Copenhagen Open Source Community Day not professional enough

posted Mar 19, 2017, 3:00 PM by Niels Jensen   [ updated Jun 24, 2017, 12:27 PM ]
Yesterday Safepark participated in Copenhagen Open Source Community Day 2017. This years Community Day toke place at Metropol's Campus Nørrebro on Siggurdsgade 26 about one block north of Copenhagen University's Science City. A ticket to this years event cost you 200 DKK, and for that price you received admission to three tracks of lectures and a T-shirt with sponsor logos on the front and the event logo on the back. Last time we payed to participate in the community day was in 2011, and then a ticket cost you 250 DKK. However, at that time the ticket also included lunch. So it is easily arguable,  that the price is unchanged since six years ago, since yesterday we spent 50 DKK on lunch.

Missing Professionalism

When we arrived at the reception just before 10 AM things were a bit chaotic. I showed an enlarged version of the bar-code on the Ticketmaster ticket to the receptionist, and was told that the computer system was down. She then attempted to manipulate the display of my ticket while I was holding the phone in order to find my name in print on the ticket. Eventually she found my name, and then wrote my first-name by hand on the two sides of the A6-sized badge, folded the paper, and inserted it into a badge holder. While handing the badge holder to me, she asked what size T-shirt I needed. I didn't hear her asking for my name in either Danish or English, and why should we specify our T-shirt size on the registration information, when that was not used. The friend, who accompanied me, was treated differently by another receptionist. He just told the other receptionist his name, and then she search for an already printed badge with that name on the counter next to us. She found a badge with his name, and gave it to him.
To me this looks like a broken access control system. At past community days the bar-code on the event ticket was scanned electronically, and the automatically triggered printing of badge with name, wifi-information and ticket for T-shirt, ticket for lunch, etc. which were handed to the guest. Other volunteers handed badge holders to guests, and others again handed out T-shirts. I wonder what happened to the label printers used just two years.
It seemed like prior to this years event there had been no thoughts about the workflow in the reception area. That resulted in an image of lacking professionalism. Professionalism is something we have become used to at past community days in Copenhagen.

This impression was re-emphasized a few minutes later at the coat room. There were three people manning the coat room, but two of them were talking to each other without paying any attention to customers. So quickly there was a line up.

I can't avoid looking for safety issues, when I visit a new place. Thise sockets are located in the middle of tables at which students and other guests to the facility sit an eat their lunch and drink coffee or soft drinks. There is no edge between the table surface and the sockets surroundings. I looks like any spilled liquid would run directly into the plugs. It was tempting to pour some water into the sockets, just to see what would happen. However, I leave that experiment for the next curious visitor to Metropol.

Community Day Program

The days program consisted of 3 parallel tracks starting with a keynote at the opening of the conference at 10 AM and another keynote at the closing of the conference at 5 PM. The rest of the day there were 3 parallel tracks and after each track there were a 20 minute break. So there were amble time to visit the exhibition area for a chat. However unfortunately the track host failed to remind the guests, that they should visit the exhibition area and talk to the vendors.

As far as we remember past community days had the organisation leader open the event, by introducing her or himself, thanking sponsors, and volunteers, and welcoming attendees. I didn't see this happening at this years event. I think this is unfortunate for the OSD image.

Most presentation slots were 40 minutes long, which to us indicate, that there is sufficient time to give a well thought out and well structured presentation. Unfortunately too many presenters have not thought about what the used should take away from the presentation or what actions they wanted the attendees to take after they got home. This meant, that many failed to promote what the had to offer. Here is the community day program with the presentations, which we choose to attend, shown in orange:

Open Source Days 2017 Community Day Program

I opening keynote talk was titled "How Danish municipalities use open source to drive development and cooperation and cooperation" by Rasmus Frey, who is the daily coordinator for this cooperation about development of open source solutions for municipalities. The speaker tool us what the top level technologies were, i.e. JIRA, Github, www and OS2Cloud. JIRA is a service desk developed and marketed by Atlassian. I believe, that OS2 is using JIRA Software for project and issue tracking. You can try it for free, but the software does not appear to be open source. Github is free for public and open source project, but also offer storage for others for a fee. OS2 currently have 12 product, which can be freely download from their Github storage, and they have 8 active project. Unfortunately absolute no screen shots of any of the products were shown in the keynote, and no information were given about the underlying technology, e.g. that os2dagsorden use Drupal. I mention os2dagsorden because this sound like a product, which could be of use to many small organisations, such as e.g. patient support groups, and developers could be insterested in making a Typo3 version of this facility. I think the presenter should have thought a bit more about what the audience take away from the keynote should be, e.g. this type application looks like something my organisation could also benefit from, and secondly what actions he encourage people to take for a better understanding of OS2 and their products and projects, e.g. take a look at os2indberetning if your organisation have many employees driving around the country as sales representatives. Again os2indberetning looks to be something other organisations could also use, and hence open source developers could be interested in developing a similar product for use by private companies. Caveat: I have as of this writing not done any work to see if the mentioned two products already have equivalents in the open source community.
The second part of the mornings keynote was by titled "Developing open source geospatial software in a governmental agency" by Kristian Evers. Basically he mentioned three programs developed by the organisation, which he is part of DHMQC, MALSTROEM and as well as use of PROJ.4. We did see some screenshots in this part of the talk, as well as pictures of output. However, there seem to be a lag of how can the audience as open source developers take the products devleoped by Evers group and extend them to moneymaking private enterprise products?
We believe it would have been better if all the time of the keynote was used by the first presenter, and the second presenter was given a 20 minute slot in track 2 or 3 at another time during the day.

After the keynote we attended Cornelius Kölbel's presentation "Tow factor authentication with open source project privacyIDEA". Why should I go through the trouble of deploying this open source system and maintaining it in stead of relying on a third party service. Neither was the question "Is someone providing privayIDEA as a service?" that I can subscribe to just like VPN-services. Clearly Cornelius knows the technology, but after the presentation I was thinking: Why should we spend time on this and not just use Google's services?

The last presentation we heard before lunch was titled "Is Linux Desktop security worse than Windows 10?" by Hanno. He talked about using technology like ASLR and PIE, which have been in the Linux kernel since version 2.6, to avoid that programs run in the same address space every time. This will make it more difficult to exploit automatic downloads on access to a site. He mentioned, that he did not know how far openSUSE was with this fix. However, today I discovered, that the chair of openSUSE responded to this question in February by stating, that a lot of work had already been done, but that it is unfortunately not complete yet, and then promissed, that he would speed things up.

After lunch we first attended Bo Simonson's presentation "Kopano - sharing &  communication software for business". Kapano is basically an open source groupware tool forked from Zarafa. Unfortunately Bo failed to convince me to try Kopano, because at several points during the presentation and quenstions period, he indicated there were features in Kopano, which he did not use. That is not a good response, when you are attempting to get people to try something new and different. The second presentation after lunch was "(Lack of) Cryptographic Security of NemID, Dankort, and Mobilepay" by Thue Janus Kristensen. Thue had a point about the NemID login screen not indicating, that your attached to Nets' servers during the login process, and there is no indication of this on the screen. Unlike the Google Login popup. However, we are not certain why Dankort and MobilePay are mentioned in the title, since they are quite different technologies from NemID, and I don't really see the connection between the three. Thue unfortunately did not have content for a 20 minutes presentation, and his statement was unsubstantated and taken apart by the audience.

The community day finished by two excellent presentations. First Georg Koppen's "Surfing the Web over Tor with Tor Browser", during which we learned that privacy technology from the Tor Browser is being implement in the main Firefox Browser, which the Tow Browser is based on. This has already happened with code in version 52 of the Firefox Browser, and is also planned for version 59 of the browser. The Tor Browser allows you to surf the internet through the Tor network of servers, so all the destination can see about you is, that you came from the Tor network, but not which computer you entered the Too network with. Naturally such technology can be misused with criminal intend. Georg also told us, that a Tor Browser for Android is under development.

The final talk of this open source day was not about software, but about hardware. Alicia Gibb gave an excellent presentation about "Open Source Hardware".

Value for money?

Overall it appears, the organizers were less prepared than at past Open Source Community Days in Copenhagen. Maybe that reflected on the speakers, also appeared less prepared, than at past events. If OSD is to survive, then both organizers and speakers need to come to the community day better prepared. If the Business Day was of similar quality, then it would have been a disaster.

There was also to be a speakers corner for impromptu talks, but without any slide presentations. However, there were no pre-announced talks, as at previous community days, and there were no facility to show slides. That makes technical talks a bit of a challenge. Although most of us coped with that 40 years ago.

It appeared as if the people at the reception and the coat room were hired as a group, and the organizers didn't have volunteers for these positions. We noticed quite few of the leaders and organizers from past community days.

A decision to attend next year is dependent on better speakers, better organizers and organisation, and better facilities for impromptu talks (speakers corner).
Google+ Twitter Facebook Gmail PrintFriendly