Kushal Das

FOSS and life. Kushal Das talks here.


Event report: FOSSASIA 2017

FOSSASIA 2017 reminded me of foss.in. After a long time, finally, a conference which has the similar aspects. Similar kind of tight organizing team, the presence of upstream communities from different locations. The participation from the local Singapore tech community along with Hackerspace Singapore is a serious boost. This was my 4th FOSSASIA conference, and also 3rd time in Singapore. I should thank Mario, Hong, and rest of the organizers to make this event a very pleasant experience.

This time Sayan booked an Airbnb for Anwesha and me. Saptak + Medo + Siddhesh + Praveen Patil, and Pooja Yadav, & Pravin Kumar were also staying in the same Airbnb in the Chinatown. The conference venue was the Singapore Science Center just like last year. Having the conference in the same place helps as the MRT route is very easy to reach there on time.

The day before the conference we had a speakers meetup in the Singapore Microsoft office. We also received a tour of the office, the person in-charge also explained about how are managing an office without permanent seating positions.

Day one

The conference started at 9:24AM (as Hong asked us to remember the time). I attended the talks from Harish Pillay and Chan Cheow Hoe. The idea of having the CIO of the country coming to the conference and giving a talk on Open Source is a great feeling. In 2015 we had Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Vivian Balakrishnan giving a keynote (and talking about the NodeJS code he wrote). The way govt. is taking part in the local community events is something other countries should try to learn. Of course, Singapore has the benefit of being small in size.

Though the day was full of talks related to AI and machine learning, there were two talks I was waiting to attend. After lunch, the first one was from Bunnie Huang, where he spoke about making technology more inclusive. He talked about Chibitronics. Before I traveled to Singapore, I actually asked him to get a copy of his new book, The Hardware Hacker. I got my copy signed by him after his talk :) (I already finished the book while coming back to India, more on that later in a separate blog post). I also met Xobs and found a Chibtronics Love-to-Code board in his pocket :)

Later in the day, Frank Karlitschek gave his keynote titled Protecting privacy with free software. He brought up the original idea of the Internet being decentralized. The last talk of the day was a panel discussion on Artificial Intelligence.

Day 2 & Day 3

I spent most of the time in the Python track, and in between jumping around different floors of the venue meeting people. I personally had a two-hour workshop on MicroPython and NodeMCU. Anwesha was busy in the PyLadies table along with Pooja. I forgot to show the poster of PyCon APAC in the Python track :( But you can still submit talks and attend the conference. Sadly this will clash with another conference for me.

Anwesha had her talk on day 3, and her laptop's display decided to crash just before the talk. But finally the slides came back :) I also attended the SELinux workshop from Jason Zaman. He and few BSD friends convinced me to try out ZFS, and then build a new home storage with FreeNAS.

Now I have to wait for the next edition of FOSSASIA. It is a great place where I can meet my friends from different parts of the world, and share ideas :)

Tommorow FOSSASIA meets PyLadies Pune

Tomorrow we have a special PyLadies meetup at the local Red Hat office. Hong Phuc Dang from FOSSASIA is coming down for a discussion with the PyLadies team here. She will be taking about various projects FOSSASIA is working on, including codeheat. In the second half I will be taking a workshop on creating command line shell using Python.

On Friday we will be moving to Belgaum, Karnataka, India. We will be participating in Science Hack Day India, the idea is to have fun along with school kids, and build something. Praveen Patil is leading the effort for this event.

Day 3 of FOSSASIA 2016

Before I write about day 3 of FOSSASIA, I want to mention about the dinner at the end of day 2. Py managed to grab the microphone, and kept speaking to it in her encrypted language. In between I was running behind her so that she does not pick up any left over drinks. But once she managed to grab someone's beer and had her first drink before we can do something.

Day 3 morning I managed to reach the venue just before the day started. We had one workshop about Telegram bots. Harish was also in the room, we got some nice participation from everyone. People tried out the live bot.

After this as the next workshop started, we moved into 2nd floor to listen to Huzaifa. In his talk he mentioned many cases where people/companies are focusing on casting buzz, and confusing FOSS users rather than just working towards fixing the vulnerabilities. Many closed source products do not even tell their users which all vulnerabilities they fixed in a released update. It was a very well received talk. I wanted to attend Lennart's Systemd workshops, but they were at the same time in morning :(

During lunch I demoed the latest features of Tunir to Lennart Even though we never discussed deep details, but he seemed to be happy with the ideas. I also managed to get a VLC chocolate :)

After lunch at 2PM few of us gathered near exhibition area for a key signing event. We all verified each other's ID(s), and the fingerprints.

At 4:30PM we all moved into the big hall for the last session of the event. Hong Phuc and Mario gave many details about how they event went. We had people are 32 different countries, 206 speakers (7 did not turn up), 1086 unique participants. FOSSASIA is going to stay in Singapore, means next year we all are coming back to this amazing country for another great event.

Day Two of FOSSASIA 2016

I had to leave early to the venue for day two, as I had a welcome talk in the Python track. The morning started with the "Introduction to GSOC, and GCI" talk from Stephanie Taylor. The room was full with many ex-GSOC and GCI students, and mentors. The students of GCI last year completed more than 4k tasks, among them 1k+ was done by the students under FOSSASIA organization.

After this talk I moved to the Python track room. With a small welcome talk we started the first talk in the track, "Test driven development with pytest" from Ivan Zimine. The Goat book was there in the slides. He gave example of a very simple Flask application, and then how to test it with pytest. At the end few users asked about preference between Django and Flask :)

Next Sayan started his talk about Fedora Infrastructure. He gave a nice overview of the different applications running in the infrastructure, and how one can join the team. During the QA session, one person asked how do we choose which projects to work on? I think this answer should get it's own blog post.

Next, I was up for the talk about Tunir. I demoed the latest features (again, more details are coming next week). My talk slides are here.

After lunch I moved to the "Internet, Society, Community" track as Anwesha had her talk there. I managed to stay inside the room for the most part of Anivar's talk about India's fight for Netneutrality and Open Internet, but Py was crying, so I had to leave the room. Luckily she slept just before Anwesha's talk, so we managed to get back into the room. Anwesha gave her talk on a FOSS conference titled Anatomy of a Software Patent for a foss developer. I am sure she will write more about it in her blog.

From 4PM I had my "Python3 101" workshop. There were many newcomers in the workshop, so I tried to explain basic things more. We saw few differences between Python 2, and Python 3. At the end of the workshop we wrote our own "ls" replacement in Python. Below is a picture few students who came down from Dubai to attend FOSSASIA, they participated in my workshop along with their teacher.

FOSSASIA 2016 is on

FOSSASIA, the premier conference on Free and Open Source Software in Asia is having their 2016 edition in Singapore Science Center, Singapore. Even though the today is the first day of the event, the social part of the conference already started from yesterday.

Harish Pillay arranged a get together for all the speakers in the Singapore Red Hat office yesterday morning. I met many speakers from previous years, I also met some new faces. Among the many different discussions we had, a major portion was about SDR, and HAM. Thanks to Daniel Pocock, and Harish, and few others HAM(s) in the room, we learned a lot of new things. I came back to the hotel in between to get Py, and Anwesha. After lunch, rest of the day we spent in the office helping out Harish to setup Fedora 23 on the laptops for the conference. Anwesha was busy practicing her talk, Py was happy to see so many cables in one place :)

Had to wake up early so that we can catch the MRT on time, we reached the venue around 9:10AM, and moved directly in the main auditorium. After a slight delay, the conference started, Hong Phuc gave the first welcoming talk, and then Mario spoke for few minutes about the conference. Harish gave the keynote, and formally the talks started afterwards. In his talk he went through many history lessons, and also discussed about GPL. I am sure that he managed to get many people excited about the current phase of FOSS in the technology world.

The next talk of the morning was from Bunnie Huang, where he spoke about Burning Man 2015, and the IoT device they have used as the conference badge. Another interesting talk followed as Rethinking Drone Delivery with Open Source from Singapore Post. In another talk Cat Allman gave an insider view of Science and Open Source program in Google. As you can see, I had already attended way more number of talks than in most other conferences (even though I know that the video recording of the talks will be available in future).

Lunch was good, though Py was in kind of angry mode at that time. We had to chase her around in the venue as she was being able to walk/run properly from the last few days :)

I took some time to find the room for hardware track, I went in more than 1 hour before my talk on micro:bit. I met Daniel Blueman (from Numascale) once again (we met last year), and we spent the time discussing about ARM hardware, and why do we think that it will become a super major thing in future.

In my micro:bit talk I demoed Mu, the editor for microbit. Couple of kids tried hands on programing at the end of my talk.

We came back from the venue to the hotel. Even though there was another speakers' meetup at night, we both decided to skip it as we have talks/workshop tomorrow. I will start the Python track at 10:15AM, it will end with my Python 3 101 workshop starting from 4PM.

Python track at FOSSASIA 2016

(Stephen J. Turnbull during his talk in Python track, FOSSASIA 2015).

The 2016 edition of FOSSASIA is happening from 18-20th March, in the Singapore Science Center, Singapore. We are again having a Python track in this event, which starts on 19th March (Saturday). The following is a summarised entry of the schedule for us.

On 19th March

  • Python at FOSSASIA (Introduction talk to the track), speaker: /me.
  • 10:30am Test driven development with pytest by Ivan Zimine (Python User Group Singapore).
  • 11:00am Dive deep into Fedora Infra by Sayan Chowdhury (Fedora Project).
  • 11:30am Tunir the simple CI by /me again.
  • Photo and then lunch break
  • 1:30pm Command Line Application Design by Shadab Zafar (Jamia Millia Islamia).
  • 2:00pm Using Python Client to talk with Zanata Server by Sundeep Anand (Red Hat).
  • 2:30pm Python in my Science Classroom by Praveen Patil (ExpEYES).
  • 3:00pm Building a proper UI/UX for the wiki engine (GSoC'15 Project) by Yask Srivastava (Moin Moin Wiki).
  • 3:30pm ircb - A versatile, scalable IRC Bouncer, as a service, for humans by Sayan Chowdhury (Fedora Project).
  • 4:00pm Python 3 101 workshop of 2 hours, by /me.

On 20th March

  • 10:00am Leveraging Telegram API and nltk to implement interactive user interfaces for businesses by Kranthi Kiran Guduru (NIT Warangal) workshop of 1 hour
  • 11:00am Building user centric applications using the Loklak and Twitter API - An example of Complaint registrations by Sudheesh Singanamalla (Loklak / NIT Warangal) workshop of 1 hour
  • 1:00pm Openess in Quality: Migrating testing framework from bash to pytest by Amita Sharma (Red Hat).
  • 1:30pm Multibody Dynamics and Control with Python by Sahil Shekhawat (SymPy / PyDy)
  • 2:00pm Symbolic Computation with Python using SymPy by Amit Kumar JHA (SymPy) Workshop of 2 hours

If you look closely at the talks, we have talks on testing framework (pytest), talks on particular applications including how Python is being used to teach science in class rooms (ExpEyes). We have hands on workshops about Python3, Telegram, and Twitter API, and about symbolic computation. It is going to be lot of discussions, and learning. The full conference schedule is also live. It has many other tracks, and speakers from different upstream projects. We also have a DevOps track, which is filled with some excellent talks from my colleagues in Red Hat.