My experience building a 100% Open Source based Open Data platform

During the great OKFest 2014, we were lucky to re-encounter the folks from EWMI and Open Development Cambodia (ODC), a non-for-profit organization advocating for transparency that we could get to know during the Open Steps Journey. Since 2011, the team at ODC has been doing an amazing work sharing data with journalists, researchers and human rights activists so they can count with openly licensed information to support their activities in the south-east Asian country. At OKFest, they told us about EWMI’s Open Development Initiative and their plans of what now has become the Open Development Mekong project, an open data and news portal providing content about 5 countries of the Mekong region in South-east Asia. Back then, they were looking for somebody that could give a hand for conceiving and implementing the platform. That’s how I got engaged on this challenging project that has been keeping me busy for the last 9 months.

I’m writing this article to share my personal experience participating in a 100% Open Source project, within an agile and extremely collaborative environment whose outcome in terms of information, knowledge and code are meant to be reused by the community.

The project’s requirements and its architecture

ODC’s site already features lots of information, datasets and visualizations. The team has done a great work getting the most out of WordPress, the CMS software the site is build upon. However, since the main expectations for this new iteration of the platform were to host much more machine-readable data and expose it through both web interface and API, a specific framework for storing, managing and exposing datasets was needed. After analysing the current options out there, we decided to implement an instance of CKAN, which is an Open Source solution for building Open Data portals. Coordinated by Open Knowledge and strongly maintained by a great community of worldwide developers, it was definitely a good choice. Being Open Source not onlymeans that we could deploy it for free, but we could use plenty of extensions developed by the community and get our questions answered by the developers at the #CKAN channel on IRC or directly on the github repositories where the project is maintained.

gen_ii_architecture_Analogue to ODC, the OD Mekong project should present a great amount of news, data and visualizations in a comprehensive manner, allowing users to search within the large amount of contents and sharing them on social networks or among friends. Taking in consideration that the editorial team had already expertise working with WordPress and the fact that it is a widely used, community supported Open Source CMS, we went ahead and deployed a multi-site network instance, featuring one site for the whole region ( Mekong ) and one site for each of the countries ( Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar ). The theme chosen for the front-end, called JEO and developed specifically for Geo-Journalism sites, provides with a set of great features to geo-localize, visualize, and share news content. Since OD Mekong’s team works intensively with geo-referenced information ( also an instance of Geoserver is part of the architecture), JEO proved to be a great starting point and thanks to the work of its developers, lots of features could be used out-of-the-box.

To be able to facilitate the complex work-flow of OD Mekong’s editorial team, many WordPress plug-ins were used for aggregating content automatically, presenting featured information in a visual way or for allowing users to provide feedback. Also, we developed WPCKAN, a WordPress plug-in which allows to pull/push content between CKAN and WordPress, the main elements of OD Mekong’s architecture. Although is extensively used across the whole OD Mekong site, this plug-in has been developed generically, so other folks out there can re-use it in similar scenarios.

Working in a collaborative environment

Since the beginning, OD Mekong’s intention is to become a platform where multiple organizations from the region, which share common goals, can work together. This is not an easy task and has conditioned many of the decisions taken during the conception and development.

This collaborative process has been taking place (and will continue) at different levels:

  • Organizations participate on the content creation process. Once credentials are granted, datasets can be uploaded to the CKAN instance and news, articles or reports to the specific country sites. In order to ensure the quality of the contents, a vetting system has been conceived which allows site administrators to review them before they get published.
  • Developers from the community can contribute on the development of the platform. All code repositories are available on Open Development Mekong’s github site and provisioning scripts based on Vagrant and Ansible, both open source technologies, are available for everyone to reproduce OD Mekong’s architecture with just one command.
  • Since this is an interregional endeavour, all components of the architecture need to have multilingual capabilities. For that, many contents and pieces of the software needed to be translated. Within OD Mekong, the localization process relied on Transifex, a web-based translation platform that gives teams the possibility to translate and review software collaboratively. Although not open source anymore, Transifex is free for Open Source projects. I would like to highlight here that the OD Mekong team contributed to the translation of CKAN version 2.2 in Khmer, Thai and Vietnamese languages. Bravo!!

It is also very important to remark the benefits of documenting every process, every work-flow, every small tutorial in order to share the knowledge with the rest of the team, thus avoiding having to communicate the same information repeatedly. For that, since the beginning of the development process, a Wiki had been set up to store all the knowledge around the project. Currently, the contents on OD Mekong’s WIKI are still private but after being reviewed information will be made publicly available soon, so stay tuned!

An amazing professional ( but also personal ) experience

Leaving the technical aspect and going more into human values. I can only say that for me, working in this project has marked a milestone in my professional career. I have had the pleasure to work with an amazing team from which I have learned tons of new things. And not only related to software development but also System administration, Human Rights advocacy, Copyright law, Project management, Communication and a large etcetera. All within the best work atmosphere, even when deadlines were approaching and the github issues started to pile up dramatically :) .

This is why I want to thank Terry Parnell, Eric Chuk, Mishari Muqbil, HENG Huy Eng, CHAN Penhleak, Nikita Umnov and Dan Bishton for the great time and all the learnings.

Learn more

As part of the ambassador programme at Infogr.am, I hosted yesterday a skill-sharing session where I explain, this time on video, my experience within this project. Watch it to discover more…

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Mozilla Weekend is coming to Berlin


In less than 2 weeks, Berlin will be lightened up by one of the flagship Mozilla community events: Mozilla Weekend, organized on the 11th and 12th.
As the name suggests, the whole weekend is dedicated to Mozilla, its products and its initiatives, especially, but not limited to, Firefox and Firefox OS. After the German speaking community meetup in February, Mozilla Weekend aims to cater to new contributors and help the onboarding process.



The first day of the event (Saturday) will be filled with presentations and will take place at the Wikimedia Offices, while the second day will focus on workshops. Also, dont miss out on the AMA (ask me anything) sessions as the Mozilla Leadership will be there!
The variety of presentations offers something for anyone, no matter if technical or not. Afterall, the passion for the open internet is the greatest common ground for us. You can register your (free) ticket via Eventbrite on mozweekend.de
Of course there will be free goodies and drinks, so even if you cannot attend the whole day, feel free to pass by!


 

Wikimedia Office (Tempelhofer Ufer 23-24)

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Mozilla Office (Voltastr. 5)

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Open Source Conference Albania, OSCAL 2015

[alert type=”info” title=””]This is a blog post written originally by Redon Skikuli on his blog and has been aggregated with the author’s permission. [/alert]

OSCAL-Banner

OSCAL (Open Source Conference Albania) is the first international conference in Albania organized by Open Labs to promote software freedom, open source software, free culture and open knowledge, concepts that originally started more than 25 years ago.

The second edition of the conference will take place at 9 & 10 May 2015 in Tirana (Godina Liria) and will gather free libre open source technology users, developers, academics, governmental agencies and people who share the idea that software should be free and open for the local community and governments to develop and customize to its needs; that knowledge is a communal property and free and open to everyone.

Im exited, proud and lucky to be part of the organizing team of the second edition of the event, working with a great group of Albanian FLOSS enthusiasts that know how to create qualitative projects in a decentralized way. This edition is organized in the most decentralized way of working possible in the decision making process and the software used to document and plan activities and tasks. These tools include, but are not limited to Etherpads, Telegram for chat and WordPress for the maintenance of the website. Unfortunately in some cases we also used some proprietary cloud services, but we are planing to change this in the next edition.

Working and taking decision in a decentralized way is not only amazing, but also the the key theme of my talk during the first day and is also the main message we want to share with the participants during OSCAL 2015.

Here is the list with some of the inspirational speakers for this year, the agenda, the blog section with all the latest news, a humble guide to Tirana for our friends from abroad, some banners in case you dig the whole thing and want to spread the #OSCAL2015 vibe and the mobile app, your companion during the event. There will also be competitions, side events related to Open Street Map, LibreOffice, Mozilla and Wikipedia and a massive after-party.

Participation is free of charge, but online registration is required.

Looking forward for the result of months of hard work from all the team and the amazing volunteers in the second weekend of May 2015!

Mozilla German-speaking Community Meetup 2015 in Berlin

I had the pleasure to be invited to the annual Mozilla german speaking community meetup in Berlin this year. Although I am based in Albania and not in Germany, Austria or Switzerland; I contribute from time to time also to the German community, having helped out for the Firefox 10h Anniversary campaign and various other stuff (Firefox has a market share of almost 50% in Germany!).

As I grew up in Germany, I am quite familiar with the culture and speak the language also fluently. However I am most of the time unable to put my German into good use in Albania, for obvious reasons, so it always feels good to practice it.

This was my first time in Berlin and my first time in Germany in almost 4 years. I never visited a Mozilla office before either, so I was really excited for the meetup this year.

Disclaimer: This is a short summary from everything which happened during the community meetup. I am including here Michael Kohler’s notes from his blog, simply due to laziness. Kudos to Mexikohler for being so awesome! Check out his blog for the German version also.




Day 1

The meetup was held on February 20 to February 22 2015. To facilitate the coordination between all volunteers and staff living/working in the German speaking countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) we meet once a year to discuss any topics, plans and goals for the year. Further it’s important to meet regularly to have certain discussions in person since these are faster and more efficient. In total 27 persons attended this meetup.

On Saturday we started the first official day at 10am.

Start End Topic Duration Who?
10:00 10:30 Getting to know each other, Mozilla in general 30′ Everyone
10:30 12:00 Introductionary Discussions + Mozilla Goals 1h 30′ Everyone
12:00 13:00 Discussions / Group Planning 1h Groups
13:00 14:00 Lunch in the Office 1h Everyone
14:00 15:30 Feedback of the working groups + Discussions 1h 30′ Everyone
16:30 17:30 Participation 2015 (English) 1h Everyone
17:30 19:00 Community Tiles 1h 30′ Everyone
20:00 22:00 Dinner 2h 30′ Everyone

We began the meetup with a short introduction round since not all of the attendees knew each other. It was nice to see that from all around the Mozilla projects people came to Berlin to discuss and plan the future.

After that Brian introduced us to Mozilla’s goals and plans for 2015. Firefox (more focus on Desktop this year), Firefox OS (user driven strategy), Content Services (differentiate income) and Webmaker were the focus. To reach our goals for the community we also need to know about Mozilla’s overall goals so we can align them.

To know where we currently stand with our community, we did a “SWOT” analysis (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).


Strengths:

  • • L10N:  amount of work that was done and the quality of it
  • • a lot of different projects are worked on by the community
  • • we had more (and more impactful) events in 2013
  • • Being spontaneous
  • • …

Weaknesses:

  • • a lot of work
  • • “bus factor”
  • • communication
  • • not a lot of social media activities
  • • weekly meetings aren’t very efficient
  • • ….

Opportunities:

  • • Web Standards
  • • Rust
  • • Privacy
  • • Firefox Student Ambassadors
  • • …

Threats:

  • • Fragmentation
  • • Chrome + Google Services
  • • …

 

We splitted up in different groups to discuss group-specific topics and report back to everybody. We had “Localization”, “Developer Engagement / Programming”, “Community Building” and “Websites”.

We discussed the first outcomes of the groups together. Please refer to day 2 to see the results.

Markus, a local developer from Berlin, came by on Saturday. He’d like to organize regular events in Berlin to increase the presence of Mozilla in the city and to build a local community. We like this idea and will support him in 2015!

(Photo: Mario Behling)

After the group discussions Brian had further information: Participation. Please refer to Mark Surman’s blogpost to get more information about that.

At the end of the official part of the day we had a discussion about the “Community Tile”. When you open a new tab in a new Firefox profile you’ll see an overview of different sites you can visit. One of these links is reserved for the community. We discussed our proposal and came to the conclusion that we should focus to tell everyone what the German speaking community does and especially that there are local people working on Mozilla projects.

 

CommunityTiles(Photo: Hagen Halbach)

Want to see who was there? See for yourself!

(Photo: Brian King)

You can find all pictures of the meetup on flickr.




Day 2

On Sunday we once again started at 10am at the Berlin Office.

Start End Topic Duration
10:00 13:00 Plan 2015 / Events / Goals / Roles etherpad 45′ Everyone
13:00 13:45 Content mozilla.de 45′ Everyone
13:45 14:15 IRC Meeting + Summary Meeting 30′ Everyone
14:00 Departing or other discussions Everyone

At first we had the same breakout groups again, this time to evaluate goals for 2015. After that we discussed those together with the whole group and decided on goals.


Localization

The l10n group has worked out a few points. First they updated multiple wiki pages. Second they discussed several other topics. You can find the overview of topics here.

Goals:

  • • Finish the documentation on the wiki
  • • Get in touch with the “Localizers in Training”


SUMO

SUMO has done an introduction into the new tools. Further they decided on a few goals.

Goals:

  • • Have 90% of all articles on SUMO translated all the time
  • • For Firefox releases all of the top 100 articles should be translated


Programming

Goals:

  • • organize a “Mozilla Weekend” (this does not only cover developers)
  • • give a talk on Jetpack
  • • continue the Rust meetups
  • • developer meetups in Berlin
  • • recruit 5 new dev contributors

 Community Building

In the community building group we talked about different topics. For example we looked at what’s working now and what’s not. Further we talked about Firefox Student Ambassadors and recognition. You can find the overview here.

Goals:

  • • have at least 10 FSA until the end of the year
  • • have 2 new Reps in the north of Germany
  • • get WoMoz started (this is a difficult task, let’s see)
  • • finish the visual identity (logo) until end of Q2
  • • have at least 5 events in cities, where we never did events before
  • • Mozilla Day / Weekend
  • • define onboarding process
  • • better format for the weekly meeting

Websites

All German Mozilla sites are currently hosted by Kadir. Since Kadir doesn’t have enough time to support them, the goal is to move them to Community IT. This was agreen upon at the community meetup. You can find the relevant bug here.

Goal:

  • • transfer all sites
  • • refresh the mozilla.de content

All these plans and goals are summarized in our Trello board. All German speaking community members can self-assign a task and work on it. With this board we want to track and work on all our plans.

(Photo: Hagen Halbach)

After that we discussed what features should be on the mozilla.de website. In general, all the content will be updated.


  • • product and project overview
  • • landing page for the community tile
  • • list of events
  • • Download-Button
  • • link to “contribute”
  • • link to the mailing list (no support!)
  • • link to the newsletter
  • • Planet
  • • Social Media
  • • prominent link to SUMO for help
  • • link to the dictionaries

(Photo: Hagen Halbach)

At the end we talked about our weekly meeting and drafted a proposal how to make it more efficient. The following changes will be done once everything is clear (we’re discussing this on the mailing list). Until then everything stays the same.


  • biweekly instead of weekly
  • Vidyo instead of IRC
  • document everything on the Etherpad so everybody can join without Vidyo (Workflow: Etherpad -> Meeting -> Etherpad)
  • the final meeting notes will be copied to the Wiki from the Etherpad

Feedback / Lessions learned

  • planning long-term before events makes sense
  • the office is a good location for these kind of meetups, but not for bigger ones
  • there is never enough time to discuss everything together, so individual breakouts are necessary

I’d like to thank all attendees who participated in very informative and constructive discussions during the weekend. I think that we have a lot to do in 2015. If we can save the motivation from this meetup and work on our defined plans and goals, we’ll have a very successful year. You can find all pictures of the meetup on flickr.

WikiAkademia and AdaCamp in Berlin!

I’ve been to a number of open source and technical conferences over the last few years, most of which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. But AdaCamp is a special kind of experience.

AdaCamp is a conference dedicated to increasing women’s participation in open technology and culture: open source software, Wikipedia and other wiki-related projects, open knowledge and education, creative fan culture, remix culture, and more. AdaCamp brings women together over two days to build community, share skills, discuss problems with open tech/culture communities that affect women, and find ways to address them.

Adacamp gave me the ability to see how a major conference’s code of conduct was deeply flawed and the confidence to approach them with suggestions for how to fix it.

It’s encouraged me to speak frankly about diversity in our communities and how to improve it.

It’s helped me to meet so many incredible women, to share experience and to learn a lot.

I finally met others Wikipedians from all over the world. I have a year that I am contributing for Wikipedia and I had never met anyone in person. That motivates me a lot and made me feel proud of my work with WikiAcademy Albania. I’ve created contacts that will lead to exciting and future workshops/events at our hacker space Open Labs.

One of the best things about AdaCamp was learning about imposter syndrome. That session was empowering. The belief that one’s work is inferior and one’s achievements and recognition are fraudulent — in open technology and culture endeavors where public scrutiny of their work is routine.

Workshop about clean code was so useful thanks to Franzi.The compliments corner was funny and inspiring as well. The discussion about femnisem, women in open culture, non-open culture, code, education, social events and everything else in there, made Adacamp the perfect place to be those two days.

Now I know that I want to reach out to other women that identify as “geek”, “feminist” or both. I realized that I was among not only amazingly smart women, but also very generous people.

If you’ve never been to a feminist conference, you’re missing out a lot.

If you’ve never found yourself surrounded by dozens of brilliant, empathetic, creative and determined women, you should consider giving it a try. If you’ve never gone from learning about how open source cloud computing platforms work straight to a discussion of microaggressions and how to deal with them, finishing things off by sharing your favorite feminist response gifs – well, maybe you should go to AdaCamp.
Writen By: Greta Doçi
All photos and posts are CC-BY SA

Discussing the hottest topics of the decentralized web at GET-D

„If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” is a more than adequate motto chosen by GET-D‘s organisers to give character to this event, a conference aiming to explore the status, possibilities and challenges of the decentralized web. In its first edition, GET-D took place between the 17th and 19th of September in the amazing Agora Collective space in Berlin-Neukölln.

BxuQ_imCEAEQSRa.jpg_large

Decentralized web is a relatively new topic for many, as it is my case, and completely unknown by the vast majority of the internet users. If you belong to the latter group, let me explain briefly what I understand behind this term: The internet that most of the people use today (let me call it mainstream web) is structured in a centralized manner and a huge percent of the information is stored in big data centres and routed through servers owned by gigantic corporations. This makes possible that we all enjoy great services such as our favourite social networks, search engines and cloud storage services but has several negative implications such as poor inter-operability between information sources and, as you might already be aware of, governments accessing your private data.

As an opposition to the current infrastructure, the decentralized web proposes a much more democratic approach, where logic and storage is more balanced across the nodes of the network. Going back to GET-D’s motto, this idea also supports strongly the principles of collaboration. Because, in order to make things work, every node needs to work with the others. Last but not least, the re-use of resources (being digital information or physical assets) is also one of the main benefits of this approach.

What can we expect from a new and decentralized web?

As part of GET-D’s programme, we had the opportunity to discover very interesting projects that bring a new perspective to aspects of our current digital lives. To mention just a few, we enjoyed the presence of the folks developing Mail Pile, a free, add-free and Open Source email client that you can run on your local machine or server so you actually have total control of your data. Or Leihbar, a platform that tries to shift our consumer society towards a sharing economy. Leihbar envisions a network of boxes spread through the cities, where users can have access to all kind of products for particular occasions: from a projector to watch a movie, through tools for fixing your bike to an inflatable boat to enjoy a day at the lake. This way, we do not need to buy stuff that we are going to use just from time to time, we share it with others.

Internet of things (IoT) is also a hot topic nowadays. We are seeing how all kind of devices are becoming connected to the internet. Cars, public infrastructure or even coffee machines are now capable of interacting with the digital world and between them, in a de-centralized manner. At GET-D, a couple of IoT-related projects were presented: Starting with RiotOS, a free LGPL-licensed operative system for those devices the IoT is being built upon, or Gatesense, a project which encourages the community to imagine and shape the future of this field. With such a vast amount of devices generating tons of information, initiatives are also being launched to help us managing it efficiently. It is the case of Jolocom, a distributed visualisation tool which helps users make sense of complex connections between persons, projects, sensors and devices from the Internet of Things.

Hackaton: After theory it comes coding

I personally enjoyed the hacking sessions. Parallel to a series of interesting presentations and hangouts with folks working on decentralized web projects around the globe, they shaped the 3 days we spent at GET-D. Together with other participants, I worked on a project I would like to introduce here. Portable Linked Profiles (PLP) are set of components which offer an easy way for users, organisations and venues to create their public data, and most important, host it wherever they want. Thanks to its modular design and its Open Source nature, developers can create applications on top of PLP. This applications (named Browsers) would be something like our Open Knowledge directory which aggregates and maps contact information of individuals and organisations working on Open Knowledge worldwide. Expect more details about this on our blog soon.

GETD-am-17.09.14-um-17.16-2

Stay tuned for more GET-D

This first edition had already very good outcomes and the great thing is that there will be more to come. The topic of Decentralized web is still in a young state and more research, discussion and implementation is still needed. As we could experience, such an event offers a perfect environment for this and we are looking forward to attending next editions of GET-D.

Software Freedom Day 2014 celebrated in Nepal

Software Freedom Day (SFD) is a worldwide celebration of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). In Nepal, FOSS Nepal Community has been regularly organizing and celebrating Software freedom day since 2005. From 2007 to 2009, for three consecutive years, FOSS Nepal’s SFD celebration was recognized as the best event in the world. This year also with an aim to enrich the open communities rather than outreach upon the Free and Open Source movement, FOSS Nepal Community organized Software Freedom Day 2014, Kathmandu at Trade Tower (Elite Hall), Thapthali, Kathmandu, Nepal on the date of 20th September 2014. The way of celebration was completely different from the past year software freedom day. This year it was an half day event, where more than 14 different open communities who are currently working under open philosophy gather at the same place and the schedule of the event was also so simple.

Here goes the schedule of an Event.

Communities Like PHP Developers Nepal, Google Developer Group (GDG) Kathmandu, Robotic Association of Nepal (RAN), Wikipedia (Nepali), Mozilla Nepal, Open Street Map (OSM) Nepal, Open Knowledge Nepal, Ruby Developers Nepal, Google Business Group (GBG) Kathmandu, WordPress Nepal, Chitwanix, Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP) Nepal and many more was playing an celebrating partners role for this year Software Freedom Day. Event was Supported by Nepal Government Department of Information Technology, Rooster Logic and Computer Association of Nepal (CAN).

As Per the schedule event was officially started by the host Ms. Shristi Baral and Mr. Rajan Kandel, not exactly in the same time according to schedule but 15 minute late because of some management issues. After a short introduction of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Nepal Community and Software Freedom Day 2014, they invited Mr. Sagar Chhetri, first presenter of the event, who was there to give presentation on Chitwanix OS.

Mr. Sagar Chhetri utilized his total 15 minutes by defining what is Chitwanix OS, Chitwanix Student Partners (CSP), Chitwanix Associate Program etc. He said that Chitwanix community is slowly growing and going to make vast impact in the coming future. After his presentation about Chitwanix the event host called Mr. Saroj Dhakal to give presentation and short talk on Nepali Linux & Nirvikalpa. Saroj Dhakal started his presentation form the question: How many of here know about Nepali Linux? And most of the hands inside the hall were raised because Nepali Linux was that first Linux based Nepali operating system which was developed with the help of Nepal Government and Madhan Bhandari Pustaklaya. He said that Nepali Linux is going to reborn again and new version will be released soon. He also gave an short introduction about Nirvikalpa “Nirvikalpa is an collection of Open Source software which can be used at Microsoft Windows too”.

After Saroj Dhakal presentation on Nepali Linux and Nirvikalpa, Host of an event called Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP) Nepal Team for their introduction and presentation. LTSP project was lead by the students of Kathmandu University (KU) and all of them where an active member of their college open source community named Kathmandu University Open Source Community (KUOSC). Presenter shows their progress on LTSP and some images.

Now, It was a time for the presentation of Wikipedia (Nepali). Mr. Ganesh Poudel one of the active Wikimedians of Nepal was called on stage for the presentation. His presentation was like progress report and story sharing. He shares how Nepali Wikipedia community is growing day by day and he also gave an open invitation to all participant of Software Freedom Day 2014, to be volunteer of an Nepali Wikipedia and request everyone for the help.

Presentation session continues, after 15 minutes presentation of Nepali Wikipedia, Host called Mr. Nikesh Balami from Open Knowledge Nepal to give short introduction of Open Knowledge Community. Nikesh Balami topic was focused on Open Data and CKAN. “CKAN is a tool for making open data websites, It helps you manage and publish collections of data”. He also explain the future plans of Open Knowledge Nepal and shows different example website, which was made by using CKAN tools.

Host of an event called Mr. Nirab Pudasaini from Open Street Map (OSM) Nepal after Nikesh Balami presentation. Mr. Pudasaini define what is Open Street Map (OSM) at first and also define how student, company, researcher etc. can use OSM for their project. He explain how Kathmandu Living Labs (KLL) is supporting Open Street Map (OSM) Nepal and he specially thanks student because most of the student where helping them for mapping. He shows his interest of taking Open Street Map (OSM) Nepal outside of Kathmandu valley.

Event was running is the cool way but everyone get shocked suddenly when the host called team of PHP Developer Nepal because most of the participant was unknown about the group. The team started their presentation by defining how PHP language is helping to keep web secure. They also gave a short demo on how we can enjoy and utilized all software if it was made in web.

Now, the turn was of Mozilla Nepal and representative of Mozilla, Mr. Surit Aryal was there for the presentation. He gave a presentation on the topic “Moz Stumbler” and “Mozilla Location Services”. He introduced what kinds of project it is and also make clear how public can get benefits from it.

Again, after the presentation of Mozilla Nepal, Mr. Sakin Shrestha representative of WordPress Nepal was called on the stage for the presentation. He shares how WordPress Nepal is getting global recognition and also discuss a little bit about Wordcamp Nepal. He says that number of WordPress users in Nepal is increasing and suggest participant to use WordPress CMS which is free and secure.

Turning and interesting point of the event came because it was a time of Ruby Developer Nepal presentation. Bunch of team was there wearing “I Love Ruby” t-shirt. The team gave an introductory presentation about what does Ruby Developer Nepal do, what kinds of programming language is Ruby, what are its important etc. Everyone inside the hall was listening their presentation because the way they present was very unique. They suggested different link for the visit.

After, Ruby presentation host of an event called Mr. Bhupal Sapkota from Google Developer Group (GDG) Kathmandu. Mr. Sapkota defines what kinds of event does GDG organized and how to join GDG group. He also called his teammates Mr. Saroj Dhakal on the stage again to give presentation about Google Business Group (GBG) Nepal. He shares GBG journey, How GBG was started and what kinds of platform is it.

Final presentation of event was about Open Hardware and Mr. Dipesh Kharel from Robotic Association of Nepal (RAN) was called on the stage to give a short talk on it. He first defines how robotic can help us, and also make clear why Robotic Association of Nepali (RAN) represent Open Hardware. He said that in Nepal it was really difficult to work on hardware but nowadays the people working on Open Hardware is increasing.

With that last presentation on Open Hardware both the host Mr. Rajan Kandel and Ms. Shristi Baral handover the MIC in the hand of President of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Nepal community, Mr. Subir B. Pradhanang and says thanks to all participant for joining the event. Then Mr. Pradhanang introduced the Software Freedom Day 2014 organizing team (Only new faces) and thanks them for organizing such an wonderful event.

Then again he also handover the MIC to Mr. Hempla Shrestha for the Panel Discussion and Open Discussion. During the panel discussion everyone changes their sitting arrangement and made one big circle by using chairs. Everyone introduced themselves one by one at first round of the discussion. In the second round of the panel discussion community were asked to shared their view, What kinds of problem are they facing inside the community, what are their future planning etc.
At the last round of the Discussion Session, participant were asked to come up with new ideas, which they want to work in the coming future and must say that round was brilliant. Six participant present their ideas and other interested participant who like that ideas joins them. Hope they will be working till the last on the same ideas in the coming future.

Event was ended and everyone moved for the lunch.
#SFD2014

Tabula : Liberating data tables trapped inside PDF-Files @ Buenos Aires, Argentina

In the context of the Open Data movement, we are currently witnessing how organisations (whether public administrations or private corporations) are increasingly releasing data to the public domain. The intention behind this can be of becoming more transparent or to encourage developers to build useful applications on top of the published data.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-05-08 um 13.49.48For the sake of its re-use, this information should be optimally stored in a well-structured and machine-readable file, formatted as XML, CSV or EXCEL. However, this is not always the case and although such organisations are willing to share the data, the format is not properly chosen what, in some cases, makes the information even useless. It is the case of PDF files. PDF is a format originally thought to contain data meant to be printed. That is the reason why this kind of files support paging, paper-like sizing or can contain indexes, but in any case achieves the goal of storing large amounts of structured data as we expect from Open Data.

Activists, journalists or researchers willing to analyse big amounts of information published in PDF files often have to give up on their intention due to the effort associated to extracting all the numbers out of the files. That is why we want to introduce you Tabula, a tool that helps extracting the information contained in tables inside PDF files.

68747470733a2f2f662e636c6f75642e6769746875622e636f6d2f6173736574732f35333132392f3238373935372f36626566656564652d393236352d313165322d396538352d6165386631393337646562332e706e67Developed by Manuel Aristarán with the help of other fellows working on data journalism, Tabula can be installed on every computer (Windows, Mac or Linux) and, as if it was magic, extracts the information from tables present in PDF files, exporting it directly in a nice CSV formatted file. The interface makes the tool really easy to use, allowing the user to “draw” a box to select the relevant information. This saves up lots of valuable time.

Although, it is important to warn that only text-based PDFs are supported by now and not scanned documents, which are in their internal structure significantly different. This is a feature that would make the tool super powerful and is placed on the top of the improvements wish-list. Did we mentioned that Tabula is Open Source? That means that you can contribute improving it if you are a developer (OCR gurus more than welcomed!), contribute with some improvement ideas or give your feedback as user.

Ushahidi: Open Source platform for collaborative data collection @ Nairobi, Kenya

logo_300It is not necessary to say that software plays a very important role in the current Open Data scene. Developers are creating brilliant pieces of code that make working with data a fast, efficient and sometimes even fun experience. This also applies to data collection. Because sometimes it is not possible to find the data we are looking for, we are in need of gathering it ourselves. Ushahidi is a platform you will like to look at if you are in this situation.

In a nutshell, it allows citizens to make reports in a collaborative way, creating crowdsourced interactive maps. With a very intelligent approach, Ushahidi gives citizens the possibility to use the web, their smartphones and even SMS to gather data, which makes this technology accessible almost everywhere and for everyone. Originally created in Kenya to serve as an instrument for social activism and public accountability in crisis situations, the software has proven to be a great companion worldwide in bringing advocacy campaigns to a successful end. The team behind Ushahidi has not only created a world-changing technology but also they share it with others since it is released as Open Source. We contacted Chris Albon, director of data projects, and asked him some questions so you can learn more about this great tool.

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1) Hello Chris, could you first introduce yourself? Briefly, what are the activities of Ushahidi as company and what is the purpose of your main product, the Ushahidi platform?

My name is Chris Albon and I am in charge of Ushahidi’s data work. Ushahidi is a Kenyan technology non-profit that builds platforms, tools, and communities extending from rural Kenya to the coast of Louisiana. As a disruptive organization we believe our place is at the bleeding edge; it is part of our organization’s DNA.

Beyond leading a movement in crisis mapping through mobile phones and the internet, and revolutionizing an industry of data-use to solve problems, we helped build the iHub in Nairobi, creating a new model for innovation and tech startups in the region and changed the perspective about where innovation comes from.

The core Ushahidi platform for data collection and changing the way information flows is now used in 159 countries around the world. It has been translated into 35 languages and has been deployed over 50,000 times. In addition, the iHub has grown to more than 10,000 members, spun out 28 companies and spawned a movement of tech hubs across the African continent.

2) Quoting your website, “the tool contributes to democratise information, increase transparency and lower the barriers for individuals to communicate their stories”. Could you give us some examples of Ushahidi-based initiatives that have succeeded on their goals?

There are many examples of Ushahidi tools being used to democratize information, from fighting sexual harassment in Egypt to civil society activism in Ukraine. For us, success is a user able to gain new knowledge and power from data from the crowd.

3) Who is actually using the Ushahidi platform? Are they individuals, NGOs, activists, public administrations? Is there a topic or an issue that is much more addressed among all the users? In which countries/continents has the platform been more actively used? Why?

Ushahidi is used by all manner of people and organizations, from small non-profits wishing to monitor an election to international organizations tracking disaster relief efforts. The platform is used globally and on a whole spectrum of issues.

4) We have recently written an article focused on data-journalism. Is the Ushahidi platform currently being used also for journalistic purposes? How can data-journalists work with it?

Ushahidi has been used to gather new data and reports from journalists. My particular favourite comes from 2012: Al Jazeera used Ushahidi to tell a story previously almost entirely untold in the international media about what Ugandans thought about Joseph Kony.

5) We see on your website that you have other products too. Could you tell us a bit more about Crowdmap, BRCK and Swiftriver?

Crowdmap is our hosted geo-story telling platform, allowing people add a layer of “place” to things that matter to them. Swiftriver is our product for tracking and understanding the social web. Ping is an app we built after the West-gate attack to help people report in that they are okay after an emergency. Finally, BRCK is our rugged router for maintaining data connectivity no matter the environment.

6) You are working hard to build up a community (support, development wiki, help forum,…). What kind of contributors are getting involved in it? How big has been the impact of it for the development of Ushahidi’s products?

Ushahidi’s community has had a huge impact on the products development in a wide variety of areas, from volunteering during deployments of the software, to bug testing, to developing new features. We could not do what we do without them.

7) Ushahidi develops open source software. What are the reasons and benefits for a company like yours for making the code available for everyone? Reading your site, “we have also built a strong team of volunteer developers in Africa, but also in Europe, South America and the US”. Is this engagement a consequence of the Open Source collaborating philosophy?

Absolutely. The open source nature of the software makes community involvement possible. If our software was not open source, there would be very little way for our great community to help us make the software better.

8) Ushahidi provides services (consulting, customization, deployment) around the platform. What kind of organisations do you count under your clients? Besides this, do you rely on other financial resources?

Ushahidi is lucky enough to have a set of great organizations supporting our work, from the Rockefeller Foundation to Google.org to many others. In addition we also provide additional services for users who want some technical customization, training, or strategic guidance in the deployment of the platform or management of crowdsourced data.

9) Recently, you have released the version 3.0 of your platform. Can you give us an insight of the new features? Also, what are the kind of development of your products we can expect in the upcoming versions? In general, which are the next steps for Ushahidi?

Ushahidi has had the same platform code base for 5 years. A year ago we spent the time to do very deep user experience research within our user base, our developer base, and our own team in order to build a new, better Ushahidi core platform. We call it “v3″.

The purpose of v3 (The next generation of the platform) is to provide a better crowdsourcing platform, so that the leaders, crisis responders, funders, and decision making organizations can do their work more efficiently, gather better information, and understand what’s happening on the ground. It is a data collection platform that makes gathering and organizing data easy. It is a mobile first platform, as always, thinking of people with simple phones and moving up to those with web access for a beautiful visual feel.

Many thanks for all your time!

Meeting @ Mozilla Factory, Tokyo, Japan

When it comes to Open Source, it is mandatory to think about Mozilla. Both a company, creator of the well-known non-commercial web browser, and a foundation, promoting free and Open Source software; Mozilla is one of the big players in today’s internet scene.

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Some months ago, we experienced about the creation of the Mozilla Factory in Tokyo, a place where people can practice and learn Open Source creation. Straight away, we put it on the list of projects we definitely had to cover.

 Since the Mozilla Japan team changed its office last March, a new space had to be created which reflects the principles of openness that the foundation supports. As the Mozilla creative researcher Noriatsu Kudo shared with us, the space welcomes saturdays everyone with creative ideas and offers a great workplace with lots of equipment in order to put them into action. Players and Tutors (middle, high school and college students) work together with Mentors (members of the Mozilla team and university professors) in several ongoing projects. We could see on the spot several cool concepts for the reinvention of the mouse, such as the warm-hugging one, another for working out while browsing and our favourite one; a mouse that stops functioning after too long period of use, perfect for workaholics.

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Another remarkable element of this great place is its Open Source furnitures which have been designed through a collaboration with the studio NOSIGNER. From tables, through plant pots to lamps, the bright space features smart objects that can be replicated and repurposed by everyone since the drawings are available online for free.

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But this is not all! Mozilla’s new project is also worth to mention: the MozBus, a refurbished camping van turned into a nomadic web factory. Equipped with a satellite dish, power-generator and other technology items, the MozBus brings the web to remote places in Japan. On its tours, roving workshops are conducted with the purpose of raising awareness and teaching Open Source to those that cannot afford a trip to the headquarters in Tokyo.

In its recent history, the country had to face tremendous natural disasters and disaster management is also one of the main missions of this great project. The MozBus is ready to drive to affected areas and provide internet infrastructure while working as a mobile hotspot and data collection station or mobile research centre.

If you happen to travel to Tokyo, we definitely encourage you to follow Mozilla Japan and to check their event calendar. We wish we could stay longer to enjoy this inspiring place!