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Announcing the First Keynote for oSC: Georg Greve on Freeing our Data

June 19th, 2013 by

Georg Greve 2013 The openSUSE conference will feature Georg Greve as first keynote speaker, opening the event on Friday morning. He will talk about “Freedom in the world we live in and the value and importance of communities and Software Freedom”. That’s a mouthful and we’ve asked him to tell us a bit about himself and what he’ll talk about.

Personal life

We managed to catch him just before he was going to Hamburg for the holidays with the family, actively cleaning up the house and preparing for an early leave the next morning. Georg, born in ’73 on the tiny island of Helgoland outside the coast of northern Germany, spent the first 8 years of his life in this reclusive community before moving to the big city. There he studied biophysics and came across Free Software in 1993. Five years later he was the European speaker for the GNU Project, writing the well known ‘Brave GNU World’ column and in 2001 he initiated the Free Software Foundation Europe. Since 2009 he is the CEO of Kolab Systems AG and lives with his wife and “two utterly gorgeous” twin boys in the neighborhood of Zurich, Switzerland.

Free Software

We asked him about what he will share with us at the openSUSE Conference.

Georg: “I’m sure everybody is aware of current events around the leak of Prism. Watching it all unfold has been interesting from a variety of angles, both for our communities as well as the larger version of community: society at large. It is awesome that people look at what is going on, care and get upset. But at the same time, it is weird that they get upset now as much of this has been known for quite a while. If you cared for this topic at all you could have learned all of this from public sources in the past. Not with such detail and in such depth or with the drama, but the gist of it was actually not very much hidden. The fact that the USA treats its own interest above everything else and isn’t shy to use its power, knowledge and military for its self interest and most importantly the interest of its corporations isn’t exactly news. It has been like this for quite a while and they have been quite upfront about it.”

Jos: But at least people are angry about it, now…

social media logos

Frenemies?

Georg: “People are shocked. But a few years too late. It is good that they are but we should ask the question: why is it worse to give your data to the government (which may use it in name of the corporations) rather than giving it to the corporations directly?

And people give their data willingly. Even the public sector is affected, just last week the Swedish government banned Google Apps usage in Sweden. They noted that it could not be guaranteed that the data would remain private. News, really? Perhaps there will be some rethinking of our over-eagerness to try new things (which is good) but will that message reach far enough? Will people realize that the problem is not the behaviour of the USA?”

Jos: Shouldn’t we, in the rest of the world, be angry at the USA?

Georg: “The United States are a sovereign nation and they can do what they want to do, nobody can stop them. The real question is about the control over our data. And this control (or lack there-of) results from the software handling it.”

Jos: So to control the data…

Georg: “… we need to control the software, yes. Of course, this is what we are about, as Free Software community: we create the tools to control our data ourselves, or make it possible that we can let someone we trust exercise that control. What we have to learn is that it’s not just about building the best tools in the world and throwing them out. From that follows too little. Good technologies have lost in the past. We need to evolve a professional ecosystem around these technologies to make sure that what we build reaches people, becomes available, accessible, is FUN to use for people. We need to target and reach that part of society which can’t do it themselves, who are not geeks. Geeks can always protect themselves – sure. But if we are satisfied with that we withhold the ability to protect themselves from the 98% who do not have the skills and knowledge to do so.”

Jos: Your message is then that we need to communicate more about our software?

Georg: “We need to go out more, become more professional. More grown-up in a way, at spreading that technology into the world at large. Some companies have successfully been doing that, but it is still not sufficient. We need to do this more pro-actively, and also build more of an understanding in some Free Software Communities about the important role that companies play in bringing the freedom to users. At the end it is about getting better as an ecosystem in providing that freedom to people in all ways that matter, including economically, so they can afford to take control over their own data.”

In the end, it’s about creating the world I would like to live in, and working with others to help us get there.

Register now for oSC 2013!

Learn more at oSC!

At this point the twins decided to derail our conversation, having discovered a new and innovative way of getting themselves soaked in some puddle. Making the world a better place while taking care of kids isn’t easy for sure. But Georg is working on it. He decided to join Kolab because “Groupware is the final pillar of Free Software that needs to become ubiquitous before Free and Open can become a choice for corporations on the corporate desktop”.

We’ll hear how that is going in about 4 weeks: on July 18, registration and opening party starts in Thessalonki! If you have not registered yet, you should do so as soon as possible. Of course, we plan on live streaming as many of the sessions as we can and make them available after the event as well. But nothing beats being there in the flesh so if you can, gear up and get ready to join oSC!

See you there and have a lot of fun!

openSUSE 12.1 EOL, 13.1 Milestone 2 released!

June 11th, 2013 by

12_1vs13_1For those of you waiting for (or working on) openSUSE 13.1, we have good news: milestone 2 is now out for you to download. As to be exptected, the inclusion of newer software versions is the highlight of this release. Broken in M1 and fixed now are automake, boost, and webyast. But first, let’s talk openSUSE 12.1: it is no longer maintained. (more…)

Schedule of openSUSE Conference

June 10th, 2013 by

the openSUSE Conference kicks off in less than 6 weeks! The conference Paper Committee has been receiving and judging a lot of presentation proposals and while there is still time to send in papers, a number of sessions has been confirmed already. In this article we will present you some of these sessions!

Community and Project

The Community and Project track gathers talks around openSUSE and community activities, quoting the CfP page: “including but not limited to project governance, marketing, artwork, ambassador reports, collaboration with other FOSS communities and other topics”.

statistics geeko inside

Find the geeko

Currently accepted talks will introduce local openSUSE communities, intro the new ambassador and merchandising programs and discuss Free and open in general.

One particularly interesting subject will be openSUSE statistics. It is given by Athanasios Ilias “zoumpis” Rousinopoulos, student and Greek openSUSE ambassador from Spain (long story…) and Alberto “aplanas” Planas from the openSUSE team. They will each talk about numbers in a different area. Zoumpis is a MSc student doing research on doing quantitative analysis on communication in Free Software projects. He has studied the openSUSE repositories, mailing lists and bugzilla and extracted information from them. He will analyze the activity of the openSUSE community with interesting graphs and statistics!

Alberto has been working on measuring statistics before, during and after the openSUSE release. How many downloads does openSUSE have, how many installations? And where do these numbers go? This gives interesting insights in where we, as a community, are going and what options we have before us.

Geeko Tech

An interesting array of speakers will give attendees insight into the inner workings of openSUSE during the great workshops and talks on the Geeko Tech track. Although it often seems that openSUSE works by an act of magic, reality is that there are very dedicated developers behind it. Here is a snippet of sessions dealing with the more technical aspects of openSUSE.

Volunteer and make a difference!

Starting with the Open Build Service, Henne Vogelsang will deliver a two-part masters workshop on how to get your packages processed by OBS. Ranging from the conception of new packages to updates for older releases, Henne will show the way.

Making sure that openSUSE stays stable is important for a good User-distribution relationship! What started as a way to improve quality for the final release of openSUSE by Bernhard Wiedemann became a important project to improve development of openSUSE. Through his mighty Perl scripts openQA is able to provide information to users about the state of openSUSE’s stability during development. A workshop and a talk dealing with the subject will teach attendees to use openQA to find and report issues and build further test cases, helping make sure that we all have the best openSUSE available.

Other talks include Lars Vogdt presentation of openSUSE’s infrastructure, showing what’s behind building and serving a Linux Distribution; a review of what openSUSE can do to make a tastier Raspberry Pi, making sure that openSUSE’s installations are secure and how you can carry server virtualization through OpenStack in the size of a flash drive.

Surely there is a great variety for those tech enthusiasts who would like to find out more about openSUSE development. Do not miss out on these fantastic presentations!
Grouphug!

OpenWorld

For this area we invite other FOSS projects to share their work and collaborate with the openSUSE community. Submissions are not limited to technical content, you may choose to talk about your favorite pet project such as building a boat, a robot, or anything else you care about.

Two prominent and disrupting Window Manager presentations make their way into the conference. The MATE desktop with the latest changes and features will join the illumined Enlightenment Desktop in two great presentations about their awesomeness. Since the inception of drastic changes to the most popular window managers Gnome and KDE, many have sought to find alternatives that sit better with individual needs. MATE attempts to bring back a traditional Gnome 2 experience even after Gnome moved their packages to version 3. Enlightenment being an old classic in the bunch but always with fresh and daring ideas makes its appearance on stage with great ideas on how to show speed and a polished system to manage your files.

Cafe allowed a sneak-peek into a talk room

Cafe allowed a sneak-peek into a talk room

The Open World track helps you learn as well. Every morning Jos Poortvliet will teach you improved presentation skills and coupled with the presentation by Salih on how to evangelize Linux this becomes the perfect combo for those looking to help make more openSUSE adepts.

For those looking to dig deep into code, there will be sessions on Geeko Run, a game based on Javascript, talks on MYSQL 5.6, Puppet, Ruby, logical volumes, kernel hacking (centered around USB 3), and much, much more. Those attempting to make the grade will be pleased to know that LPI certifications will be available at the conference. You will not have to travel to a certification location, this time LPI comes to you and there will be exam rooms where you can pass your exam!

Now go and book!

The conference is soon but if you have not booked yet – there is still time. Go, prepare!