SFK (Software Freedom Kosova Conference) is the biggest, annual, non-profit conference in Kosovo established to promote software freedom, open source software, free culture, and open knowledge – a global movement that originally started more than 25 years ago. The Conference gathers each year academics, users, developers and people who share the idea that software should be free and open for the community to develop and customize to its needs; that knowledge is a communal property and free and open to everyone. It’s the place to be if you care about promoting open knowledge in the region, and since this is not the easiest thing to do, I can certainly say that these events are more than needed for our cause.
This was the second year that Open Labs participated in the conference, and was there with an info desk and a presentation. It all started with the preparation of the materials for the desk, including Fedora and openSUSE DVDs, flyers and stickers (prepared by Florian, our Linux expert), our banner, some hardware, such as WMKIT Arduino and Raspberry Pi, Open Labs stickers, our donation box and more.
My talk was all about Hackerspaces and their innovations, shared and remixed through the glass of WMKIT Arduino kit. Here is a summary of that talk, followed by some pictures:
In the ‘early days’ online communities and projects were created, organized and developed at online forums, IRC channels, mailing lists, wikis and other platforms of knowledge sharing using the world wide web as their connectivity hub. These platforms were the foreground of the collaborative and hacking culture and played a crucial role in the development of project such as Linux, Wikipedia, Creative Commons and more. After a while hackers realized that physical collaboration was even more effective than talking and working behind a screen. The need for real world meetings, in combination with the raise of the maker culture and the evolution of hardware hacking platforms such as Arduino, created the ideal foundations for the opening of the first physical venues called hackerspaces.
Hackerspaces are a community-operated workspace where people with common interests, often in computers, technology, science, digital art or electronic art, can meet, socialize and/or collaborate. With these foundations in mind, Open Labs Albania (www.openlabs.cc) joined the hackerspaces movement in 2010 by hosting projections, events, hacknights and weekly gatherings where members and participants work together using free software, experiment with 3D printing and other hardware, collaborate with regional organizations and function as a hub of different projects of the local open knowledge community. One of the projects of the hackerspace is also WMKIT (www.wemakeit.co), an affordable educational hardware kit based on Arduino standarts that helps you make the first steps in controlling the world using microcontrollers, sensors, electronics and programing. The kit has great feedback so far not only in Albania, but also in Europe where workshops are held at the moment. The most important element of the WMKIT project though is the importance of sharing the projects and solutions we produce at our hackerspaces with the world and the people that need these solutions. This is what this talk is all about, closing the innovations gap..
During the second day of the conference, the Open Labs team (thanks Elio, Marin and Ndricim) and our friend Besfort from FLOSSK hosted together a WMKIT Arduino workshop, featuring a theoretical part, hands on exercises and presentation of the projects from the participants of the workshop. The workshop area was full and the vibe was… hackerous.
All in all, #SFK13 was another inspiring event, organized this time by youngsters full of energy and passion about open knowledge and free software where you can get in touch with old and new friends. Keep it up guys!
Articles in Albanian about the event as presented from pcworld.al.
All pictures courtesy of FLOSSK slightly edited.