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athens digital week, day 2 - max spevack's blog [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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athens digital week, day 2 [Oct. 18th, 2008|09:13 pm]
[Location |amsterdam, the netherlands]

Earlier Athens Digital Week entries:

#1 -- http://spevack.livejournal.com/67166.html
#2 -- http://spevack.livejournal.com/67379.html

Friday night

My talk began a little bit after 8:00 PM. Between the talk, questions, and spillover conversation after the talk, lasted for about 90 minutes. It was a lot of fun, and also very interesting. As I mentioned before, I had been given a heads-up that the audience would be very diverse in terms of free and open source software knowledge. In order to judge for myself, I asked a few questions at the beginning of my talk, polling the audience. Of the 150 or so people in attendance, about half were users of open source software, and less than 10 kept their hands raised when I asked if there were any contributors to open source software.

Given this audience composition, I tried to cater to several different audiences at once. Fom my perspective, I felt like my talk was a bit disjointed, but several people speaking to me afterward told me that they recognized that I was trying to reach multiple audiences simultaneously, and that I did a good job of varying the topics discussed, and also the level of detail. In short, a success!

The last thing that I want to mention is that they had a live translation of my talk -- people who wanted to listen in Greek and not English could pick up a wireless headset, and someone in a booth in the back was translating as I spoke. I felt like I was at the United Nations -- it was really quite something.

When we left the Athens Digital Week area, a free concert was happening on the stage that had been in a state of construction all day, complete with lights, smoke, and a large crowd in front of the stage. I think the organizers were very pleased with the turnout overall.

About 25 of us -- Fedora folks, Debian folks, BSD folks, and various leaders in the Hellenic Linux Users Group -- went into the downtown area of Athens and sat at an outdoor restaurant for about an hour. The food was incredible, and in particular I enjoyed chatting with a man named Richard who is originally from Connecticut, but has been living in Athens for the past 35 years as a computer and mathematics professor.

I also learned that Pierros (one of our Fedora Ambassadors in Athens), has saved his university lab a large sum of money by migrating them off of Windows + proprietary design software to Fedora + Blender, which is a great success story. The Blender guys at Athens Digital Week also installed Fedora on the hardware that they were given for demo purposes, because it came pre-loaded with Vista. The free software spirit is very strong in Greece, and I found myself thinking that with a strong university presence and an excellent public transportation system, Athens might be an interesting place to think about one of our next European FUDCons.


Dimitris, Diego, and I spent a few hours touring the Acropolis and the Parthenon. It was (of course) incredible, and I certainly wasn't going to spend 48 hours in Athens without making the requisite sightseeing tour. After all the walking, we had a quick lunch, and then went our separate ways -- Diego and Dimitris back to Athens Digital Week for a day of hacking, and me to the metro station and the airport.

My sincere thanks to Aspa, Vasili, and all of the Athens Digital Week organizers for inviting me to speak.