Ubucon Europe 2019 in local media

Ubucon Europe 2019 in local media

  • October 13, 2019

Remember Marta, our volunteer from the registration booth? She took care of the translation of the article written by Fátima Caçador for SAPO Tek:

Ubucon Europe: What is the Ubuntu community doing in Sintra? Sharing technical knowledge and tightening connections

News from the new Ubuntu distribution, the exploration of the several platforms and many “how to”, rule the 4-days agenda where the open source and open technologies are in the air.

The Olga Cadaval Cultural centre in Sintra, is the main stage of a busy agenda filled with several talks and more technical sessions, but at Ubucon Europe there’s also room for networking and cultural visits, a curious fusion between spaces full of history, like the Pena Palace or the Quinta da Regaleira, and one of the youngest “players” in the world of software.

For 4 days, the international Ubuntu Community gathers in Sintra for an event open to everyone, where the open source principles and open technology are dominating. The Ubucon Europe Conference begun Thursday, October 10th, and extends until Sunday, October 13th, keeping an open doors policy to everyone who wants to

Afterall, what is the importance of Ubucon? The number of participants, which should be around 150, doesn’t tell the whole story of what you can learn during these days, as the SAPO TEK had the opportunity to check this morning.

Organised by the Ubuntu Portugal Community, with the National Association for Open Software, the Ubuntu Europe Federation and the Sintra Municipality, the conference brings to Portugal some of the biggest open source specialists and shows that Ubuntu is indeed alive, even if not yet known by most people, and still far from the “world domain” aspired by some.

15 years of Ubuntu

This year is Ubuntu’s 15th birthday after its creation in 2004 by Mark Shuttleworth who gathered a team of Debian developers and founded Canonical, in South Africa, with the purpose of developing a Linux distribution easy to use. He called it Ubuntu, a word that comes from the Zulo and Xhosa languages meaning “I am because we are” which shows its social dimension.

The millionaire Mark Shuttleworth declared at the time “my motivation and goal is to find a way of creating a global operating system for desktops which is free in every way, but also sustainable and with a quality comparable to any other that money can buy”.

And in the last 15 years Ubuntu hasn’t stop growing, following trends and moving from the desktop and servers to the Cloud, the IoT and even phones. Canonical ended up withdrawing from this last one, leaving the development on UBport’s hands.

“Ubuntu has never been better”, states Tiago Carrondo, head of the Ubuntu Portugal Community, explaining that Cloud usage is growing every month and the same is happening on the desktop. “The community has proved being alive and participative” and Ubucon is an example of that capacity to deliver and to be involved in projects.

A new version of Ubuntu is going to be launched in two weeks (October 19th) and in April, next year, it’s time for Ubuntu 20.04, the new LTS version which is generating expectations and it’s the focus of several talks during Ubucon.

An operating system not just for ‘geeks’

But is this a subject just for some “geeks” who don’t mind getting their hands dirty and mess with coding to adapt the operating system to their needs? Gustavo Homem, CTO of Ângulo Sólido, ensures Ubuntu is increasingly being used by companies and in the cloud Azure, AWS and DigitalOcean is among the most used operating systems, highlighting the ease of use, flexibility and security.

The Ângulo Sólido uses Ubuntu internally and with their clients, from desktops to routers and Cloud solutions, and during Ubucon it presented the more and the least expected uses for Ubuntu, where some hacks with mixing desks take part.

It’s in the Cloud where Ubuntu has grown the most, due to the freedom of the operating system, because at the level of computer’s desktops and laptops it depends on the manufactures willingness to sell devices with a pre-installed operating system, or without any, leaving room for ubuntu’s using.

However, even if it’s easy and more and more prepared to connect to every peripherals and it supports most of the software on the market, Ubuntu is far from being recognised by the majority of computer users, so its use is reserved to a restrict group of people with more technical training and knowledge.

In Cell phones, where there was a movement for creating an operating system in 2014 which could be an alternative to android and IOS, the abandonment of the project by Canonical didn’t help creating a mass movement involving manufactures. The UBports community continues developing the concept and coding, and during Ubucon showed some news and developments with Fairphone and Pine64, but it’s still far from becoming a solid operating system, in which you can fully trust, as Jan Sprinz admitted.

In the audience of the talk which SAPO TEK attended, there were many Ubuntu Touch users, the mobile operating system, but with doubts and concerns, such as the availability of the most used apps. Nevertheless the operating system is cherished, and there was even someone comparing it to a pet, which may destroy the leaving room and chew the shoes, but the owner never stops loving it.

How do you do an Ubucon?

“We wanted to make a memorable Ubucon”, explains Tiago Carrondo, the face of the organisation who, during the last few months dedicated much of his time to the preparation of all the logistics, part of a very small but very committed team, as he stated to SAPO TEK.

The European event is now on its 4th edition and it arose spontaneously, inside the community, and after Germany (Essen), France (Paris) and Spain (Xixón), Portugal is the 4th country hosting the community with the purpose of “having an Ubucon without rain” and from here, the community goes, in 2020 to a new location, which should be revealed this week but now still a well-kept secret.

Characterising Ubuntu Portugal as a community of people, Tiago Carrondo explains that companies are “friends”, and appear as associates and sponsors for the event, where there are also connections with educational institutes.

The centre of the organisation and purpose of Ubucon are the people, so there’s a very big social component, allowing volunteers working in Ubuntu’s projects during the entire year to meet face to face and share experiences and knowledge. For that reason, the schedule was designed to start a little later than usual, around 10 am, and to finish early with a long pause for lunch.

The conference ends tomorrow, but those who want to attend the last presentations in Olga Cadaval Cultural Centre in Sintra, can still do it. By registering or by simply showing up at the venue, because the organisation policy is open doors and respect for privacy.

Those who didn’t have the chance to assist will be able to watch everything in video over the next few weeks. Tiago Carrondo explains that they didn’t want to stream it, but everything is being recorded to be edited and will be available soon.

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