Sunday, August 24, 2008

FrOSCon Day 2

The first talk is about: "Dokumentation - Wenn aus Hass Liebe wird!" (Carola Sammy Kummert) ("Documentation - if hate becomes love.")

This was a very interesting talk about a topic which gets oftentimes neglected, even though it's just as important as writing source code.
Many projects fail because of lack of documentation, precisely because documentation is (not only) needed: To help and motivate developers to contribute some lines to the code and not to scare them by deciphering the source code; to help admins install and use the software; to help sales and support to distribute the software, and to help users understanding the programs and the use of these.
A good documentation describes the code, functionality, behavior, environment, requirements, and the maintenance of the software. And, documentation yields to more communication between developers, support, sales and customers.

The documentation is the essence off all written information accumulated while project development adjusted to a specific target group (developer, admin, support, sales, user).
Creation of documentation must not only mean to write code-, api-, workflow- and user interface descriptions. While project development, much written content is created that can be used as feedstock for documentation process, such as technical specifications or support requests.

So, now I'm expert on documentation and I love it. ;-)

Lunchtime: Pasta.

Keynote: Rasmus Lerdorf (inventor of PHP)

Talk: "Systemadministration ++" (Michael Prokopp)

"Know your tools"
"Use the shell"
"Have a comfortable working place."
"Expect problems"
"Design it"
"Avoid bloat"
"Dont trust benchmarks ... "
"... you didn't modified by yourself."
"Testing happens in staging, not in production"
"Virtual machines"

Checkout: The Admin Zen

Saturday, August 23, 2008

FrOSCon Day 1

I'm currently visiting the FrOSCon. Finding the conference location in Sankt-Augustin (near Bonn) was only possible through following cute frog graffiti on the sidewalk (I will take a picture later on), which guided me to the buildings of the University of Applied Science Bonn-Rhein-Sieg.

The first workshop I wanted to participate was about "Docebo", an open source learning platform. But unfortunately this workshop was canceled and replaced with a "MySQL sandbox" workshop, which was not of interest to me.

Second workshop (starts at 11:00): "Videoprocessing with linux tools in school." (Christoph Konkuleski)

How can students in school be motivated to produce digital video, and which software to use? Christoph Konkuleski is a school teacher. He gives an introduction on current video processing software on linux: Kino, Cinelerra, Kdenlive, Open Movie Editor, ffmpeg, and some more.

Kino and Cinelerra seem to be the most appropriate video software for students. Kino is more clearly arranged and more stable, compared to "Cinelerra" which presents a multi window tiled user interface. Although Kino is not applicable to do very advanced and professional video processing. It's more an easy-to-use tool.

"But with Cinelerra it is very important that you can to do motion tracking. So, you can make a regular sword to a shiny glowing sword, which is very important for some students."

Using video processing as a teaching design gives the students more media competences at an early age. The students (around 15-16 years old) have to learn and build competences in: Thinking in images, creation of image stories, creation of screen-plays, photographs, utilization of technical features such as (zoom, tilt, pans, etc.), and generally being creative.

But why use linux and opensource software?
First of all, it's a financial issue.
Second, its often not easy to use, compared to commercial software. What? Yes. That's it.
E.g. with Cinelerra the student needs to specify many parameters, before he/she can get a reasonable output. So, the students need to grapple much more with this parameteres, compared to "easy to use" software e.g. from Apple od Adobe. Finally, the linux tools lead to a more technical learning effect.

Lunchtime: Curry turkey with rice.

Keynote from Andrew Tanenbaum: "MINIX 3" He's a very entertaining speaker.