Tag Archives: bosnia and herzegovina

DebConf 11 – Sarajevo and Home

Well, DebConf 11 was ended, we started traveling back home, some (few) would continue to the desktop summit in Berlin. For me and P’Thep, we waked up something like 5am, had a breakfast, then took a taxi to the main bus station. We left Banja Luka 7:45am for Sarajevo. We arrived our destination around 1pm, took a taxi to a hotel we reserved – Hotel Old Town – in the old town area of Sarajevo.

Well, I had just learned that the old town area is a the main tourist area. So, after lunch, we walked around the area. First, we visited the Gazi Husrev-beg’s mosque (Islam), Cathedral of Jesus’s Heart (Catholic), Cathedral Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos (Orthodox), a book fair near by, Military Club, Sarajevo Synagogue (Judaism). Then, we went to the Latin bridge, where the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austrian-Hungarian empire and his wife had been assassinated in 28 June 1914 – the event that started the World War I. We then walked back to the old town, finished our walk at Bascarsilja – the heart of the old town.

On 1 Aug, we walked to a small exchange counter to exchange our money back to euros, checked out, headed to the airport, catched the flight to transit at Istanbul, another (delayed) flight to Bangkok, then another flight to Khon Kaen.

I was at my home late 2pm, unpacked, cleaned up.

IMHO, DebConf11 was great. It would be really cool if we all could organize DebConf in Thailand.

Thailand mini-DebCamp 2010 in Khon Kean was the first step. Joining DebConf11 was the second.

Next step ? Let’s organize the first mini-DebConf in Thailand !

DebConf 11 – DebConf Day 5

The last day of DebConf11, I joined Language SkillExchange to learn and share about the languages. Then, it was "DebConf12 in Nicaragua" talked by the DebConf12 team.

We had lunch with Asian friends and English gentleman. I exchanges my fingerprint with Hideki Yamane, Paul Liu, and Kan-Ru Chen. We talked about DebConf12. For Asian, it is not easy to travel to Nicaragua. So, I told Hideki to organize mini-DebConf in Japan, so that I could attend the mini-DebConf, and also apply for a visa to Nicaragua (Thais need to apply visas to Nicaragua in Japan ! .. Ack !)

After lunch, P’Thep went to hacklab, I walked to the Church of Holy Trinity, shot some photos, had a good moment there. Then, I attended more talks about "DebConf in Debian" and "DebConf13" that representatives gave a short introduction about their city. For DebConf13, the current candidates are Vienna (Austria), Latvia, Berlin (Germany), UK, West Lafayette (Indiana, USA), Istanbul (Turkey), Switzerland. Presentations were fun. End of the talk, H01ger proposed to have DebConf14 in Martinique, a region of France in the Caribbean sea! .. Hey, it’s France, a part of EU ! No visa for EU people ! Then, he proposed DebConf18 on the cruise – a week hacking in the sea ! Well, expense for the cruise is not the problem. The big problem is that, for today, the Internet connection would be very expensive. That’s why he proposed for DebConf18 that he expected technologies would be advanced enought to make it cheaper. Hey, we have Bdale here, he could build a rocket for making the Internet connections ?!! .. Hah!

Finally, it was the closing ceremony. It was a moment to thank all the staffs, appreciated their hard works. And, it was time to say good bye to everyone.

We went back to the hotel, had a dinner, took notes, packed thing for travel. We planned to stay in Sarajevo for one night, then fly back to Bangkok (via Istanbul) on 1st Aug.

DebConf 11 – DebConf Day 4

It was raining again, lightly. I waked up a bit late, and almost missed the breakfast. We joined with Andi Barth, asked him to give opinions about DebConf in Thailand. Andi gave some good advices about organizing DebConf, pretty much like Christian told us. Anyway, he did give a comment about visa, which was always the problem in every DebConf since some DDs and participants may live in countries with some visa restrictions. And, it would take quite some time to get visa for those.

I attended some talks and BoF, but mainly I just sit there to hack gdictthai — my E-T dictionary. I planned to migrate from Berkeley DB to SQLite long time ago. So, I wrote a small program to export dictionary from BDB to a CSV file. Then, it was just a few step from creating a SQLite database and importing the CSV file into it. I did git branch sqlite, checkout, rewrote all database-related code to use SQLite. I have never learned about SQLite C API before. However, in the late afternoon, my sqlite code was done and merged to master. Good bye Berkeley DB ! (and Oracle who own it !!) There were some unrelated bugs to be cleaned up. So, not release … yet.

After dinner, I clean up my works, organized e-mails and files in my hard drive. It took quite some time to do, really !

Then, showered, hit the bed.

DebConf 11 – DebConf Day 3

Topics in the morning were about Debian derivatives. They were both lecture and BoF. It was good to see collaborations among Debian and downstream distros like Ubuntu and the others. Then, It was about blending Debian – a flavor for different interests like education, medical, or something else.

The lunch, the table was unintentionally turned out to be Asian table with 2 Taiwanese, 2 Thais, 1 Japanese, and 1 Indian. Totally, AFAIK, there are 11 Asian people in DebConf. Well, I thought I got troubles about our visa, but for Taiwanese, it’s worse. Taiwan, like Thailand, does not have BiH embassy. So, they have to get a visa from the embassy in Beijing. That’s impossible for taiwaneses. So, the DC11 local team had to get document from the government to issue visa for them at the border (pretty much like our case, actually).

For the Indian guy, well there is the embassy in New Delhi, he just had to travel like 600 km from his home. And when he arrived, the embassy requested for an official document, which he did not have one at that time. It took him one and half month, traveled back and forth, to get his visa issued.

After lunch, Paul Liu asked if I wanted to take a walk around the city.The weather was good. I mean, yes, it was a bit hot, but better than raining. So, I decided to join and burn some calories (dang!) It was about an hour or so, walked around the museum, the fortress, the river, then back to the conference venue.

I attended the talk about linux kernel given by the kernel team of Debian, about how they handle the kernel. We had conference banquet, NGO DIVA treats.

Conference banquet was on 14th floor of a building in a restaurant name "Integra". View was good, food was good, Wouter (nbd package maintainer) played flute on the stage. That was impressive ! But, I was tired and did not feel well. So, walked back to the hotel, realized that no water from the tap in the hotel. Well, crashed on my bed anyway.

Waked up this morning (UTC+2), a good news from P’Thep that the TH Sarabun font was relicensed and is now GPL, Yay !

DebConf 11 – Day Trip

Yay ! The day for a trip in Banja Luka :D The weather was great too ! It was the first sunny day since we came here. It was a short trip to a place called Krupa na Vrbasu. The tour leader gave us a brief information about Banja Luka. Banja Luka is the 2nd largest city in BiH, and is the capital of the republic of Srpska. Approx. 250,000 people live in Banja Luka. There are more women than men. Actually, the men-to-women ratio here is 1-to-7 !! This is mainly because there were many wars in this country.

Arrived at Krupa na Vrbasu, we went to the 13th-century orthodox monastery here, then walked through a forrest to a small waterfall. Then, had a barbecue lunch at a restaurant. The place we had lunch is also popular place for rafting. Some may go for rafting here too. I don’t like water sports that much. So, I skipped. Instead, we had good chats with people from Japan, and Taiwan. It was fun exchanging experiences.

I have learned from a japanese guy that bash has special /dev for creating TCP/UDP sockets , e.g, /dev/tcp/<host>/<port>. So, we could do something like

cat < /dev/tcp/time.nist.gov/13

to access daytime service on port 13/TCP at time.nist.gov, just like any other simple TCP client socket, but without coding! Cool!

Finally, we went back to the hotel. I cleaned up my code and my messy git (dang!), then had dinner. We joined the table with Christian, who ran back from the restaurant to the hotel. That was half marathon at least, or full ? .. I don’t know. But it was some distance by running. Gosh !

About organizing DebConf somewhere in Asia. Japan and Taiwan also planned to organize DebConf too (may be in 2014 ?) At least, Japan will organize mini-DebConf soon. Chances are that they will do DebConf things before Thailand. They have strong local teams, local DDs, and local users. DebConf in Thailand is possible, but it’s very hard. We basically have nothing to support the proposal/bidding. But, at least, for the first step, we have attended the DebConf 11.

Mini-DebConf is more likely. We should start with mini-DebConf, before DebConf anyway. When would it be ? Well, it depends. If we really really want to do this, and there is a local team that commits on this job, I guess November or December this year would be the time. Bangkok would take priority for the venue.

Let’s see.

DebConf 11 – DebConf Day 2

There are jobs I got via mails from Thailand and I have to finish some. I also had to phone (Skype) back to Thailand. So, hell, I cannot concentrate on all the talks. (Actually, for today, I planned to be in a hacklab!)

Christian and Andrew came to have a little chat with us about the idea to organize DebConf in Thailand. This is my first DebConf, and things are very luxurious somehow – Opera/theater-like auditorium, 4-star accommodation (the best in town actually), kinds of things. Christian may not want me to misunderstand by these. He told me that in the previous DebConfs, venues were not this great. Accommodation would be student dorm. DDs are not that demanding. He said somewhat like mini-DebCamp in Khon Kaen would also fit well (sure, it has to be 10x scaled up). The main requirement would be making all easy for hacking ! So, distance between accomodation-hacklab-auditorium should require just a few minutes of walk. And, of course, it would need fast-and-reliable Internet connection(s) ! Finally, he told me that I should subscribe debconf-team ML, did it almost immediately.

Christian said I must have a "reliable" team to do this. They must commit on the jobs. From what I could see, 2014 would be the fastest possible to have DebConf in Thailand. Yes, it’s next 3 years. But, this is very short, enough to feel that we will miss it ! And, If we really want to organize DebConf in 2014, we have to prepare now! Then, we could propose in the next DebConf 12 in Nicaragua!

And, yes, I know that Nicaragua – like BiH – does not have a consular office in Thailand, the nearest one to issue visas for Thais is in Japan!

Tough job!!

Well, I attended some of the talk anyway. It was "Debian Packaging with Git" – the best practice workflow. It requires number of packages and tools I don’t know before. I could not catch it all, and it was not that easy to follow. Video helps. I think.

Then, I moved to attend git tutorial by Thomas Koch. It’s a kind of tutorial for beginners, but many DDs attended ! I learned git from manpage, and the tutorial was was like reading man gittutorial somehow. I don’t know how many people know about this but at least in in Ubuntu, you can man gittutorial, gittutorial-2, gitworkflows, gitcore-tutorial. There are not manpages but, for dummies, textbooks ! Try !

We had a group photo thereafer. So, say "squeeze" or "lenny" or "wheezy" or "sid" .. some say "experimental" .. whatever !

After dinner, just before the keysigning party (KSP), we attend DebConf video team meeting by chance. The team leads by Holger – a friend we met in Taiwan mini-DebConf. Well, he discussed with their team about things, and finally showed a clip. It was a news from a local TV channel about the President of the republic of Srpska in DebConf opening ceremony. And we are in that TV news too .. Yay!

The KSP was actually prepared by Anibal, but he did not come here. So someone took over. We have about a hundred of people joined the party. So, they have to do it by groups. I did not submit my key to the party on time. So, I brought my fingerprint paper strips to exchange with them. I did exchange my fingerprint with some of the people. It could take an hour to exchange all. Keysigning could be done later anyway. So, went back to the hotel, did hack some codes before went to bed.

DebConf 11 – DebConf Day 1

The day one, DebConf11 Team welcomed all participants, gave a short talk about plan to organize DebConf11 in very funny way. Well, we could laugh, but if you look back, it was not easy. Organizing every DebConf needed a group of people to work together to get things done. It took years to organize. Conventionally, you have to attent 2 DebConf before placing your bid to organize DebConf. You need to prepare many things to support your bid before hand, and when you actually have won the bid, it’d be a year of hell to make it really happen. I once have been told that it requires one man/woman to work on this, full time, for one year, and must have many people volunteer (strongly) to support him/her. I organized mini-DebCamp once, I did know what would it be in small scale. But, DebConf is something like 10x bigger than the mini-DebCamp. So, thanks to the team for organizing DC11 to make this happens. You are great !

Next, Stefano Zacchiroli – the current Debian Project Leader (DPL) gave a talk about why Debian, and how important it is. He went through processes that ensure free and solid distro. The idea about Do-ocracy – Democracy things, PPA, TDD, and would happen in the (near) future. It was a good talk.

Afternoon, I saw Hector Oron – a friend from Taiwan Mini-DebConf, did not have a chance to talk to him though. Think about friends, almost none of our friend attend the talk sessions. And, in fact, many DDs did not attend all the session. I think some DDs may not attend any session at all. They came to hack. So, most of the time you’d see them in the hacklabs, which is open 24 hr a day. I put myself in the hacklab sometimes. Hacklab was quiet. It was almost the same atmosphere as it was during BSP in Thailand Mini-DebCamp. Most, if not all, DDs were very focus on their job, not many chats. And in the hacklab, I saw one blind developer (Sam Hartman ?), and one came on his wheelchair ! I learned something from what I saw here. You all should also learn something, too.

Talks in the afternoon was about cryptographic authentication, FTP and the NEW queue, Debian-Woman, and ended with a session to meet the technical committee. There are four tech committee attended DebConf11: Bdale Garbee, Steve Langasek, Andreas , Ian Jackson. The first and the last were former DPL.

At night, Chess and Wine party .. I should have joined C&W, but tired, and overslept ! I met Andrew Lee the next morning. He said C&W party was really great. Putting together various kinds of cheese and wine (scale of 100s) in a single (geek) party, you cannot get this from any party in this world ! .. Awe man !!

DebConf 11 – Debian Day

The first day of the conference is Debian Day,

We registered at the front desk, got packages we may need, including a pre-paid SIM card that we can use here (no micro-SIM though). We met many friends from the mini-DebConf and mini-DebCamp (Paul Wise, Arne Goetje, Joerg Jaspert, Christian Perrier, Andrew Lee, Jonas Smedegaard, Paul Liu) and new friends (Velimir Iveljic – local staff, Jesus Climent – a google guy), and of course many DDs in the room.

The opening ceremony was something. The president of the republic of Srpska came to give the opening speech, along with minister of science, and other political people. Well, DebConf11 is sponsored by the government of the republic of Srpska anyway.

Then, the talks. Debian Day is a kind of non-debian-technical talks for general people. Bdale gave a talk "Understanding Debian". Here I have learned something from his talk – "Never underestimate value of values". He learned from HR training courses of his employer (HP) in the past . It’s important to clearly understand values, which would lead to visions, strategies, objectives, and some other things later on. Most people set their vision first, but when you got a big problem, sometimes even stepping back to stick on the vision cannot get you an answer. The core values will.

Enrico Zini talked about "Life in Debian". It was very fun talk about Debian community. People are different, it’s also true for Debian people. They are students, teachers, employee, employers, etc. Some build rockets for fun (i.e., Bdale Garbee) ! , some travel to space for fun (i.e., Mark Shuttleworth) ! .. But, they do have something in common – social contract and DFSG.

Jesus Climent gave a talk about a case study of Debian in Enterprise like Google. Well, we met Jesus in the morning. He lived in Thailand for 3 months, went to many places, falled in love with Thailand so much, enough to tattoo words in Thai on his ankle! Jesus did give a talk about Debian in Google infrastructures which is large scale, resilient, high availability system. Google engineering teams also use one of Debian derivative — Ubuntu.

The last session was about Austrian e-health system presented by Gerfried Fuch and that was all about the Debian Day talks.

BTW, I think the DC11 video team will put all the talks on the net sooner or later.

DebConf 11 – Preparing and Traveling

Finally, I am in Banja Luka, Republic of Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina for DebConf11.

I and Thep prepared for this months ago, registering the conference, paying for the registration (for me), waiting for sponsorship (for Thep), getting air tickets (which is expensive ones), and getting our visa.

Talking about visa to BiH (Bosnia i Hercegovina / Bosnia and Herzegovina), there is no BiH consular office in Thailand. The nearest BiH consular office that could issue a visa for Thais is in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I was lucky that I have a staff in the international affairs office, KKU to help us processing the visa, but in the end we failed to get a visa on time.

In parallel, we contacted visa staff of DebConf11 for document issued for us to get visa on arrival just to secure our travel. They responded quickly and we finally got the document just a few day before 21 July, the day we planned to get off and travel to BiH.

On 21 July night, we checked in at the airline counter, the ground staff here did not allow us to get on board because the document we had were not issued from the government (it was issued by an NGO). So, we were grounded. I immediately e-mailed to DebConf11 visa staff to get the official doc, but that was the late afternoon in BiH, so we have to wait for the official document next day. Well, nothing else can be done. So, I went to a hotel near Suvarnabhumi airport for a night of waiting.

On 22, at the hotel, we waited for the document, and it was sent to us about 5 pm, we printed the document and jumped on the limo headed to the airport to get seat reservation. Unfortunately, the airline counter opened at 20:00. We went for a dinner to kill some time and at 8pm after the counter was on, we submit our official docs, and we got seats to Sarajevo .. Yay! :D

On 23, after 9+ hr of travel, we landed to transit at Istanbul, Turkey. We waited here for 6 hours for a connecting flight to Sarajevo. On 12:35 local time, we flied to Sarajevo. After landed, we head to get a visa. The counter was off, so we just went ahead to the passport control. The border police instructed us to get a visa, and asked for document. The border police opened the counter to issue our visa. We had to pay visa fee for 100KM each (about 50 Euro). The problem was that the exchange counter was closed. The border police, again, helped to get exchange at some shops in the airport. We could pay for our visa, and the visa issued. We passed the border and headed to the main bus station in town.

Here, we had to exchange money to KM for buying tickets. This can be done at the post office close to the bus station. After paying about 30KM for a seat, we were on a bus to Banja Luka. It is 210 km away, and took 5 hours by bus.

About 9pm, we arrived at Banja Luka, got a taxi to the hotel, put our luggages in our room then head for dinner (provided by DebConf). After that, we each cleaned up, and crashed on the bed .. ended our 24+ hours of traveling.

Next .. DebConf11 Debian Day!