I had the privilege of attending the openSUSE Conference this year held in Prague, Czech Republic. It was an awesome experience, and I had an amazing time. This year, the conference was co-located with the Czech Linux Days, The Gentoo MiniConference and the SUSE Labs Conference. There was also a Future Media event focusing on social media. This post details my experiences at the conference.
I reached Prague at around 6 PM (Prague time). My flight got delayed and I was stuck at Moscow airport for around 4 hours (not that unpleasant). This was my first European visit, and I was quite looking forward to the experience. Straight away after checking into my hotel (Krystal), I rushed to attend the Welcome Party at Cafe Traverza. Then came the problems. I got the wrong address, and ended up lost at Charles Bridge, when the venue was near the conference venue. I didnt actually expect language issues in Europe, and I was not prepared at all. The public transport system was also confusing to me, and I could not understand how to take tickets for the Tram and Metro. It is quite different from the Indian context, where we take tickets from inside the bus/tram itself. In the end, I never made it to the cafe, and spent a lot of time admiring the architectural beauty that is Prague. Lastly, I didnt take into consideration the 2-pin electric sockets in Europe, rendering my 3-pin laptop charger and Tablet pretty useless. Luckily I was able to charge my cellphone.
Conference Day 1. I reached the venue early, and with no difficulties. The venue was slightly confusing to me, and I initially found it hard to find the rooms. All attendees got a nice bag with goodies including a poster, a Geeko plushie, a DVD and a Linux magazine. Among the people I met were Izabel Valverde, Vincent Untz and Robert Brown. The keynote was delivered by Agustin Benito Bethencourt about SME’s as a target for Linux distributions. It truly set the tone for ‘Bootstrapping Awesome’.
The talks which I attended were:
1.) Mercurial queues – Peter Cerny
2.) usbmon – Klaus Kaempf (This talk blew me away!!!)
3.) Wayland – Egbert Eich
4.) ownCloud – Klaas Freitag
5.) LibreOffice – Michael Meeks and Tor Lillquist
6.) Crashing the kernel for fun and profit – Stefan Seyfried (Loved this one!!!)
After the conference, we had the Big Party at Club Lavka, near the picturesque Charles Bridge. The best part of the party was the music – using Emacs!!! This might have been the geekiest thing I have ever seen. That apart, I think the food and drinks fell short considering the number of attendees. I also met Bernard Weidmann, with whom I had an interesting talk. I also met some SUSE Labs employees in India.
I was already enjoying the conference. Day 2 was just awesome. It didnt start very well, as I had planned a BoF session on GSoC + GCI planning. It didnt work out due to the time in which I scheduled it. Most of the people who could have attended were busy during that time. I will continue to push the cause on the mailing lists and on IRC meetings. I have always loved attending conferences for networking. I knew many community members just by their IRC nicks, and now I finally got to meet many of them. I met Jos Poortvliet, Kostas Koudaras among many others and had awesome conversations. Jos took my interview, and I had a long chat with him. I also talked a lot with Kostas regarding the Ambassadors programme, and about reviving the openSUSE community in India. A project meeting also took place which touched on many issues, such as the advantages/disadvantages of colocating the event, GCI among others. Besides networking, I also attended many talks:
1.) Marble – Torsten Rahn
2.) openSUSE Around the World – Jos Poortvliet
3.) Lightning talks
After the conference, I went back to the Charles Bridge. I simply could not get enough of the place. I also got some souvenirs for home.
The last two days only consisted of the openSUSE conference and SUSE Labs conference. The venue had been changed to Masarykova Kolej. Being slightly more aware of the transportation system, I reached there with no difficulty. The last two days had a more openSUSE feel to it, with the talks more specific to openSUSE. I attended the following talks:
1.) Travel Support Programme – Izabel Valverde
2.) Ambassadors 2.0 – Kostas Koudaras
3.) Non verbal communication at the booth – Efstathios Iosifidis
After the conference, I visited the John Lennon wall, which is a stunning piece of graffiti. Being a John Lennon fan, I spent quite some time finding John Lennon symbolism on the wall. A really nice place to visit.
The last day of the conference, but still enjoyable. It was evident that the community had a good time there. I attended the following talks:
1.) Spirit of oSC13 – Kostas Koudaras (Greece could be a nice option for the conference!!!)
2.) Package Maintainence – Robert Schweikert
3.) systemd and dracut – Frederic Crozat
After the concluding session, I visited Lidice, which was the town destroyed as a consequence of Operation Anthropoid.
Overall, It was an awesome event and lived upto my expectations. The talks were awesome, and the community as always awesome. Prague was certainly an awesome place to host the conference. I will certainly hope to be part of next years conference. In the meantime, I will continue contributing to this awesome project, and an awesome community.