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From Ross Gardler <rgard...@opendirective.com>
Subject Summary of ApacheBarCamp Sri Lanka
Date Sun, 26 Feb 2012 14:07:07 GMT
Today it was ApacheBarcamp Sri Lanka. An event organised on the
smal-events list (this mail cc'd to concom main ilst for info). Here
is a very quick summary of how the event went.

It was held at the the University here in Columbo. But it certainly
wasn't a BarCamp. It was more like a mini-conference. Since I was not
involved with the planning I can't provide the background as to why it
was called a BarCamp but the format of a single track conference.

There were between 150 and 175 people there, I'd say the vast majority
were students. All were enthusiastic.

The first session was from Sanjiva Weerawarana, CEO of WSO2 - one of
the main sponsors. Sanjiva talked, as anyone who knows him would
expect, without mentioning his company. His focus was on the
importance of open source to the careers of those in the room,
including his own. He further highlighted the importance of open
source to the broader economic development of Sri Lanka.

Next up was myself doing a fairly standard Apache Way talk. As is my
style I encouraged those present to interrupt and engage. I'm pleased
to say that they did and as a result my session ran over by about 20
minutes, if it hadn't been for the arrival of tea and snacks it would
have gone on for much longer. The audience seemed genuinely interested
in Apache. Sanjiva had certainly caught their attentions.

After tea Nick Burch gave a talk on how he got involved with Apache.
He also invited a number of committers in the audience to share their
experiences. This worked well. It seemed that hearing how established
committers have had patches rejected, emails ignored, RTFM style
answers and so on was encouraging for the audience.

Nick was followed by Sagara Gunathunga (WSO2) who spoke on how to find
a project and take that first step in an Apache project. Again this
seemed to be very well received and Sagara provided some useful
starting points.

Lunch was up next with the usual interesting chats.

Next up was a panel discussion with past GSoC students on the panel. I
only caught half of this as Nick somehow found us a much needed coffee
at this point. What I did see focussed on advising the students on how
to apply for and succeed in GSoC (not just ASF). This was perhaps too
long, but since I wasn't in the room it might have been long because
the audience became engaged.

The overrunning of the panel meant the final session, which was to be
Q&A panel for all speakers had to be shrunk to 20 minutes. So Kanchana
took a few minutes to announce her intention to create a women in open
source group in Sri Lanka (there were about 15 women at the event, all
of whom were interested in Kanchana's proposal). The rest of the time
was taken up by Nick and I turning the mic on the attendees and (in
some cases) forcing them to tell us what their main take away from the
event was. We got a great range of answers indicating that all the
most important messages had got across.

In summary, this was not a barcamp, it should not have been called a
barcamp. It would have been nice to see much more engagement from the
audience. Certainly my session and the final session indicated people
were willing to speak up. That being said, the event was clearly a
success and it certainly complied with the policy in terms of Apache
representation and commercial impartiality (oh and it was free to
attend). The planners have already indicated that they would like to
do a larger event, possibly even an ApacheCon Asia. Nick and I had an
initial chat with them. We hope to see initial discussions once they
have had time to debrief and think about the future.

Well done to everyone involved with organising it.


Ross Gardler (@rgardler)
Programme Leader (Open Development)
OpenDirective http://opendirective.com

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