foss-north – the count down

At this year’s foss-north event FSFE will revive the Nordic Free Software Award and the conference will host the prize ceremony. Get your tickets for a great opportunity to meet with the FOSS community, learn new things and visit Gothenburg.

It is just 9 more days left of the Call for Papers. With the help of our great sponsors we have the opportunity to transport you to our conference if you are selected to speak. Make sure to make your submission before March 11 and you are in the race.

foss-north – the count down

We are approaching the count down to foss-north 2018 – at least from an organizer perspective. This year we will be at Chalmers Conference Centre, in the centre of Gothenburg – the world’s most sociable, friendliest city. So, save the date – April 23 – and make sure to drop by.

The reason why it feels like the count down has started is that it is just 10 more days left of the Call for Papers. With the help of our great sponsors we have the opportunity to transport you to our conference if you are selected to speak. Make sure to make your submission before March 11 and you are in the race.

When moving to Chalmers we ended up with a larger venue than last year so make sure to get your ticket – and bring your friends. The saying “the more the merrier” definitely applies to FOSS conferences!

Berlin for a month

A month ago my family and I left our home to go to a new country and city for a month. As an experiment. As a source of variation. As something new. As an adventure.

The background to going to Berlin is that we’re starting a new office in Berlin and people need to be onboarded (we are also looking for people in Gothenburg). This requires someone on the ground. At the same time, we, as a family, have been playing with the idea to relocated for a longer or shorter period and the timing of this opportunity was nice, as the length of the trip was short enough to be manageable.

The move led to a lot of changes. We went from a city of 40000 inhabitants to Berlin with around four million. We moved from a house of 200 square meters to a two room apartment of around 50 square meters. We also moved from two working adults with kids attending school, to four weeks of home schooling and one parent taking care of the home.

From a work perspective, it has been fun to get to know a group of new colleagues from all over the world. From that perspective, Berlin is very un-german. Everyone seems happy to speak English and you always encounter people from various background. Still, I got some proper german practice, so I now master explaining that my german is bad :-)

From a family perspective, things have been better than I ever expected. The benefit of a big city is that there are a million things to do. The feeling is more that we are running out of time, rather than that we want to go back home again. Also, the sheer selection of playgrounds in Berlin is really great. We have three good playgrounds within 2-3 blocks from our apartment, so plenty of variation.

Another family related issue is the ease of commuting. I went from a 45 minutes train ride to a 3-4 minutes walk, which gives me a lot more time to spend with my family. At the same time, it does take away 90 minutes everyday of concentrated mail management, which means that my inbox currently is in a very sad state.

Another aspect in the same direction is that we spend a lot more time together as a family, partly since the kids don’t run off to their friends right after school. This also means that I get a lot less free time for taking care of hobbies such as foss-north and foss-gbg.

As you can tell, most aspects of this temporary change are double-edged. If I were to move anywhere permanently, some of this would have to be resolved. At the same time, I got a month of working in Germany combined with way more time with my kids and wife than I usually get, so I would not want to change anything. I think that this picture really sums things up. Berlin is a city of contrasts and compared to my life in Sweden, the way I lived in Berlin had a strong contrast as well.

foss-north 2017 follow-up

On the morning of April 26 I arrived at our venue, preparing for around 120 people to fill the rooms at foss-north 2017.

I’m still in the post-event cleaning up phase, so the visitor questionnaire has not yet been sent out, but the feeling is positive. This year we expanded changed venue and moved from one to two tracks. This led to more administration with two room hosts and double video recordings, so that everyone could see everything. The videos are available online now. You can either find a specific talk from the talks and speakers page, or simply enjoy the entire playlist here:

I’d like to extend a big thank you to everyone who made this possible: Jeena and Johnny helping out recording videos and hosting. All our speakers. Our partners Swedsoft, FSFE and BRG. Our sponsors Semcon, Rebel Alliance, Blackduck Software, Capture Innovation and Qamcom. And all the visitors. Without anyone of these pieces, the puzzle would not come together.

I’m already looking forward to seeing you next year again!

Five days and counting

It is five days left until foss-north 2017, so it is high time to get your ticket! Please notice that tickets can be bought all the way until the night of the 25th (Tuesday), but catering is only included is you get your ticket on the 24th (Monday), so help a poor organizer and get your tickets as soon as possible!

And just to reiterate what’s on the menu. This is a full day conference with two tracks and many interesting speakers from many projects, including Debian, Wikimedia, KDE, systemd, PulseAudio, Nextcloud, PostgreSQL, OpenRISC, flatpak, AsteroidOS and more.

Last year, over 30% of the tickets was sold in the last 48h. This year, we cannot provide catering for the ones buying tickets the last 24h, so hopefully the peak will come earlier. For now, we have 93 persons on the visiting list, but there are chairs for 100 more!

foss-north speaker line-up

I am extremely pleased to have confirmed the entire speaker line-up for foss north 2017. This will be a really good year!

Trying to put together something like this is really hard – you want the best speakers, but you also want a mix of local and international, various technologies, various viewpoints and much, much more. For 2017 we will have open hardware and open software, KDE and Gnome, web and embedded, tech talks and processes, and so on.

The foss north conference is a great excuse to come visit Gothenburg in the spring. Apparently, Sweden’s wildest city!

foss-north 2017: Call for Papers

The Call for Papers for foss-north is open for another week (until the 12th). This gives you an opportunity to speak in front of a great crowd. Looking at the results from last year’s questionnaire, more than 90% are users of open source software and more than 50% are contributors. One thing that surprised me, is that more people actually contribute as a part of their profession than as hobbyists. Looking at the professional vs hobbyist proportions, 45% of the visitors stated that they had their ticket paid by their employer/school, while 42% paid them out of their own pocket.

The topic of the conference is free and open source – so anything related is much welcome.We do not even limit ourselves to software – hardware, patents, community and much more is also appreciated topics. Last year we had speakers talking about timing synchronization over vast networks, patent issues, working as a designer, linguistics and must more.

As always with these things, crowd dynamics means that me as an organizer has to work on my stress management abilities. Almost 30% of the tickets to last year’s event was sold in the last two days before the event. The same goes for Call for Papers – nobody registers a talk in good time before the deadline. So if you want to help an ageing developer keeping the pulse under control – submit your talk proposal now! ;-)

kdenlive, audacity and lessons in audio sync

During the last foss-gbg meeting I tried filming the entire event. The idea is to produce videos of each talk and publish them on YouTube. Since I’m lazy, I simply put up a camera on a tripod and recorder the whole event, some 3h and 16 minutes and a few seconds. A few seconds that would cause me quite some pain, it turns out.

All started with me realizing that I can hear the humming sound of the AC system in the video. No problem, simply use ffmpeg to separate the audio from the video and use the noise reduction filter in Audacity. However, when putting it all together I recognized a sound sync drift (after 6h+ of rendering videos, that is).

ffprobe told me that the video is 03:16:07.58 long, while the extracted audio is 03:16:04.03. This means that the video of the last speaker drifts more than 3s – unwatchable. So, googling for a solution, I realized that I will have to try to stretch the audio to the same duration as the video. Audacity has a tempo effect to do this, but I could not get the UI to accept my very small adjustment in tempo (or my insane number of seconds in the clip). Instead, I had to turn to ffmpeg and the atempo filter.

ffmpeg -i filtered.ac3 -filter:a "atempo=0.9996983236995207" -vn slower.ac3

This resulted in an audio clip of the correct length. (By the way, the factor is the difference in length of the audio and video).

Back to kdenlive – I imported the video clip, put it on the time line, separated the audio and video (just a right click away), ungrouped them, removed the audio, added the filtered, slowed down audio, grouped it with the video and everything seems nice. I about 1h43 I will know when the first clip has been properly rendered :-)

foss-north 2017

After much preparation, the tickets for foss-north 2017 is available at foss-north.se – grab them while they are hot!

The call for papers is still open (do you want to talk – register!) so we do not have a final schedule, but you will find our confirmed speakers on the web site as we grow the list. Right now, we know that have the pleasure to introduce:

  • Lydia Pintscher, the product manager of Wikidata, Wikimedia’s knowledge base, as well as the president of KDE e.V.
  • Lennart Poettering, from Red Hat known for systemd, PulseAudio, Avahi and more.
  • Jos Poortvliet, with a background from SUSE and KDE, he now heads marketing at Nextcloud.

The conference covering both software and hardware from the technical perspective. The event is held on April 26 in central Gothenburg located between Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm with an international airport.

This is a great excuse to visit a really nice part of Sweden while attending a nice conference – welcome!