foss-north 2021 – Speakers and Call for Papers

TL;DR; Call for Papers closes on Sunday. Join foss-north 2021 and be a part of a great speaker line-up!

When planning foss-north, we always pre-announce some speakers early on. This helps set the tone of the conference, show sponsors that we have contents, and – interestingly – also increase the number of submissions to our call for papers.

This year is a bit special due to COVID-19 and the conference will be our third virtual installment, but we are still hoping to bring together great people and contents.

This year we have four pre-announced speakers who I’m very excited about. We have everything from stories from how the Internet is kept safe, how to use open source methods in your organization, how industry verticals collaborate around open source, all the way to how to write a Linux kernel driver.

So, in no particular order, I give you…

Anne-Marie Eklund Löwinder who will talk about signing the Internet root zone.

This will be the story from when Anne-Marie worked as Crypto Officer and attended the cermonies around DNSSEC. How do we protect the secrets that are used to protect the Internet itself.

Isabel Drost-Fromm who will talk about how to use the open source way beyond open source. By applying inner source principles, the magic that makes open source work can be used inside an organization too.

These are aspects such as sense of ownership, independence, and so on. If developers are willing to work for fun on open source, how do we create the same joy at work.

Leslie Hawthorn who will talk about strategic open source engagements for vertical markets. This is about how to work openly within an industry vertical and not a single component or project.

This is interesting from a foss-north perspective, as this is a conference about everything and nothing. I guess that makes it a horizontal event. How can vertical organizations meet to identify shared cross-cutting aspects.

Marta Rybczynska will give a talk appropriately titled Into the Jungle, about writing Linux kernel drivers.

In this talk we will look at writing a Linux network driver from scratch, diving into the deep end and learning how to swim.

The Call for Paper is still open until Sunday, so if you have a topic that you want to discuss, make sure to get your contribution in!

foss-north pod – a look at the stats

The foss-north pod about Licenses and Copyright has been around since May 1st, so I decided to talk a look at the stats. We gather very little statistics, but what I know is that we have 635 followers on YouTube and 108 over at conf.tube (a peertube instance). We also serve the pod directly from foss-north.se/pod, where we keep 14 days of access logs. What can we read out from them?

First of all – we decided to provide the pod as ogg or mp3, and it seems like a majority of you prefer the ogg version.

The downloads per day is a mess. From the episodes page I can see that we released the last two episodes on Nov 20, and Dec 4. I was a bit surprised not to see a spike on the 4th or 5ph, nor any apparent weekend vs workday pattern.

So, what was downloaded? Keep in mind that this is a two weeks window, and episode 26 was available for the last 3 days only. It seems like we have an even spread of listeners across many episodes, with a focus on episode 25, which was the latest during the time window.

Does this mean that we have a steady flow of new listeners? Not sure – the YouTube subscriber count raises steadily, so it might be the case.

Finally, let’s have a look at the user agent strings. I’ve tried to classify this into client OS for browsers, Apps for obvious pod listening apps, Bot for bots and other for the unidentified ones.

To my surprise, quite a few of you are listening from Windows machines. Then we have the Linux devices followed by Android, and Apps. Unless you count the bots, of course.

Another surprise is that OpenBSD is more common than OSX among our listeners.

It is possible to dig out more from the logs, but the evening is approaching. There are some surprises here, but it is good to see that we have had 800+ downloads over the past two weeks. To be honest, I was a bit worried when we shifted from YouTube to a podcasting format in August. Our views dropped quite dramatically on YouTube, but it seems that you found your way to the pod instead.

At the end of the day, the positive feedback given over social media and email is worth more than stats, so we will keep on going. Also, clocking in at almost 200 views on our episode on the definition of copyright and 250+ on the history of free and open source is quite amazing in my book, as this is a quite a narrow meta-topic inside the free and open source movement.

Intense weeks

End of October turns out to be one of the highs when it comes to workload this year. Everything happens at once – there are two public events that I’d like to tell you about.

The first one is running lights. This is an annual running competition organized by AIF Friidrott, the sports club my kids are active in. This year, this means organized by me and postponed due to COVID-19, but the virtual races started this weekend and the arena race will take place on the 24th.

If anyone of you are in the Alingsås area and enjoy I highly recommend you to join. The weather looks nice, and we will light up the arena with live fire, so it will be a great evening.

The second one is the foss-north 2020 take II event. This spring, we decided to try to organize a physical foss-north event this fall, as obviously the pandemic must be over by November. This seems to not be the case. :-)

Instead we are running a single day event on November 1 with six handpicked speakers. The event is virtual and free for all.

I would like to tell you about the speakers one by one, because I’m very excited about each and everyone of them.

Andrew 'bunnie' Huang

In the morning we welcome Bunnie Huang who will talk about the precursor project. Precursor is an open hardware platform for secure, mobile communications and computations. The focus is on security aiming to create a trustable platform.

Simon Ser

Next up is Simon Ser. He will talk about how to get pixels onto the screen in a modern Linux stack. This means a deep dive in the Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) interface. How it exposes hardware blocks and how to use it to get images shown on the screen.

Ramón Soto Mathiesen

The morning session then ends with Ramón Soto Mathiesen taking us into the land of Domain Driven Design (DDD) using Algebraic Data Types (ADT). Ramón has a background in functional programming languages and brings this knowledge into the world of multi-paradigm languages such as C#, Rust, and Swift.

Carol Chen

The afternoon session starts with Carol Chen from Red Hat Ansible. She works as a community manager for Ansible. She will be talking about how they move have moved from collections to contributions to conferences.

Lars Brinkhoff

We then continue with Lars Brinkhoff who will talk about the Incompatible Timesharing System (ITS). Lars works with restoring ITS and recreating the history from these early days of computing. ITS is of particular interest at foss-north at is the platform where tools such as Lisp, Logo, Scheme, Emacs and Zork where developed. This is where the foundations for the free software movement where born – quite literally.

Tor-logo by Stanchenko on DeviantArt

The day then ends with Alexander and Georg who will talk about Tor, the anonymity network. They will discuss why diversity is essential for reaching security and anonymity.

So, the next days will be crazy hectic, but it is all for something good. First a cosy evening of running on an arena lit by live fire, and then a day of talks about various FOSS projects.

I hope to see you there!

foss-north: Enablement Talks

During foss-north 2020 we had a group of talks related to using free and open source in various settings. I call them enablement talks. Someone with a more salesy mind might have said success stories.

This year we had tree such talks. One from about SVT’s (the Swedish public TV broadcaster) video streaming platform by Gustav Grusell and Olof Lindman, one from arbetsförmedlingen (the Swedish public employment service) by Johan Linåker and Jonas Södergren, and about Screenly OSE by Viktor Petersson, a digital signage solution.

We’ve also decided to experiment with a series of shorter videos, and we started by explaining licenses.

The Embedded Talks

The foss-north conference strives to have an assortment of various talks. The point is that visitors should see something unexpected and that the conference should attract all types of visitors to ensure that we as a community can meet across various industries and problem spaces.

This time I’ve selected three talks about embedded systems from foss-north 2020. The talks touch on building embedded systems around Linux. If your reader does not show you the embedded videos, make sure to follow the actual page or go to our conf.tube channel to see all the contents.

First out was Ron Munitz talk on understanding and building minimal Linux systems. This talk proved to be a real deep dive into the Linux kernel – including setting up a debugger to the kernel itself.

The next embedded speaker on the program was Chris Simmonds. He discussed if going with Yocto or Debian is best for your embedded Linux project. This an interesting topic – how much is customization worth compared to other aspect such as build-time.

The embedded set of talks ended with Drew Fustini talking about running Linux on the RISC-V. This talk dives deep into the hardware part of embedded systems, but also Linux. By being able to run Linux on RISC-V, which is open hardware, we are very close to an completely open eco-system.

The three talks are already available on conf.tube, and the presentation material can be found by following the links to each speaker. For those of you who prefer YouTube, the talks will be made available shortly on the foss-north channel. Subscribe to get notified when they are.

foss-north

It is with great regret that I have to announce that foss-north 2020 has been postponed due to the COVID-19 situation.

It will be replaced by a virtual event during the planned dates (March 30-31), and a physical event during the fall.

We regret any inconvenience that this causes our guests and sponsors. At the same time we appreciate the great support of our sponsors who unanimously support us in these difficult times.

Details will be shared at https://foss-north.se/2020/ as we learn more.

This is turning out to be a really shitty week. But we will prevail together.

I’m always positively surprised about the amount of support and love out there in difficult times. It is what makes the world go around.

More foss stuff

It is busy days at the moment – but in a positive way.

First of all – a huge thanks to everyone who submitted to the Call for Papers for foss-north 2020. We have over 70 hours (!!!) of contents to squeeze into two tracks over two days. As always, it will be hard to pick the speakers to create the very best program.

Other foss-north activities includes starting to populate the community day activities, as well as getting a whole bunch on sponsors onboard. An extra big thanks to Luxoft and Red Hat Ansible for helping us by picking up the Gold Sponsorship packages. Ansible are even running their European Contributor Summit as a part of the foss-north Community Day together with events by KDE, Gnome, FreeBSD, Debian, and a hardware hacking workshop. I’m really looking forward to this – if you want to join in with your own project, workshop, hackaton, etc – just ping me!

The other big foss-north change for this year is that we are finally abandoning Eventbrite for a self-hosted system. Big thanks to Magnus Hagander helping us getting the pgeu-system up and running. At the moment, we offer login via Github and Google OAUTH. We’re looking into setting up a self-hosted OAUTH service as well, to let you log in locally, but that will not happen for the 2020 event due to time reasons.

Closer in time is the next local foss-gbg meetup. We are running an event around React together with our good friends at Edument. We already have 50+ registered attendees, so it will be fun!

In other news – I’ve also released Ordmonster – if anyone has kids who wants to get started reading. This is a complement to the Mattemonster app for basic maths launched earlier. Both are made with Godot, a tool that I enjoy more and more.

foss-north 2020 is on

The foss-north event due a few days ago got cancelled due to health issues, but I’m happy to announce that I’m back and that the planning for foss-north 2020 already is on.

The event will be run as last year, meaning one community day, two conference days and one training day. The community day will be on March 29, conference march 30-31 and training on April 1.

Last year we attracted some 100+ people for the community day and 250+ people during the conference (260 tickets sold). My personal goal for 2020 is 400 visitors (we can do it!) and 200 people during the community day. Also, let’s find a bigger place for the social event ;-)

I just sent out the first sponsorship request to our old sponsors and am happy to see that we already have one sponsor lined up. I have a feeling that this will be a great year.

Change of Plans

TL;DR; foss-north IoT and Security Day has been cancelled, or at least indefinitely postponed, due to health reasons.

For the past three weeks (from August 11, to be exact) I have had a fever that I couldn’t really shake. At the same time my wife had pneumonia for which she was successfully treated. Antibiotics is treated with care in Sweden, so I basically waited for my CRP tests to return a high enough value for my doctor to be convinced that I had an infection.

On Friday 24th I got my first round of antibiotics. They did not help, so on the morning of the 27th I returned and got another, stronger, antibiotics. I was also told to go directly to ER if I got any worse. I did. On Thursday morning I landed in ER.

It turns out it was not pneumonia at all, but blood clots throughout my lungs – way too close to a proper game over for comfort. It took me four days to stop degrading, and six days before I could leave the hospital. Right now I’m on ordered rest for at least two weeks. Something I apparently need, as I’m super tired as soon as I do the smallest thing. Right now my exercise consists of walking around the block, ~400m, twice a day.

Hence, there is no way I can arrange the foss-north event planned in the end of October. I’d like to thank all the sponsors who signed up, and those which whom I postponed the meetings. I would also like to thank everyone who submitted talks – the line-up would have been amazing. Finally, I’d like to thank the friendly people who helped cancel everything – it really took a heavy load of my chest.

This is a hugely frustrating situation to me as an individual – I want to work and I want to run, but I guess it is time to slow down for a while and then come back stronger. There will be another foss-north, and I will run 10km trail under the hour. Just not this year.

One week to go!

There is one week left of the call for papers for the foss-north IoT and Security Day. The conference takes place on October 21 at WTC in Stockholm.

We’ve already confirmed three awesome speakers and will fill the day with more contents in the weeks following the closing of the CfP, so make sure to get your submission in.

Patricia Aas

The first confirmed speaker is Patricia Aas who will speak about election security – how to ensure transparency and reliability into the election system so that it can be trusted by all – including a less technologically versed public.

Also, this is the first stage in our test of the new foss-north conference administration infrastructure, and it seems to have worked this far :-). Big thanks goes to Magnus for helping out.