Event Report: LinuxTag 2014

This year, I again went to Berlin to help staff the Fedora booth at LinuxTag 2014. It was on a short notice because I didn’t plan to attend since I’m going to FUDCon APAC later this month and can’t miss more at work. But because the event was on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and Thursday was a holiday in the Czech Republic it was only about missing one day and I decided to go.

LinuxTag changed a lot this year. My first edition was 2011 when the event was still huge. But it has been declining. Last year’s edition already looked pretty empty and the organizers decided to make big changes. Frankly I have mixed feelings from the changes. The event has moved from a large exhibition area Messe Berlin to Old Postal Office. The exhibition part has shrunk significantly, not necessarily due to the lack of interest of exhibitors. At Messe Berlin, we always had a large proper booth space. This year, we ended up in a space with just a bunch of tables and chairs which had to be shared by 6 or so open source projects. We shared a hall with a talk area which was separated from us just by a thin wall that went just half way up to the ceiling, so we were disturbing the talks and the talks were disturbing us.

LinuxTag was co-located with other two conferences: Re:publica (pretty much a conference for hipsters) and DroidCon. That was a good move because we could also target a different audience and make some outreach and we definitely had much more visitors at our booth who had no clue what Fedora is. Unfortunately, co-hosting it with other two conferences meant that LinuxTag, which traditionally was in late May, had been moved to early May and conflicted with another bigger German-speaking event – LinuxWochen. It caused problems to us because we had to split forces and I guess it also affected the attendance a bit. What was definitely a good move was to shorten the conference from four days to three. Spending four days at a booth talking to people just very exhausting and three days are just enough.

I also missed the community-backed catering from past editions. Booth personnel and speakers always had a backroom where they could sit down and have a drink or meal prepared by the organizers. This year, the catering was prepared by a company, you had to wait in long lines, there were no free drinks except for water, and there was no room to consume it. There was also no social event if you don’t count people standing outside the venue and buying beer from stands as a party.

Attendance was definitely smaller than the last year. I think it was mainly due to the price was really high (>€150). There was a community day on the last day of the event when the admission was much lower which is why we expected crowds on the last day. But that didn’t happen and the venue was just lightly fuller than the first two days.

And the Fedora booth? We were not such a big magnet as last year when we brought a 3D printer, but we managed to talk to many people, give away almost all swag and exchange contacts with several interesting persons.

I hope next year of LinuxTag will be better than this year and also that our booth will again be more attractive. If it’s again co-located with Re:publica and DroidCon I’d love to prepare a booth that targets at their audience (what Fedora can offer in terms of security and privacy and that it could be a great Android development platform).

I’d like to thank the Fedora Project for sponsoring my travel and stay in Berlin and Christoph Wickert for organizing the booth and accommodation for us.


For the whole conference, we had a company of a cute Prague Ratter, a maskot of OpenMandriva which was next to us.


Fedora Regional Budgets in FY2014

The fiscal year of the Fedora Project and all our financial terms follow Red Hat which means that our fiscal year ended February 28th. Since then FAmSCo and regional treasurers have been working on making the final account for the just ended fiscal year. It mostly involved catching all late expenses from the last quarter. And the results?

EMEA – $21,940 spent out of $22,100 budget – I was actually surprised we ended up so close to the limit, spending everything we’ve been given and not overspending. I know managing budgets and expenses is difficult for employees of Red Hat, you can imagine how hard it is in a community of volunteers spread all over the continent.

LATAM – $12,436 spent out of $12,100 budget – LATAM overspent a bit, but it’s very much in the “OK” zone and I’m actually glad that they dealt very well with the new situation that planning and budgeting is now in their hands.

APAC – $9,591 spent out of $17,100 budget – unlike LATAM, APAC had problems to spend what they projected mainly due to the fact that many events they planned never happened. Definitely a lesson learned for the future.

NA – N/A – it’s the only region where we don’t have a clear picture how the money were spent because there was no community tracking of expenses. Many expenses there are paid directly by redhatters and are not reported reported back to the community immediately like in other regions.We hope to improve this.

And what are our budgets for this fiscal year? I think Ruth Suehle allocated the budget among regions quite fairly mainly based on what the regions fulfilled the plans in the last year:

NA – $43,850
EMEA – $32,000
APAC – $12,650
LATAM – $16,500

And if you wonder what’s being paid from these regional budgets it’s mainly swag (stickers, badges, case badges, mugs, hats, fliers), media, travel and lodging subsidies for Fedora contributors to represent Fedora at various events etc. Although it’s mostly handled by ambassadors it’s open to any Fedora contributors.


Fedora, Linux, Red Hat

DevConf.cz 2014 schedule is out!

Last week, we published a schedule of Developer Conference 2014 that is going to take place in Brno on Feb 7-9th and I finally found time to write about it. The schedule looks IMHO very promising. There are around 100 speakers of 18 nationalities that will deliver 68 talks and 30 workshops and labs from 14 topics: cloud, databases, desktop, developer, Fedora, kernel, networking, security, server, software quality, storage, userspace, virtualization. The conference has been expanded into three days. The first two will be standard conference days packed with talks and workshops. The third day is devoted to Fedora. There will be Fedora-related talks in the morning and planning sessions and hackfests in the afternoon. BTW we still have available slots in the afternoon, so if you’d like to organize a session or hackfest, let us know.

But DevConf.cz won’t only be about talks and workshops. We’re also preparing a DevConf.cz party that will again be in the Fléda club. And there will also be a city tour with a great Canadian guide on Friday. And there are still more things in the works.

We have a special rate for conference participants in Avanti Hotel (and this time also in A Sport Hotel), but there are just a few left, so if you still don’t have accommodation, don’t hesitate.



Fedora EMEA Budget – Q1

At the beginning of the year, FAmSCo ratified changes in budget, approval, and reimbursement processes. One of the benefits is that we have control over the money Red Hat has given us for regional support. One of the changes was to start proper budgeting and track all expenses we’re doing.

I’m a treasurer for EMEA which means I’m responsible for spending in the EMEA region. Yes, that’s the unpopular guy who always says we have to save money, can’t spend that much etc. 🙂

Today, I finally closed the first quarter of the fiscal year 2014. It means I’ve collected all expenses and closed the entries. And what are the results?

Events:      $9350 (Planned)      $8554 (Allocated – after cuts)      $7782 (actually spent)
SWAG production:      $1500     $1500      $1413
Shipping:      $500      $200      $0
Total: $11,350      $10,254      $9195
The complete budget is on Fedora wiki.

As you can see, we were able to save some money on events although there were two events which weren’t included in the original plan. SWAG spending was fairly close to the limit because it’s something you can plan and control the most easily. It’s also amazing what we were able to produce for $1413. It’s mainly due to a new vendor who produces quality stuff for incredible prices. We didn’t spend any money on shipping. That’s something very seasonal. We ship most packages after releases. Fedora is usually released at the end of Q1, but this year it landed in Q2. I’m pretty sure that what we saved on shipping in Q1 will come in handy in Q2 because I’ve already shipped many packages to many countries all over Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

We saved $1059 from the allocated money. It’s a reserve for the next quarters and it’s also a virtual reserve because the allocated budget is still about $3000 over the limit Red Hat gave us. Because the EMEA budget had to be painfully cut at the beginning of the fiscal year, I’m still steering the budget above the limit and hoping there will be some money saved in our budget or left in other budgets at the end of the fiscal year to meet the limit. But strictly speaking, by saving $1059 in Q1 we just met the limit and didn’t create any reserve.

And that’s enough of boring numbers for today 🙂