Posted in Fossasia, Outreachy, Science Center, Singapore

At FossAsia 2017, Singapore

Thanks to Outreachy, I got an opportunity to attend the FossAsia Summit that took place from March 17th – 19th at Science Center, Singapore.

The event had the most interesting talks under more than a dozen tracks ranging from Python to Kernel & Platform, Debian Mini-DebConf to Security and Privacy,  Science,  AI & Machine Learning and many more. And so the first difficulty I had was in deciding which talks should I be attending. The FossAsia android app was somewhat useful in finally narrowing down the talks I was most interested in. But with so many overlapping sessions, I still missed many that otherwise I would have loved to attend. For those who would want to watch the recorded videos, here’s the link to the FossAsia Youtube channel.

So here I am, summarizing the things I learned from the talks I attended:

  1. Deploying Open Event WebApp to Google Cloud
    Open Event is an open source project that makes it really simple and easy to create and manage an event website by automating the generation of required files for creating the website. The FossAsia website is itself built using the Open Event system. Open Event WebApp Generator takes a JSON file containing event data as input. It merges the JSON data file with the Handlebar templates to create the HTML files. The generated website can then be previewed locally or can be downloaded as a zip file. Following the steps here, the Open Event WebApp can then be deployed on Google Cloud.


  2. Among my favorite sessions were Frank Karlitschek’s keynote on ‘Protecting privacy with free software‘. Frank talked about how crucial it is to have distributed, decentralized, privacy-enabled, federated approaches of storing and sharing content across the internet and further showcased nextCloud. NextCloud provides file storage services over user’s own personal cloud, giving users full control over their data by letting them store and maintain their data on their own server.

    Federated sharing approaches enable each user to have their own Federated Cloud ID for their server, just like having an email address, which they can use to share their content with their friend’s servers who will also have their own Cloud ID.


  3. Michael Meskes in his talk on Debian – The Best Linux Distribution explained why one should contribute to Debian and how Debian is Special. He talked about the Debian Community, the Debian Social Contract, and the Debian Free Software Guidelines and how valuable they are for the community.


  4. There was also the FreedomBox stall which had lots of interesting discussions along with the demonstration by Nikhil Rayaprolu.

  5. Vaishali Thakkar in her talk on Coccinelle: Finding bugs in the Linux Kernel explained the different issues that are faced during code maintenance and why there’s a need for a tool that is that is fast, systematic, reliable and follows the standards. She further explained the goals of the tool Coccinelle which is to automatically find and fix bugs based on a pattern and also demonstrated a few examples which were a bit difficult for me to follow. 😦  After the session, I requested her for some newbie friendly resources to refer which she did help point to.


  6.  Another of my favorite sessions was the FreeBSD is not a Linux Distro session by Philip Paeps of the FreeBSD Foundation. The session was just perfect for a newbie to gain an understanding of the Free BSD operating system, the community and how to begin contributing to it. Philip talked about everything a newbie would want to know, from FreeBSD’s history, to its different flavors, the license, the filesystems, security features, compilers, tools like DTrace, networking, virtualisation et al.

  7.  Praveen Patil also gave an interesting talk on Learning adventures with Python in Science where he demonstrated different ways in which Python can be used to effectively teach Maths and Science concepts to students. He demonstrated damping of sine waves, energy transfer through a coupled spring in oscillating pendulums, Faraday’s laws of electromagnetic induction and various other concepts in Physics through different simple setups and visualizations coded in python.


  8. Also learned about KVM, Qemu and libvirt in Bandan Das’s session on The Qemu/KVM ecosystem: Navigating the code! This was the first time I was learning about KVM internals and so found it a bit advanced, but I am curious to learn more about it after having attended the session.

  9. Got to learn about OpenStack’s CI System in Matthew Treinish’s session on Better Testing Through Statistics in which he explained how when we push a change upstream in OpenStack, it spins up a lot of test jobs and how the test data and log information can be better utilized by having statistics and data mining tools that help in tracking down the reason behind the test failures, and also in detecting patterns and trends behind these failures on a larger scale. He talked about tools like Graphite, Grafana, ELK (Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana), StackViz and OpenStack Health that can be used on top of the CI system.

Apart from the talks, also got to meet Matthew Treinish, Samuel de Medeiros Queiroz, Masayuki Igawa and Dong Ma. I am grateful to the Outreachy team for giving me this opportunity where I could learn so much 🙂

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