Software Freedom Kosova 2014 - Event Report

I'm back from my recent trip to Albania and Kosovo and would love to share some of my experiences with you. As you may have previously read here, Mozilla participated in the Software Freedom Kosova conference, which took place between 24-26 October. This was the 6th edition of SFK, with the conference having its roots back in 2009; it has since hosted a lot of well-known international speakers around free and open-source software.

My trip began with flying to Tirana, Albania first, where I was met by local Mozillians and people from Open Labs, the local hard-working and active community whose members spread the love about free and open-source software and content in the region. I was to be joined by Elio, Aleksander, Kristi and also Redon and represent Mozilla at the conference together. That day we had a short meetup on the Open Labs community space and arranged any last details regarding our trip to Kosovo and our presence during the conference.  The next day, in the very early morning we took a bus from Tirana and after an about 4 hrs. trip we arrived in Pristina, the capital and also the largest city of Kosovo. That day the event took place in ICK - Innovation Center Kosovo and was filled only with workshops from other invited speakers, so apparently we didn't have much stuff to do.

Happy moments at the #sfk14 mozilla booth.

The 2nd day of the conference took place in a different venue, the Faculty of Philology of the University of Pristina. Along with the rest guys we set up a very nice booth specialized in Firefox OS, where we showcased a lot of Firefox OS devices including Keons, Peaks, Flames, a Flatfish tablet and also an APC Rock board hooked-up on a LCD Screen. We were there to represent mozilla and our vision for the open web, to run hands-on Firefox OS representations and engage with the public. Of course we had plenty of mozilla swag to give away to all participants.

That day I held a talk titled "Firefox OS - Unleash the Future". I started with a short introduction to the Mozilla Project and our mission and talked about our most-known products. Then I moved on to Firefox OS, analyzing some of the causes of the project and how Mozilla aims to bring a change to the mobile market. Moreover I did a somewhat deeper dive into the platform itself, describing it's architecture and the structure of the mobile web apps.

During the web app development workshop.

The last day, the venue changed to the ICK - Innovation Center Kosovo again and we were the first ones to begin with our Firefox OS Web App Development Workshop. I was surprised that nearly all of our audience were students. I had to make a quick adjustment to our workshop schedule and todo list. I started by making a short reference to the Firefox OS architecture again, then talked a bit about the open web apps. Together with the audience we started by building a very simple packaged hello world app for Firefox OS just by writing a few lines of code and a very basic manifest file. We tested the app on the Firefox OS Simulator. Then we moved to the next level, we built a very simple calculator (four basic operations: add, subtract, multiply and divide) web app from scratch using the foundation responsive framework. In the end of a workshop we held a drawing where a lucky winner won a Firefox OS T-Shirt and four other people won Firefox OS-themed executive pens.

Web App Development Workshop - Group photo with some of the participants.

Later that day we left again for Albania by bus. It seems that every good community-related event comes to an end... or not! :) Since I was staying at Tirana for an extra day prior to going back to Greece we quickly planned a Mozilla Coffee event at the Open Labs community space to get the community together and exchange experiences. I will be soon writing another report for that, so stay tuned.

Summarizing, I believe we had a great impact on the event, although I was expecting more participants to be honest. The guys at FLOSSK however did a very nice job of organizing the event and I wish them good luck on future activities. Thank you for everything guys. And also many thanks to Elio, Aleskander, Kristi and Redon from Mozilla Albania for their awesome help and company throughout SFK. Cheers! :)