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 (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.

I’m 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!

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

Meeting & Workshop @ Open Labs, Tirana, Albania

DSCF3213Already in Berlin, we were looking forward to coming to Albania and meeting the hackers from Open Labs, the young 1-year old but very active hackerspace in Tirana. Open Labs is the one of its kind in this country. Its members ( about 20 ) are working hard to change this by promoting knowledge sharing and open cultures, and establishing a network with similar organisations from neighbour countries. Active members count also youngsters under 20 and their motivation has made the first year very successful.

DSCF3219Since its creation, Open Labs has been hosting weekly events, meetings and regular workshops ( about wordpress, linux, audacity…). Other projects managed by its members include the educational electronics kit called WMKIT which has been also presented at Betahaus in Berlin or the development of the wikipedia in the albanian language. We got the chance to interview the co-founder Redon Skikuli. In this video he tells in more detail about Open Labs and the situation of open knowledge in Albania.

As we did in Prague and Vienna, we also presented our workshop at Open Labs. Although the number of participants was smaller than at metalab, the interest showed made continuously the workshop very constructive. From the beginning, attendees actively participated in the presentation by asking questions and sharing their knowledge about open data, which showed that albanian hackers are willing to get deeper into the topic.

DSC_3315Albania is a country that has still a lack of transparency at political level. However, an open data platform has been created by an independent group of people who have gathered relevant information and published it to the public domain. They have also developed useful civic applications which promote the participation of the citizens in the improvement of the electoral system and the preservation of the environment. Unfortunately these initiatives are till now not receiving any support from the government. The attendees expressed the wish to have more data being released in the sector of security (criminality, car accidents) and public transportation.

Speaking about open data in a country like Albania has been extremely interesting for us. Quoting Redon Skikuli in the video above: “In a state like Albania […] its better to give people the tools to get their food and to learn how to create these tools than helping them giving their food”

Slides of the presentation
Slides of the presentation