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Thanking the openSUSE Conference Sponsors!

July 1st, 2013 by

ChameleonBustPosterDraftIn about a month, the openSUSE conference will kick off in Thessaloniki, Greece. We expect that about 300 visitors will join us for 4 days featuring over 60 talks, workshops and meetings covering everything from low-level Linux hackery to debating the state of Free Software marketing. Entree to the openSUSE conference is free, as always. Of course, organizing an event like oSC is not exactly without costs, both in terms of hard work and hard cash. For the work we can’t thank our volunteer crew enough, and they deserve some attention. So do the sponsors, who help make this event possible, either by providing equipment and services or money. We’d like to introduce the core team and our sponsors to you! (more…)

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!

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!

Be a volunteer at oSC13, it matters

May 20th, 2013 by

Volunteer and make a difference!
Master oSC13 Kostas just published his “only 58 days to go” blog in his series of daily how are we doing posts and it should be clear that with less than two months to go, we’re getting close! openSUSE conference 2013 is already just around the corner… And starting today, you can sign up to volunteer and help out at the venue!

Join the Team

Many people are already helping with the organization in trello.com/osc13 – if you have not seen where we are yet, just follow the link and check it out! We want to organize our event as openly as possible, and Trello is a great way of doing that.
Join the Greeko Team!
But there is more than preparation. We also need an ‘army on the ground’: the people who make it happen on the conference days! If you want to get more involved and help out during the conference days, you can apply to be a volunteer for oSC13 by filling out the form at http://bit.ly/10s5HDJ. We need you!

Training

One important thing to have in mind is that ALL Volunteers must attend the Volunteers Training, which means that you have to be at the venue on the 18th of July at noon. This year the training of the volunteers will be something you have never seen before. Beyond the regular volunteer training you will be able to get some basic knowledge on First Aid and how to react on-site in case of emergency or disaster (such as a fire or an earthquake). All the training will be conducted by professionals. Our purpose is for volunteers to acquire knowledge that can be used basically everywhere.

The Awesome Greeko's at oSC12 in Prague

The Awesome Greeko’s at oSC12 in Prague

About oSC13

As a quick refresher of your memory, this year the openSUSE Conference takes place in the beautiful city of Thessaloniki, Greece. The to-be-awesome event is organized by our Greekos, an elite team of Greek contributors to openSUSE.

The event is shaping up to be a one-of-a-kind, bringing together the beautiful beaches with the incredible history of Greece in one inspiring place. And you can be a part of it!

openSUSE Conference Getting Greener

May 13th, 2013 by

The Conference is getting closer while the team makes progress. Let’s talk numbers: two promotional video’s have been made, a choice of 7 hotels is available on the conference website and we are just five weeks from June 17, the deadline for your paper submissions!
Thessaloniki White Tower and promanade

The openSUSE Conference – Greece!

The moment is drawing close for you to attend the openSUSE Conference 2013. This time we will meet at the fantastic city of Thessaloniki, Greece. Our Greek ambassadors have worked long and hard to provide all the necessary commodities for the attendees. We will be housed as a conference in the Olympic Museum, and there could not have been a better place to be. It evokes much of the spirit of what our community is, a team of people striving for a common goal.

Remember that accommodations are set by yourself, although the project does provide places where you can stay for a possible reduced price. Please read further to find the recommended lodging locations in Thessaloniki. The travel support program made news last week announcing the availability of financial support, up to 80%, for those attending the conference from far away. As always, there is a criteria to be met in order to receive the funding, but it is available and our Travel Team is ready for you!

Promotion

Please help us spread the word about the conference. The more others know what is happening around them, the more likely they are to attend. This event is also a great promotion for the team as a whole. Given our recent release, openSUSE 12.3, the media have covered our progress on the distribution widely. Adding to that media presence, our conference is also another focus of promotion for the project. If you own a blog, Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus account, or any social media, you can download these promotional conference banners, flyers, posters at https://conference.opensuse.org/#promote

A new video is up on YouTube available here!

Put the badges and news on your favorite social media and spread the word about the openSUSE Conference!

Conference information

Some important links:

Two sites where you can book cheap flight to Greece are Petas.gr and airtickets.com

openSUSE Release Party Athens

Our Amazing Greeks

Get moving!

While it might seem only May, it is already May! You’ll have to make sure your paper submission is sent and your hotel and flight are booked! Even if you are unable to attend the conference, please spread the news about the conference. To raise awareness about our openSUSE team is an effort in which we all take part.

Those attending the conference should be ready to actively participate in the proceedings. Please beware that a team effort involves everyone and when you are at the conference, likely, you will be asked to participate in organizing different things that you may not have planned for. We expect your enthusiasm and willingness to participate!

Now is also the time to plan for those who may have been undecided about attending the conference. Invite friends, colleagues and anyone that shows an interest in the world of openSUSE. A conference like this is a great opportunity to make friends, and long lasting contacts for projects of your own in which openSUSE and its infrastructure can help you succeed.

Ambassadors & Event Merchandise – All Change!

May 10th, 2013 by

Over the last few years, we’ve seen openSUSE grow into an international project consisting of a large number of volunteer contributors from around the world. These contributors have a wide range of skill sets and interests such as software development, systems engineering, artwork & marketing, in addition to more general enthusiasts. This diversity of contributors and their geographically distributed nature leads to some interesting challenges and questions for the project. For example:

  1. How do we as a project ensure we’re listening to and addressing the needs of our contributor base?
  2. How do we ensure openSUSE is represented and visible at important FLOSS events around the world? How do we ensure we have a good show at these events?
  3. How do we try and attract new users, and ideally new contributors to help the project and our products grow and improve?

(more…)

oSC 2013 Travel Support Requests Period Open

May 3rd, 2013 by

ChameleonBustPosterDraft

Today the openSUSE Travel Support Team opened the Travel Support Request Submission tool for requests related to the openSUSE Conference 2013 in Thessaloniki. The goal is to help everybody in and around openSUSE to be able to come to the openSUSE Conference! You don’t have to be one of the top 10 packagers to apply – if you’re translating, building a local community or helping out at the forums, we might still be able to offer you support, so apply!

When and how

The application period will be a little over week, starting on May 2nd and closing on May 10th. For the very first time, all requests will be managed through our brand new application that is be available at connect.opensuse.org/travel-support.

You will need an openSUSE Connect account in order to log in the application and apply for sponsorship.

A few reminders

  • Please, read the Travel Support wiki page carefully before you apply.
  • We want everybody to be there! Even if you think you would not qualify for travel support, just submit a request! If you don’t ask we can’t help you!
  • The Travel Committee can reimburse up to 80% of travel and lodging costs. That includes plane ticket, train and bus tickets (no taxi), even car gas on some occasions, and hotel or hostel costs. Food and all local expenses are on you!
  • The Travel Team won’t be able to book or pay anything in advance, reimbursement comes after the event is over, based on receipts you keep of your expenses.
  • Again: no receipts = no money – it’s the rules!Click to submit a paper!
  • Those sponsored by the Travel Team have to write a blog or report on the event and are expected to be available for helping with tasks at the event where needed!
  • Sponsorship decisions are influenced by the openSUSE history of the requester. Your involvement with openSUSE is really relevant!
  • Having an abstract submitted for presentation at the conference is relevant as well. Note that the CfP is extended so there is still time!
  • If you got support before and complied with all the requirements, this gets you bonus points too.
  • The amount requested must be detailed according to your request, like the airport you will be departing from, sharing hotel/hostel rooms, costs associated with your trip.
  • Try to get the best fares for tickets and lodging. Remember if approved at least 20% (and sometimes more) will be paid by you.

Hurry up!

Our goal is to support as many people as possible. If you need support to make it to the event, PLEASE SEND IN A REQUEST! We will attempt to send the approvals before May 13th, 2013 so you can start booking. Book quickly, as we don’t cover anything over the previously agreed amount so higher prices are on you!

The conference is getting close and the deadline for travel support is tight so start searching for flights right now! Set up your openSUSE Connect account and send in a request as soon as possible!

We hope to see you there.

Your openSUSE Travel Support Team

openSUSE G(r)eekos @Fosscomm 2013

May 2nd, 2013 by

openSUSE Release Party Athens
Fosscomm (Free and Open Source Software Communities Meeting) is an annual conference for Free and Open Software. It’s organized from the Greek open source community for the Greek open source community in a different city of Greece each year. It’s an annual meeting for people who love open source technology, beers and party!

Of course the Greek openSUSE Community couldn’t miss this chance for having fun, drink beers, meet new people and talk about the technologies that openSUSE 12.3 has and the magnificent openSUSE Conference at Thessaloniki. (more…)

openSUSE Conference 2013 Call for Papers extends to June 17.

April 3rd, 2013 by

Deadlines… we like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by! Originally the Call for Papers (CfP) for the openSUSE Conference 2013 (oSC13), the annual gathering of our community, ended at April 3. You have submitted a lot of great talks and workshops and we’ve started to build a preliminary schedule that looks awesome possum, pardon our french.

However some of you seem to have missed the deadline and there are still a handful of slots left to be filled so we are extending the CfP until Monday, June 17, 12pm. But, there had to be a but, we expect that the schedule will fill quickly, so get your merde together, there is that french again, and submit your proposals as soon as possible!

Click to submit a paper!

What we are looking for

Your submission should either be a talk, a presentation with slides, or a workshop where you instruct people in a hands-on lab experience. The focus of your submission should be one of the following 3 topics:

Community & Project

Submissions in this area should focus on the openSUSE project and community activities, including but not limited to project governance, marketing, artwork, ambassador reports and so on.

Geeko Tech

Submissions in this area should focus on openSUSE technologies such as packaging, the distribution, the openSUSE infrastructure etc.

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 other interesting topics.

(more…)

Geeko Pumping Iron Session – openSUSE ARM Hackathon

March 19th, 2013 by

opensuse-arm
Now that openSUSE 12.3 is out, the openSUSE ARM Team want to step up a gear. As the cycle was shorter than normal, there are a few wrinkles that need to be ironed out and also a whole heap of new things that can be added. After some discussion at FOSDEM, it was decided to hold a Hackathon to address these items. The Hackathon will take place on 8 to 12 April, both at the SUSE offices in Nuremberg as well as online for those that can’t attend in person. (more…)