Event Report: WWFS-FWD’2016, Kolkata

A two day workshop on women in free software and Fedora women’s day was held on the 15th and 16th of July’2016 at NSEC, Kolkata. This event was jointly organized by Ubuntu Women Project, Fedora Project and NSEC, Kolkata. It has been substantially sponsored by Ubuntu Women Project. The goal of the workshop was also to get new participants interested, improve level of participation and explore new avenues of free software community development. Given the factors involved, WWFS-FWD’2016 was a successful one.

Rebeka and myself were the main organizers of the event. While I handled most of the speaker selection, general logistics and part of the event publicity, Rebeka handled all of college level publicity and local organization. She is a brilliant student, but was handling an event for the first time and had a major health problem during the organization period. Overall her handling of the event was good, but was wanting on few points like ‘directions to the workshop lab’ and specificity of directions to the place.

We had low number of but dedicated participants. The participation from the college was very low (our original estimate was that 30 seats would be easily filled up by college students). The college in question is not easily reachable, though it is about 3 km from easily reachable places (by public transport). Any student of the college would be knowing that traveling to the place in the rainy season is a hard physical exercise (only wretched autos ply on 80% of the last muddy stretch). Speakers found it difficult to reach the place too and even I reached an hour late on the first day. Most of the participants were students of colleges or schools. Some pre-registered participants failed to turn up because of others reasons. This way our environment may interact with us.

Otherwise, the event went well with an optimal set of talks. The weather on day one was terrible (100% humidity with rain). I was to speak first, but  I let Trishna speak first as I was late. She spoke about her contribution to Bodhi and Fedora cloud, and about contributing to related projects.

My talk on ”Free Software, Women and Feminism” was on all of the following: basics of free software, differences with OSI, evil nature of proprietary software and related development models, lessons of MS-IE4, geek feminism aspects, feminist issues,  functional feminism, micro-aggressions, SH policies, free software development models, necessity of new interdisciplinary development models and licenses beyond GNU/GPL v3+.

After this talk we had lunch and the 2lbs cake for our event. We were left with extra lunch packets and part of the cake (we took them home and did not waste food).

My post lunch talk was on basics of ”GNU/Linux from a functional perspective”. I spoke of the whole eco-system, distribution types, basics of installation, Ubuntu, shells, permissions, files and filesystems, partitioning, apt-get, contributing to Ubuntu Women, documentation and bug fixing.

The next talk was a lively one by Priyanka(N) on “Imposter Syndrome” and steps that can be taken to overcome this environment induced problem on women. Of course competent feminists would be able to overcome this problem more easily. We shifted remaining talks scheduled for the day to 17th as we were all tired.

On the first session of the second day, Rebeka had her hands-on session on python scripting and system administration. The participants displayed much enthusiasm in the session.

This session was followed by Priyanka(S)’s session on handling twitter data with ”Parsey Mcparsey”. Due to a bug with the demo, the talk was shifted to the last session at 17:40 hrs. Gunjan spoke next at length on basics of images, using GIMP, color models, channels, layers, alpha channels, retouching photos, and python scripts in GIMP. The talk was well received.

Trupti’s video session on Drupal basics was played next. She introduces the basics of setting up websites with Drupal CMS in the video. The audio was a bit low.

After this we all had lunch.

Post lunch, Priyanka(N) talked about IRC,  bug tracker systems like Bugzilla, her use of Bugzilla in Mozilla projects, versioning systems, GIT and contributing to FOSS.

Next I introduced LaTeX in the context of related standards, then introduced SGML, subsets thereof, TeXLive, basic LaTeX markup, and considered representative markup. The source code of the schedule of our event was useful for demonstrating both structure and markup of tables with the booktab package. I did not use the source of the event poster in tikzposter (as it is a bit more complex).

After my talk, Swapna delivered an excellent hands on session on ”GNU/Octave” starting from basics and going all the way to svm code.

I interacted with all speakers and had optimized their talks for the workshops. This substantially contributed to improving the quality of talks. Originally Swapna was not even willing to speak and claimed no knowledge of GNU/Octave and that she is a Matlab user. So I had to convince her about code compatibility. As mentioned above, she delivered an excellent introduction to GNU/Octave on day two.

The slides of all our talks can be found at the links below:

Speaker Topic
A Mani Free Software, Women and Feminism
A Mani GNU/Linux, Ubuntu- A Functional View
Trishna Guha What I do in Fedora and How Can You Get Involved
Priyanka Nag Imposter Syndrome
Rebeka Mukherjee Python Scripting and System Administration
Trupti Kini Drupal Basics
Priyanka Sinha Parsey Mc Parseface
Gunjan Gautam GIMP
Priyanka Nag How To Contribute to FLOSS?
A Mani LATEX for Publishing
Swapna Agarwal GNU/Octave


More Event Reports

Rebeka has written a nice blog report on the event. Trishna has also written about her talk .

Ubuntu Women At Ubuntu 14.11 Session Summary

On Thursday, November 13 2014, the Ubuntu Women Project participated in the Ubuntu Online Submit.  These were the topics that were covered:

  • Getting a final version the Orientation Questionnaire matrix finalized and ready to test
  • Having a sprint to test Harvest Bugs
  • Creating a “Resource List” that will hold projects looking for women and resources for projects looking for women

Thanks to everyone who participated and we’re looking forward to continuing discussions and work on all these items in the coming months.

Blueprint: https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu-women.org/+spec/community-1411-ubuntuwomen

Logs: http://wiki.ubuntu-women.org/Meetings/13112014

Please note that there is no video for this since those who came decided on doing it all via IRC.



Calling For Testers for Orientation Questionnaire

UPDATE: The name changed from “quiz” to “questionnaire” because it’s more of a questionnaire than a quiz.

The Ubuntu Women Project is pleased to present an orientation questionnaire that is aimed to help new comers into the Ubuntu Community to find their niche and get involved.  The base quiz was taken from the Ubuntu Italian LoCo. Our plans is to put this quiz on community.ubuntu.com  but we are seeking testers for it first!

Screenshot from 2014-08-19 18:47:33

How to test it:

Go to the page where the quiz is and play around with answering the questions.  If you find an issue, please e-mail the Ubuntu Women Mailing-List at ubuntu-women@lists.ubuntu.com.  If you want to see the code, you may ask Lyz at lyz@ubuntu.com or me at belkinsa@ubuntu.com.

2014 Leadership Poll Results

Polling has closed, and we are pleased to announce that the new leadership team for Ubuntu Women has been selected.

A. Mani, Svetlana Belkin, and Emma Marshall will be the leadership committee for the next two years!

Please join me in congratulating them and supporting them as we transition into this new term for the Ubuntu Women team!

Ubuntu Women at UOS 14.06 Session Summary

On Tuesday, June 10 2014, the Ubuntu Women Project participated in the Ubuntu Online Submit.  These were the topics that were covered:

  • Set a goal to host more Career Days sessions
  • Give people a preview of the “Where should I contribute?” quiz that will be placed on community.ubuntu.com
  • Develop Harvest into something usable for all
  • Finish up uncompleted items from the last cycle

Thanks to everyone who participated and we’re looking forward to continuing discussions and work on all these items in the coming months.

Video from our session is available here:

Click here for direct link on YouTube

Blueprint for this cycle available here: https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu-women.org/+spec/community-1406-ubuntu-women

Phase 2 of ProjectHarvest

The Ubuntu Women team has decided that Harvest will be re-started and the project is now at Phase 2, code-named Seeking Out Developers.

The Harvest system aggregates information about low-hanging fruit and aims to visualise which packages of the Ubuntu distribution are in a good and which are in a bad shape.

Harvest is a Django-based web application written in Python, code is available here: https://code.launchpad.net/harvest

Around the Garden

Over the next few weeks we’ll be working to get instructions up for developers to stand up test environments and getting our roadmap defined for the project based on recent feedback and other outstanding bug reports.

What we need now is you! Python developers who are interested in helping us improve Harvest. Please contact Svetlana Belkin at belkinsa@ubuntu.com if you’re interested in helping out.

Career Days: Regional Community Manager wrap-up

On Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 16:00 UTC Laura Czajkowski (czajkowski) gave a Career Days session on her career and current work as the EMEA Community Manager for MongoDB.

Laura Czajkowski

Career Path

  • Laura studied Computer Science at college and participated the computer society there where she began as a Treasurer and eventually became President. This is where she first learned about Open Source.
    • She noted that it was interesting position as the person controlling the purse strings in a male dominated society it was often viewed as the token female by some. But she did introduce new events, like talks workshops and even ran my first conference, Skycon.
  • She got involved in Ubuntu around 2007
    • Loved being involved in the community and having a having a voice
    • Found it different from others that were active around then because she was really focused on the desktop
  • After graduation she worked at a Software Tester for an Irish Software House in Dublin
    • Did not participate in open source as part of her job, but she did get a chance to work on Ubuntu in her free time and participate on IRC
    • Noted that “sometimes you may not get the perfect job on your first attempt but view it as the stepping stone or gaining experience to move on in your career”
    • Put in the time and the effort and people will respect you in the long run
  • She also got involved in the Ubuntu Ireland (Ubuntu-IE) team, where she began attending few workshops and meet ups
  • In 2009 she learned about an upcoming Ubuntu Developer Summit for Karmic (9.10) and thought it sounded interested so she took a week long holiday and went to see what it was all about
  • From there she got involved in more Ubuntu teams, eventually got her Ubuntu membership.
    • 2 years on the Membership board
    • 4 years on the LoCo Council
    • And now on her 2nd term on the Community Council
  • She moved to London on 2010 and in 2011 I started to work for Canonical as Launchpad support
    • This position gave her a view into how various people use one system so differently, not just for code hosting, but translations and not just for Ubuntu projects
  • Current Work

    • Beginning in June of 2013, she took a position as the EMEA Community Manager at MongoDB
    • The Community team is broken down by territory and they work together as a team to help the community with the tools they need
    • They developed a community kit this year which has been useful and we’re looking for more people to help translate it: http://blog.mongodb.org/post/64205973285/introducing-the-mongodb-community-kit
    • She works from home in Guildford, England
    • Looks after the MongoDB User Groups “MUGs” – currently looks after 70 of them, continuing to nurture them and make sure they are growing, looking at ways she can help take their feedback and see where MongoDB can improve of give credit where credit is due and pass along the thanks
    • She recently launched a survey in EMEA for the community and with that feedback help where necessary, since without seeking feedback you can’t know if you’re doing the right thing and if you are that’s great and if you’re not where can you make it better
    • She spend time with each of our organisers making sure they feel supported. Sometimes it’s a call, or a hangout just to see if their last event went well, if they need extra support in their community and make sure they have the resources they need.
    • “I am very privileged that I get to meet the community face to face and get to hear what people want from MonogoDB, but also it’s great to hear what people are doing and the enthusiasm spreads.”

    Some tips from Laura about her career:

    • “I think one that that has helped my career is taking the time to read about different projects, not become an expert in them but know that we often use parts of projects within one project”
    • “If you like technology and it’s someting that always changes you need to keep learning”


    • Do you have any recommendations for other people who are looking for similar types of work?

    I’d look at some of the communities out there and see what they are offering.A good idea would be to see if there are any job openings if you are attending events, many people love talking and it’s not until you actually talk to them at a booth do you make a connection and find out about possible roles

    • Have you faced any particular challenges in your career that others might learn from?

    Yes, people assume once you work with community you’re not tecnical, I find this insulting. My only advice is always continue to learn and read. While you won’t be an expert in the field, ask questions don’t be silent people asusme silence means you don’t know anything, show your interest by asking and engaging.


    Full logs which include very thorough answers to these questions are available on our wiki:


    If you’re interested in getting involved, please see the Ubuntu Women Career Days wiki page or email me (lyz@ubuntu.com).

    These sessions are open to the whole community, you don’t need to be a woman to attend or participate.

    Career Days with Laura Czajkowski on Saturday April 5th

    The Ubuntu Women project is back again with another Career Days session!

    This time we’re delighted to have Laura Czajkowski, the EMEA Community Manager at MongoDB where she drives adoptions and supports the open source database community in EMEA.

    Laura Czajkowski

    Laura has been active in Open Source communities since 2000 and in that time has been involved in various actives, leading and organising conferences on software testing,documentation and advocacy. She has also served 4 years on the Ubuntu Local council and currently sits as an elected Ubuntu Member on the Community council.

    Laura is an open source advocate and regular conference speaker who is passionate about getting people–everyone from students at primary school to professionals at Tier 1 Banks–involved in open source communities both on IRC and in face-to-face discussions.

    The session will be held on Saturday April 5th at 16:00 UTC in #ubuntu-classroom and #ubuntu-classroom-chat on irc.freenode.net

    Also accessible via the webchat link here: http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=ubuntu-classroom%2Cubuntu-classroom-chat&uio=d4

    For more information, please check out http://wiki.ubuntu-women.org/CareerDays or contact myself at lyz@ubuntu.com

    “What People Are Doing” Wiki Page Story Call Number Two

    I created the “What people are doing” project in October 2013, seeking stories of how our members of Ubuntu Women got involved with Ubuntu and its community in order to inspire other women to get involved.

    So far, only two people left their stories on the “What People Are Doing” Wiki page and we’d like to see more stories.  This is why Call Number Two is being made. All stories are welcome, regardless of how much or for how long you’ve been involved, from community members who only contribute casually to those who are working on Ubuntu every week.

    I am welcoming members to e-mail me at belkinsa@ubuntusense.com with their story in order to be posted on the page. I am also is allowing those who can edit wiki pages, to add the story themselves.


    If you have any questions, you can also e-mail me.

    Evaluating harvest.ubuntu.com: Call Number Two!

    So far, only two people left feedback and more would help us to evaluate if it is needed or not.  This why Call Number Two is being posted.

    Several years ago the Harvest project was launched.

    Harvest makes it easy to find low-hanging opportunities in Ubuntu. It aggregates the mass of todo lists we use every day so it’s simple to find and coordinate work.

    Unfortunately in spite of efforts by Daniel Holbach and others on the project, it never really took off.

    It is still a priority for us even a few months later since some of the major take-aways from our survey results and identified that a lot of folks still struggle on the technical side to find something small to work on. Silvia Bindelli remembered the Harvest project and in collaboration with me launched Project Harvest, an effort to evaluate the running harvest site. Once the evaluation is complete we will have a better idea of whether it will fit our needs and work to improve it.

    Around the Garden

    Our current plan is as follows for evaluation stage:

    1. Find several people who are interested in getting involved and willing to be test subjects
    2. Have them visit harvest.ubuntu.com and start browsing
    3. Once they’ve had a look through, have them report back about whether they find it intuitive to use and useful for finding things to work on
    4. Bugs (from “I can’t figure out how to use it” to “this feature would help a lot!”) can be reported to the Ubuntu Women mailing list (please sign up), in the Feedback section of the wiki page or directly to the bug tracker at https://bugs.launchpad.net/harvest/+bugs

    Please sign up and contact us on the mailing list or by adding your name to the wiki if you wish to get involved and join the discussion. We also often hang out in #ubuntu-women (unlogged) and #ubuntu-women-project (logged) on freenode.