Wednesday, July 24, 2013

oSC13 is over, but there are more to come, join us.

openSUSE Conference is officially over. We did our best and it worked. I hope all of you had fun although I know that most of you did. There are no words of how gratefull I am to all of those people that helped for this to become a reality.
You can find all the talks in this YouTube playlist. If you have any more photos and you want to share please send them to me, I lost most of the conference trying to make it happen so I would like to see every minute.

More to come...

For those of you who lost oSC13 and for those who want to do it again, no worries openSUSE Summit is comming, join us there and have fun. I will come back with more information about it soon. I need to sleep a few days before doing that :D

oSC14 is around the corner...

Yeap oSC14 is comming on April so get ready for even more fun to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Another Great team of volunteers and Free software activists are ready to host us and rock our brains out. Also one of the things I will come back later with more details.

Bottom line

Community works and it can make anything happen, all it needs is people to stand up and do things, so simple. Stop complaining about stuff, stop talking about stuff, just stand up and make things happen. We are the openSUSE community and we are evolving.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Organizing oSC13 - 2 days before(Zero hour)

Well we are practically on day zero. All the core volunteers are now here, and final set up and testing is doing and every hour counts. Huge efforts are becoming from all people around and all people working in the same spot make this one huge hackfest, saving precious time. Preparation for this conference was huge and this is 'show time' for us. The dark spot here is that no matter how we tried, no matter how personal time we dedicated and no matter how tired we are, nothing of that will actually matter if we do not deliver the best  openSUSE conference done.
 To be honest this whole thing surely did not started how I wanted and did not continued as I wanted. I hoped for more help from people, and this is 'my' people. Unfortunately many people were not sure for us taking the conference and many people that said will help were just vanished from the face of the earth after we finally got the conference.
On the other hand help came from unexpected places, faith to the broader community paid off and Stella and Henne turned out to have super powers. I am a very lucky guy I'm telling you...

I don't want to jinx it but if this conference goes the way it should then this will be a great 'fuck off' to all those people. This years oSC team finally made it and delivered what promised to the community.

I am not sure if I will have another actual post until the conference starts(I am planning to post some preparation photos along with comments :P ) so for those coming to this years openSUSE Conference, make things that matter, have a lot of fun and drink like there is no tommorow.
For those who won't come all I will say is that you will lose an once in a life time experience.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Organizing oSC13 - 13 days before(A morning inside my head)

Less than two weeks left. OMG it's getting closer.

Here in Thessaloniki it almost started. As in 3 days from now we will be at the conference testing the network, start setting up the rooms and getting the whole venue ready to accept the 350 to 500 guests and the 50+ volunteers. Not much things are left in their fate those last days. So far we were on a marathon, now we are going on a sprint... After the marathon...

Of course have in mind just in case you decide to organize a conference that luck is not on your side amazing things can go wrong and affect your work. Like, let's see... Having a network upgrade in your neighbor and have no internet for the next 5 days...Without a previous warning from your provider... What are the chances for that?  Luckily I have a great girlfriend who lets me stay at her place and use her internet.

Waiting for the conference to start made me think how I got here. I mean it is interesting how I got into this. No I am not gong to tell you that story, at least not tonight, you will be bored to death, or not :D

The last couple of days I am on to checklists. Me along with Stella and Henne are checking again and again what was done,what was not done and what is left behind and needs a boosting. The thing is that things are going better than even I originally have calculated. Having people like Carlos, Juergen and Jos onto doing things is simply a miracle producing machine. Let's hope that by the end of the Conference they will still want to talk to me :P

Today I remembered that I have a presentation about oSC13 in oSC13. I would like to find some time and prepare that at some point but my guess is that this will be done just a few hours before the talk. Don't get me wrong, I love making presentations, I just hate preparing them. The good thing with that particular presentation is that I know the talk, I just need the slides for it,mmmm

In a while I have a meeting, with 13 days to go I calculate than I have less than 10 meetings to go before the conference, yeaaaaaaah.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Organizing oSC13 - 16 days before

So here we are 2 days and 2 weeks before the conference starts. One part of myself is finding it hard to believe that we are close to the end of preparation and so close to the start of the conference. Those days I find myself singing "Nothing else matters" from Metallica every few minutes. I mean really the first turn seem to me it is written for the state I am on those days :

So close, no matter how far

Couldn't be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters

It is those last days before the conference that let you know what you are made of. New people comming, some people canceling, suddently companies and organizations woke up and want to be a part of it but there is no way to make this work, finalizing everything is a do or die situation... Not a walk in the park I would say. 

The good thing is that I see task on trello moving from doing to done really fast and that calms me down. I am a bit angry because I wanted to be at this years aKademy but again I cannot due to the conference, I promised myself(again) that next year I will be there, lets see. 

Deadlines are over one by one fast, but for some reason this is relieving since it means fewer things to be done. I hope that next week will be the calmer of all in that almost 9 month period that we work for the conference, my other half of the organization team, Stella things that I am wrong but we will know that in a few days. It is not that I could use a calm week, it's been so long since I started working for 16/24 7/7 for the conference that I am not sure I know what to do with that 'Free' time. Ok I honestly hope my girlfriend doesn't read that particular post :D
In the end of all one thing is for sure, this is the most crucial week of the period, if something goes wrong this week the changes to make it right are very few, but it won't, I planned the whole damn thing this way, lol...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Organizing oSC13 - 22 days before

"It is in the nature of things that every time you try to avoid one danger you run into another"
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

I am so happy that I read some books when I was younger since now I can understand things better in order to accept various sittuations that happen. You see I have that thing that I cannot accept situations that I cannot understand.

We are 22 days before and although we have made a great progress there are things that need to be done. One thing I see clearly the last few weeks is that no matter how important or minor are the tasks left, they get bigger and bigger every day. This happens because when you plan a conference and add tasks you see in your mind the whole picture when ALL those tasks will be done. Of course you reject some in the course of making the conference but now, just 22 days before you want everything to be done. The alternatives we talked before all worked so far but problems keep comming every single day and you just stand in the front line and face them, lossing a task is not an option, not 22 days before. It is a do or die situation.
 Of course we seem to be in good shape since so far we are doing great but honnestly I have the fear of the failing. On the other hand failing is not an option so...
The thing is that the situation kind of looks like Lernean Hydra where when you cut one head two other pop up. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Organizing oSC13 - 38 days before(a conference without history is a tree without roots)

Today I feel like talking about history. The history of all the openSUSE confernces in the past. If I made my research right the first openSUSE Conference was in 20-23 of October in 2010.

Here are some graphics that was used at that time. I really find them interesting since I like history and I believe that a lot of lessons can be tought by history. I don't really know much about oSC10 since I was really new to the openSUSE project at that time and I hessitated on going there at that time. Looking back now I think I made a mistake not going there. Of course I found this out when joined the second conference in 2011 which also took place in Nuremberg from 11 to 14 of September in 2011. This was a lifetime experience. If you ever joined an openSUSE conference I am sure you all remember your first time there. It was amazing since I was a volunteer and I went to Nuremberg one day before the conference and there I had Allan Clark making pins, Juergen Weigert making the lights and a bunch of other top coders carring arround stuff in order to set up the venue. No Rock stars there, just people who are devoted in openSUSE and in making the conference work, for all.

 Then it was oSC 2012. This was different for me. The Greeks were so close at taking oSC2012 but when Prague also claimed it we took a step back since we understood and we knew that we were not 100% ready for it. We needed more people for the Greek community to get practically involved with it so that next year we would have even more experience and feedback. You see sometimes stepping back is better.
We joinned oSC12 more active than oSC11 and we tried to do the most we could and we learned a lot there. The idea though was the same, people hanging around and talk to each other. There was no need to know someone from before or to be friends from before. Afterall the meaning of the conference is also to have people meet and talk F2F. I have to say here that I made actuall friends in all oSC's, people that I am happy to hear their news beyond openSUSE matters. People from all over the planet and this is something you can't do sitting in front of a keyboard.

 Then we finally got the oSC13 to Greece. Not many things stayed as originally planned but this is only a good thing. We are prepairing a conference that for the first time is organized exclusively by the community and it is planned to be friendly to everybody and to produce a lot of work for the project. If you have any hessitations on comming to the conference because you don't know people or you fear that you will be a stranger among strangers forget it. Just track someone you really like from irc or from wherever and go say a hello, there is a big posbility a long time friendship to start with that hello. Any problem you might have will be solved. Ask anyone that ever joined an oSC. Come to share thoughts and learn from people. Come as you are and don't hessitate to deploy your personallity. There is enough place for everyone here.
Hope to see you all there.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Organizing oSC13 - 57 days before

When I started this series of 'Organizing oSC13' posts I wanted to make three main things. 
  1. Blog about what it takes to make oSC13
  2. Include things that could be useful in the future to people who will take over the next conferences
  3. Inform people how things are going out of a strictly personal sight
Now I warned you before, this blog contains explicit content. If you are easily shocked or feel offended when someone talks a bit dirty then please stop reading. A lot of documentation can be found elsewhere.

Having said that I continue :D

Now so far I haven't wrote anything about the actual progress of the conference. Today I will write about it.

So far we have 36 people working on tasks on which is where we put tasks and work on them. 
Now let's talk in numbers:

So far we have 111 total tasks separated in 3 sections. The Sections are Program - Promo - Venue.

We have a total of 22 tasks in Program. From those 22 tasks we have 17 on 'To Do', 1 on 'Doing' and 4 on 'Done'.

We have a total of 64 tasks in Promo. From those 64 tasks we have 11 on 'To Do', 15 on 'Doing' and 38 on 'Done'.

We have a total of 25 tasks in Venue. From those 25 tasks we have 15 on 'To Do', 4 on 'Doing' and 6 on 'Done'.

We also have tasks that were finished even before reaching , like articles or gathering some equipment that we already have in our possession.

In order to finish all that tasks many work hours where spent, many people were on to them and many fights between us where given so that we succeed the best possible result. This is something I really want to point out. We fight over a lot of things, mostly because we want to do things perfect, have in mind that this is a good thing and in the end of the day we are more bonded than before. We are closer because we understand more the person we are working with. This leads to less fights and better results as we continue. If you have a solvent character those fights make you better in many ways. 
One thing I really like this year is that everyone of the people I've worked with so far is ready to take one for  the team. Another is that we all want the same thing, to make this Conference the best possible.

If you have some time and you want to be a part of this team then join us at and help. If you have the will to do things, even if you feel you can't do anything, there are people there who will be happy to help you finishing tasks. Help needed, help wanted and help can be provided.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Organizing oSC13 - 58 days before

Meetings-planning-searching-meetings and here we go again meetings-planning-searching-meetings. Of course not always with that turn and some times with even more meetings. Having A LOT of meetings is the necessary 'evil' when organizing a conference. In meetings you get to interact with other people, get feedback and generate new ideas out of the interaction. You get to know what is going well and what it does not, where you need more things to be done and where you need less things to be done. What works and what it doesn't. Nevertheless meetings although they are necessary for the organization hide what I think is the biggest enemy of an organization. This enemy is Paralysis by analysis.

An experienced person should be able to recognize this after a while but the thing here is that if you fall into this loop, you will have time lost and time as I said before is really precious when you organize an event. Given the fact that within reasonably boundaries anything that you plan can take place, time is your only obstacle. It is the mail reason why many good ideas are left out of the organization of many conferences over the years.

This leads to the conclusion that recognition of Paralysis by analysis after the fact is not enough. When starting to organize something always have that in the back of your head. Avoiding it is not that difficult but at some points require to have a good programming of the meetings. What I've noticed over the year is that most of the times people who cause this are the people who lead and most of those times this happens for 2 reasons.

Case 1: Someone has an idea and you know that this idea is either not viable at the timeline you have or it has failed in the past(there are other reasons too but those are the most common). Now you try to convince this person that you should not do that for X reasons. The person is convinced that the idea is perfect and disagrees with you and you all fall in the loop of trying to prove your point. So after a while you spend more time talking that the actual time that would take for this to be done or for this to be failed. You should have a vision of either let the person do this (if you can afford it) or to have this person directed to documentation or other people so that the person will go look for it and see your point. This problem can be partially predicted while reading the agenda of the meeting and knowing the people you work with. Reading the agenda of the meeting before is always important.

Case 2: I often call that The conference bag problem. You and your team have an idea that will make the conference great. There should be a certain limit of how much time you will spent on talking about anything. Normally ideas like conference bags or conference t-shirts are the ones that make you fall into the loop of Paralysis by analysis. This often happens because subjects like that are more light and have unlimited possibilities.

Having a good programming of the conference meetings can save you from those things if you stick to that. Always have in mind that the only thing that you don't have most of the times is time itself.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Organizing oSC13 - 64 days before

Rule #64// Cornering confidence increases with time and experience.
This pattern continues until it falls sharply and suddenly. 
Taken From

If you ride a bicycle of a motorcycle you should be very familiar with this rule either in theory as written above or in action if you ever slipped in a turn. There are always the bending places and then there is the breaking point of everything. Handling proper situations and 'bending' them when necessarily should also come with the ability of the handler of knowing when something breaks. Knowing and avoiding the breaking point like hell is pretty important. After that last bending point it is you who should come and fill the gap between those bending points. Being lazy for any reason to feel this gap can lead to a total collapse of your whole structure. This is pretty important when organizing something like a conference.

What the organization of a conference is actually looks a lot like a structure made of things that must be there and it is like the foundations of the building, things that is equally important to be there like windows and doors and things that  is good to be there but the whole structure can be operational and without all those like the decoration of the building. The shitty thing here is that most of the people who only know a conference as visitors (and attract visitors is one of your the main goals) get all this backwards.

Having the perfect conditions and everything you need to organize a FOSS conference is beyond imagination so in order to do proper work and in the same time keep everyone of your visitors satisfied you have to 'bend' some things. Most of the time it is your patience and you time but many times is your volunteers and your budget. Did I ever mentioned so far that you have to be very creative? Well when organize a conference many times you will have lemons and you will be asked to make orange juice  No worries. If you and your team are highly creative, making orange juice out of lemons is just foreplay. It is not impossible and once you do it once or twice then you come to a point when you find it very easy. The time you will find something (in other conditions extreme and undo-able) easy be very careful. This is the point when there is a big change to 'fall sharply and suddenly'. There is nothing wrong with failing up to a point. After that point is when you will start having structure problems. If you pay attention you will only have some bruises, if not...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Organizing oSC13 - 65 days before

Feedback is very important while organizing a conference or when organizing or creating anything. Right feedback when it comes it can give you everything. I mean really everything. It can show you what you are doing right or wrong. It can guide you in avoiding dificult situations. It can give you new ideas. It can save you a lot of time. So it is really important to seek and take feedback.

The most important and immediate source of feedback is yourself and the experience you have. The other is your team's experience. That is why when making a team try find people with experience, not neceserally conference or specific to whatever you do experience but life experience. Almost everything you do has to do with people so having people who know how people work is pretty important.

Another important source is feedback from past events. I read tons of blogs from people that attented past openSUSE Conferences. Finding what people liked and what they didn't is one of the best roadmaps you can get. I have to say here that before deciding to take over a conference is of high importance to make a research to see if you can actually do it.

Other than that feel free to bother people who organized great conferences you attended or you heard of. Never hesitate to ask anything, it is afterall the only way to get answers and feedback :D

Above all things try to stop what you are doing regularly and spend some time by asking people what do they think about what you are doing. I know perfectly well that time is really valuable but this is not at all wasted time. Have in mind that many times you will get feedback that you don't really like, meaning bad feedback that say that you are mistaken, accept it and value it. It can be a life saver if it comes from good source.

The feedback is something that is practically imposible to be finished in one(readable) post so I will continue with this at some other post. Afterall how the hll I will manage to fill 64 more posts? 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Organizing oSC13 - 66 days before

This is the first monday since I started writing about the upcomming openSUSE conference. Also I must warn you that I am in a good mood and I don't feel like being modest today, if you get uppset with arrogant people please stop reading this here.
 I will take advantage of every humans hate for that day to write about things I and you might hate but when when you cannot avoid them maybe you should try to take advantage of them.
People who met me at least once might not believe the following but people who really know me know the truth. I don't really like to talk to people, when I was a little I had that problem and this was a big deal when I realize I like girls but in order to flirt you have to do some talking(at least most of the times). As time past by I had too so I started talking, I did that great ( I told you I am not feeling modest today...). In fact I did so great that most of the times I do talk now is because I like what it's happenning when I talk, than because I like talking. Where I am getting with this is that while organizing a conference one thing is for sure, you will do things that you don't really like and in some occasions you might even hate it. Doing those things have in mind that this does not mean that you are doing them wrong. It is very important to be concentrated to it no matter how you despise it so that you will do this thing right, since you have to do it then do it right. This is important also because if you are concentrated you will have to do it once. Also because you don't like on doing something that does not mean that you are not a natural talent. I mean look at me, I am a firefighter and I do not really like to organize conferenses, but I am doing it and trust me it will be one hell of a conference.
One question not answered clearly here is how you can take advantage of it? Well doing anything for the conference you organize, especially when you have to.
Now it is Monday so I am really bored in writting more for today

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Organizing oSC13 - 67 days before

So you got your wish and you manage to 'win' that conference. You are in charge now, you personally and a small team(did I mention my team mates Stella and Henne? :D ). A great mistake I always do is thinking that people will do things on their own but the sad and bitter truth is that people expect from you and your team to tell them what to do. But you know what? They are right and I am wrong, it is just a mistake I do all the time because I am feeling that people have some kind of sixth sense and will do things that I want them to do before or without me or the team ask them to. People want to make things happen, especially in FOSS that we are all volunteers and we want things to be done. People also respect the 'hierarchy' that exists and wait for you to ask them, at least most of the times some times they just do stuff and ask you to approve it or not. When you don't ask they think that you somehow have this covered and respect your time and don't ask you about it.

 It is very important to know that you are in charge and what comes with the whole 'you are in charge' thing. A thing to be careful here is that being in charge does make you the one who lead but not the boss of anyone so under no circumstance you have the right to act like a boss. Acting like a boss is one of the things that can ruin your conference and make people leave and that is probably the less possible consequences that such an action will have.

 You have to realise that being nice to people can open many doors and can make things happen. The thing here is to be actually nice and honest and not slimy. If you come to a point that you will become slimy people will eventually abominate you and it will probably have the same consequences as being bossy.
What I learned so far as a member of FOSS communities being and acting as politician is never the right thing to do since people are not stupid and it is impossible to fool a lot of people for a long time.

Now if you come to a point that acting like a polititian or acting honestly but being hard to someone are the only two choices you have my advise is to act hard. So far I believe I won more acting honestly but hard and most of all I gain respect from people for that. There are cases that I lost but if you put well your case then anyone with common sence will understand your possition, for all the others personally I just didn't care and this is not by choise but by nature.

Returning back to the 'you are in charge' thing I must say that it is very important to have some structure planned with your team of how you want things to be done and seperate fields of responsibilities for each part of the team and keep inside your part of responsibilities.
Having a structure will save you from doing unnecessary things and will give you a route of what you want to be done. In certain points this will even show you how to do things. If you have some 'talended' volunteers noticing Trello or whatever tool you will use for organizing your conference, it will show them too how to do things and this will make your life even better and it will save you a lot of time.
Seperate responsibilities with your team mates or giving responsibilities to other people outside your closed team that you trust and believe that will have the job done(Yes Stathis and Thanassis I am talking about    you) is also a great thing to do. Most people in FOSS(and not only) love to be trusted and to be given responsibilities, although I wouldn't count that as a rule so make a conversation with them and be ABSOLUTELY SURE before hand them over such a great burden. If it turns out that you gave someone to do something that he/she was not sure or did not want it will be a great backfire to what you organise and can easily be the dynamite that will explode the whole organisation you do if you won't be careful.
Finishing for today I must say that a real important thing here is to always have an eye to those people, as said in 'The italian job' be carefull because "I trust everyone. It's the devil inside them I don't trust" and by that I mean that there are several cases were people drop something without telling you or any other just because for some reason they cannot tell you or any other. My opinion is that is human nature and I have done it at least once and heard about it like a million happenning. It is not really a trust issue but more of a safety issue in order to prevent bad things from happening. Last but not least, if you trust some pople enough to give them responsibilities, give them freedom to do it their way.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Organizing oSC13 - 68 days before

Cron Job in Google Blogger failed to publish the post I wrote yesterday morning in yesterday afternoon, so many of you saw it comming out some hours ago. I hope I did not confused anyone with that and I will take advantage of this 'failure' of Google Blogger (or with what I did wrong in there and missed it) and write today about situations like that, that can happen while organizing a conference.

So yesterday I wrote about alternatives and the importance of those while working on making a conference come to life. Today I will write some things about things that go wrong and you cannot or at the moment don't have the ability to think or predict. 
I will start with a Murphy's law "Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong" that usually happens through the procedure, no matter how hard you try and how many alternatives you have. Good news is that this can be predicted to some point, the bad thing is that this prediction is not always easy and some times you just have to do a lot of double checking in order not to avoid it but to fix it before someone notices it. The quicker you accept that things can and will go wrong the faster you will be relaxed and concentrated enough to fix it quick(again: before someone notices it :D ). Let's start by how you can predict things from going wrong, although as said before that does not come with a 100% guarantee that won't happen but still...

The easiest way to do it is to find someone who is actually a professional in the task you need to be done and that is why selecting and sometimes rejecting some volunteers from doing something is equally important. What I mean by all that? Ok so let's say that you have a task that need to be done and that task is about writing a press article until the X deadline. Now what you need is someone who is actually qualified in finishing the task, in our case writing article, so if you have a professional journalist that is volunteering then you are a happy person and this gives you the best safety that this task will be successfully and on time. The thing is that if you are doing this like we do, meaning voluntarily there is a great possibility not to be able to find as I mention in my example a journalist or even if you do, he/she may not have the time to do this in the time you want. This gives you two actual choices both of which I will write at some point later. Either you adapt the time of your article either you select another volunteer based on some facts. Now let's say that you have the right guy for the right work, if you do this is how you can prevent that things will go the right way and nothing will go wrong. It sounds really simple but it is very common for people to give tasks to the first who asked it and don't look to the abilities of each person just because we want to get rid off one of the 10.000 tasks that we have in our head. I knew that from before but I still did that a couple of times on the heat of the moment and that exactly where the "prediction is not always easy and some times" is hidden. 

Now you have the right person for the task and this person is doing his/her job perfectly, unfortunatelly this is not the complete task. The task is completed when this task once it is finished it is out there for all to see, meaning in this example the press release to reach the press you want to. No matter how perfectly the task is done it must reach its goal, otherwise it is a task not done. So you have to double check everything just to be sure. Recently I fell into something like just because for some reason the person did a task thought wrongly that he had finished. This of course was communication error but still the task was not completed and if you ever thing that you will start organizing a conference without communication errors happening then my opinion and my so far experience says that you are dreaming.

Last but not least for today is that if you use a tool like Trello that we use have the person that took the task assign himself/herself to it so that other people will know it.It will save your volunteers and yourself a lot of time and nerves. 

Organizing oSC13 - 69 days before

I read yesterdays post and I found it very 'dark', not far from the truth but if you plan to make a conference reading that post will discourage you. One other truth is that I yelp a lot, if you met me more than once you know that for sure, it's not because I am a bad person or one of those people that see it all black, it is the perfectionist inside me that believes we live in a perfect world and reacts.
It is impossible to organize such a thing and wait for everything to be perfect. It is too complicated and there are many things that nobody can actually predict and even if you done that before, most of the things you need to handle probably changed since the last time you did it. What I keep telling myself is to expect perfectness but be pleased if something is above very good. With that you are a bit more relaxed and as the years passed by I learned that the only actual way to reach perfectness in complicated situations it to be (relatively) relaxed so that you have eyes around and predict things that can make a situation go bad. Also being relatively relaxed gives you the ability to think for alternatives. A good advice I was given once upon a time after a failure of organizing a gig was "ALWAYS have alternatives". What I mean by that is that when you organize something you start making tasks, it is impossible for some of those tasks not to go wrong for many reasons. At certain situations it (depending on the affection of the task in what you organize) it is better to leave outside a good idea were there is no viable alternative than trying to do something Great and because of this you will deliver something less than good. Another thing to have always in mind is that 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions" and no matter how hard you try people will see the result in the end, not the effort you did for that result. Another thing is that in the end there always be someone that will not like what you did and probably will tell you that the worst way and at the worst time. Value feedback from all because it is priceless but learn to separate good from bad feedback.
I think this is enough for today. I am at my actual work today so I will spend less than the time I want to the oSC13 and this is not a bad thing actually, I will tell you why at some other point. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Organizing oSC13 - 70 days before

For more than a year I am living in the heat of organizing the next openSUSE Conference, first it was oSC12  and about a year ago it became oSC13. At some point it even became organizing no oSC at all for what it counts but we manage to prove ourselves again and we finally got oSC 2013. I knew from the first moment and maybe even some moments before that, that this would be a hell of a work. I even knew that I will regret it many times for some moments when everything will seem to go to hell and I will stand there asking myself 'What the Fuck did you do dude?' , but as usual I went against common sense and I followed my instinct, it worked when I started with Stathis the Greek community, it also worked some times before.
Disappointment is what I felt most of the times and other than the love for FOSS I really don't see another reason to do such a thing as organizing a conference, at least no other that acts as a countermeasure to disappointment when that comes. Beside that, it is a great life experience and it gets you closer to what you are made of which is great if you are into that kind of inner research.
Disappointment comes from anywhere and especially from people that told you that they will be there to help. I was lucky at that since there was always Stella who 70 days before and a year after is still standing and Henne who is just doing things, even when I got burned and could not work at all for some time those guys where there. It is great to have a co-pilots, if someone out there is looking on doing something like organizing a Conference that big he/she should find someone like them or just contact them :D

Now there is a bright side of course to all that but after 13 hours in front of 2 screens I find it dificult to describe it, maybe in Day 69 since my purpose is to blog every day up to the conference day.

For today all I can say is that I am hugely happy with myself since I finished more than double the tasks I planned for today and I just realize I still were my work uniform, I have a meeting in Skype now and after that I will have a bath and sleep. Nice thing that people cannot actually smell you through Skype :D

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How it's made - OBS

As all human beings I am curious by nature, I always liked to see how things are made and listening to stories of what lead people in doing interesting stuff. When I was in Nuremberg for the Marketing hackathon, Jos (Poortvliet) told us that there would be that meeting with the OBS guys and have a talk about everything around it so that we could wright a series of articles in order to promote it. After a few sentences I understood that we would start from the day that OBS was conceived until the present day. For me this was a conversation I had to be part of.

The day after Jos told us about the meeting we were gathered in a room with the guys that created the OBS magic. Some of you might say that I become excessive putting the word magic next to OBS but be patient to read the upcoming OBS series of articles and judge me then.

We gathered in the room and we started recording with our laptops and our mobiles so that we would be sure that we will not lose any part of this conversation for the articles we will prepare. 

We started by asking typical stuff like 'How it started?' and 'What created the need for a tool like that?' but the answers, along with the flame on the eyes of people answering was something that it is very difficult to describe in written language, filled the room with energy. 

What originally started as an interview so that we would gather information to write some articles became a six people group telling a story that was closer to the atmosphere of a fairy-tale than anything else. Soon there was that flow that questions were unnecessary and everything was coming out naturally.

Listening to those peoples stories and seeing the passion in their eyes made me envy them for not being a part of it. Yes OBS is a great project and there are a lot of interesting stuff you can do with it but at that one hour that I was in that room this was the last thing that I cared about and the last think on my mind. It was all about passionate people who love Free Software, who love giving stuff back to the community and who love every little step while doing it. It makes you realize that what most people see as letters and numbers and variables in a part of code other people see a part of themselves and a way to individual freedom. Someone once told me that the basic difference between a free software programmer and a proprietory software programmer is that the guys in free software most of the time see their code more as a child and less than some lines of code. I could understand this but I had never really felt it. This hour I spent in the 'Rome' room at SUSE offices in Nuremberg with those guys taught me more things about Free Software Programming than all the conferences and all the talks I had been part so far. Feel Free to suppose that I am making this thing bigger that it really was, for me it was just an experience I had to share with those who will get it.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A letter to my mom

Hi mother
 I am writing you from Nuremberg. Of course you know by now from the pictures I sent you that I am not here to be a part of satanic cult or anything and as you can see my Geek friends I was telling you about are not aliens from a strange planet but actual people. I understand that some of the times it was hard to believe listening to me calling them as tux93 and tigerfoot, but here they are, you can see them on the photos.

 Now mother please forgive me but the truth is that I actually had 'some' alcohol but there is some law here that force to drink 'some' beer, at least that is what they told me and I did not wanted to have any problems with the law.

 To answer your question, what I liked and not in the 12.3 Marketing hackathon...
Dear mother I had so much fun that it should be illegal. I also learn a lot about doing things but there were some times that I had no idea what I was doing. Now I was among old openSUSE friends from previous hackathons and in a few new ones. Once again the new guys were pretty cool and we had a great bonding as a team. We also had a KDE release party, ok I know that there were a lot of KDE parties around but we were the only ones that had The KDE e.V. president making the presentation, so... Jos (you know that long hair Dutch fellow who it a lot of cheese) also made a presentation there but who cares about him anyway...One of tthe important things I have to tell you about this party mother is that Augustin exposed us as 'The Greek Mafia' so send someone here to take care of him.

 I really liked Hacking for a whole week, learning new things and actually contributing with a more immediate way. We had some meetings with really interesting things. We even had a meeting with Roland Haidl and he heard what we wanted to tell him . What I did not like was that some people did not manage to come and the weather. I mean mother really the last time i was here it was like 25 degrees and this time it was all snow and rain.
So Mother I will soon be back home and I miss you
Just in case I am not, look for me in Brazil
Hugs and kisses
Your son