FOSScamp 2017 @ Syros, Greece


(Redon Skikuli) #1

Hello friends,

announcing the 2nd edition of Free Libre Open Source Camp (FOSScamp) that will take place from 31.08.2017 - 03.09.2017 in the beautiful island of Syros in Greece.
There are many changes to this years edition so please read below all the details:

Additional activities
The floss related activities will take place during 31.08 (starting in the morning) – 03.09 (ending in the evening), but keep in mind that some of the participants might be staying some more days until 6.09.2017 to enjoy the city, which is something highly recommended. Syros is a beautiful island with (not low but) reasonable prices for a tourist destination in high season, great food, after hour activities, really good public transportation and beautiful beaches;

Focus of FOSScamp 2017
The theme of this year will be the documentation of the island in 360’ imagery with geolocation. This means there will be Wikipedia editing of elements related to the island in different languages including but not limited to SQ language, GR and EN, Mapillary contributions, Mozilla WebVR workshop (using 360 images we will upload on Wikimedia Commons), OpenStreetMap contributions and other hackactivities. Be prepared for 3.5 days of intensive hard work followed by a lot of sun, sea and fun;

Fees
there is an early participation fee of 45euros fee for the participants (deadline 6.08.2017 @ 23.00). After this the late participation fee will be 60Euros and the latest deadline 10.08.2017. There will be also student tickets with significant discount and also possibilities for people that are unemployed.
The participation fee will help the organizing team offer a better experience and more organized activities for everyone with the lowest possible cost. This fee is important also to avoid last minute cancellations without any particular reason, something we had last year as well;

  • in addition we will apply for financial support from related organizations (Wikipedia and Mozilla might be some of them, but without limitation to those) with the ultimate goal of covering some of the costs since the majority of the people interested from Open Labs are students and/or with access to limited budget for such activities.

Accommodation
The initial plan was to go camping, but there are no camping sites near Ermoupolis (the main city of the island). Ermoupolis is a very nice place to stay with many cultural events going on. Once you get your ticket we will inform you about the places we are planning to stay and will proceed together with the booking. The earlier you get your ticket the better from us the cheap the accommodation for you since we can negotiate easier.

Travel
Travel is something we can help you with proposals, but you have to handle the tickets by yourself. The plan is to take the same ferry on Sept 30th from Athens. It will be a lot of fun if we are together and of course cheaper that taking the plane at this season. :slight_smile:

Organizing entity
the organizing entity will be Ura and will take the responsibility for the work related to the promotion (more participants the better for OLs in terms of financial support), online and offline payment logistics, group bookings and detailed agenda and safety;

Support for the hackerspace
Open Labs will receive 20% generated from the entry fee revenue to the hackerspace. This will make it a win win for all the involved people.

There will be a second announcement with even more details about the agenda and Syros in general so please have a look at this thread from time to time.
If you are part of a community that can support you financially please post here so that we get organized accordingly. As mentioned before the above are based on the learnings of the experience of the previous year in order to provide the best experience to the participants.

Later today you will be informed about the link where you can get the tickets and more details.
Please write here if you have any questions or contact the organizing team at: hello (at) ura.design.

R.S


(Redon Skikuli) #2

Here is the microsite for the event where you can get the tickets: http://fosscamp.cc/
Also, details about accommodation, prices about accommodation and other details will be added here: https://wiki.openlabs.cc/faqja/FOSScamp_Syros_2017
Please keep in mind that:

  • the sooner you get your ticket the cheaper the rooms we are renting will be;
  • tickets help the organizers offer a better service and also the hackerspace get some funding.
    Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

R.S


(Jonathan Beliën) #3

Hi guys,

I really would like to join you to FOSScamp !

I checked flights from Brussels to Syros and … well … plane tickets goes from 800 EUR to 2000+ EUR XD
So I would like to join you to Athens to take the ferry with you ; do you already know around what time you’ll take this ferry ? And I suppose it’s quite easy to go from the airport to the ferry ?

After FOSScamp do you go back to Athens as well ?

That’s all (for the moment) :stuck_out_tongue:
Thanks !


(Redon Skikuli) #4

@jbelienyes the cheapest and most fun way is to join us taking the ferry from Athens to Syros and vice-versa. The majority will stay until 5 or 6 September in Syros after the event and thatI think is something not to be missed as well. Ferry timetable and prices will be published in the next days here: https://wiki.openlabs.cc/faqja/FOSScamp_Syros_2017.

Keep in mind that 99% we will take the ferry from Pireaus port (Athens) in Sept 30th.
Later today there will also be a Telegram group dedicated to the participants of FOSScamp.
Cheers,


R.S


(Daniel Pocock) #5

This is now on my blog and various other places.

Is it feasible for any other groups to organize activities within the FOSScamp event? For example, if any team from Debian wants to organize a sprint, which would qualify for funding, would that be compatible?


(Jona Azizaj) #6

I guess you mean 30 August and not Sept.


(Boris Budini) #7

Hey all!
I’ll be there with 2 talks and 1 workshop about Mozilla projects (including MozVR). See you there! :wink: :balloon:


(Elio Qoshi) #8

That would definitely be feasible! Hit us up if you want to organize something (sorry for the delayed reply btw)


(Daniel Pocock) #9

are people from Tirana flying to Athens or taking the bus there? If going by bus, would you want to visit any of the Debian people in Ioannina ?


(Redon Skikuli) #10

From the information i have so far that would not be an option for logistics reasons. The majority of the participants will go there by bus, but due to a limited time off from the jobs or limited budget I would not go for it at this time.
The visit of the Ioannina community is a great idea for a trip in the next months though :slight_smile:


R.S


(Daniel Pocock) #11

@rskikuli Looking at the page with ticket sales, it is not clear what is included in the price. Does the price include the accommodation or any meals? What other essential costs will people have to pay?

For people who take the ferry from Athens, do you know the cost each way?

If people are going to ask for financial assistance from Debian or any other project, they need to be able to submit a complete list of all their expenses before purchasing any tickets.


(Jonathan Beliën) #12

Hi Daniel,

If I’m correct, there is nothing included in the FOSSCamp ticket price ; no food, no accommodation, no drink, …

The ferry cost 31.50€ for one trip (so 63€ in total).

All those information are available on the wiki : https://wiki.openlabs.cc/faqja/FOSScamp_Syros_2017/en


(Daniel Pocock) #13

Could somebody update the ticket purchase page with those details and a link to the wiki for other prices? When I look at the ticket purchase page it is not clear what is included in the EUR 60.


(Daniel Pocock) #14

Since promoting the FOSSCamp on my blog, several people have written to me asking questions about the event.

I’ve seen the great work that Open Labs has done organizing OSCAL and more recently the Cryptoparty where you had 108 people show up. Many members of the Open Labs community have been welcomed in a lot of other events and programs around the world. There is a lot of good will towards Open Labs, based on the work everybody in your community has done and that is one of the reasons I was happy to promote the FOSSCamp.

I’m worried that if discussions about FOSSCamp continue, it could undermine good will towards Open Labs and could be harmful for individuals from Albania asking for funding in future.

@kristiprogri - could Open Labs produce a brief financial report for the event, just a list of revenues and expenses, showing the funds contributed from different free software organizations and how they were used? As chairwoman, could you also confirm all the money from registration fees was put through the Open Labs bank account or managed in a manner approved by the board?

@rskikuli - you wrote that a registration fee was needed because of people canceling at the last minute. I never received any reply to my earlier questions about how the fee would be used and this makes people more suspicious looking at this thread on the Open Labs forum. Why couldn’t you simply ask people to pay some of the accommodation in advance if you were concerned about last minute cancelations?

People have also noticed that the FOSSCamp is heavily embedded into the Open Labs web site, with a dedicated web page under openlabs.cc, a dedicated page on the wiki and the banner on the front of the Open Labs web site. The FOSSCamp.cc web site has the Open Labs logo but it has an Ura Design email address on it. This also raised suspicions with some people, could somebody clarify the relationship between Open Labs, Ura Design and FOSSCamp?

Some other contributors in the region have expressed concern that because of the ferry cost and the registration fee, the event was not affordable and the only people who attended were the people who could get travel sponsorship. Given the huge communities in Albania and also Kosovo, it seems disappointing that more of those people could not attend the event. Did you look at other locations where more people could afford the travel or were there other people or groups who were expected to meet you in Syros but changed their mind and did not come?

One general comment about the event: for people in full time employment to attend events like this, especially if they have to book flights from northern Europe, they need a lot more notice beforehand, maybe 3 to 4 months. In this case, the event was only announced 2 months in advance and that may have reduced the number of people able to take a week off work.

I realize people did a lot of good work at the FOSSCamp and other Open Labs events and I don’t want these questions to be demoralizing for all of you. I feel it is a really good idea to give the community some feedback about these concerns so that questions about the FOSSCamp won’t linger in future. Dealing with this openly will also help show the wider community how the organization is operating well. Even if there were mistakes, any objective de-briefing and analysis of these questions can hopefully show that the mistakes were understood and any future FOSSCamp will be bigger and even more successful.


(Redon Skikuli) #15

Daniel thank you for sharing your message. To be honest, I’m very concerned about what you wrote, since in my perception your post includes some serious accusations especially when you, as a person who has visited us many times and knows how we operate, know quite well how serious our community takes financial support from any entity.
As a person heavily involved in the floss community in Albania, a person that has helped in many occasions fellow contributors get funding from floss initiatives and as one of the organizers of this activity I take these accusations very seriously! This is the first time that someone indicates in a direct or indirect way that there are concerns about the financial support of contributors that are members of Open Labs and also the first time someone mentions lack of transparency in the way we operate. The thing is that this was an event organized by Ura, not Open Labs.
Before answering I would like to ask you to kindly share the link of this post to the people you mention that have expressed concerns so that it is easy for the to express their concerns here. This will (a) be more straight forward to us and not go between a third party and (b) as you mentioned would be really transparent and help us get better. Saying there are people that are not happy with an event is quite generic.
Regarding your concerns:

  1. (again) FOSScamp is organized by Ura. This has been clear prior the event and the reasons for the fee are clearly explained. There are costs on organizing events and different setups to cover these costs. I’m sure that the reaction of the CCC organizing team to your request for a public debate about their entry fee and their financial structure would have a different and quite shorter response than mine. There was a fee also for participating in the Kotor event, where you also where present. I don’t know anyone asking about the reason of the fee, although there are reasons why the fee was there;
  2. @kristiprogri, as a board director of OLs is responsible for such issues in regard to Open Labs (not Ura) members and addresses these issues during our members meetings. The next members meeting is in about 10 days as you can see here https://wiki.openlabs.cc/faqja/Aktivitete. I hope one of the members of the community raises your concerns at that meeting or a future one.
  3. if one or more organizations that have supported members of our community have concerns about the support we are receiving (which you have been supportive quite a lot by helping many members apply and use these funding opportunities) I personally would be more than happy to address these issues in the next members meeting;
  4. with our without financial support we have managed to keep the hackerspace open (some of our members including myself have put personal funds to help the situation) and grow the communities of different initiatives. it’s a weird feeling (I’m being polite) to read that there are concerns about what you are mentioning at your post. I have to say thought that the amounts we are talking about are ridiculous when the sum amount of financial support from people from many central Europe countries the last 10 years (per capita) has been quite substantially bigger. I have an idea about the reasons this happens, but this is not the place to address these concerns.

Who are these people that expressed these concerns and why don’t they contact the event organizers about these concerns? I just booked tickets for CCC and the cost is many times more expensive than going to a Greek island. Going from Switzerland to Kotor is more expensive than going to Syros (please do the math), so this is not a valid argument.

Last, but not least: I wish your concerns would be expressed in our mailing list in the first 2.5 years of the hackerspace when there was no funding around from any initiative even for stickers and promo materials for our events.


R.S


(Daniel Pocock) #16

Thanks for clarifying that.

Can you please be specific, is Ura also a non-profit like Open Labs, is it a company or is it just a domain name you use personally?

There are always overlaps between different organizations, e.g. some Debian contributors also work for other companies like Ubuntu and Red Hat, this is not prohibited at all but sometimes it is helpful to be clear about it.

They have the link

I asked about this twice on 28 July and there was no response, can you please point me to the explanation about the fee?

One other point of feedback about the fee: if somebody local only wanted to come for 1 or 2 days, would they pay the whole fee or only pro-rata? Offering more discounts in future could encourage more people to participate, some people are afraid to ask if they don’t see a discount like that.

Chaos Computer Club e.V. is a non profit organization in Germany and they produce an annual financial report showing how they use the money from CCC. It is also clear that they do things like hiring a venue with that money. If Ura produced a simple spreadsheet showing how you used the fee that would probably help end the discussions very quickly.

I’m really hoping that if you can provide a little more detail here in this thread it won’t be necessary to continue the discussion for so much longer.


(Daniel Pocock) #17

I realize everybody puts a lot of time and effort and some personal money into what you do at Open Labs and that is why I wanted to give you the opportunity to clear this up as quickly as possible

It’s not so much about the sums of money, it is about following good practices. Some organizations may actually want to give more money to support events in the region and so it is really important to show them how well Open Labs or Ura used the money that has already been contributed for FOSSCamp, even if it wasn’t so much.

For example, if the money was used to pay for lunches, that isn’t a big issue but as the questions were left open, it has become like a snowball.

Personally, I wouldn’t spend any of my own time on this matter at all if I didn’t want to see successful events and other efforts in the region and in Open Labs.


(Daniel Pocock) #18

Can you also comment on why it was decided that Ura and not Open Labs would be the organizer?

After all, I understand you made a lot of effort to establish Open Labs as a registered non-profit and open a bank account. Did Open Labs not want to be the organizer, or was there another reason for the decision?


(Elio Qoshi) #19

Hi @pocock, thanks for addressing this. When you were in Tirana you expressed similar concerns to me where I thought I was able to answer your questions. From what I see, that does not seem to be the case. Without repeating what Redon explained, let me address the points of concern.

Ura is a registered for profit company founded by me in 2014. Apart that some of it’s staff are also Open Labs members, there is no whatsoever relation with Open Labs. This was also communicated on the FOSScamp Materials where it was said it has been organized by Ura.

As Open Labs we generally dislike organizing events with participation fees or with accessibility limitations (financially and also geographically). FOSScamp is not an ideal place for beginners who want to start contributing to open source. It is a place for established contributors to gather in a more isolated unknown environment, working on projects and sharing their experiences. Going to a different place makes it neutral community wise, as no community is “in their element” and there are no roles such as hosts or guests. Having said all these, we decided to organize it as Ura, since there was no interest from other Open Labs Members to initiate it. It allowed us also for more improvising since the decision-making structure of a company is obviously different from a hackerspace.

There have been discounts for requests on a case by case basis. Also Lior, who got a ticket in the last few days got a discount if I remember correctly.

Ticket Fees didn’t sum up to more than 500 EUR in total which were used to pay for one breakfast, dinner, drinks, snacks and covering some costs for Ura staff (mostly me) for the trip. Apart individuals getting sponsored by projects, FOSScamp had no sponsor which helped in getting our actual costs covered, so ticket fees were critical for us.

As you can see, exactly concerns like these was the reason we decided to organize it as Ura, not as Open Labs. So please, if you have any concerns, address them to us. Open Labs has no affiliation to the event apart being present there. If there is any concern coming from anyone else in particular, please let us know.

P.S: I’d kindly ask you to also refrain from triple posts. That’s common netiquette on forums and mailing lists. Thanks for understanding.


(Redon Skikuli) #20

Daniel you didn’t answer many of my issues mentioned. I don’t like the way you are addressing this. It feels like being accused or will be accused based on replies and I am not comfortable with this situation for many reasons with the main one being the fact that I personally worked so hard on organising many aspects of the initiative.
Again if you are not mentioning who has these concerns besides you!


R.S