FOSSASIA 2016: Singapore

FOSSASIA 2016

FOSSASIA is an annual Free and Opensource conference that focuses on showcasing these FOSS technologies and software in Asia. It has talks and workshops that covers a wide range of topics – from hardware hacks, to design, graphics and software.

This year, the conference is held in my home country, Singapore, at the Science Center. The Science Center is a place where people can see Science happen and learn how it works. It’s a pretty nice place to hold this conference and it is quite relevant as well, because technology is related to Computing Sciences and theories.

My talk was approved and I was scheduled to talk on the Day 2 of the event. My talk is about Opening Up Yourself. Basically, it’s about Opensource VS Proprietary software and contributing to Opensource. I am also manning the Fedora booth for this year!

Day 0

Day 0 of FOSSASIA was fantastic! I met up with some of the other speakers at the Red Hat office at 10 AM.

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There were lots of people from all over the world who came down for this event! I met with Red Hat Israel’s Yaniv Bronhaim and Liron Aravot; both of them were going to speak about Red Hat’s community virtualisation products – oVirt and Foreman.

I’ve also met with Daniel Pocock, prominent Debian contributor, and Francois, VLC Cone man. Both of them were quite friendly and shared a lot on HAM radios and plenty of other cool stuff too!

Parag, Fedora engineer, was also there and he passed me the Fedora DVDs that I’ve requested for.

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After the meetup, we formed a small group and had lunch together.

FOSSASIA Speakers

Thereafter, Daniel wanted to procure for some USB radio dongle that would be able to do Software Defined Radio stuff like transmitting and receiving radio signals. So we went down to Sim Lim Square and Sim Lim Tower and began our search there. Unfortunately, after several hours of search, we couldn’t find what we wanted. I was looking forward to getting one for myself to play with but there was zero luck.

We went down to meet with Alexandre Lision, one of the contributors to The Ring project, and went for the next FOSSASIA dinner meetup.

FOSSASIA Meetup at Bugis

The dinner with the other speakers was fantastic. But it was expensive – around $20~ per person. I’m not sponsored by Fedora or Red Hat for this event so there’s no way of claiming the cost. Nevertheless, I would say it was worth it because I got to interact with the other speakers.

In summary, for Day 0:

  • Met with lots of speakers
  • Got the Fedora DVDs
  • Spent most of my day with Daniel
  • Expenditure – $55 SGD~
  • Mood – Excited, happy, tired, a bit stressed

Day 1

Day 1 was yet another exciting day at FOSSASIA! I was scheduled to help moderate the DevOps track for Day 1.

FOSSASIA 2016 begins

I met Phoon Woh Shon (just call him Shon), one of the Senior Solutions Architect at Red Hat. Had a little conversation with him and apparently, he was an ex-Ngee Ann Lecturer. Very coincidental as I’m currently studying at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. The picture is a bit dark but he’s the guy in the sky blue shirt.

Shon

There were lots of talks by the Red Hatters in the DevOps track for Day 1.

About These Talks

These talks were all full house, so I, as a moderator, had to stand throughout the entire DevOps track, for 3 hours. Legs were in pain but not that bad and might have been worth it. Being a moderator is pretty fun as well because you’ve got more power over the prominent speakers. Hahaha, secretly empowers my ego momentarily. It was really great and I had a fun time moderating the talks.

Weird thing is that, some of the talks aren’t related to DevOps but they were still categorised as DevOps. Most of the talks in the DevOps track were quite technical, so I couldn’t understand much about what they are even saying. Well, I learnt that Systemd is not as simple as it seems and it appears to be more powerful than what I’ve known. Ovirt talk was also quite interesting. He mentioned about Foreman, a powerful Web GUI that can enable you to easily manage and deploy new host nodes and virtual machines easily. Ovirt is the upstream whilst Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation is the downstream. So yeah, pretty much about it.

Interesting Statement

I managed to spend some time at the booth after moderating the DevOps track. Daniel popped by and I learnt something very interesting from him. We were talking about proprietary software and I mentioned about burning down the Microsoft office. He told me that it’s not appropriate to say that as it was too direct so he told me that in future, use the following statement instead – “If you see a Microsoft Office burning, how fast would you walk to put out the fire?”. It was a pretty good banter.

Dinner

I caught up with Edwin and Phil, who came down to FOSSASIA to listen to the other speakers and support me at the Fedora booth.

Huiren, Edwin, Phil

We had our dinner at a vegetarian restaurant in China Town – Eight Treasures restaurant. I was the only vegetarian but both of them still ate vegetarian food with me. Only Edwin and Phil paid for the meal, so there was zero costs for me. After that, we got ourselves some Starbucks and hung out there. We had a little conversation about Git and how FOSSASIA went. It was a great time.

In summary, for Day 1:

  • Moderated the DevOps track
  • Learnt lots of things
  • Expenditure – $18 SGD~
  • Mood – Very tired, happy, fun, a bit stressed

Day 2

Now it is the Day 2 of FOSSASIA! Day 2 is the day where I will be speaking about Opening Up Yourself!

There wasn’t much of a crowd at my talk but it was pretty fun! Seems like Matthew made a mistake and thought that my name is Justin. The talk went pretty smoothly and I was convinced that I’ve delivered a very strong message to my listeners. I won’t be talking much about the details but if you would like, I’ve uploaded my slides here: FOSSASIA – opening up yourself. The Engineers SG team are still in the midst of sorting and uploading the talk videos, so once mine is up, I’ll embed it here.

Happenings At The Booth

After my talk, I went to the Fedora booth and man it. There were quite a number of people at lunch time and I did lots of talking with them. The “sales” of Fedora DVDs went pretty well. Red Hat stickers was pretty neat too. I really like how it says “Your mother was right”. Doesn’t make sense but it’s pretty banter.

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Yaniv Bronhaim dropped by and introduced me the Linux Foundation’s platform. Apparently, the Linux Foundation has a platform that allows people to study Linux through the platform and get certified as well. Pretty cool.

My sister, Luna, and my friend, Soon Keat, also came down to support me at FOSSASIA. It was nice of them to do that and I felt supported.

Red Hat marketing team was impressed by my technical pitch to the people who dropped by our booth. They wanted me to work for them in the future and also work part time as their technical sales at similar events. Their compliments fed my ego a bit and I felt happy. They were also very nice and gave me their Raspberry Pi 2 B and Open Advice book, which made me feel even happier.

Red Hat swags

FOSSASIA had a social event but I was too tired; had a quick dinner with my sister and another Fedora Ambassador and went home to sleep.

In summary, for Day 2:

  • Had my talk
  • Spent most of my time manning the Fedora booth
  • Expenditure – $18 SGD~
  • Mood – Very tired, happy, fun, relaxed

Day 3

It was the last day of the event. Time past by in a flash of an eye.

On Day 3, Red Hat marketing team wasn’t here but Phil and my school’s senior, Han Yi, came down to support me. Han Yi helped me man the booth and talked to the people who dropped by the booth.

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Since it was the last day, I decided to do something a little bit crazy. With the help from Phil, I placed Fedora DVDs on to my shirt. Don’t worry, no DVDs were harmed in the process. I walked around the conference exhibition area with the Fedora DVDs on my shirt and soon after, people started calling me the “walking Fedora”, “Fedora man”, which I thought was pretty cool and funny.

The day went by really quickly and before I knew it, the event has ended. FOSSASIA held an after party at Hackerspace and I went for it. Whilst I was still at the Singapore Science Center, I took a photo with Daniel and the Debian banner. I would like to call this marvelous photo as “Deb X Fed”.

Deb X Fed

Before going for the meetup at Hackerspace, Daniel, Alexandre, Alexander and I went for dinner at a local Indian restaurant. We had a great time and the food was pretty nice. When we finished, we coincidentally met Harish Pillay, one of the prominent Red Hatters, at the same restaurant. He was having dinner with his family. We left and began our walking journey to the Hackerspace. Before we went to Hackerspace, we dropped by a nearby NTUC and bought some drinks.

We reached Hackerspace at around 9:30 PM but there was still quite a number of people there.

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We had lots of fun at Hackerspace.

We even had a livestream to LibrePlanet conference, which is held at Boston. This was done using The Ring software.

After the fun at Hackerspace, we went for supper at a nearby Dim Sum restaurant.

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It was really fun and I had a brilliant time at FOSSASIA. I felt a little sad because the event ended in just a blink of an eye.

In summary, for Day 3:

  • Spent most of my time manning the Fedora booth
  • Fun and great time at after party
  • Expenditure – $55 SGD~
  • Mood – Very tired, happy, sad, fun, relaxed

Final Words

FOSSASIA 2016 was a huge success. I had a really fun time learning from the experts who flew from all around the world just to come to Singapore for this event. A big thank you to the Singapore Science Center for sponsoring the venue and a huge thank you to all the volunteers who made this event possible. I’m really happy to see this happening in Singapore because FOSS in Singapore is a really difficult thing to do. There are big proprietary players in this country that has established strong roots in the government sector, especially in the education sector. Therefore, not many Singaporeans know what FOSS is and do not understand and appreciate FOSS. This event has helped advocate FOSS within Singapore and I’m really thankful.

I really hope there will be more FOSS related events happening in Singapore and that I can get Singaporeans to contribute to FOSS, if possible – Fedora Project.

Thanks for reading and do leave your comment in the comments section.

Author: Woo Huiren

Howdy, I'm a IT student who is currently pursuing a diploma at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. I do lots of things related to IT but I have an exceptionally great love for the web and opensource, so expect me to blog a lot about it! :)

5 thoughts on “FOSSASIA 2016: Singapore”

  1. Great posts as well as great event!

    One point I guess you should know is that, do be careful with talking about Red Hat in Fedora’s report. Although Fedora keeps good relationship with Red Hat in most cases, I know there are many Fedora people want to make it clear that Fedora is sponsored by Red Hat, not controlled by Red Hat.

    Anyway, good luck with your future events ;)

    1. Hey Jaminy, it was nice meeting you at FOSSASIA and I’m glad to hear that you’ve enjoyed reading. :) Hope to see you next year at next year’s FOSSASIA.

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