Introduction to Firefox OS @ fossaegean – Event Report

19/12/2013

Back here again with another report for our Mozilla-related activities so far which took place in Samos island, Greece. As I’m currently attending university there I could simply not miss the chance to spread the word about free software and promote our mission as well.

I’m now part of the Free & Open Source Society of the University of the Aegean (aka fossaegean), a local group open to university students who are using and promoting free software. Within that group we’ve organised a couple events so far and we’re aiming to host an event every week (each Saturday to be precise). Two of those events in the last two months were Mozilla-related:

  • The first one was a warm-up meetup of the core members who’re running fossaegean. We had the chance to co-ordinate on future activities and make plans. Nothing special to mention except that during the meetup I had the chance to quickly showcase Firefox OS using the Keon phone.
  • Introduction to Firefox OS. Last month, I held a 30-35 minute talk in my university about Firefox OS. It was organised by fossaegean and the event was merely an introduction to the platform, but apart from the talk I also had the chance to present the Firefox OS Simulator to the students (they don’t have real fxos devices at the moment) and played around with it by performing basic tasks. Of course, I invited everyone in the end to have a look on how it’s running on real hardware by using my Keon phone. I could see around 35-40 people who actually attended the event (it’s a good number). It was held prior to the Firefox OS Launch in Greece and I was pretty happy to see that some of the attendants already knew one or two things about Firefox OS and came to hear more. Some of them also expressed the wish to have it ported to their devices. I’d like to mention again that we’re in a Department of ICT Engineering, so students here can possibly make things happen with the right guidance. And we certainly hope that ;)
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Introduction to Firefox OS @ fossaegean

Kudos to Antonis Tzorvas who helped me run the events. Antonis is a technical IT guy, a fellow student and a friend who is very passionate about free software and willing to contribute to Mozilla as well. Together we’ve brought fossaegean back to life again and we’re running all those interesting sessions. Current plans for future Mozilla events are:

  • In-Depth Presentation of Firefox OS: Getting to know more about Firefox OS, the platform itself, its’ architecture, Web Apps, etc.
  • Mozilla Webmaker: We’re to run a couple of sessions and familiarise students with writing HTML/CSS pages.
  • Web App Development (distant future): We aim in forming a team of passionate people who’re interesting in creating web apps for Firefox OS. We could ceertainly work together on implementing some ideas.

The sure thing is that we’ve still a lot of stuff to do but I think we’ve made a good start. Students often stop me when they spot me going somewhere on foot (know that the town of Karlovasi in Samos, where our Department of the University of the Aegean is located, is very small in size and in population with all people knowing each other) and they keep asking me a lot of questions about Mozilla and how they could possibly get involved; of course I’m extremely happy about that! :D This encourages me to continue what I’ve been doing all the time. I’ll get back to you again once we’ve done more stuff in the island, stay tuned. :)


Firefox OS App Days Athens – Event Report

18/12/2013

Hi everyone. I’m back from a long absence I guess. Since last September I’ve moved from Thessaloniki to the beautiful island of Samos to attend university there (I’m now studying Information & Communication Systems Engineering in the University of the Aegean) and I guess I will be staying there for the next few years. Nothing to worry about though as the place is just wonderful and nothing at all has prevented me from doing foss-related work there. Within the Free & Open Source Society of the University of the Aegean we’ve already organised mozilla-related events and foss-related events in general and we’re planning to do more in the near future. I’m going to write another event report regarding the mozilla-related activities so far as well; stay tuned ;)

So, during 26-28/NOV/2013 I had the chance to travel to Athens and attend Firefox OS App Days. It was co-organised by OTE/COSMOTE (OTE is a large telecommunications giant in Greece and with its’ subsidiary Cosmote is responsible for bringing Firefox OS devices to the Greek market), Germanos SA, hub:raum and of course Mozilla. During the event, developers had the chance to socialize together, co-ordinate and start working on their apps. The event was also filled with interesting talks from key people. More on those later ;)

Registration started at 9AM and many people had already started showing up. About half an hour later Frederic Harper, Senior Technical Evangelist @ Mozilla, did the first technical talk of the day. Panos Astithas, Firefox Engineer, followed up later with the second technical talk and presented developers some tools for developing Firefox OS Apps. Then, developers who had already formed teams were given around six hours to start working on their apps and compete each other let’s say since four selected apps would win special prizes. During those six hours key people were interviewed as well (and to mention that those interviews were being live streamed at the event website, http://appdaysathens2013.gr/), including Eleftherios Kosmas (elkos) from the Greek Mozilla Community!

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Showing the fox some love. Yaay! :D

In the end we had twelve (12) new Firefox OS Apps in total, which some of them were already submitted at the Mozilla Marketplace by that time. When the app development period ended, various people from the media arrived to the venue in order to cover the event. We had a few closing keynotes then, including that of John Bernard, who is the Global Marketing Director @ Mozilla and responsible for launching Firefox OS on mobile phones. After the keynotes ended, all the teams came on stage to present their new apps. I’ve to mention that all the apps looked very professional and selecting four of them as the prize winners was not an easy thing to do. But finally, the committee had to pick four of them and the winners received really cool prizes like Firefox OS devices, etc.

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What a team :D

All in all it was a very good event and a great experience for me. I did my best to support the event in many ways and also assisted developers with using certain tools for developing their Firefox OS web apps. One developer was also motivated to become a Mozilla contributor and I happily appointed him to the Greek community for mentoring via the /contribute form. Meanwhile I had the chance to get to know some very interesting people. I certainly hope there will be more events like that in the future and would also like to point out that the Greek Team is doing good work in aiding to the launch of Firefox OS here in Greece.

That’s it I guess. Take care everyone aaaaand… next stop for me should be FOSDEM :D


openSUSE Conference 2013 – Event Report

29/07/2013

openSUSE Conference 2013 was an international event which took place here in Thessaloniki, Greece and was filled with many many interesting talks and workshops. Mozilla was listed as a “community partner” at the event. We had an awesome booth, like always, specialized in Firefox OS.

On Thursday, we checked-in at the venue and registered ourselves for the event. We were later shown the place to set-up our booth. Me and Christos started making plans for the next day, on how to organise our booth properly and distribute our swag. I had also borrowed Christos’ Firefox OS Developer Preview Phone temporarily in order to play around with it, to test it and train myself on the basics.

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Me and Christos at the booth.

We set out on Friday morning with Christos and arrived at the venue by car. We carried around our equipment and swag; within minutes we had set-up the Mozilla booth. In terms of hardware, we had our laptops, our FxOS developer preview phone and a 22″ LCD screen pointing at http://contribute.mozilla.org/. We were joined later by Marios Isaakidis, a fellow Mozilla Rep, who had also another FxOS phone and was added to our booth. A lot of people came to our booth and kept asking more info about Firefox OS; since most of them were foss contributors and already knew their way around, we were asked more detailed and technical questions about how things are going “under the hood”. Thanks to our FxOS phones, we were able to deliver a hands-on experience to the attendees and were not just limited to plain words. Moreover, our Firefox stickers appeared to be very popular… we also provided the organization committee with firefox lanyards so that each attendant was also given a firefox lanyard along with his ID card upon registration.

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Me and Marios showing the FxOS phones :P

On Sunday, Christos Bacharakis gave an interesting talk about Firefox OS. It lasted around 30 minutes… there was also an extra 10-15 minutes for questions that were asked by the attendees. For those who missed Christos’ talk, you can find it here (unfortunately you might notice some recording issues on that video).

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Christos Bacharakis on stage.

On Monday there were only a few talks and the event lasted for only a few hours. We stayed at the booth like the previous days. Once the event was finished, we packed up our stuff and left. Later that day, we joined other contributors at a taverna. ;)

To summarise, this was my first event as a Mozilla Rep… being responsible for organizing a participation in such an event made me feel kinda anxious since I wanted everything to be in perfect order, but hey it seems I over-reacted, everything went smooth and we had an awesome participation! We also have had 8 potential new contributors recruited at this event! I’m now getting ready for my upcoming events as a Mozilla Rep. Hooray! :D


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