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Cambodia ICT Camp 2018

Dezember 27th, 2018 von buergermeister

Sunday – Day -1

The day before the first day of ICT Camp Cambodia was mostly travel. I had to wake up early for going to the bus. I went through the city very fast, as it was sunday morning. But very often that doesnt mean anything, so to be on time you have to start early and sometimes that is right enough but sometimes you have then still time, especially the bus arrives later. So this time I was to early :D
A bus ride from Phnom Penh takes 6-8 hrs, night bus is a bit shorter. It always depends on the traffic situation and what I figured out, its better to take the smaller buses with lesser people, then its lesser an issue to getting all back in the bus during the breaks.
So I arrived at the hotel half past two, I unpacked my things and my room mate arrived, luckily the organizers picked Ar Arky as my room mate. I know him since a long time now but that doesnt mean we see each other regularly (thats the strange thing in this city) so we did catch up on a few things and planned to do some things to do some things together in near future (how near depends now for me, how fast I find funding for a new laptop) and we had even the chance to enjoy the pool before going to the welcome dinner.

 

Monday – Day 0

Before I talk about, what did happen on the first day of this event, I should tell you what it is and what is the idea behind it. The ICT Camp Cambodia, is definitely not an FOSS event, like we know it. Literally there are no such events in the region. The idea behind the camp is to solve problems, it is about getting people to new ways of thinking and teach them basic things about certain areas. This camp concentrated on Open Data, Cybersecurity and Open Source. At a certain point the participants was called to find problems which they could solve and one of the points for a possible solution was, that the solution will be Open Source.

 

So the first day was opened with an welcome speech by Thy Try, Executive Director of the hosting organization Open Development Cambodia. It was followed  what I calling keynote marathon, participants of the FUDCon APAC 2016 here in Phnom Penh might know what I mean. Keynote means here kind of opening talk, so in this case just 3 related to the topic plus one hold by Mok Khemera, Director of e-Government department, Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.

 

Since I living in Cambodia I am not that much interested in listening to such talks, its totally different to what I am used to. I had already enough of one of the opening “keynote” speeches at FOSSASIA where someone just did talk because his embassy was one of the sponsors, well Skype is so far from opensource, it was like a slap into the face. So I skipped most of these opening talks. Except the one of Norbert Klein, which was the part of “Open Source for Good” I already did ask Nobert the day before what he will talking about and I was already angry back then, Nobert sells Free Software/Open Source as free in kind of free beer, lesser as in kind of freedom. He has the typical end-user thinking of free and unpaid download, which never fits to the needs of government or business institutions. This kind of thinking is absolute poison and shows the wrong picture.

I only can hope that my talk which was the follow up in the track of “Open Source for Good” made this more clear. My talk was entitled “Free as in Freedom, not as in Free Beer” so I showed the definitions of Free Software as this ones of OSI as well and made clear that in neither the one or the other does contain any restriction according to money or does it not allow to SELL the software. My biggest problem at this point was, that 15 minutes before my talk my laptop did die. So I had no slides to present with, for me no problem I can speak about this topic freely. During the time I could upload my slides and shared them with the participants, a thing I would have done anyway. But before I presented another thing did happen, the morning circle on the first day of course with an introduction of everybody on this point I have to say, its planned always and nobody seems to calculate the time before, when 100 or more people introduce themself its not done in the 20 minutes which was planned. So coffee break was a bit shorter as planned but this had also a short calculated time, 10 minutes. I am opposed on such “breaks” during working events anyway there is a pro and a con and the con, that you never get back everybody into the tracks/talks seems to be a big problem in SEA. So I hope there will be some format changes for the next event. But I like the idea behind, getting to know new people and their views on problems/things. But I never figured out who my “secret buddy” was I mean who dragged me out of the pot. My secret buddy was Lov Hongthakvika, we had some conversations to each other (actually I like the secret buddy idea but some bug fixes must be done to it to make it 100% working) he had some questions to me anyway as he is one of the few already using Linux (ubuntu) and had interest in switching to Fedora as it seems to be the better solution for him as a developer. And we shared also our “Smallworld” experiences.

 

Tuesday – Day 1

This day I had no talk by myself and time to join others (as long they been in english, made me a bit sad most had titles in english and was hold in khmer) I joined John Weeks talk about “ICT4D in Cambodia” thats an attempt to connect different NGO’s together to work more closely together. I heard in this talk about a funny solution, you know what a WIFI-Moto is, yes its a moto bike which brings you for a few hours a day connection to the internet. Sounds crazy or? I also joined Arky’s talk about “Internet in a Box” which is related to us, as this project started on our Fedora Summer of Open Hardware and Fun! Wow that was a long time ago. From the software perspective every problem is solved, except that the GUI would need some rework to get it more attractive. From the hardware side, the current solution Raspi + Wifi dongle is not the optimum. There will be a deployment of this boxes in some schools here in Cambodia. Sure hardware solution could be better but thats a bit of chicken-egg problem, surly not without funding and an larger deployment.
Later that day, the pitch session did happen. So the participants had to come up with problems and ideas how to address them. There been 14 problems/ideas. First I was happy to see that none of them was about make a new business and all of them addressed social problems. If you would been strict to the regulations, some had more a solution and searched for a problem where they can be used for. Some been really interesting, like a dictionary for the indiginous language kuy (Cambodia has 19 languages, kuy is one of them). Unfortunately they felt back to “App” instead of really bringing their idea to that what later “Apps” can use. But there will be light, the people who had this problem/idea already joined our translation team, so lets see if we can offer Fedora in kuy. I have starting to work to figure out, how to do it in the best way. Two ideas was related to OSM, one group wanted to better the data of it and searched for ways how to build an OSM community in Cambodia and one wanted to use it to promote the Battambang region amongst tourists. Two projects wanted the trash problem Cambodia faces, so all in all a lot of interesting things.
After the pitching the mentoring session did start, opposite to others speakers I did not choose a team to mentor as one of the the rules was to make the solution open source, I felt responsible for all (the only FOSS person left was Arky and he was one of the judges). This sessions went until the dinner and after dinner another session did happen.

Last session of this very long day (until 11pm) was John Weeks with “Sketch Noting” this session was mainly there for showing the participants that everybody can draw (not a thing you have to show me) and how to use such drawings for recording sessions and talks or present ideas. I met John several times already and he has done comics about FOSS already, we had since a plan to produce a Fedora related one, lets see we can do it this time. I would need some for Barcamp PP 2019 and this graphical stories are really the best way to explain Khmer people what it is about. We used some time during the event to speak about this kind of project.

 

Wednesday – Day 2

This day was only a half day filled with talks, after lunch an trip was planned. The organizers gave the choice between Angkor Wat and Kampong Phluk, the floating village. I been to Angkor already, yes I find it a great place but 30$ for a day ticket and paying this for just a few hours (not the whole day) is simple to much especially the money wents in the pockets of a private company. So I did choose the floating village and it was the right choice, its not that it is impressive like Angkor Wat and the engineering behind it, its a village build on piles on a river. There are all in all 3 of this villages left, with 900 family living in all three of them. Its not so tourist crowed like Angkor (half China is there) just a few tourist. The only thing what made me sad that day, was that my session chair said to the participants of the talk, they shall get into a bus with me and then continue there and the organizer packed all speakers, facilitators and organizers in one bus. So they had no chance to continue their exploring of our huge world.
But before we went for the trip, I had my second talk on this event, it was about the Fedora Security Lab but it was more concentrating on Flavors, Labs and Spins and show the different things we offer. It is hard for the most to understand that an operating system has nothing to do with an graphical user interface/desktop environment and that on Linux you have the choice to find one that fits your needs. I already had this last year at PNC, but they did understand that during the week we had.
The tour did end with an self-organized dinner in Siem Reap, so for me been already in SR but never seen the famous Pub-Street before, but the time was to short as some projects wanted to work on their idea, I had to go back with the bus at 8pm. I mentored after that the OSM-Battambang idea a bit and went around 12pm to my room, so a long time again.

 

Thursday – Day 3

This day did open with the presentations of last years winner projects. This was also the big day for me as the first slots being my “Start your Life as Fedora Contributor” workshop, this workshop I always divide in two parts. In part one I show that there are many things to do and you not rely on any programming language to contributing to an FOSS project. I dont know why a “Mindshare guy” wants to see my material for this workshop, I do it since years and the slides are shared on my fpo account and the rest of the workshop is helping the people creating their FAS account and understand the ways we use, its explaining why we use IRC and not do video conferences, its some basics about how to use mailing lists and similar things. There is no kind of material, because it depends on the knowledge of the audience. As material always serves me apps.fedoraproject.org which gives a nice overview on Fedoras infrastructure and how huge our project is. This time I was a bit troubled as my laptop died on the first day, I managed to show my slides but showing IRC and so on was a bit hard but this was with the audience I had this time also lesser an issue. Over the days before the right people crystallized out and so 5 new FAS accounts being created and 5 new translators being added to Zanata, and I am sure 3 will definitely show up for the next translation sprint. Besides that the khmer-community mailing list found some new subscribers and the facebook page some new subscribers to. We used also some time during my session to talk about translation topics, there is a strong need now for it, MoEYs has made a policy to deploy increased FOSS but only when it is available in khmer. Guess what next to LibreOffice, GNOME (which been translated several years back paid by SUSE) Fedora is ahead.

 

Friday – Day 4

This day had lesser talks, as the projects had to finish their presentation for the marketplace as well presenting them. I joined that day “FOSS and Khmer Application in Education – How community can contribute!” presented by Phel Phearoun from the Ministery of Eduction, Youth and Sport (MoEYS). Again time to discuss, how FOSS projects get translated and what the ministry can do for this. The hierarchical thing the ministry has in mind their will not work, the encourage and facilitating points will be more helpful. However I will have with Phel Phearoun a meeting during the next weeks as we developed together some ideas already how we can improve the situation. So far we agreed to connect the different translation teams together, an idea I had a long time ago but never got it running. So lets see if with the help of MoEYS this will happen. The first meeting, is now nearly a week after the event set up.

 

Saturday – Going home

Getting home, this can be described in a few words, hurry up to get breakfast, checking out and then wait for the rest joining the bus and take their seats in it. The ride back was a lot of fun, forget about Karaoke hour at Flock, khmer do karaoke whenever they can. In a bus it means there are microphones, the driver/owner shares with you the phone connection via bluetooth and you can search in youtube or other such platforms and sing the song you like, he they even got me singing (people who know me what that means), so the 7 hours what it took us to reach Phnom Penh went fast.

Output

So all in all it was a successful event, personally for me as well for Fedora. Not that we just won new contributors and more people did hear about it. There are also some contacts are made and ideas developed how to bring FOSS (and therefore also Fedora) forward in Cambodia. I have now a full agenda again and have to catch up with all of this contacts to move on. But if half of it does happen, Fedora will make a big step forward in Cambodia again.

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