The openSUSE Conference 2013 is being held in Thessaloniki, Greece at the Olympic Museum. Everything is set and the first day of the conference is now over! Last night, we kicked off with a party attended by about 100 visitors and at the end of today we counted almost 170 visitors, not bad for a Friday night. Everyone is happy and impressed about all the work that the community and the G(r)eekos have done for this conference so far. This is the first community-organized openSUSE conference. Read on for more about this spectacular conference!
The G(r)eeko conference team has been working all week to get the event ready. Networking, video recording, booth space and the ‘beach bar’ all had to be set up. Thursday night everything was ready and it was time for the pre-conference party! Starting around 18:00 arrived and registered themselves, exchanging cash for the awesome Geeko money (1000 geekos for 50ct), to be later exchanged for beer and refreshments at the venue. The party area was equipped with tables and chairs but there was enough room for dancing. When the DJ asked one of our Brazilian visitors (Carlos) for his favorite Brazilian music, we got Sepultura, kicking off a Metal and head banging trend which lasted for quite a while. The party continued until late but of course at some point our visitors had to find their beds in preparation of the first conference day. Many visitors actually arrived on time at the venue and started checking-in at the registration table if they hadn’t gotten their badges the day before. Every visitor receives a bag with a cool Green conference t-shirt so we can color our event.
Keynote by Georg Greve
Presentations started on time with Kostas welcoming the community to the event and the local team surprised us by shooting 20 or 30 big beach balls into the audience. The first keynote was from Georg Greve about Software Freedom. He spoke about how the disclosures around the PRISM surveillance project by the US and the many similar projects around the world gives us a huge opportunity to spread Free Software. People now realize that their privacy isn’t just easy to compromise in theory, but it happens in reality and on a massive scale. Companies can be forced to allow the US spying agency NSA access through backdoors (or access to found security issues before they become public) and of course especially Cloud providers in the US are forced, by law, to collaborate and give full access to their users’ data. It goes so far that the information gathered is used for political and economical gain. Georg pointed out that if you are negotiating with the US government about a trade deal between your countries or try to get a deal to buy airplanes from either Boeing or Airbus, the ability of the US representative to read every email you send and every call you make will probably not be beneficial to you. Using US cloud services, sending unencrypted mails, using social media – there are issues with these technologies. Open Source is a great way of staying away from this and keeping the eyes of governments and companies out of our private lives. The big issue we have is that it requires more than code. The code we have is great but we need to work on the supporting infrastructure. We need not just developers but artists, documenters, marketeers and many more. And here, the ecosystem of companies building businesses around supporting and helping customers implement Open Source is crucial. We need to move forward with this as much as possible. Questions brought up the importance of being collaborative instead of suing our governments or companies for their deceptive behavior. Confrontation should be used as a last resort, according to Georg. Another important point he made was about the demand for non-US run data centers. He hopes somebody with an entrepreneurial attitude will step up and provide this. He pointed out how independence is an important value and countries are getting this message. For example, Brazil paid back their debt to the World Bank so they can’t be told what to do anymore; India has its own space program; China invests in the production of CPUs locally. If the market doesn’t take care of our independence (perhaps, in part, manipulated by outside governments?), maybe our own governments have to protect the strategic interests of our people. In the end, he finished with the statement that “open source is not the perfect answer, but it is clearly the best and we owe it to our society to move it forward”. The day continued with awesome presentations about technology, community and open source. Workshops were interesting too! Puppet, Autotools and Icinga rocked!
Always time to relax and have good conversation
Between talks there is plenty of space to relax and mingle. Inside, a booth area surrounds the registration, showing organizations like Mozilla, GNOME and Oracle to the audience. There is plenty of space to sit outside, where the local team has set up small pools to cool our feet (and play with the water). During lunch, the team organized the option of ordering some food (pizza, mostly) which was delivered. Some had not figured out the process and more food continued to be delivered until almost the end of the day. In the evening it was time for relaxation again and a Latin party took place with some professional fellow dancers who came here to dance for the people at conference. Lots of beers and fun and the creativity of the local team was greatly appreciated!
If you missed the chance to be here with us and have fun you can attend the conference and all the fun online from the live streaming that is set up in the venue. Also if you have any questions for the presentation you attend online there is an IRC Channel set up in order to make your questions. Last but not least we have our local newspaper!
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