You should start a hackerspace, TODAY! – part 1

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Six months ago, along with some crazy friends we started discussing the idea of creating a hackerspace in my hometown, Thessaloniki.

After a lot of planning where more people joined, we managed to build from SCRATCH, the Tech Ministry – Thessaloniki’s Hackerspace. “The how” I am going to describe it with details in another post.

Since day 1, a lot of people were mocking us because we were dedicating a lot of money and effort in transforming an empty basement into a hackerspace. These people believed that we should – somehow – get our money back instead of “wasting” them for an empty space. Today – after 2 months and after a lot of effort, the space is almost complete and fully equipped so I would like to share with you how I am planning to get the earnings of my investment.

Today I had the opportunity to spend more than 14 hours in the space with some brilliant people working on a variety of projects.

  • We worked and managed to transform our outdoor into an RFID featured door (had to hack the door’s metal case in order to install the electric strike).
  • Brainstormed on techniques for transforming solar energy into electric energy and aquaponics.
  • Brainstormed on upcoming events and planned 2 new ones.
  • Had a short docker hands-on session.
  • Learned more about apache’s configuration.
  • Worked on installing, configuring and using owncloud’s API.

It’s 1:55am (woke up at 7:30am) and after this exhausting day I am still FULL of energy, writing this blogpost and ready to continue working on my favorite projects!

Can you now understand why I am so passionate and thrilled about this place? Because anyone can do amazing things without any previous experience, by simply spending his time with some brilliant people. This is the earning of my investment, gaining experience on doing amazing stuff with amazing people!

Have I also told you that a hackerspace is not only a space but it is actually a community? Yes! More on part 2. 😉

So what’s your excuse for not joining a hackerspace or starting one?

 

What a Fedora winter!

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Hello readers! It’s been a long time since my last post. Apologies for that but I was working on an online IDE for Arduino with the rest of the Codebender team.

However I think it’s time to share with you some of my “adventures” inside the amazing Fedora world!

OSOL Conference Szeged

In November I was invited by the Hungarian community to attend their yearly national FOSS conference named OSOL Szeged 2014.

It was an amazing experience since I had the opportunity to meet in person the awesome local Fedora community and have a presentation to OSOL event on the upcoming Fedora products. Thank you Levex for organizing the presence of the Fedora Project in OSOL Szeged

It was one of the moments where I really enjoyed my presentation since I received a lot questions and had some interesting discussions. And when you have a lot of questions you know that the topic of your talk was interesting and the audience was actually listening to you.

The feedback I received on our decision for dramatically changing the Fedora operating system and creating three different but more innovative products was really positive and encouraging.

One of the highlights of the event and my whole trip was the energy of the Fedora Hungarian community. I consider them as one of the most active FOSS (not only in Fedora) communities in Europe who focus on actual contributions and not only on running events.

During my stay I had the opportunity to brainstorm with Gergely and Zoltan on how to sustain large and highly active FOSS communities. We also discussed the agenda of the upcoming Fedora Ambassadors EMEA meeting in Germany where I represented both Greece and Hungary since non of the Hungary community members was able to attend.

Last but not least I want to thank Gergely for having me in his home and make me feel like part of his beautiful family! Honestly this is something that cannot be described with words.

FAD Rheinland 2014

FAD are the initials for the Fedora Activity day, a day dedicated to the Fedora project. Actually in Leverkusen we had two days with activities dedicated on the Ambassador program with people joining from almost all the Fedora European communities.

After the introductions and presenting the current status of each community we reviewed in detail all the important events in the EMEA region for the year 2015. As a result we could be more accurate on our yearly budget. We decided to focus on events with certain audience and more technical topics where we believe the audience of our three products (Workstation, Cloud, Server) exists.

Swag production was in the agenda (as always 😉 ) and we reviewed some of the existing or new ideas on producing swag. However I am sorry but I can’t share more with you, it’s a surprise!

One of the highlights of the event was the conference call with our new Fedora project leader Matthew Miller who walked on the same path for focusing on specific and more technical events where we can engage more active contributors with Fedora.

I left the event with a lot of pleasant memories and thoughts since I spent a weekend with my Fedora friends. I was really happy seeing old and good friends and meeting new ones, people who joined the Fedora Project recently and they are already active and contributing in their area of expertise.

Until the next time my Fedora friends.

Do you want to learn Python and Django?

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A couple of weeks ago someone asked me on facebook for guides and tutorials on how to learn Python.

When I was looking for resources for my self some years ago I ended up buying the Learning Python from O’Really which I found really poor. I spend some hours reading the first 100 pages and learning only for variables in Python.

I wanted something more advanced, more fast learning, so I bought the Python Cookbook from O’Really as well. Yes (!) that was the book that I was looking for but still.

So then after a conversation we had with my good friend Diego he proposed me to read a tutorial regarding Django.

That was it! The Django Book was the best resource so far for learning Django and Python. The book is diving you in to Python and Django from the first 5′ minutes but with a great explanatory way. As a result you can set up your own Django instance in the first hour understanding every step on the way.

Other really helpful resources regarding Python for beginners as proposed from the Greek Python community can be found in the following links:

And for my Greek friends there an awesome guide for developing games in Python written by my friend Manolis.

Other resources proposed from readers, comments, social media.

So don’t be afraid and DIVE in to Python or Django!

If you are aware of more Python and Django resources for beginners don’t hesitate to leave a comment in order to update the blogpost.

 

 

Fedora Romania and OSOM

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This February was an amazing month full with awesome events regarding Free and Open Source software.

In the mid of the month I was invited in Bucharest in order to have a session in OSOM conference. OSOM (awesome) is the annual meet up/conference of the Romanian FOSS communities and projects.

This year there were re-presenters and presentations from the following communities: Fedora Project, Mozilla, OpenSUSE, Java User Group, Ubuntu, Drupal and ROSEdu. All presentations were really interesting but I would like to choose Mozilla’s, OpenSUSE’s and ROSEdu’s presentations where they were simply amazing!

In this point I would like to give an extra credit to ROSEdu which is a group of people who promote and support open source in education. Way to go guys, keep up the great work!

During my presentation on Friday I had the chance to present the Fedora project and it’s community. I presented Fedora 18’s new cutting edge features and I put a special effort in our official spins and special interest groups. Romania was a challenge for me because except of my presentation I wanted to seek more active contributors along with the experienced ones like my best friend Nicu. I am really glad that I had the chance to spend to full days with him!

During the dinner after OSOM I was approached by Theodora which is a young developer who wants to be more involved in Fedora’s development process!

On Saturday, thanks to Marcela and Ioana, the two girls that made OSOM happen and with the help of ROSEdu, Fedora had it’s release party in the Facultatea de Automatica si Calculatoare. Along with Nicu, we had the chance to make a more detailed presentation of the Fedora Operating system and the Fedora wiki. We presented Gnome 3, some tips and tricks on that, Fedora Project’s wiki, steps on how to contribute in a variety of roles, how to translate and of course some hacking sessions. During the hacking sessions, we hacked our raspberry pi installing Fedora, we presented some cool GIMP tricks and finally we had our rpm packaging session.

The attendances were 15 and except some Fedora users the variety of them was from other FOSS communities such as Ubuntu and OpenSUSE but In the end of the day they all had a fresh Fedora installation!

Speaking of new Fedora users lets talk about new Fedora contributors too. Ioana Chiorean and Alex Lakatos expressed a lot of interest in contributing to Fedora project. Both of them are leaders in Mozilla Romanian community organizing A LOT of events and mentoring new contributors. Especially Ioana is willing to put a lot of effort in organizing and coordinating the Romanian community. I am really glad that I have the chance to mentor them in Fedora and watch them contribute in the project. Welcome guys and thank you for your effort! I am pretty sure that more updates are going to follow. 😉

Wrapping up my thoughts, OSOM was an excellent event where I had the chance to meet a lot of active and interesting FOSS contributors, see another perspective specially of open source in education, seek 3 new contributors and make a lot of friends!

Thank you Marcela, Ioana, Nicu, ROSEdu and of course Fedora for make it happen!

My photo album from OSOM and the Fedora release party can be found here.

 

 

FOSDEM 2013 – review

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The first weekend of February of every year is always dedicated to FOSS Developers Meeting (FOSDEM) in Brussels.

FOSDEM is always a great opportunity to meet all my old Fedora and Mozilla friends from around the world. Unfortunately I didn’t get in time in Brussels in order to attend Fedora community’s dinner but I met them afterwords in the Delirium Cafe enjoying a large variety of beers. Right Christoph 😉

Saturday morning wake up is always tricky but along we Nikos we managed to get in time in order to prepare the Fedora booth along with Jiri where there was a surprising waiting for us as you can see in the picture above. Generally the most of my time I spend it in attending sessions but I did some contribution in Mozilla’s and Fedora’s booths too. This year’s Mozilla and Fedora booths where better than any other year with a lot of new and passionate people spreading the word of their favourite open source project and seeking more and more contributors.

It was another great year with a lot of enlightening presentations, a lot of awesome and brainstorming conversations with hackers from all over the world and of course a lot of hacking. The discussions you have outside dev rooms with amazing hackers, the brainstorming and all this energy can’t be compared with anything in the world. I want to give an extra credit to flash Fredy and Panos for having a live demo session in Mozilla’s booth, presenting Firefox OS devices the whole weekend! You were amazing guys, thank you! Finally I want to thank all the Reps who spend some time in booth talking with people, answering questions and solving problems.

As I blog posted before, more than 40 Greek hackers took over Brussels and FOSDEM where some of them run 8 sessions regarding open source software, open source hardware, their awesome projects or the project where they contribute in.

But this year was special for me too because it was my first time attending FOSDEM as a speaker. At Sunday noon I had a session in Mozilla’s dev room regarding debugging Firefox OS and open web apps as well as Gaia apps too. Thank you Clarista and Benoit for the excellent organization of the Mozilla presence. In general I think my presentation was a success despite the stress I had on stage. You can find my presentation online and you can always mail me for anything regarding debugging Firefox OS and Gaia.

World, watch out! Firefox OS is coming and it’s going to be astonishing!

FOSDEM 2013 is over and I cant wait a year for the next one! I am really glad for having a lot and great time with my old and new friends.

You can check FOSDEM’s 2013 photo album here.

 

OSOM and Fedora 18 Release Event in Bucharest

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I am really happy to announce you that the Friday 15 and the Saturday 16 of the February are going to be two days dressed up in blue.

On Friday is going to be National Open Source Conference in Bucharest (OSOM) where Fedora is going to be there with a pretty booth and an introduction presentation. Our meeting is at 13:00 at Adobe Systems Romania. BD Timisoara, 26Z, Anchor Plaza, 6th floor , Bucharest. See you there!

On Saturday at 12:00 we are having the Fedora 18 Release event at Facultatea de Automatica si Calculatoare at room number EC102. We are going to have a lot of sessions and hackfests regarding our favourite operating system!

Our detailed schedule

  • An introduction to Fedora Project. What is Fedora, why to use it, Fedora 18 new features.
  • Fedora Project as a community. How to contribute, why to contribute.

Hackfests

  • Introduction to Fedora 18 and Gnome shell tips and tricks.
  • Fedora on ARM (raspberry pi).
  • Designing with Fedora and Gimp.
  • Contributing (designing, translating).

 

Three weeks, three awesome events, one goal

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I am really excited about this blog post! The upcoming weeks are going to be extremely awesome, regarding the two FOSS projects I am mostly involved in Fedora and Mozilla.

 Athens Firefox OS App Days

By time order, this Saturday is the Athens Firefox OS App Day which is sold out from the previous week. This event is going to be a hackathon on the new Firefox OS operating system for mobile devices. In 11 hours, 350 web and mobile developers are going to learn everything about Firefox OS, from theory to “build my own app”. We are going to provide them all the nessessary tools for building their own app in a few hours such as pizza and beer!

A month ago was the Firefox OS hackathon, a pilot event of Firefox OS App Days in Athens hackerspace which prepared us for a success upcoming series of Firefox OS App Days events.

For live updates follow MozillaGreece twitter account or you can watch the live video stream.

 

 FOSDEM 2013

Next weekend (2-3/02) is FOSDEM, the biggest event for FOSS Developers around the globe. It’s going to have a lot of beers, parties, more than 160 presentations and around 5000 hackers around the world.

Except this boring stuff this year is going to be a great year for the Greek FOSS community which is going to have 8 sessions in FOSDEM.

Here is the list with all these awesome presentations – well done guys!

Saturday

11:00 – 12:00 The neat guide to Fedora RPM Packaging Nikos Roussos

11:30 – 12:00 FirefoxOS: Port it… Build it… Flash it…Alfredos-Panagiotis Damkalis

18:00 – 19:00 Using codebender as an IDE for Arduino and other embedded devices Vasilis (tzikis) Georgitzikis

Sunday

10:00 – 11:00 Making a Hackerspace SmartDimitrios Amaxilatis

14:00 – 14:30 Introducing the Synnefo open source IaaS cloud platform Vangelis Koukis

14:00 – 14:30 Firefox OS and Web Applications – Debugging made easyChristos Bacharakis

16:30 – 17:00 WebFWD: Moving the web forwardVasilis (tzikis) Georgitzikis

18:40 – 19:00 Open DiscussionChristos Siopis

So, on Sunday noon I am having a session on Mozilla’s Dev Room presenting all the necessary developer tools and techniques on developing web apps for Firefox OS. The rest of the weekend, if I am not attending a session, you will find me on Fedora’s or Mozilla’s booth.

See you there!

 

Fedora Greece Activity Day – Fedora 18 release party

As you already know Fedora 18 is out and there is no better way to celebrate than a release party. So, in the mid of February we organizing a Greek Fedora 18 release party shared in two cities, Athens and Thessaloniki.

It’s going to happen on Saturday and except the party, we willing to have a lot of hackfests explain how easy is for you to hack Fedora and contribute in upstream projects. We are going to have workshop for starters, introduction to Fedora, translation sprint and for more advanced users, RPM packaging workshop, build your own remix etc.

Our goal is to present Fedora to new users, seek contributors and hack our favourite operating system

More details are going to be published soon!