8月 312015

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.

8月 282015

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 Fedora.next 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.

4月 042013

Fedora 中午社区三月的线下活动于 3 月 23 号在北京图灵公司的一个办公室兼活动室举行。这次活动是和北京 GNOME 用户组 (BJGUG) 联合举办的,除了 Fedora 社区外,BJGUG 还召集到了 Ubuntu、openSUSE 和中标软件的社区贡献人员爱好者等。聚会主题是讨论社区建设中的问题。

我做了题为《Fedora 及其中文社区》的报告,介绍了 Fedora 的主要特点,以及中文社区的现状。这里面要传达的主旨是两点:1) Fedora 是一个强调自由、友爱、杰出、前卫的发行版,这四点是社区的四原则,也可谓核心价值观。这是对社区的定位,也是社区发展的基石。2) Fedora 中文社区是一个活跃而友好的社区,社区的主要沟通方式是邮件列表IRC 聊天室

之后的问答交流环节,有问及 Fedora 与红帽的具体关系。简单说来,Fedora 是一个社区项目,红帽对它进行赞助。Fedora 的新版本命名、发布管理等事务都由社区主导,红帽也不对社区维护的站点的内容负责。有问及与其他 Fedora 的本地化社区的交流,我想现在并没有多少。后面李震宁讲到和台湾的有关 Linux 推广的交流,不过在 Fedora 这里中文社区本来就不区分大陆或者港台或者其他地方,只要会说中文就可以。不过我很期待在 APAC 区域的 FUDCon 上,或者其他场合与其他的本地化社区进行交流。有朋友问到 Fedora 中文社区的核心问题是什么,对此我无法给出明确回答。我的一点体会是社区的核心在于人,而非技术。对于技术社区而言,虽然最初是对技术的兴趣使不同的人来到社区,但是社区发展是要人来推动的。具体地说,是需要活跃的贡献人员积极交流、分工协作,把社区的事务活动做好,使社区繁荣发展的。

承前所述,社区目前的一大问题是缺少贡献人员。这个问题是众多发行版社区、GNOME 项目等共有的。如何壮大社区贡献者的队伍,是个很值的思考的问题。这个问题还可以分为两步,一是如何吸引非 Linux 用户成为新用户,二是如何将普通用户转化为贡献人员。对于第一个子问题,我们需要热心的社区成员帮助新手入门。对于新手提问,应该尽量的耐心,多一些提醒和指导,毕竟 Linux 与其他系统差别比较大,新用户需要面对许多习惯的转变,另外老手也是从新手开始一步一步摸索出来的。维护一份面向初学者的高质量的常见问题解答 (FAQ) 会事半功倍。线下活动中加入新手体验和引导环节也会有所帮助。第二个问题是从用户到贡献者。我们应该让普通用户了解到为社区做贡献是一件不难做的事情。报 BUG、做测试、参与本地化翻译、打包、组织线下活动都是做贡献的好方式。做贡献不意味着要付出很多精力,工作之余闲暇时有一定投入就好。相对于日常工作,社区参与更多以兴趣为导向。社区应鼓励普通用户把社区贡献当作力所能及的志愿活动,参与到贡献者的行列中来,壮大贡献人员队伍。

对于中文社区而言,本地化或曰翻译也是很重要的一环。毕竟许多人还是看中文更舒服,或者只能看得懂中文。软件、网站、维基、文档都需要本地化,以帮助更多的中文用户更好的使用 Linux 系统。本地化目前遇到的问题一方面是翻译一致性的保证。不同人对同一词条可能叫法不一,我们得提醒后来的翻译者参照现有翻译以及术语表尽量保持前后一致。另外,软件的多样性需要不同专业背景的人提供恰当的翻译。翻译人员最好有多样的学科背景与专业方向。此外,目前还有发现了翻译问题但不知改报到何处的问题。我在此也给个提醒,GNOME 与 GNU 软件翻译的问题应报到 i18n-zh 邮件列表。Fedora 翻译问题应报到 trans-zh_cn 列表。RPM、Yum 等 Fedora 上游项目的翻译问题暂且也可报到 trans-zh_cn 列表。

最后汇报一下活动的福利。吉拉德 (Gerard) 带去了两件 Fedora 的 T 恤,图灵免费送出了若干本书,李震宁带去了许多年历,此外还有 Ubuntu 贴纸、笔等等。活动结束后大家去立水桥附近一海鲜城聚餐。此行收获颇丰,期待后面再聚。