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Open Technology Summit 2008, Taiwan - Part 1 - One Man, His Vision and Few Brave Souls! - w00t? /me on LJ??!? :O
May 4th, 2008
11:21 am

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Open Technology Summit 2008, Taiwan - Part 1 - One Man, His Vision and Few Brave Souls!
On Thursday I came back from Taiwan.I was invited to Open Technology Summit 2008, Taiwan to represent The KDE Project. So here's a report of the wonderful conference.

Background : Taiwan has a small but active foss activity. They actually have a very thriving Creative Commons ( CC Taiwan, love their logo btw. ) chapter in Taiwan. For some reasons, mostly cultural, foss/community activity doesn't work very well in Taiwan. The reasons are deep rooted into the culture and people of Taiwan. Some brave souls have of course broken the very same shackles and are doing a wonderful job.

The power of one! : One fine day about 3 months back or so, our 25 year old super hero from Germany, Marek Lindner lands up in Taiwan on a personal visit or such and after looking at the situation there in Taiwan decides to something about it. Do you remember the tv advertisement ( maybe it was only on Indian televsion channels )? In that info-mercial they show how "one" individual can be the cause of the change - the inspiration, the catalyst, the one who takes up the challenge in spite of every odd put in front of him. Organising a conference is *not* easy - we all know that. Maybe ask foss.in, freed.in, fossnitc or the akademy gang. So Marek who obviously likes challenges of higher order added a little bit more complication to the conference organising puzzle - organising a conference in different country in which he doesn't know the native language or culture at all. Fun no ? Now once he took up the challenge, a lot many good souls from across the globe rallied around him for this conference. ( these people deserve a separate post, so will talk about it later. ). To quote him, "I am willing to take the headache/trouble if it shows results."

The Conference: The conference was organised by "Open Hardware Initiative (OHI)" who played the main hosts and was spread over 5 days with 1 day break in between. 2 of those days were allocated to local universities and 2 days were termed as ASUS days. ASUStek Computer ( manufacturers of Eee PC ) played co-hosts for the conference. Other organisations also played co-organisers.

Day 0: I reached there on 24th April. It was afternoon when I landed and found Marek and Thomas at the airport who had come to pick me up. I wanted to exchange currency at the airport but the bank executive didnot accept INR. I had a few Euros but I hate parting with my Euros ;). So we decided to try other bank in Taipei later. Airport to hotel was almost an hour drive. After a quick shower, I got introduced to part of the gang in the hotel lobby. Juergen Neumann ( Freifunk founder, OHI Chairman ) from Berlin, Xavier Carcelle,Florian Fainelli and some more OpenPattern folks from France. Juergen was wearing a "Air Jaldi" t-shirt - the Jaldi part written in Hindi :). When somebody asked what it meant, he looked at me and replied - "he will know what it means" ;). From there we went in two groups, met up near the Chang Kai Shek memorial and then went to the "introduction" party. I met a lot of local folks there. Marec proudly wore his shiny new KDE t-shirt ;). Met Wendy for the first time, who was the local contact for the event. She also doubled up as my local food guide later throughout my stay :). More people joined us in a while, Frank Lachmann and Elisabeth Rank ( a journalist, both were Berliners ) joined us. Harald Welte also joined the party later. After some short speeches by Juergen and Xavier, we had many discussions ranging from -inifinity to infinity. Interesting discussion was about Chinese names and how they are derived. Juergen even got one for himself - Leh ( iirc ). Reached the hotel after all that fun and slept like a baby.

Day 1: Had breakfast at the hotel with the gang. It was the first university day at TamKang University / 淡江大學. We met Marek at the MRT ( the local trains in Taipei ) station and took a train to Danshui. On reaching the beautiful campus of TKU, we were greeted by Flora C.I. Chang, the President and Professor at TKU. Flora opened the discussions with her opening address which was followed by Juergen Nuemann short speech. After this a Intel representative presented some of the new things from Intel camp, primarily the Intel Atom Processor. After this, TKU university students presented their projects which were quite interesting. They were sort of shy at first to present them, but Juergen went and talked to them and encouraged them. Soon they were presenting their work. We moved to a smaller classroom after that for the workshops. Simon Wunderlich and Wesley Tsai then conducted a hands-on workshop on Wireless Meshing with B.A.T.M.A.N. Marek and Wendy lend them some help at times. It was a fun workshop. Simon/Juergen had bought a lot of small wireless routers for the workshop. Wendy and me took part in the workshop together. Later the university students presented another of their projects, this was about "A Wall of High Resolution Television base on Embedded System". Really nice work by these students, they really need to talk more about their projects and maybe even release the source code of their work. Between all that, we had some nice food during lunch. There were some nice snacks even in the evening. But food in Taiwan deserves a separate post :). I also got to speak with Andrew Lee who is a sysadmin and a Debian Maintainer. I learnt a bit about debian packaging from him, awesome dude btw.

Lisa, Frank, Juergen and me left TKU together in the evening. I bought pin converters on the way back to Danshui MRT. We were all quite hungry by the time we reached Taipei city, we looked for place to eat and ended up in a friend's bar/coffee shop where we kept our bags and then went for dinner. Came back to the coffeeshop and worked on my slides for sometime. Finally we took a taxi to the hotel. ( to be continued ... )

Current Location: New Panvel
Current Music: Message in a Bottle by Police
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