|What is it?||DevConf stands for Developer Conference. DevConf.CZ 2019 is the 11th annual free Red Hat sponsored community conference for developers, admins, DevOps engineers, testers, documentation writers and other contributors to open source technologies such as Linux, Middleware, Virtualization, Storage, Cloud and mobile where FLOSS communities sync, share, and hack on upstream projects together.|
|Date||25-27 January 2019|
|Location||Faculty of Information Technology at Brno University of Technology in Brno, Czech Republic (where Brno is known by locals as either the second biggest city in the Czech Republic or the largest village).|
|Size||Approx. 1500 attendees|
Upon arrival in Brno, I was greeted by the cold weather and after commenting on it I was told “Welcome to Brno, get used to it” 😉
The conference was spread out over 3 days, with Friday being the busiest and each following day less so. Some of the sessions were so popular that rooms filled up and they stopped more people going in for health and safety reasons.
There was a variety of different session topics. I opted for mostly non-technical / community / business focused talks. Some highlights were:
- Using Maslow’s Psychology to Build Your Best Team – Micah Abbott discussed the difficulty of objectively measuring relationships and team cohesion and how to know what kind of relationship you have with your team.
- Bridging the Divide Between Community & Corporate – Jennifer Madriaga spoke about how a community doesn’t help to sell a product. Without a community, there is no product! Community provides the basis for trust and credibility, which cannot be bought.
- Open sourcing your product – This was an interactive session I led speaking about how organisations are consuming, contributing and creating their own open source products. The audience helped drive the discussion to topics that were of interest to them, which led to varied discussion including the difficulties some small startups experience in establishing a community around a new project, how government’s are getting more involved in Open Source creation, how art (eg. poems, photos and paintings) could be shared (and in some cases created) openly in a community and the Intellectual Property (IP) around that and the reasons why you want to open source a project, which should heavily revolve around community, as if you only have a community of 1 (yourself) is it really worth open sourcing a project?
- Debate and commit: Making decisions stick – Rebecca Fernandez led an interactive session on developing an effective decision making process and reminded us of the importance of listening more than we respond.
- Cultural Diversity and Open Source Communities – Carol Chen’s dad provided her with a great quote: “Openness enables connectivity for cultural diversity.”
- Red Hat Alumni – INVITE ONLY! – This was an event for invited ex-Red Hatters to meet up, find out about changes within Red Hat and have the opportunity to network (whilst eating and drinking pivo/beer!).
- Issues are dead. Long live issues, goals, actions! – Fernando Colleone and Adam Šamalík talked about their experiences running the open source project Fedora and agile ways of working, stating that because agile is not making things up as we go, but rather iteratively working towards specific goals, the first thing that needs to exist is goal definitions.
- How to Transform Dev and Test Silos into a Team – Stuart Corcoran explained why silos cause delays and that breaking silos will shorten the dev-test feedback loop.
- Herding cats: project management in communities – Ben Cotton gave his insights working on Fedora about the key work that Project Managers perform in community (rather than corporate) projects, stating that everyone does Project Management. Some just do it poorly.
- Merging community and business goals – Beth Elwell reminded us of the power of community: “In a community, you don’t have to know everything yourself. You can borrow your friend’s ladder.”
The sessions I attended were all very good. Comments from other people were that the Open Shift sessions were excellent and went into a good amount of technical detail for those interested. I saw a comment on twitter that said it was disappointing that DevConf was a PR event for Red Hat but others defended this and mentioned the large presence of community projects. I guess it depends on who you spoke with and which sessions you attended.
I also wanted to mention that the conference had several refreshment points with free water coffee/tea and fresh fruit. You could also purchase other items from carts and food trucks. This was fantastic!
It was my first time attending a DevConf event. I loved it. I would definitely recommend attending and I hope to return again next year!
If you’re interested to find out more, you can check out the website https://devconf.info/cz and watch the recordings of most of the sessions, which are currently in the process of being uploaded online to the DevConf YouTube channel.
CHAOSScon Europe 2019
|What is it?||CHAOSS stands for Community Health Analytics Open Source Software. The conference is for anyone interested in measuring open source project health. It’s for the CHAOSS community to network and learn about metrics and tools used by open source projects, communities, and engineering teams to track and analyze their development activities, communities health, diversity, risk and value.|
|Date||1 February 2019|
|Location||L42 Business Center & Workspaces in Brussels, Belgium (land of chocolate and beer!)|
|Size||Approx. 50 attendees|
There was just 1 track of sessions for everyone to attend. Some highlights were:
- Metrics in a Company-led Open Source Project – Ray Paik spoke about asynchronous communication & working. Just because you’re awake & working you can’t expect everyone else globally to be.
- A Tale of Metrics Faux Pas: Answers Without Questions – Brian Proffitt gave a great talk about the importance of questions and having answers that tell stories about the data. He also spoke about the need to share vulnerabilities and the difficulties faced (even if not fully overcome yet), as this (and not just successes) is what can benefit others in the community.
- Diversity & Inclusion Working Group Tutorial – Nice to see diversity and inclusion being a focus topic on the agenda and encouraging this in the community.
To find out more, view the website https://chaoss.community/chaosscon-2019-eu/ and watch the recorded sessions, which are currently in the process of being uploaded online to the CHAOSS YouTube channel.
|What is it?||FOSDEM stands for Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting. FOSDEM is a two-day event organised by the community for the community to promote the widespread use of free and open source software and the opportunity to network.|
|Date||2-3 February 2019|
|Location||ULB Solbosch Campus in Brussels, Belgium (land of chocolate and beer!)|
|Size||Approx. 5000 attendees|
FOSDEM was very very busy, where many sessions were crowded and full, with no capacity to accommodate all those who wanted to attend. There were a few sessions I really wanted to attend that had no space left so I sat outside the sessions and watched the live stream online instead. Madness!
Some session highlights:
- XR: The present, the future and how to get there – This talk by Jakob Bornecrantz was changed last minute from “VR: Open Source and Standards”. Unfortunately, it came across as not being very well prepared. The talk was at a very high level, lacking detail. The most interesting part I found was when he was talking about the use of Virtual Reality (VR) glasses in the movie Back to the Future, which is of course fiction and so I’m not really sure how relevant it was to talk about this. The talk finished early and audience questions remained unanswered. An audience member commented that the speaker should replace the word ‘open’ with ‘secret’ as he wasn’t able to tell us much about what his company was doing. This was a shame as the topic was of great interest to many people. Jakob did recommend watching this video, which is actually a good insight into Open XR and I recommend watching it.
- LibreOffice: the origins of a community fork – Italo Vignoli gave some great insights into the different ways of community governance where they decided to never have a Community Manager again, as the last one was the most hated person in the community. No one would want that job. He also had some interesting Q&A at the end, particular when he gave his personal opinion of IBM acquiring Red Hat and the importance about understanding Open Source, investing in the community and changing with the times.
- Who wants you to think nobody uses the AGPL and why – John Sullivan spoke about protecting user freedom. Freedom first, money second!
- Functions as a Service: How PHP set the ground stone for serverless – Sven Finke gave a great quote “The term serverless is misleading. There are servers involved, of course.”
- Some quotes from the event that I liked from Twitter:
So after attending these 3 Open Source community focused conferences, what did I gain?
- Networking – it was a great opportunity to meet and speak with people from the various communities (and also my Red Hat colleagues) from across the world. It was great hearing the different perspectives, finding out what people are working on and sharing best practices and lessons learnt. I enjoyed catching up with old friends and making new friends. Being part of communities is so important and these conferences allow you time to focus on what is most important to Open Source – the people!
- The variety of sessions – I particularly liked learning how people balance the business/enterprise world and communities.
- The importance of developing communities – collaborating within communities allow us to learn from one another to solve problems, spark curiosity and just reminds us that there are people out there with the same common interests that we have.
I would encourage you to get more involved in communities. Get to know different people and groups, find out what they do, find something that you’re interested in and see how you can use your strengths to contribute to the community.
Don’t underestimate the power of Open Source and the role that communities play!