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.