there can be even 10 ambassadors in Albania. We as mentors just have to make sure that the candidates are ready and are willing to contribute in longer term.

What was also very special about OSCAL was a number of women at the conference. Over 50% of attendees and 70% of organizers were women. That’s something you don’t see anywhere else. They’ve naturally achieved a gender diversity communities anywhere else in the world are struggling to achieve. When I ask why is that they told me that it’s because there are many women studying computer science. One girl told me that in her study program there are 190 women and only 10 men. Why are there so many women studying computer science? I was told it’s because girls are encourage to pursue this career path and IT is considered one of a few industries where you can get a job and earn good money. But I was also told that there are many women in other technical fields such as math and civil engineering. So it’s not only because IT would be the only attractive field there.

I’d like to thank the Fedora Project for sponsoring my flight ticket and I hope Fedora will be even more visible at OSCAL than this year.

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Mozilla booth

Libocon 2016: accommodation

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We’re progressing with the organization of LibreOffice Conference 2016 in Brno. Italo Vignoli of The Document Foundation visited Brno last month, we showed him the venue and also places where we could hold a party, have a hacknight etc.

Recently we got a special discount for LIBOCon attendees from Vista Hotel. The hotel was recently renovated and is one of the closest hotels to the venue (15-minute walk or 2 stops by tram). The price we got is very good for the **** standard. You can find more info at the conference website and you can already book rooms.

We’re also looking for a low-cost option (most likely student dormitories) for those who don’t want to spend much money on accommodation and don’t require hotel comfort.

As the conference is getting closer we will publish more useful information for attendees on the conference website, stay tuned. We’ve also created a group chat for conference attendees on Telegram. You can ask us any questions there or chat with other attendees.

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First Brno Linux Desktop Meetup

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The desktop engineering team in the Red Hat office in Brno is quite large, we’ve got over 20 developers working on various desktop projects here, but there is no active community outside Red Hat. We’re also approached by students who are interested and would like to get started, but don’t know where and we’d like to have an event to which we can invite them, talk to them about it more in detail, and help them with things beginners struggle with.

That’s why we’ve decided to start Linux Desktop Meetups. They should take place every first Thursday in a month in Red Hat Lab at the Faculty of Information Technologies of Brno University of Technology.

What will be on the agenda? It will be driven by the participants. We hope to have a couple of short, practical presentations, the rest will be discussions, helping others etc.

If you happen to live in Brno and are interested in the Linux desktop, come and join us at 18:00 on May 5th!

Libocon 2016: sponsor prospectus

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I’ve finally published the sponsor prospectus for LibreOffice Conference 2016. The conference is run by volunteers, but it would not be possible without support of sponsors. The sponsor packages start at €1000, but there are also more targeted options to support the conference which start at €500 (sponsoring coffee, snacks, lunch,…).

If you know of a company that could be interested in sponsoring LibreOffice Conference, please reach out to them. Every contribution counts!

Get Notified of Crashes in Your Packages

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ABRT project produces very helpful statistics about crashes in Fedora. We in the Red Hat desktop team have been using it intensively for some time. I’ve already written about it in one of my previous posts. It’s really helped us make Fedora much more stable.

Call me Captain Obvious who just discovered America, but until now I had a very little idea about the fact that I can filter messages from FAF and make alerts. So when a problem in one of my packages reaches, say, 1000 occurrences I receive an email or IRC message that there is a severe enough problem to look at.

This is pretty useful for every Fedora packager and I think most of them are still not aware of it. If you’d like to set it up, go to the Fedora Notifications app, log in, choose either email or irc settings, click “Create a new filter”, and pick one of the available FAF rules. You can be notified of every single reported crash or (as the other end of the scale) you can set that you won’t be disturbed until the problem reaches 1,000,000 occurrences. It really depends on how popular and “crashy” your packages are. Just check the FAF stats and set the limit accordingly.

Of course, it’s just a very little subset of Fedora Notifications settings. This tool is very powerful, you can pick many other rules, combine them, and create filters tailored right for you. Kudos to our infra team for it!

LibreOffice Conference 2016 in Brno

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LibreOffice Conference will take place in Brno, Czech Republic this year. It will be our third international desktop-related conference in Brno. After GUADEC 2013 and Akademy 2014. And we’re very much looking forward to it.

The conference is still more than 6 months away, but the organization already started some time ago. We made an agreement with the local technical university about the venue. It’s the venue where GUADEC 2013 and DevConf.cz 2015 and 2016 took place. The campus premises used to be a Cartesian monastery which was founded in the 14th century. Just recently, the campus was renovated and now features a beautiful combination of historical and modern architecture.

The legal entity for the conference is provided by OpenAlt which is a local open source user group that has a status of association. All the local organizers are also members of this group.

We’ve also updated the conference site with information about this year’s edition. You can already read comprehensive information about transportation to Brno to plan your trip in advance. You can also already request a letter of invitation if you need a visa to travel to LIBOCon. The issuer of these letters will be Red Hat Czech which is one of the partners of the conference and has a large presence in Brno.

You can also find a page about accommodation there. We will arrange a hotel for sponsored people, but we don’t want to make any recommendations. The page will list hotels that are proven to be good and offer a special deal to LIBOCon attendees. There is already Holiday Inn, but we expect to strike deals with other hotels soon. Alternatively, you can use services such as booking.com and find the best option for you, Brno has many great lodging options.

We’re also finishing the sponsor prospectus, so that we can some sponsors on board soon.

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CC BY-SA 3.0 Attribution: Pavel Ševela / Wikimedia Commons

 

‘Getting Started with Fedora’ handbook – update

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In October, I announced that we’d finally finished and printed a handbook for users who start with Fedora. It was a pilot created in the Czech community of Fedora, so we wrote the handbook in Czech first. The goal was to translate it to English if it proves to be good.

It’s proven to be good, no doubt about it. But translations to English are still not finished. We’ve created a repository on GitHub. The handbook was re-written in AsciiDoc (originally it was composed in Google Docs and then converted to LaTex). We didn’t hook it to any translation system simply because we don’t have any experience with that and haven’t found any volunteer to help us with that. So it’s being translated by simple re-writing in English which is not as bad as it sounds. It would not scale with frequent releases and heavy versioning, but the handbook is not very release specific (on purpose) and we’re not planning to do more than one release a year. In the repository, there are currently two directories with translations (Czech and English).

Due to lack of time, I’ve only been able to translate 4 chapters out of 10. And it’s not going to improve any time soon. That’s why I’d like to call for volunteers who know both Czech and English and would be willing to help. Translations to English don’t have to be perfect. Several native speakers have already offered me that they could do some grammar polishing, but it needs to be translated at least in “rough” English. I’ve considered Google Translate, but that would probably be too rough.

Anyone out there to help?

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