Akademy 2019 took place in Milan, IT, at the University of Milano Bicocca from 7th to 13th of September. I arrived on Friday 6th and left Milan on Tuesday 10th.
This year Akademy was a little bit different for me. I joined MBition recently to push Open Source and, giving the kind of activity and technologies we use, KDE is an community we can learn a lot from. We have many things in common.
We attended to the welcome event, the sponsors dinner and the first days of talks together. During the second day of talks, I introduced the company to the attendees during the sponsors talk.
It was also great to see my former employer, Codethink Ltd, as sponsor once again.
Several of the talks were very interesting although in general I did not attended to many. I spent quite some time outside talking to old friends, some new young contributors and other sponsors.
In terms of talks, the highlight of the event was Lars Knoll, CTO of the The Qt company. The interview published a few days before his talk is worth reading. He presented the most relevant plans about the coming Qt 6.
On Saturday several talks reported about the accomplishments and challenges of the goals the community have been focusing on the last couple of years. The new goals were presented on Sunday, the second days of Akademy.
On Monday 10th, part of the day was invested in the KDE eV General Assembly. Some BoFs also took place that day. You can watch the report published on The Dot.
As mentioned, I came back to Málaga on Tuesday morning but you can read the reports about the Hands on Sessions and discussions tat took place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Thank you to the organizers and sponsors as well as the rest of the people who made Akademy a great event, in record time. It would be a great sign for MBition to be able to come back next year.
KDE is looking for a place and a team to host the event next year. If you are interested in gaining some traction locally to your Open Source efforts and are willing to meet a whole bunch of crazy, smart and friendly developers, think about applying to organizase Akademy 2020 (download the brochure).
I would like to finish this article sending my condolences to the family and friends of Guillermo Amaral, now that it has been made public that he passed away, victim of a cancer he fought hard.
Guillermo was a great person. He had magnetism and an unique sense of humor. I cannot say but good things about him. He did great stuff.
I will be at Akademy 2019 in Milano, IT for a few days. I am not going alone, Julia JK König. from MBition, will be there with me during the first two days.
MBition is still in the learning phase as organization when it comes to Open Source, but the enthusiasm among my colleagues, including the leadership team, with the posibility of becoming contributors in the near future makes me confident about our Open Source journey.
One of my initial goals is to help the organization to learn about how Open Source communities operate, what are their motivations, what do they do, their governance, etc. As I have written before, I would divide the Open Source communitiesin three big groups:
Community driven Open Source projects.
Consortium driven projects.
Company driven projects.
In order to learn about community driven projects, I think KDE is a great place to start and not just because I am involved in the project. There are several additional reasons. The most obvious ones are:
MBition is a C++ and Qt house, just like KDE.
KDE has a significant experience in areas were MBition is currently working on.
MBition (and Daimler in general) collaborate with Universities in intership programs. KDE is one of the most successfull Open Source projects when it comes to mentoring programs.
MBition HQ is located in Berlin, GE, and KDE eV is registered there.
I am not the only current or former KDE contributor at MBition. Motivation is king.
MBition decided not just to attend to Akademy but also to become a Supporter, by the way.
The event tool place this year in a new venue, significantly better than the previous one, in my opinion. More than 300 people were registered which is not bad at all for a free of charge event about Open Source that does not require pre-registration to participate.
Some workshops and talks were packed, although not the majority of them. Some people has commented that there did not feel a “sense of packed” which is was due to the fact that, during 2 days, the event offered 2 to 4 tracks and workshops simultaneously. Saturday was busier than Friday, I think.
I don’t feel that there is anything bad in having only a few people at your talk if they are truly interested. With such an interesting and diverse offering, motivated participants is almost guaranteed. I understand though that if you come from far away or your company send you to give a talk, having a full room is a good thing.
The event is little by little growing. The organization in general goes smoother, the quality of the talks and the speakers is better every edition, the workshops, specially those for kids, are gaining traction, the venue is better, there were sponsors this year… All signs are positive.
As a suggestion for the 2020 edition, I would organise a closing keynote so participants can get together afterwards for some drinks. This would improve the sense of community and would provide a good opportunity to thank the sponsors.
I am happy with how my talk went. Around 15 people attended. I could attend to 3 additional talks which were very good. I learned a lot. It was great news to see Ramón Miranda giving a talk about Krita, by the way. Thanks Paul for your advises about my slides and Gaby for the pics.
Special thanks to the OpenSouthCode organisers for putting the event together once again. See you next year. Follow them on Twitter to know more about the next edition.
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I have been at many software events and have helped or have been part of the organization in a few of them. Based on that experience and the fact that I have participated in the last two editions, let me tell you that J On The Beachis a great event.
The main factors that leads me to such a conclusion are:
It is all about contents. I have seen many events that, over time, loose the focus on the quality of the contents. It is a hard focus to keep, specially as you grow. @JOTB19 had great content: well delivered talks and workshops, performed by bright people with something to say which was relevant to the audience.
I think the event has not reached its limit yet, specially when it comes to workshops.
Designing the content structure to target the right audience is as important as bringing speakers with great things to say. As any event matures, tough decisions will need to be taken in order to find its own space and identity among outstanding competitors.
When it comes to themes, will J On The Beach keep targeting several topics, or will it narrow them to one or two? Will they always be the same or will they rotate?
When it comes to size, will it grow or will it remain in the current numbers? Will the price increase or will be kept in the current range?
When it comes to contents, will the event focus more energy and time allocation on the “hands on” learning sessions or will workshops be kept as relevant compared to the talks, as they are today? Will the talks length be reduced? Will we see lightning talks?
J On The Beach was well organised. A good organization is not the one that does not run into any trouble but the one that handles them smoothly so there is little or no perceived impact. This event has a diligent team behind it, based on the little/no impact I perceived.
Support from local companies. As Málaga matures as software hub, more and more companies arrive to this area expecting to grow in size, so the need to attract local talent grows in parallel.
Some of these foreign companies understand how important it is to show up in local events to be known by as many local developers as possible. J On The Beach has captured the attention of several of these companies.
The organizers have understood this reality and support them to use the event to openly recruit people. This symbiotic relation is a very productive one from what I have witnessed.
It is a hard relation to sustain though, specially if the event does not grow is size, so probably in the future the current relation will need to add additional common interests to remain productive for both sides.
Global by default. Most events in Spain have traditionally been designed for Spaniards first, turning into more global events as they grow. J On The Beach is global by default, by design, since day 1. It is harder to succeed that way, but beyond the activation point it turns out to be easier to become sustainable. The organizers took the risk and have reached that point already, which provides the event a bright future in my opinion.
The fact that the event is able to attract developers from many countries, specially from eastern European ones, makes J On The Beach very attractive to foreign companies already located in Málaga, from the recruitment perspective. Málaga is a great place not just to work in English but also to live in English. There are well established communities from many different countries in the metropolitan area, due to how strong the touristic industry is here. These factors, together with others like logistics, affordable living costs, good public health care system, sunny weather, availability of international and multilingual schools, etc., reduce the adaptation effort when relocating, specially for developer’s families. J On The Beach brings tasty fishes to the pond.
Let me name a couple of points that can make the event even better:
It is very hard to find a venue that fits any event during its consolidation phase and evolves with it. This edition’s venue represents a significant improvement compared to last year edition. There is room for improvement though.
It would be ideal to find a place in Málaga itself, closer to where the companies are located and places to hang out after the event, which at the same time, keep the good things the current venue/location provides, which are plenty.
Finding the right venue is tough. There are decision-making factors that participants do not usually see but are essential like costs, how supportive the venue staff and owners are, accommodation availability in the surrounding area, availability on the selected dates, etc. It is one of the most difficult points to get right, in my experience.
Great events deserve great keynote speakers. They are hard to get but often reflects the difference between great and must-attend events.
Great keynote speakers does not necessarily mean popular ones. I see already celebrities in bigger and more expensive events. I would love to see in Málaga old time computer science cowboys. I mean those first class engineers who did something relevant some time ago and have witnessed the evolution of our industry and their own inventions. They are able to bring a perspective that very few can provide, extremely valuable in these fast pace changing times. Those gems are harder to see at big/popular events and might be a good target for a smaller, high quality event. I think that it would be a great sign of success if such a kind of professionals come to talk at J On The Beach.
I am very glad there is such a great event close to where I live. J On The Beach is not just worth for local developers but also for those abroad. I attend to several events in other countries every year with more name but less value than J On The Beach. It will definitely be on my 2020 agenda. Thanks to every person involved in making it possible.
Last year I decided to take a break and did not attend to the event. This year I was really looking forward to attend.
I will start by thanking Codethink Ltd for sponsoring my trip. It is always a pleasure to work in a company that supports their employees in attending to Open Source community events. Codethink sponsored FOSDEM once again by the way.
It has not been the easiest edition for me because I have been sick the past days and was not fully recovered. The cold weather didn’t help so I decided to stay away from late nights and Trappist beers. It was hard to go to bed at a decent time every night and miss some night gatherings like the KDE and GNOME ones or the FOSDEM party on Friday at Delirium Cafe.
On February 1st I attended to the CHAOSScon EU conference. I liked it. It was well organised and I could have several interesting conversations about what to measure and why when it comes to Open Source communities. I attended to most of the talks and I participated in one of the workshops. I think I can add some value in the GMD working group. Let’s see if I have the time to contribute. It would be fun.
I would like to highlight the prominent role that Bitergia, a Spanish company, plays in the CHAOSS project, a Linux Foundation Initiative. Despite being a small organization, they are in the front line when it comes to software analytics, specially in the Open Source space. Well done Bitergians!
As you probably know, I am putting some effort, together with some KDE developers, in calling the attention within the KDE community about the immense opportunity this project has in embedded, now that Plasma Mobile and Kirigami are a reality. KDE project is making an efforts also to show devices with this new shell at events, so professionals and corporations can identify the value that the KDE as community can add in ecosystems like the (open) automotive ones.
ELCE 2018 was the first event were we showed the outcome of our efforts in embedded ()in mobile we have for some time now). FOSDEM has been the second one. There will be more during this 2019.
It was a pleasant surprise to see several boards and devices at the KDE booth, my RPi3 and a Risc-V board among them, both with Yocto and Plasma Mobile. I think attendees were both, surprised and happy to see KDE showing new and attractive stuff.
Krita had a strong presence at the booth and the last day there was a KDEnlive demo, among other activities. A Pinebook, a Slimbook and an ARM based
Rockchip board completed the show. I think the booth worked extremely well. Some of the messages published in social media reflected it.
Special thanks to every KDE contributors that made the booth possible. I was really proud to be part of such an amazing group of people.
I attended to the automotive/embedded dinner on Saturday night. There is a group of people interested in reviving the Embedded devroom at FOSDEM 2020. The dinner’s main goal was to find out how many people wanted to help and coordinate them. Mission accomplished! Thanks Jan-Simon and Leon Avani for organising it.
On Sunday night I attended to the OpenChain informal dinner. Thanks Shane for organising it. I had a really good time. Lawyers are very cool people. There were several interesting conversations there about the FLA, which is not well known yet among the legal and developer communities despite being around for several years.
I tried to attend to three talks during FOSDEM. I couldn´t even get close to the door in any of them because, not just were the rooms packed, but there was a long queue of people waiting to get in. I got a little frustrated and decided to stop trying. Videos will come to the rescue.
On the bright side, the organisers opened an additional cafeteria this year. I usually take some sandwiches and water with me to the the venue so I can skip the long lines to get something to eat. On Sunday I didn’t and it worked out well. I guess that the days when it was impossible to get a sandwich are over. Yay!
As usual I could talk with lots of people which is the part I like the most about this event. I could also chat with some of the many Codethings (colleagues from Codethink) that attended to the event. I also take with me new contacts and plenty of new technologies and project to evaluate.
In general it has been a very good event. I will spend a week in Manchester after FOSDEM and then go back home. My next stop will be Embedded World, in Nuremberg, GE at the end of the month.
Thanks to the FOSDEM organisers and volunteers for your effort and dedication.