Experiencing Software Freedom Day Singapore 2008

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I've just got arrived in Singapore for three weeks, and I was happened to be able to attend Software Freedom Day Singapore 2008. It's all started when I joined Singapore Linux User Group (SLUG). Then I saw the announcement at http://www.softwarefreedomday.sg

Interesting thing about the event is that several well-known Linux vendors sponsored it, such as Novell and Redhat. As can be seen in photo 0.


Foto 0. Screenshot website http://www.softwarefreedomday.sg/
Cool sponsors :)

The event was held on Saturday, 20 September 2008, at School of Information System, Singapore Management University. The location is pretty near to City Hall MRT station. I made an appointment with two other friends there, and from there we walked for about 15 minutes while referencing to the map (the three of us are very new to Singapore).

The venue was actually pretty awesome. The unique thing was that students are required to enter the buildng using their student ID, but us as visitor must go through security personnel. Fortunately the security personnel was very friendly.


Photo 1. Singapore Management University. Waw.

The event was held from 10.00 to 17.00 which was divided into 2 tracks in different rooms, so we must decide which sessions we wanted to attend.

Track Business/Enterprise Track Presentations
10 AM Open Source is a Way of Life Daniel Ng / Red Hat
11 AM Your Linux is Ready - Interoperability Freedom for SMEs Tham Joon Nam / Novell
12 PM Open Solaris and You Lim Chee Siong / Sun Microsystems
1 PM Lunch Break - Open Source Animated Films
2 PM PHP: Ready for the Enterprise? Michael Cheng / php.com.sg
3 PM High Availability Computing Ng Seah Wee / NSW Asia
4 PM FOSS in Non-profit Organizations Jeff Jansen

Track Technology/Consumer
10 AM Road to Freedom: ... Linux & Open Source Productivity Kam Han Wen / Novell
11 AM Red Hat Security Vulnerability Management Eugene Teo / Red Hat
12 PM Virtualization Michael Clark / Metaparadigm
1 PM Room available for informal meetings
2 PM Moblin – Mobile Linux Internet Project Joe Khoo / Wind River
3 PM Linux VOIP solutions Rob Roach / Maxcole

We decided to attend these sessions: Road to Freedom, RedHat Security Vulnerbility Management, Virtualization, High Availability Computing.

The presentation room was a class room. And very cool design and facilities. It's intended for about 25 people, it has circular and inclining design. There were two whiteboards and LCD projectors.


Photo 2. The presentation room, very nice!


Photo 3. Darrel Chua. Organizer team leader.

Session Road to Freedom: Linux & Open Source Productivity was presented by Mr. Kam Han Wen fron Novell (Suse Linux Enterprise). He presented his experience with Linux and Novell's contribution to OpenSource. Novell is the second biggest contributor to Linux kernel and OpenOffice.org suite. He demonstrated how now OpenOffice.org can open and edit MS Office 2007 OOXML files. This capabilities will be soon merged into OpenOffice.org code base. Side note: seemed like Mr. Han notebook has got real power there, it can run several virtual machines really smoothly: XP, Vista, SLES10 :)


Foto 4. Mr. Han from Novell.

Session Red Hat Security Vulnerability Management was presented by Mr. Eugene Teo. He is one of kernel contributors and the only member of RedHat Security Response team in Asia Pacific region. In this session he talked about various vulnerabilities (security holes) in Linux, and level of seriousness (Low, Moderate, Important, Critical), and how RedHat responds to them and share the information with other vendors/community. Attending this session really gives us a sense of confidence on Linux Security.


Photo 5. Mr. Teo from RedHat.

Next session was about Virtualization in Linux, presented by Mr. Michael Clark from LUGS/MetaParadigm. He was also one of the developer of Time-Class-Assigment software (for those who were in Education sector must be well aware how difficult it was to manage time-schedule among teachers and their classes in every semester). Back to topic, he presented various virtualization method in Linux such as: VMware, UML (User Mode Linux), Qemu, LVS (Linux Virtual Server), OpenVZ, Xen, KVM, VirtualBox. It was very interesting and open our perspective of the future of Linux and world of computing in general.


Photo 6. Mr. Clark presented virtualization in Linux.


Photo 7. Dean of SMU School of Information System - Mr. Steven Miller gave an opening welcome.
In lunch break we went up to 5th floor to see various exhibitions from vendors and community.


Photo 8. Stand Singapore Ubuntu. Very friendly, maybe it's because I wore an Ubuntu tshirt from home? :)


After that we went back to the class. Wait, no lunch? Yeah..., at first we wanted to get lunch, but thinking of going outside and the price, we decided just to buy some mineral water from the vending machine. This could mean losing weight :)

Ok, we hurried back to the class at 2nd floor. Next session was Moblin (Mobile Linux Internet Project) by Joe Khoo from Wind River. The way he delivered the presentation was very good. Expressive and interesting. From it we know that many gadgets that are now available in the market are actually running Linux in them. We saw some of the gadget in the exhibition and surely impressive, we are able to browse, chat, watch movies, listen to music, office, etc. So who said Linux sucks? :)


Photo 9. Mr. Joe Khoo from Wind River. Linux on gadgets, awesome!!

Last session was High Availability Computing presented by Mr. Ng Seah Wee from NSW Asia. There was a glitch when his notebook ran out of battery with no charger in sight. So we switch the mode from presentation to discussion. We discussed about challenges that are facing Datacenter operator in Singapore. It's rather funny actually:
- When there is a power outage, the UPS will kick in.
- Then the diesel generator will kicks in.
- But if the power outage takes longer, there will be problems. Rule in Singapore only allows for 100 litre of fuel to be store in a building. This amount is enough for about 12 hours.
- So what? We can always refuel using fuel truck, right? Yes, however there is rule also that forbids big vehicle such as fuel truck to enter CBD (Central Business District) where many datacenters are located during office hours.
- We can always ask for an emergency exception though, however, there is also rule/physical restriction that the fuel truck will not be able to go into the basement where the generators are located. So we must fill many human-carried fuel containers to the generator. To make things worst, usually the generator room becomes too hot to enter for human :)


Photo 10. Mr. Seah from NSW Asia.

After that we went home. I decided to walk from City Hall to Little India (more less 3 km). It's good for the health at least :)

At home I immediately open the goodies bag, and there were many nice things such as Opensuse10 hat, Fedora Live 9, OpenSolaris 2008, Ubuntu 8.04.1, Book and bag from Novell, handphone keychain from RedHat (very cool), etc.


Photo 11. Awesome goodies :)

Conclusion
I was really impressed by Software Freedom Day Singapore 2008 event. From facilities aspects, sponsors, sessions, presenters, souvenirs, all were very good. From this event we can also know some facts how Linux has become so involved in our daily lives from servers, desktop, and now gadgets (eventhough it's not exposed in high profile). So, I decided once in 2004 (after AsiaSource that Linux was my life and I've never regreted it.

Fajar Priyanto
A Linux lover who is adventuring :)

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