Notes on LibrePlanet 2018

On the weekend of March 24, I went to Boston, MA to participate in LibrePlanet 2018. stataThis was my first time to LibrePlanet, and it happened to be the 10th anniversary of the event. It is gratis (free of charge) for students and Free Software Foundation (FSF) members, and I was also very fortunate to receive the travel scholarship to offset part of the expenses. After all, Boston is a big city with a lot of high rises, and staying near the venue at MIT campus is quite expensive. Back to the event, I do feel it is very welcoming to first comers. Those free software supporters who haven’t checked it out should definitely plan to do so next year.


When LibrePlanet 2018 was calling for proposals, I submitted two potential topics. One is an entry level introduction to LaTeX in a standard session, and the other is a lightning talk about my observation and thoughts on free software promotion in APAC. Surprisingly, the latter one got rejected, which possibly indicates that folks in the US do not find that topic very interesting. I presented my LaTeX talk, with more attendees than I had expected. I also got questions afterwards including what is the best way to set up TeX Live in a lab environment. Chances are more students will get started with LaTeX to create beautiful documents! If you missed the session then, check out the slides (source) and video recording online. I didn’t time the presentation very well and hope I can do better in the future.

There were a lot of interesting sessions throughout the weekend. Saturday’s keynote by Deb Nicholson was motivating and touching, and everyone applauded when she mentioned we should treat newcomers to the community with love, like how a mother treats adopted children. debChris Lamb, the current Debian project leader and by the way very handsome, discussed motivation and progress on reproducible build. Gina Likins, a Red Hatter, and Matt Bernius, who collaborates with Mozilla, shared common myths about free software adoption in college. It’s sad that quite a few professors do not allow their students to use or contribute to free software projects mainly for the fear of plagiarism. It was mentioned that one good way to contradict such idea is inviting former students who have graduated and are working in the industry to share how the software industry works in reality.

There was of course RMS. He mentioned the progress of a decompiler which would be useful to develop free/libre firmware among other things. But the most memorable thing for me would be he popped up in a standard session, found some kids were standing in a occupied room, and then fetched chairs from a stack nearby for those kids. That was sweeeeeet! Besides, I also got to know the face of John Sullivan, young and handsome. I also met Georgia Young, a beautiful lady and the Program Manager of FSF.

There was FSF office open house on Friday evening, and I went there of course. Turns out it is located not at MIT campus, but near Downtown Crossing subway station. It was quite crowded when I got there, and people are forming random groups talking and having fun. I got to talk with a volunteer for LibrePlanet who is around the age of my grandparents and enjoys using free software (Kdenlive more specifically) for video production. I met Wez during the open house. The last time I met him I was still studying in Beijing, China. Similar for endle, who I managed to meet on Sunday at the venue. It’s always good to meet old friends again! At the open house I also found a Chinese lady who is working at FSF, Jasimin. My reimbursement is supposed to be taken care of by her 🙂

Other things I learned that are worth mentioning:

  • Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) provides various services for free software communities so developers can just focus on the code and documentation.
  • Mozilla runs Open Source Student Network to promote free software in universities. They maintain a list of open source clubs in the US and Canada.
  • Unison is a free/libre, cross platform, two way synchronization tool.
  • I wore the TUNA hoodie to LibrePlanet, and at least one person found it interesting.
In flight

COSCUP 2015 Day 2

The second day of COSCUP 2015 was August 16, Sunday. Since we had FreedomKnight and zerng07 at the booth, and we did not find very intersting talks in the early morning, tonghuix and I gave ourselves a bit more rest and did not get up quite early. We both found the talks this year were not as attractive as last year. Part of the reason might be that this year’s theme “Open Culture” is kind of too general and it is not easy to talk about it. Or in a sense it is align with COSCUP’s philosoph “more social than tech”, which means it is more a chance of letting open source people to meet than diving into specific technical topics.

Around the booth we found some interesting swags that might be useful for future Fedora events. One is the retractable network cable as shown in the middle figure above. Such cables were distributed in COSCUP previously as gifts. I think it is quite nice because: 1) it is so useful that one can start to use it directly at the venue; 2) the central circular part is perfect for branding logo etc.; 3) it is not expensive and can be cheap with mass production. Another nice swag is shown in the rightmost figure above, a toy moe girl (optionally, with a toy laptop). As soon as she appeared on our neighboring booth, a crowd of people and cameras came around the booth. Westerners might not understand, but moe culture is quite popular among East Asia countries, and it is getting mainstream. For example, in Taiwan you can find quite a few moe girls on various posters in public. Besides, ".moe" has become a registrable top-level domain name. Since she is so eye-catching, I guess it is worth trying to make one for Fedora. Regarding design, the Fedora moe girl might be a good starting point.

At the booth I also discussed with FreedomKnight and zerng07 about Fedora community development. zerng07 is getting busier with his work, and they are trying to develop a new ambassador. It seems that currently the Taiwan contributors prefer to use the Facebook group of Fedora Chinese community for discussion. I encourage them to keep an eye on our mailing lists and attend weekly IRC meetings, where activities are more visible to the Chinese community and the whole Fedora community. I also encourage them to go outside for better communication and cooperation. When the local community grows strong enough, Taiwan can be a good candidate for FUDCon APAC.

At around 15:00 PM, almost all attendees gathered into the large hall to listent to jserv‘s last speech “Retrospect on Taiwan Open Source Ecosystem”. jserv is a long term open source contributor in Taiwan, and he has contributed talks to COSCUP for all the ten years. In the morning I caught up with his experience sharing of open source in education. To encourage new contributors, he decided this talk to be his last speech in COSCUP. In the talk, he introduced the history of open source development in Taiwan and showed quite a few impressive early projects by Taiwan open source contributors. He also motivated the young generation in Taiwan to contribute more to open source in the world.

After that was the lightning talk session. In COSCUP, a lightning talk can be not a “talk” at all, because all kinds of performance are also welcome. I had learnt the rule for a while, but this time I finally had the chance to hear an ocarina show as a lightning talk by a COSCUP volunteer! Why ocarina show? Simply because others learnt that he can play ocarina during face-to-face discussion.

At last, after a short closing speech from the lead organizer came the group photo session. All volunteers were invited on stage. An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was used for taking photos, which was really cool. By the way it was also cool when the UAV flew over your head!

All in all, I enjoyed the two days of COSCUP very much. Looking into the future, I believe COSCUP can continue to be a great chance for Fedora Chinese community to gather up. Besides, non-Chinese contributors are also welcome to join to take the opportunity to meet face-to-face and get things done.

COSCUP 2015 Day 1

A few days ago I had the chance to attend COSCUP in Taiwan for the second time. This time I was lucky to get travel subsidy from Fedora APAC’s event budget. Below is my event report for day 1 (Aug 15, Saturday).

The venue of COSCUP 2015 is Academia Sinica, which is the same as in last year. But this time I stayed in a hotel not quite near the venue, sharing room with another Fedora ambassador tonghuix. So in the morning of day 1, we got up early and caught the Taipei MRT (Massive Rapid Transit) train. For the last mile to the venue, we took a taxi with FreedomKnight, a Fedora ambassador in Taiwan, and his girlfriend, who we happened to meet near our destination MRT station.

We arrived at the venue at about 8:30 AM, and it was about to allow registration. Quite a lot of attendees had already queued up before the gate. Shortly after that we registered by scanning the QR code. Then we looked for the booth location and set up the booth. FreedomKnight brought some Fedora 21 DVDs and I brought the badge reel which tonghuix carried from Beijing to Taipei. I tried a few ideas of placing these DVDs and settled down to a “4F” form. People started to visit our booth before we finished the preparation!

I spent the whole morning around our booth, talking with interested people about Fedora. Some of them were not familiar with Fedora, so I introduced to them that Fedora is an Linux distro similar as Ubuntu and openSUSE, but with special stress on our “Four Foundations” (aka 4F). Quite a few visitors had previous experience with Fedora, or current work experience with testing their company products on (somewhat old releases of) Fedora. I talked about with them and encouraged them to try out (or let their companies to try out) newer Fedora versions. Besides, we also met several guys who had used Fedora a lot but had not quite joined the local community, and I invited them to the Fedora BoF (Bird of a Feather) at night.

FreedomKnight’s girlfriend was also around our booth and helped out a lot. COSCUP continued to organize the “Dadi” game: every booth had a unique seal; anyone who had collected all booth seal stamps gained a chance in the lucky draw. There was a RPM packaging workshop which was proposed by the other Fedora ambassador in Taiwan, zerng07. Unfortunately zerng07 was not able to arrive on time due to work emergencies. FreedomKnight took the place and delivered the session.

In the afternoon, there were a workshop by tonghuix about how to use XMPP to chat, and I was asked to help with the demo. We demonstrated how to use free and open source XMPP clients both on Linux desktop and Android cellphone to chat, with and without OTR (off the record) encryption. I also took a few photos for the session.

Then at around 16:00 PM, tonghuix gave an impressive lecture on free software community management. He took many little stories from the book Zhuang Zi as examples to illustrate how and why certain management practices succeed or fail. He summarized the Tao of free software community management as “Three-Self”, which can be roughly translated as “Freedom (aka Self-will or Self-choice), Self-governance, Self-organization”.

When the day’s session almost came to an end, zerng07 finally arrived. We had him and some other Fedora community members for the BoF session in the evening. The total number of people for Fedora BoF was about ten. During the BoF we discussed the interesting differences of languages and education between mainland China and Taiwan, as well as their impact on software localization and overall cooperation of Fedora Chinese community. The Chinese glossary might need to be revived. More interaction is needed to facilitate cooperation, and more awareness and support from the whole Fedora project are also required.

Fedora 21 Release Party Chongqing Report

Fedora 21 Release Party Chongqing was successfully held in Go On Cafe on Jan 24, 2015. This was the first time for Fedora Release Party to be in Chongqing to my knowledge. It was organized as a joint event with Chongqing LUG’s monthly meetup. There were about 15 attendees. Most of them were from Chongqing, while I was from Beijing, and another guy was from Chengdu. This was also my first time to visit Chongqing.

The event started around 14:00 and was hosted by Linjie Lyu from Chongqing University. She asked everyone to have a self-introduction first. It turned out we had more or less equal number of company employees and university students. Among them, we had hillwood, an openSUSE contributor, who live broadcast the whole event on weibo.

The first talk was given by Lingyu Zhu. He introduced QEMU and KVM virtualization, and talked about memory balloon and virtual machine migration in details. He demonstrated the common usage of QEMU command line interface a lot during his talk. At last, he revealed the hacks to boot up an ancient system, Red Hat Linux 6.2, with a modern Linux kernel (v3.16) in QEMU.

Then, I talked about "What’s New in Fedora?". I didn’t find current Fedora users in the audience, but some of them had past experience of using Fedora. I introduced the main characteristics of Fedora, the proposal, Fedora 21 features, and Fedora Chinese User Group. In the Q&A session, we discussed about stability of desktop distribution, the role of Fedora Server, and so on.

Next, hillwood gave a lightning talk on his view of "open source". He argued that "open source" is not just "making the source code public". It also means the way of development. In particularly, It means the awareness of making the software compatible among multiple Linux distributions.

At the event we had free coffee. I also distributed the Fedora DVDs and stickers. After the event, we had a group dinner, and enjoyed ourselves while discussing various topics.

Before ending the report, I would like to share some of my observations about open source in Chongqing. Compared with Beijing, the community size is smaller in Chongqing. Part of the reason is that there are fewer IT companies with open source business. At the same time, the current companies find it difficult to find suitable employees and they often need to train new employees themselves first. Besides, there are also a similar phenomenon with Beijing: the business and/or university districts lie in distant locations. The community needs to shift between different venues to reach out to newcomers, and people need to travel some time to get together. However, there are also good news. Chongqing LUG has regular meetups, and there are active members organizing events and promoting free and open source. We think it is beneficial to involve more interested students and more outside speakers in the future.

Click here for the Chinese report by Chongqing LUG and more photos!

FAD Phnom Penh 2014 Report

Over one week ago, I attended FAD Phnom Penh 2014 in Cambodia. This Fedora Activitiy Day event was for APAC ambassadors to discuss budget planning, event planning, swag production and so on. Below is my full report of the two-day event.

Day 0 (2014-11-14): Arrival Day

I left Beijing in the afternoon and saw the beautiful sunset on the plane. My flight have an intermediate stop at Guangzhou, and we had to get off the plane their, accepted the custom check, and then went back to the same plane. I arrived at Phnom Penh International Airport at midnight. Although we filled the arrival card on the plane, we later found that we need to fill another health form (for Ebola) before getting the visa on arrival. With the help of Somvannda, I saw the Tuk Tuk driver easily when I came out of the airport, who was holding a nice sign with Fedora logo and my name. It took about half an hour from the airport to the Passion Guesthouse. I must say it was really cool to ride on a Tuk Tuk at midnight in Phnom Penh not only because the temperature was not high, but also because it made me exciting to be in a Tuk Tuk on the flyover! With banners in Chinese catching my eyes from time to time, I find Cambodia is somewhat familiar even though this is my first time to be there.

It was quite late when I arrived at the guesthouse, and I was very surprised to see Somvannda, Tuan, Siddhesh, Danishka still awake. It was so sweet of them to wait for me till the late night.

Day 1 (2014-11-15): Events and Budget

On Saturday morning I met Nisa, Izhar, and Sirko (gnokii), and we began our two-day meeting. We used the #fedora-fad IRC channel to involve remote participants. We also set up a pad on PiratePad, where I was responsible for taking important notes.

The meeting started with Sirko’s notes. He is from Germany, and he was there to help the first ambassador FAD in APAC. He pointed out the major problems with APAC communities in his mind, and offered his suggestions. He emphasized the importance of setting deadlines and installing rules. Then each of us introduced the situation in each country respectively. It seems the common problem is to attract new contributors. There are various reasons for that, such as pirating and unawareness of license, competition from other distributions, and shift of interests to cloud and apps. I think to tackle the problem, we need continuous education and promotion, and in particular we need to stress our core values and main characteristics.

Then we spent the remaining day discussing the events and allocating budget in the next fiscal year. As we can see from the wiki page, there are many events planned in the APAC region, and it is nearly impossible to ensure Fedora presence in every event. Therefore, there were a lot of debates about budget allocation when we went through the long list of events. Sometimes the discussion went off topic but we managed to bring the topic back. After we finished the budget planning, we summed them up and found a big total amount. So it is still necessary to assign different priorities for the events in case of budget cut down. It will be one main job after FAD.

According to the current budget allocation, we will promote Fedora in release parties, SFD, DFD, HFD, Linux Day as usual. We also want to have more not-so-big meetups which are for Fedora contributors and users but not tightly related to the release. Besides, we would like make Barcamp Phnom Penh and COSCUP places where ambassadors in the whole APAC region can meet and discuss.


We were quite tired after the whole day’s meeting, but we got refreshed by the local seafood at Kuch Angkor Restaurant. A friend of Tuan in Cambodia joined the dinner. We talked about a lot of things and enjoyed the Angkor beer very much.

Day 2 (2014-11-16): Other Stuff

The remaining topics were discussed on the second day. We first briefly talked about FAD and FUDCon. One current issue with FUDCon APAC is that the planning phase is too short since decision is made in January and the event happens in May. Sirko suggested that the decision should be made earlier, maybe announced right at the previous FUDCon. This way it is better advertisement and long planning period. We cannot make it work this way for FUDCon APAC 2015 though, which means possible hosts should bid for the next year’s event as soon as possible.

The main topic was swag production actually. We generally agreed that it is better to have central massive production to reduce the cost, and it is good to produce some swags with EMEA. But there are so many counties in APAC and different regulations about shipping. So first we need to collect the cost of production and shipping in each (active) country, and we set the deadline to be January 1st. We also discussed materials (such as banners) tracking and set the same deadline to work out the inventory of materials in APAC.


With APAC credit card holder Izhar on site, we went on to discuss the payapl transaction fee issue. It is a pain that currently ambassdors have to lost some money when getting reimbursed due to transaction fee charged by paypal. Several workarounds were proposed, and hopefully we can make real progress and no longer have this issue in the near future.

Last but not least, we distributed the ambassador Polo shirts. Thanks to the Cambodian team, we finally have Polo shirts for APAC ambassadors. It is really good for identification in offline events, especially those not limited to Fedora. I took along the Polo shirts for Chinese ambassadors who registered on the wiki page, and will distribute them to each owner soon. Those who have not registered on the wiki page, please request your Polo shirt by creating a ticket on the fedora-apac trac.


The last night in Phnom Penh was full of memory. We had two (!) dinners, walked along the river, visited the night market, saw famous sight spots when riding on the Tuk Tuk, and discussed even when we got back to the guesthouse. I wish I could stay longer, but to catch my flight, I left in the beautiful morning of Monday.

I have a busy schedule recently, and now over one week has passed since the FAD. I see it was a really great start for APAC ambassadors to get together, meet face to face, and fulfil important tasks. I look forward to more chances to involve more ambassadors in the region to work together. In this way we can make bigger differences as a whole.

Hanoi SFD 2014 Report

Last week, I was very honored to get sponsored to participate the Hanoi SFD 2014. I joined the Fedora meetup on Friday and gave a talk on Saturday. Below is the full report.

Day 0 (2014-09-18): Arrival Day

I left Beijing early in the morning and in the afternoon stayed in Hong Kong Airport to transfer. The flight to Hanoi was a bit late, and I arrived at the Hanoi Airport at around 8:00 PM (local time, 9:00 PM in Beijing time). The weather was wet and hot, but the people are nice. It took me some time to find a large shuttle bus, rather than the minibus. On the bus I met a Japanese guy, and it turned out he lived in a hotel not far from mine. So after getting off the bus, we walked to our hotels together most of the way.

It was about 10:00 PM when I arrived at the hotel. I shared a room with Sarup (banas), and he told me they (Thang, Somvannda, Tuan and others) would like to have me together go out for beer. I was a bit tired after the long trip, but after ten minutes’ rest, I joined them. Thang carried me on his motorbike to a street corner nearby, and I met Tuan (for the first time) and Somvannda (for the second time). I was surprised to find many people are there on the street at first. But I soon realized having cool beer outside is the best way to pass the hot night. By cool I mean not only temperature (ice beer), but also the taste (nice beer).

Day 1 (2014-09-19): Fedora Meetup

On Friday morning we went to the VAIP office and had a Fedora APAC ambassador meetup the whole day. The meetup was set up for APAC ambassadors to discuss critical tasks. EMEA has had a lot of similar meetups, but for APAC, it was the first to my knowledge. (It was at least the first in this year.) To include remote participants who cannot make it at Hanoi, we also joined the #fedora-apac IRC channel. There we met gnokii, kushal, FranciscoD, etc. We also set up a pad on PiratePad.

In the morning, we discussed many issues including the budget status, current issues and so on. It seems the major issue is that not many APAC ambassadors are active, and people do not regularly attend meetings. In China, the state is somewhat better: we do have a few active contributors and we managed to have regular IRC meetings and offline activities (release parties every release, yearly FAD, and FUDCon Beijing). In India there is another problem: there might be too many ambassadors and some people tend to use Fedora as a travel agency. We agreed that people need actively participate biweekly meetings and mailing list discussions to get their tickets approved easily, and to be considered as active, one ambassador needs to organize (or help organize) at least one event per year.

We also talked about the FAD Phnom Penh under planning and the ambassador Polo shirts. The FAD planning is generally in good shape. I saw no Taiwan ambassador registered the event but I think they should consider. Regarding the Polo shirts, unfortunately the Fedora logo on the sample shirt is incorrect and needs to be fixed. And the quality of the shirt is not quite high. I am supposed to ask local vendors in China to see if we can get better ones within a reasonable price. We went on to discuss general swag production issues. gnokii suggested that good quality can be produced in Europe for both EMEA and APAC regions. Besides, China can be one good candidate among the locations to store the swag.

I also learned from Tuan about why we APAC folks lose some money when getting reimbursed by paypal while Americans not. The reason is that US paypal accounts have the option to cover the transaction fee by the sender, while other accounts do not. So the fee is charged at the receiver side, causing the loss. To walk around the issue, we might let APAC CC holder izhar set up a US paypal account.

In the afternoon, after a short pizza lunch, we carried on remaining tasks. We spent quite some time in summarizing the budget usage in previous quarters. It was sad to find that none of the planned events in Q2 happened at last. To solve the budget problem, we adjusted the budget allocation for the remaining quarters, and came up with ideas of possible events. After that, we talked about Fedora sessions for the SFD next day. At last, Somvannda asked us to share stories of being an Fedora ambassador. For me, it was the simple idea of organizing regular events to gather existing contributors and attract newcomers, and the idea of starting something by oneself when no one else has started it.


In the evening, we went to see the water puppet show, which is fun and amazing. At dinner we had delicious dishes and noodles, and Saigon beer! But we did not stay up too late at night, since we felt quite tired after one day’s meeting, and we need to prepare for SFD in the next day.

Day 2 (2014-09-20): Hanoi SFD 2014

Saturday was the Software Freedom Day (SFD), a global event to celebrate Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). I organized SFD in Tsinghua University last year, and it is lucky for me to be part of SFD Hanoi this year. Hanoi SFD is organized by VFOSSA, the FOSS association in Vietnam. Fedora was one main sponsor of the event. It was a whole day event held in a university. So many volunteers are students and employees of the university. It was fun that the event begins with volunteers dancing, both in the morning and in the afternoon, and they are so good at it!

In the morning are welcome and keynote sessions in one large lecture hall. Sarup, Somvannda, and I are honored to be introduced as special international guests to the event (in English). They awarded new members and event sponsors in the welcome session. Later in the keynote session, Tuan delivered a speech on seven ways to contribute to Fedora (without coding). Most of the morning sessions were in Vietnamese, and I could only understand a little bit. I brought some Fedora 20 DVDs, stickers, and flyers from China, and they were distributed very soon at the booth.


In the afternoon, we had a dedicated room for Fedora related sessions. First, Thang gave a general introduction of the Fedora Project to the audience in Vietnamese. Then I talked about free and open source software defined radio (FOSS SDR). With a lot of examples, I introduced why we should have FOSS SDR, and how FOSS SDR can enable hacking in the radio frequency. I introduced GNU Radio and various SDR hardware such as HackRF and bladeRF to show how FOSS and open hardware play well with each other. Since the talk was in English, and the topic is not so familiar, the main purpose of the talk was to show the power of FOSS and open hardware, and to encourage the audience to try out and contribute to FOSS projects.


Later on, Sarup delivered a FOSS 101 talk. He talked about why we should choose FOSS, how newcomers join and contribute to Fedora, and main communication tools of FOSS communities. Then he gave an introduction on Git and version control concepts. I helped demonstrate the git operations, and Trang helped translate for easy understanding.

At around 4:00 PM, we gathered to one room again. There was a panel Q&A session followed by the lucky draw. The panel session was quite interactive, and the audience raised many questions. One interesting thing is that the panel speakers voted for the best question and there was an award for that questioner. Then in the lucky draw, it turned out we foreigners were not so lucky. None of us was chosen. But lucky draw is always fun for everyone.

In the evening, we had dinner with the organizers and volunteers of SFD. We drank beer and toast to each other. I even learned how to toast in Vietnamese!

Day 3 (2014-09-21): One Day Tour

On Sunday, Somvannda and Sarup left for the airport early in the morning. My flight was around at 7:00 PM, so I took a one day tour in Hanoi. I visited Quang Truong Ba Dinh (Ba Dinh Square), Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House, Ho Chi Minh Museum, One Pillar Pagoda, the Flag Tower, Hanoi Cathedral, and so on. The sight spots are relatively near to each other, so I travelled around mostly by walking. I had lunch at Quan An Ngon, a popular restaurant in Hanoi, and bought some candies and gifts to bring back to China. In the afternoon, on the way back to the airport, I also walked by the Ho Hoan Kiem (Hoan Kiem Lake). The sight spots are nice, and the food is delicious. So I enjoyed the trip to Hanoi a lot. Plus the warm support and help from Tuan, Thang, Somvannda, Sarup, and others, the days in Hanoi are quite memorable to me.

2014 硬件自由日清华站活动报告

2014 年 3 月 15 日,春季学期开学后不久的一个周六,清华大学 TUNA 协会在五教 5102 主办了硬件自由日清华站的活动。活动有超过 70 人参加。此次活动的主题为“让软件工程师硬起来”。

下午一点时分组织者和一些观众陆续到场。活动注册沿用电子注册方式,每个人在注册电脑上的 LibreOffice 表格中填写各自的信息,这个表格会转换为 csv 格式,被最后幸运抽奖的程序读取使用。本次活动启用了微博墙实时互动,现场第二块投影幕布由 scateu 提供。

活动正式开始于大约两点。开场时由我(赵涛)主持,并简单介绍硬件自由日活动的背景、缘起和此次活动的日程。之后便开始了正式的主题演讲环节。第一个演讲由造核电站出身但已转型为软件无线电爱好者的前 TUNA 会长王康 (scateu) 带来,题目为“HackRF x GNU Radio”。王康对完全自由开源的 HackRF 板卡以及开源易用的图形化开发平台 GNU Radio 进行了详细介绍,并在现场进行了 DTMF 译码、FM 调制、遥控小车控制信号回放等诸多演示,极大地激起了大家对软件无线电的兴趣。


紧接着是电子系的汪彧之(bigeagle)带来的用 BeagleBoneBlack 板子搭建路由器的经验分享。他介绍了 BBB 板子的概况,之后详细地介绍了整个搭建流程,从发行版的选取到关键软件的配置。问答环节有同学问到自制路由器偶尔会无线挂掉的问题,bigeagle 解答表示他会利用看门狗(watchdog)程序监测这一问题并适时重启路由器。


接下来来自计算机系的赵一开(blahgeek)对树梅派(RPi)的各种用途进行了介绍。树梅派作为廉价开源开发板的典型代表,可以被用来做许多有趣的事情。blahgeek 提到了他们用它来实现智能家居的情况。现场没能对小乌龟自动喂食做详细介绍,不过 blahgeek 在个人博客中进行过介绍




五点左右时,活动来到了最后的幸运抽奖环节,我们使用了 bigeagle 提供了一个开源的网页版抽奖应用。活动最后大家合影留念。


由于有上次自由软件日活动的经验教训,此次活动在前期宣传、现场注册、以及礼品发放上都比较顺利。此外,本次活动组织中由 bigeagle 引入了 trello 这一在线的轻量级项目管理协作工具,组织协调工作更为有序。至于存在的问题,主要就是会后大家都有许多事情要忙,本人迟迟没有把活动报告写出来。

活动演讲的讲稿链接可以在维基页面上找到。活动照片放在 Flickr 上的 TUNA 群组。反馈问卷调查结果的链接也在维基页面。

COSCUP 2014 行记

今年 7 月 19–20 日,台湾的开源社区大会 COSCUP 2014 在台北召开。我有幸以演讲者的身份第一次参加到了活动当中,所见所闻颇丰。


什么时间第一次听说 COSCUP 我已经记不清楚了。可以确定的是 emily 在 4 月份的一次 IRC 会议里提起过。tonghui 应该也提到过若干次。在大家的口中,COSCUP 非常有趣,台湾人很有娱乐精神。于是在今年的 COSCUP 征集演讲时,我投了两个话题,最终很幸运有一个被接收。FUDCon 期间,Max 也极力推荐我去 COSCUP 体验一下,liangsuilong 特别提到和 zerng07 等位于台湾的 Fedora 社区成员会面交流,他们也会参加 COSCUP 活动。此外,我对台湾自由行盘算多时,这正好是一个顺道去台湾旅行的机会,而 COSCUP 时间正好和实验室假期安排一致。基于以上原因,我下定决心去参加 COSCUP,之后顺便台湾自由行,即使后来得知大会不提供机票住宿的报销。

第 0 天:7 月 18 日


因为机票要自费,所以最终订了一个在香港中转一次的航班。去程是深夜出发,感谢宝哥开车送我去首都国际机场。安检时查出带的洗头膏和沐浴露超量(200 mL,超出 100 mL 限制),只能免费寄存在机场,等回程时取走。航班延误了大约两个小时,应该与香港方面的天气情况有关。延误使得到香港时已经天亮,于是在香港机场吃了早饭。VISA 信用卡不知为何用不了,而且没有预备港币,还好可以付人民币找港币。

到达台北桃园机场已经是中午时分。排队过边检、换台币,发现机场已经不办青壮卡了。我住宿订在南港安乐旅社,过去要先坐一个小时的巴士。赶上了 12 点多出发去南港的客运巴士,巴士报站的是标准的台湾男声,温文尔雅。巴士终点是南港展览馆,我还进去逛了逛,不过没看到什么展览,倒是有一个会场有许多日本人在聚会。出来后依着旅社事先给的路线提示寻找,不过第一次真的没找到。当时还没办手机卡,在机场没有注意到办卡地点,再去找就只能做一个小时后的一班巴士了。不过走着走着看到路边有个中华电信的营业厅,于是决定先把手机卡办了。办的十天不限流量的 3G 卡,要 500 新台币;另外为了能打电话发短信,又充了 100 新台币值,后来证明这个充多了用处不大。办卡的女生太温柔礼貌了,我刚等了十秒钟就跟我说让您久等了,这着实让我一惊。

有了手机卡,有了 3G 网络,Google 地图终于可以派上用场了。最终找到旅社时,感慨他们家的门面招牌太小太不起眼了。不过他们是一家正宗的国际青旅,条件设施相当不错。住下后的下午没有出门,主要是休息一下,另外上网预订了去花莲的火车票,查了去演讲者晚宴的路线。


演讲者晚宴在钱唐村,从我住的地方可以坐捷运过去,我顺道办了悠游卡。出捷运后还要走一会儿,路上经过了诚品敦南店,还能望到 101 大楼。还没看到餐厅招牌,就已经看到了从上海前来参会的 Thomas Yao。后来得知这是一家上海菜馆,饭菜很不错,不过 Thomas 的心情很复杂。进门领了胸牌 (Badge),看到了 tonghui。在吃好喝好的同是,还认识了 COSCUP 主办方议程方面的组织者、大会主持人 Richard Lin,以及我的演讲所在分会场的主持人 Penk,见到了 PCManX, fourdollars 等大神。比较囧的是一开始把 g0v 的村长误认成了大妈,二人发型初看挺像的 XD 从晚宴回住处的途中,我去了国父纪念馆,近距离拍摄了 101 大楼。

第 1 天:7 月 19 日

COSCUP 正式活动于周末两天在中研院举行。周六我早起在住处附近吃过早饭后搭公车(大陆称公交)前往会场。刚开始搞错了方向,耽误了些时间,不过也了解到台湾的公车是需要摆手才会到站停车的。到会场后找到演讲者签到处,很快拿到了会议袋,内有一本议程册和一件 Polo 衫和若干宣传页。COSCUP 并行演讲有 7 个之多,人文馆一层楼的会议室装不下,以至于一半的演讲在另外一个楼,名叫学术活动中心。好在 keynote 时全场地联播,各个分会场都可以实时看到主会场的画面,能够有效地分流观众。我的演讲安排在学术活动中心的一个房间,并且就在 keynote 之后,所以我提前去那个楼了。

九点多些,活动正式开幕,Richard 是主持。他介绍今年参会一千多人,但门票开票后 10 秒钟就被抢光,可谓秒杀,COSCUP 受欢迎程度可见一斑。Richard 还指出 COSCUP 不仅仅是技术分享,更重要的是提供遇到社区中的人,和大家面对面交流的机会。之后是题为 Maker 《自造世代》的 keynote,但与传统形式有很大不同,这个 keynote 先是播放 Maker 电影片段,然后是主持人和电影团队、开源人士进行小组讨论 (panel discussion)。Maker 大陆翻译为创客,台湾翻译为自造者。Maker 和开源有许多关联,这也是主办方将今年主题定为 Make Things Happen 的原因。

keynote 行将结束时,我就前往 H3 会议室,准备我的演讲了。H3 是个小会议室,挺容易坐满的。我的主题是 What’s Next?,开始前我先做了个小调查,发现在场听说过、用过 Fedora 的用户还不少。在演讲中我还是先简单介绍了 Fedora 项目及其四项基本点,然后介绍了 这一架构提案的缘起、内容、以及当前进展情况。 目前仍是一个比较新的概念,这个演讲的主要目的是让中文社区的朋友更紧密地跟进说英语的核心社区,为社区未来发展做出更多更为核心的贡献。

问答环节有提问问到 Fedora 会不会有类似某些发行版那样的长期支持版 (LTS)。我的回答是目前看来没有。这和 Fedora 相对更追求新鲜特性 (Feature)、敢为人先 (First) 的特点有关。RHEL、CentOS 等 Fedora 衍生版则更多关注稳定性。历史上有一个 Fedora Legacy 项目来对旧版本的 Fedora 进行持续支持,不过后来因为缺乏人力和兴趣,已经不再继续。不过,最近的 Fedora 贡献者大会 Flock 2014 上,Fedora Workstation 工作组的 Christian Schaller 提到要打造真正的 ABI,这也许会在将来改善 Fedora 的长时稳定性。


之后我发放了 Fedora 的小礼品——一些胸章和徽章 (pins and buttons)给现场听众。这些小礼品最初在欧洲生产,由 tuanta 带到越南,然后在 FUDCon 时寄到北京,再被我带到台湾,相当有纪念意义。我也受到了 COSCUP 给演讲者准备的礼物,是一个体验活字印刷的盒子,非常精美。值得一提的是,COSCUP 会让演讲者现场签一个授权协议,用 CC 协议授权自己的讲稿和录像。

茶歇时间,我找到 zerng07 等人,边聊天边逛展台(摊位)。大会展台巨多,分布在不同楼以及不同楼层。主办方搞起了所谓大地游戏,逛展台时刷自己的胸牌,然后刷够一定数量后可以领取一个礼品,这也刺激了大家逛展台的兴趣,增进了和不同社区交流讨论的机会。Mozilla、Ubuntu 等的台湾社区颇为壮大,展台布置地也很赞,礼品多多活动多多。来自大陆的赞助商 GitCafe 也有一个活跃的展台,不过他们需要和不太了解的观众解释他们不是卖咖啡的 :D。值得一提的是,一些赞助商看似和技术、开源没什么关系,却也在展台上兴致勃勃地卖茶、卖饮料,足见 COSCUP 已经辐射到传统的开源圈子以外,有着更广泛的关注和参与。在展台处碰到了 Max,顺利实现了 GNOME.Asia 视频的“人肉转运”。几天之后,Max 就把他们悉数上传到了 Youtube 上。

午餐由 COSCUP 统一提供,两个发放点,一千多人秩序井然地排队。队伍绕了整个楼层一周,据说排到了别的楼层,阵势丝毫不亚于清华电子系学生节排队。午餐就是大陆习惯称呼的盒饭,在台湾叫便当。菜品比较丰富,味道也不错。午饭时和大家聊,大家一致认为中研院是一个非常好的场地。事实上两年前的 COSCUP 也是在这里举办。饭后亲眼见到餐余垃圾的细致分类,印象深刻。

一天之中,除了茶歇和午餐,剩余时间主要就是赶场听报告了。在两层座位加过道都坐满了的大会议室里,PCMan 讲到 LXQt 是开源社区的成功合并 (merge) 而非分支 (fork),而他本人是个医生,开源只是业余爱好。法律专业老师葛冬梅为大家讲解如何确定开源项目的许可证信息,特殊情况该如何处理。Kito Cheng 生动地描述开源编译器,主要是 clang 和 gcc,之间的“竞赛”,所在的小会议室在开讲前就已爆棚。来自赞助商 Google 的演讲题目直到最后才揭晓,是由其工程师吴光哲介绍刚刚发布的 Noto Sans CJK 字体制作过程的点滴,中型会议室也是人满为患。下午最后一场,我听了高村长 (clkao) 的 g0v 村情咨文。

到了晚上,COSCUP 安排了分社区的 BoF(Bird of Feather,同类人聚会)环节,并且提供了皮萨可乐。我参加了 Fedora 社区的聚会,和台湾地区的 Fedora 中文用户边吃边聊。Fedora 在台湾的社区不大,影响力相对较小,成员都比较年轻,多为学生,发展新成员也较多依靠朋友推介,优点是有兴趣有热情方便组织活动,缺点是社区参与受学业影响较大。这一点和大陆的情况颇为类似。因为人数不多,人力有限,所以台湾社区成员的精力主要集中在中文字体、输入法、本地化等中文用户最关心的问题上。相比起来,大陆这边贡献更为多元。另外,虽然台湾社区成员也参与 Fedora 中文列表的讨论,但他们似乎主要通过 Fedora 中文用户组在 Facebook 上的社群页来在线交流,而大陆用户很少参与其中,这使得两边交流目前比较有限。希望今后两边能有更多交流,在台湾地区大家的活力能够让 Fedora 为更多的人所知所用。

BoF 结束后,Max 请我和 tonghui 去他们住处附近的宁夏夜市,体验台北小吃。最初我们大陆团计划去师大夜市,不过得知那里的夜市氛围已大不如前。宁夏夜市位于宁夏街,一条不长的街道,但路两边小吃店和小吃摊琳琅满目。Max 带我们体验了炒粉(?)、豆花、还有记不清名字的带馅丸子,我们纷纷表示很好吃,并未事先没有预留肚子表示遗憾。据了解,台北小吃可以吃到晚上两三点,相应地公车和捷运的末班也都较晚,不由感慨台湾人民夜生活之幸福。


因为我在台湾要待的日期不多,所以周日我就没有参与 COSCUP 的活动,而是选择了台北一日游。不过单就这一天,COSCUP 已经给我留下了很深的感受。总体说来,COSCUP 作为一个社区大会,汇聚了许多台湾的开源社区,促进了社区成员之间的交流,已经显示出了对更广泛人群的吸引力。从演讲话题来讲,话题征集不只强调甚至一定程度上弱化技术,更为关注社区建设和发展。另外开源被赋予了更多的内涵和外延,除了传统的开源技术社区话题外,还有不少开放政府、开放数据的主题。台湾当地的演讲者参与开源大多是兴趣驱动,演讲幽默风趣、生动好玩,(据说闪电演讲都会各种表演乃至杂耍,)演讲效果自然上乘。相对于技术交流为主的演讲,COSCUP 更注重让大家通过面对面的机会交友和交流,这对社区的发展壮大是有益的。反观大陆,我以为还没有一个能和 COSCUP 相提并论的社区大会。上半年的 GNOME.Asia 和 FUDCon APAC 合办,是一次很好的经历,但是在参与社区的数目、活动规模等方面还有一定差距。这和活动本身定位有关系,毕竟他们本身面向的人群是自己社区,面向的地域是整个亚洲/亚太而非中国。COSCUP 的成功,也许得益于台湾地域较小,交通相对廉价,人民(这里主要是程序员)生活水平较高。不过这不是大陆地区(或者整个华语地区)没有如此社区大会的借口。COSCUP 在议程、志愿者、展台等方面为大陆的社区活动提供了可以借鉴的经验。在其帮助下,通过社区群策群力,相信大陆地区真正意义上的社区大会可以梦想成真。

FUDCon APAC 2014 Report

Note: This is a press style report of FUDCon APAC 2014, which summarizes the event highlights. Don’t miss the links to slides, videos, and photos!

FUDCon APAC 2014 was successfully held at Conference Center at New Main Building of Beihang University, Beijing, China during May 23 to 25, 2014. This year the event was held together with GNOME.Asia Summit, an annual conference for GNOME users and developers in Asia. It turns out to be a rather exciting experience of mutually beneficial cooperation of free and open source communities. In total, GNOME.Asia and FUDCon APAC 2014 attracted more than 500 registrants, and among them over 300 attended the event.

There were 52 speakers in total and among them 22 are for FUDCon. Thanks to the help with the community budget, many non-local speakers joined the event and made FUDCon Beijing a big gather up for the Fedora community. The speakers delivered a wide range of topics about free and open source technologies and communities presented in keynote speeches and five parallel tracks. Richard Stallman gave a keynote speech on Computing, Freedom, and Privacy, which is the favorite speech according to the feedback survey. Talks in FUDCon tracks cover various subprojects of Fedora, as well as new application introduction and community building discussion. The links to all slides are available at the wiki page. As for the videos, they are currently available at the GNOME.Asia channel on Youtube. The Fedora Videos team is working to make them available on Fedora channel.

There were about 50 volunteers at the event. They were recruited from the local universities and companies. They showed great enthusiam and did amazing jobs to make the event well organized. Two of them, Tong Hui from GNOME and Zamir Sun from Fedora, were each awarded the prize of best volunteer, a hand fan full of wishes in various languages written by the attendees.

It is worth pointing out that about ten percent of the attendees are women. Many of them are active volunteers and talented speakers. Still more women contributors are expected in free and open source communities. And there was a dedicated session, Fedora Women initiated by Nitesh, to discuss the issue and possible solutions.

FUDCon is not just about technical sessions. It is also about meeting friends and having fun. FUDPub was organized as a welcome party, and there was a celebration party with delicious buffet on Sunday evening. On Saturday there were sports games including football, baseketball, and ping-pong. These social events helped the attendees enjoy the conference and the community.

Special thanks go to the sponsors. FUDCon was sponsored by 7 companies and 5 local communities. The success would be impossible without their generous support. There were 14 booths for sponsoring companies and local communities at the joint event. Attendees enjoyed hanging around the booths for discussion, and many swags were distributed at the booths.

Photos and Reports from various attendees are aggregated on the wiki page. The FUDCon Beijing Badge has been created and is in the process of collecting FAS usernames at the current writing.


FUDCon APAC 2014 Day 2

This is my own (unofficial) report of FUDCon APAC 2014 Day 2 (Sunday).

Main Hall

The hosts in the main hall on Sunday were Tobi from GNOME and Tommy He from Fedora. The sessions began with the keynote speech on Systemd by Lennart Poettering. He talked about what is the modern Linux system and what role Systemd plays in it. Pity I didn’t finish listening to the talk, since I was asked out to help with hacking room. It turns out quite a few guys would like a separate hacking room. So we decided to open up Room 2 for hacking. Shortly after setting it up, the most important guest, Richard Stallman (RMS), came to the venue along with Zeuux guys and others. They were not happy with the booth setup (it was the last booth) until an exchange was made. They brought many swags, and some of them are to be sold rather than given away. Richard also went into the hack room since it was still some time from his keynote.


After Lennart’s talk there were four lightning talks. It’s such a pity that I missed them all, in particular biergaizi’s lightning talk on “Tips about Linux Servers”. Then RMS’s keynote on “Computing, Freedom and Privacy” began. Many more people were coming and filling up the main hall. RMS’s talk itself is not quite new to me since I had listened to him in Tsinghua. The part about why GNOME was created at all was new, but the history was already familiar to Linux hobbyists. However, being able to listen to his talk on site was quite impressive and educating. I have the feeling that his opinion might be ahead of the time but is always right. In the middle of the talk, he held an auction for a toy gnu and “an adorable book” (Free Software, Free Society). After the talk was the Q&A, which lasted till about 12:45. We went to Heyi Building for lunch after that.


At lunch I got the message from zsun that Ankur would like to have the GPG key signing party in a small room rather than main hall. That was doable and we had difficulties to find a substitute to fill in the empty slot in main hall. At last the signing party was held in Room 2 and there was no replacement in main hall.

Room 3

After lunch it was near 14:00, and the first talk in Room 3 was supposed to be mine. So I hurried there to prepare. The volunteers (Feng Tian, Justin Wong, Rosie Ye, Tang Zhixin, etc.) were ready. I began my talk on LaTeX Tips a little bit later than the schedule. I talked about common compilation errors and output errors and how to fix them. The time was limited so I skipped the part about math formulas and BibTeX errors. I got a question about the main advantages of LaTeX compared with GUI Office applications. I explained that the advantages lie in high quality output and automatic generation of table-of-contents and list-of-various-stuff. Users normally only focus on the main contents rather than formatting issues.

The second talk was “CD using Docker” by Gerard Braad. He explained the actual definition of CD, Consistent Development and Deployment, and use Docker to demonstrate the concept. He introduced PaaS, LXC, cgroups, Dokku and so on along the talk. The talk was presented in an interactive and interesting way: questions, answers, and gifts!

After that there were only 10 minutes for tea break. However it was a nice time to take photos in front of the large banner. The following talk was meant to be Carbo Kuo’s Batsh topic, but he could not come and had sent regrets on Saturday. So Cheer Xiao’s talk was moved upwards to fill in the slot. Cheer Xiao talked about his experiments with Elvish, a new Unix shell created by himself. There were many considerations and tradeoffs when designing a shell, and he introduced the philosophy behind his choices. He also compared it with existing shells such as fish and zsh.

There was no more talks in Room 3 afterwards, so we headed for Room 8 to join the discussion about Fedora Women.

Room 8

The last talk in Room 8 was “Fedora Women” by Nitesh. He would like to make it more an interactive discussion than an oral presentation, and asked zsun and me to help translate. The session turned out to be quite productive. There were many nice suggestions out of the discussion. The main points are summarized as follows (with relevant names in parentheses):

  • For online communications such as IRC in a diverse community like Fedora, people generally do not know whether one is a man or woman, so there is normally no discrimination against gender. The community is equal to men and women. Potential women contributors should not fear questions such as why do you code you are a girl. If there is any such question, it is more important what is one’s interest than what is others’ opinion. (Nitesh, Ankur, Feng Tian)

  • Fedora has many roles and tasks for contributors. Even if you do not like coding, you can try to join the design team or the translation (L10N) team or others to contribute. Fedora also has a lot of special interest groups (SIGs) which welcomes people with that special interest, such as electronics, cloud computing and so on. And there is the opportunity to start a new SIG. There is a SIG called Fedora Join SIG, which is an ideal place for people who are new to the project and do not know what exactly they should do. You can just do informal introduction in the Join SIG mailing list and people will help you find what you can do. (Jaroslav, Aditya, Nitesh, Ankur)

  • There are many tasks waiting for people to join and contribute. And there will be many new tasks since is coming. Some of them are easyfix ones, which is very suitable for new contributors to get started. (Ankur, Jaroslav)

  • The local communities should draw the attention of outside non-users, organize activities to help them especially women to install Fedora on their computer and to show them how things work in the communities. Among the activities some can be girls oriented. Besides, blogging about how to install the OS and how to do various things on Fedora! (Martin, Aditya, Nitesh)

  • Lovely dolls attract girls! We should design more stuff than stickers for offline events. (Feng Tian, zsun)

  • Fedora might have a narrower user base than other projects like GNOME. But people can actually contribute to Fedora even without using it everyday. The way can be bug reporting, translating, or volunteering in offline events, etc. (Justin Wong, zsun)

  • A question to current contributors: why do you fail to bring your girlfriend to the community? (Robin Lee)

  • We should continue the discussion after the conference, rather than raising the same question again on the next conference. We should setup activities talking about how to achieve something, especially in Beijing. We should have clear targets. (Martin)


We went back to the main hall for the closing part of the event, and found the last talk in the main hall had not been finished, and it also became a discussion. So it seems we should consider panel discussion as a session type in the future.

The closing speech was given by Kat (IIRC) and Jaroslav respectively, and then followed by the speech by the local team. Emily and I went on the stage. She spoke in English and I did the translation. We gave our thanks to everyone, especially hardworking volunteers. The two hand fans, full of writings in different languages, were given to Tong Hui and Zamir Sun respectively as gifts for best volunteer of each community. The top horizontal scroll for the couplet was decided to be “Happy Hacking” according to the result of two days’ voting. At last we had a group photo.




In the evening we had a very nice buffet dinner at Oasis Café, Vision Hotel, which is just behind the conference venue. We toasted to everyone and thanked them for coming. I sat with robyduck and zsun. We talked about a lot of things including robyduck’s travel plan. Robyduck also pointed out a possible issue with FZUG’s logo. Richard Stallman also went to the celebration party. Besides, zsun and I stood in front of the camera of Nitesh near the cafe since we promised to participate the short interview by him and Ankur. It was such a relax at the dinner after two days’ event and after several months’ preparation. And I was really happy that many people found the event good and successful.