Flock & GUADEC 2016

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The last two weeks were pretty busy for me because I travelled to two of my most favourite conferences – Flock and GUADEC.

Flock was held in Krakow this year, so the traveling was a sort of easy for me. Krakow is just 350 km from Brno which is about 3.5 hours by car. The conference was again organized in the hotel where almost everyone stayed. The same setup was already in Rochester last year and people appreciated it. It’s very convenient. You don’t have to travel to the venue, you can sneak out to have a nap, which is super useful if you’re fighting jet lag, and you can use hotel facilities such as a gym or swimming pool.

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I had one talk and one hackfest at Flock. The talk was about Fedora SWAG. I’m still quite a lot involved in SWAG production for the EMEA region and it was a pleasure to state that the things have improved since the last year and a lot of ideas we had at Flock in Rochester actually got implemented.
The hackfest I organized was about writing AppStream metadata for application add-ons. I started the initiative in December and since then dozens of add-ons appeared in GNOME Software because they got AppStream metadata. The hackfest was partly a workshop because it took me quite a while to explain everyone what to do to make an add-on appear in the default app catalog in Fedora. I also learned new things. Richard Hughes who is very involved in upstream AppStream and works on GNOME Software participated and I, for example, learned that the way I had added keywords in metadata XML files was wrong. And Richard learned that I was doing it wrong because it was not documented anywhere.

I also attended many other talks. Matthew Miller’s keynote on the state of Fedora Project was very informative. I’m happy to see Fedora grow and I’m especially happy that our team plays a big part in it (Workstation makes ~80% of all ISO downloads). My boss Christian Schaller had a talk on Workstation which was pretty interesting, but because my team is deeply involved in many of the Workstation initiatives there was not much new to me. I also enjoyed talk by Jonathan Dieter who has run Fedora on 100+ computers in a high school in Lebanon and it was very interesting to listen to what it takes to use Fedora in such a deployment. Jonathan also noted that he hasn’t had a single major issue with Fedora in the last 3-4 years. Improved quality of Fedora was a theme that repeated in many other talks.
What was the main topic of the conference was modularity. Langdon presented a progress of this initiative. I must say I knew very little about it and I was quite surprised that the planned solution is built around RPM rather around increasingly popular containers.
I also met Pawel Hajdan of the Google Chrome team. Conversations with him very very informative and interesting for other Red Hat desktop team members, too. We discussed AppStream metadata for Chromium, Chromium for Flatpak, Chrome on RHEL etc.

Just a couple of days after I returned home from Flock I travelled to GUADEC which is the primary conference for GNOME users and developers. I didn’t have any talk or workshop, but a couple of my reports spoke there. This time the traveling was a bit more difficult. We went by train, had to take 6 of them, and traveled 1000 km. But the whole Brno crew made it to Karlsruhe sound and safe.

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There were many talks by Endless people. I’m really happy that Endless increases its investment in GNOME. It’s always better to have several major corporate contributors. Endless also proves that it’s possible to build a different shell on the top of GNOME, make your own UX story and still use most of the GNOME components.

I really enjoyed Owen Taylor’s talk on Fedora Atomic Workstation. Read-only OS, all apps in containers, development environment separated from the system… tt will be a radical change, but with a lot of potential benefits. I also like that Owen already has a clear idea about it and an already working prototype.

On Monday, I attended a Flatpak BoF. I expected it’d be mostly about portals, but portals were mentioned just briefly. Most of the discussion was about some centralized Flatpak repository. Someone suggested something called FlatHub which would be a place for Flatpak repositories where developers can build and distribute their apps, something like Copr for Flatpak. This can’t be exposed to average users though. We want to avoid a mess of 10 builds of GIMP without guaranteed quality. So there needs to be something called FlatStore where only approved and trusted developers can distribute their apps. So only GIMP developers themselves would be able to distribute GIMP there. There were many practical obstacles discussed. Should we build everything on store servers or allow developers upload binaries (building some desktop apps could be very resource hungry), who should run such a store (GNOME Foundation, FreeDesktop.org, a company?), how distributions will accept something that is built outside their control etc.

I enjoyed all days of both conferences. Very well organized, but still with the “for contributors by contributors” feeling. GUADEC 2017 will be in Manchester. Where Flock 2017 is going to be held is yet to be announced. The only certainty is that it will be in North America, so much more travelling for me next year, but I hope to visit both again.

LIBOCon: get around Brno

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Yesterday I added Get around Brno page to the LibreOffice Conference website. There you can find comprehensive information about public transport in Brno, how to buy tickets, how to get to the hotel/venue if you arrive by train/bus/car/plane etc. All accompanied with maps and pictures of described places. So hopefully no one will get lost on their way to the hotel or venue, or struggle purchasing tickets.

If you’re coming to LibreOffice Conference 2016, definitely check it out. You may also want to download the page for offline usage in case you won’t mobile data.

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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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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 Ĺ evela / Wikimedia Commons

 

DevConf.cz 2016 is coming

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DevConf.cz 2016 is just around the corner (starts on Feb 5th). If you’re going to attend the conference, the organizers have prepared useful information for you. Check devconf.cz and especially the transportation page. If any of your questions stay unanswered, you can ask the organizer directly in a group chat for DevConf.cz attendees on Telegram. The group chat will also be useful during the conference, but we will send important announcements there, attendees can share tips there etc.

Fedora at Czech conferences

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The busy autumn season of technical conferences is over. During that time, we represented Fedora at three conferences in the Czech Republic:

LinuxDays in Prague – over 1000 registered visitors make it the largest Czech Linux event (if we don’t consider DevConf.cz which is international). As every year, we had a Fedora booth there and we had the first opportunity to give away new Fedora handbooks. A couple of Fedora contributors also delivered talks, I myself spoke on Fedora Workstation and problems of Linux desktop in general.

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OpenAlt in Brno – originally called LinuxAlt OpenAlt used to be the largest Czech Linux event, but the number of visitors has been stagnating or even declining. This year, the conference adopted a much broader range of topics and became a rather barcamp about “open topics”. This gave us an opportunity to approach different audience than the traditional Linux one. We again had a Fedora booth and because the conference is in Brno there were many talks by redhatters and Fedora contributors. I again had a talk on Fedora Workstation.

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PyCon CZ – I didn’t attend this conference myself, but Miro Hroncok and Slavek Kabrda represented the Fedora Project very well there. It was the first PyCon in the Czech Republic, well attended. Fedora had a booth there and Miro and Slavek wanted to differentiate from others, so they purchased dozens of blue soda Zon and gave it away to thirsty visitors as a present from Fedora. This event allowed us to reach outside the traditional Linux community and approach our target audience – developers. I suppose Miro or Slavek will write a bit more about the event. And we’re already planning to participate in PyCon SK.

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Author: Matej Stuchlik

We also organized a Fedora 23 release party in Brno which was extremely well attended. We picked the largest room in the new building of Red Hat (with 100 seats) and people couldn’t even physically fit in the room, so I suppose the attendance was >120 ppl.

This Thursday, we’re going to Prague to have a release party there. The release parties there are usually smaller (~30 ppl), but full of interesting people. For instance, the new Fedora handbook was an outcome of beer conversation after the F22 release party in Prague. It will be especially interesting because we were offered a venue in Etnetera, a company that use Fedora Workstation on a lot of PCs.

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