UbuConLA 2015 Summary


This is a post I never got to publish from way back.

About UbuConLA

Last week I attended the 2015 edition of UbuConLA, a successor to what once was UDS, the Ubuntu Developer Summit which later transformed into vUDS, the v standing for virtual which eventually was renamed to Ubuntu Online Summit. UbuConLA, fully organized by the community, tries to relive the days of UDS for a chance to see face to face with fellow Ubuntu contributors or contributors to be or just people generally interested in Ubuntu. So in other words, the social and human aspect of it.

My first UbunConLa was in 2013 and took place in Montevido, we had recently announced and released the Ubuntu Phone (dubbed as Ubuntu Touch) and spoke about it then.

This year, the even took place in Lima and was organized by a very avid Ubuntu Member, Jose Antonio Rey; he did an excellent job overall with the organization.

For this event I took my Ubuntu powered phones and tablets to be able to display and show around. People seemed to like them and the general comment was “I expected this to crash more”.

Walk the talk with Snappy

The thing I wanted to talk about this year wasn’t specifically about phones though, as was in 2013 when the phone was fresh, this year I talked about Snappy, Ubuntu Core and to some extent Ubuntu Personal. Everyone seemed receptive to the idea and the roadmap. I tried to go through the history and lead the way to the logical conclusion of why a snappier architecture was needed instead of just laying it out which seemed to hit the nail on the right spot. I must add that the audience was a mix of users and developers.

Listening in

I had the pleasure to listen to some great talks here and there, all were good to some degree but these are the ones that kept resonating after a while

Software Libre en las Nubes, by Juanjo Ciarlante

Led with grace and ease, when he talked it seemed so straight forward. What was complicated felt simple and elegant. He rambled over the hot cloud topic, going over a cube and triangle…

Juju, by Sebastián Ferrari

Was great, I liked how the presenter presented this, so far my interactions with how juju works and is used was limiting (I had the basics, but that was it).

Ubuntu in Schools, by Neyder Achahuanco

This guy came from Puno, an engineer turned school teacher for the love of the art, he went through how he failed at teaching kids how to develop software by jumping straight into it and instead on how he approached it with simpler things like programming without a computer and only using your mouth and ears. Later on diving into other things like codely and blocky and MITs Android development kit. It seemed pretty effective as he says the acceptance and joy in his class is pretty good.

He did not stop there, with a sprinkle of Peruvian politics and comments on how One Laptop per Child failed miserably in Peru, he told us his anectode of how he repurposes unopened OLPCs boxed in a closet with Ubuntu to be able to teach kids.

My personal take on this, is if you want something like this to succeed, it needs to be bottom up, instead of top down which he alluded to when telling the story on how to get teachers out of their dogma and buy into change and it is not that teachers don’t like change more so that they can’t cope with things just being dropped on them (like OLPCs to schools without electricity).

Closing remarks

I mostly liked the whole event, the organization was great. Everything was streamed live through ubuntuonair.com and available for offline consumption through the Ubuntu on Air Youtube channel.

On Saturday, we had a group photo taken outside on campus just like what was done during the UDS’s of the past.

While I’m not the best person socializing, I did have a good chance at it. My socializing was mostly with other speakers for some odd reason though.

My only critique here is that it is hard to make this event known when the cities are switched between the whole Latin American continent, well, it is two fold; on the one hand it’s good to spread the knowledge, on the other it becomes harder to grow a base and dig deeper into the nitty gritty details.

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