How old is the Internet? Are we aware of the technologies that are behind this concept? What does it mean to be secure while accessing the Internet? How many antivirus programs have been developed to protect GNU/Linux systems? These were some of the questions I had in mind when I decided to attend OSCAL 2022. To my surprise, this event exceeded my expectations. I discovered really interesting topics and workshops, young tech developers, experienced speakers, hardworking organizers, and a very enthusiastic FLOSS community in Tirana, Albania.
Going to the event
My journey started on Platform 5 in Reading from were I got a train to London Gatwick airport. It was a sunny Friday morning in the UK, and it seemed that many people took the day off because the train was completely full! Laughs all around were part of my journey, smartly dressed people, ladies in glamorous dresses and hats, presumably heading for Ascot races.
A direct flight of about 3 hours was on time and, ironically, when I was trying to connect to Internet at the airport, I had to fill in an online form which not only asked for my personal information such as full name, email, and phone number but it also wanted to know my citizenship status. Why do they need to collect this information?
The distance from the Tirana airport to the centre of Tirana was about 30 – 40 minutes by bus or taxi. From there, I was able to walk to almost everywhere as the centre is quite compact. The city was full of activities for youngsters, over the weekend there were dance performances and concerts every night.
Two days of talks, workshops and the exhibitions were held on the second floor of Tirana European Youth Capital HQ. A lovely patisserie was conveniently located on the first floor, so we could enjoy our food in the same building.
On the first night I was able to attend the PreParty at Hackerspace. I could see how the community decorated its space. It got my attention how they framed the posters of previous events and I really felt it was a very connected and organized team. I was so glad to finally meet face-to-face the young women who run the Hackerlab in Albania. Some of them are FLOSS developers, security administrators, marketers and promoters in Albania.
You can see the detailed list of talks here. I listened to the presentations made by OpenSUSE, LibreOffice, Wikipedia and the Fedora community. Pictured below, the talks by Johannes and Mike. Johannes did 5 live demos to create a secure setup for developers. Mike shared the ongoing efforts done by the Libre Office community.
Censorship of Wikipedia was a controversial talk that kept us very concentrated for more than 25 minutes. Good job Lars! There was also a panel to talk about the FLOSS situation over the past 20 years and future opportunities.
Other talks were focused on the laws and regulations regarding the data we publish and the opinions we express online.
I attended two workshops that were full and even people were stood up. One by Endri: Digital Forensics and Incident Response, and the other about TOR by Klesti Fetiu.
One of the projects that caught my eye was CARBONIO which is an alternative to Office365. I tested the software and it was able to do calls, mark calendars, receive and send emails. One novelty of this software was the feature of using and editing in real time LibreOffice files from emails.
I definitely recommend this free software. It was full functional and it provides a fresh UI.
It has been almost ten years since I joined Fedora as Ambassador in July 2012. It was so nice to meet in person Mariana Balla from Fedora Albania. It was also a pleasure to meet Nefie Shehu who is a very active FLOSS leader in Albania. It was nice to chat with OpenSUSE.
I started my presentation paying my respects to Marina Zhurakhinskaya who has done so much during her lifetime to promote the participation of women in Linux around the world. To see my presentation, please click here.
- We had a workshop to unlock a lock.
- The traffic lights duplicated with long strip-lights
- The touch-screen controls in an elevator
- I saw many more women than men in the city.
- During my flight, for the first time I noticed an aircraft going in an opposite direction – a huge airliner was out of sigh incredibly fast.
Thank you Fedora for sponsoring my traveling to Tirana, Albania! I enjoyed getting around the city!