FOSSASIA, Singapore 2015

FOSSASIA is an annual open source summit in Asia and this year it was held in the smart city of Singapore from March 13 to March 15, 2015. I received the talk acceptance mail from FOSSASIA  a week before the conference which was like a last minute invite but I was able to manage with the Visa process. I received my Visa on the same day I had to fly to Singapore. I had very little time to plan my trip(did not plan :\ )  and so to prepare for the talk(did prepare 😛 ).

I along with few other colleagues departed from Pune around 16:00 hrs on March 12 in order to catch our flight from Mumbai at 00:05 hrs on March 13. We reached Singapore in the morning and felt we had two and half hours extra in life since the journey was short neither a jet lag. At the airport, we bought the tourist travel card for 3 days which would allow us to travel in all the MRTs( similar to Delhi metro in India) and buses across the city. We realized it was a hot sunny day as we moved out of the MRT station to head towards our hotel. I did not like the weather at all, Pune was pleasant enough that time. The hotel where I had the booking was full of wall art and I liked each bit of it. A generalized opinion about the hotel rooms – Most of the hotels in Singapore have really small sized rooms, probably they want to make optimum use of the space or any other reason. The studio single room which was allotted to me was just perfect in size for one person but some other rooms were badly arranged and had no space to walk around. Some people who opted to stay in hostel also had the same complains about the size of room and weird arrangements in the room. The hostels in Singapore are not comparable to the ones in Europe at all.

Day 0, After we arrived and did a check-in, we moved to Little India to grab some food and then headed to the Red Hat office for  the pre-conference meetup which was organized for the speakers and participants to come together and exchange ideas. Harish(@harishpillay) initiated with the round of introduction from everyone present there. Everyone interacted for a while there, and then some headed for a walk to the National Design Lab, I walked back to my hotel to take some rest as I was super tired. Later in the evening, headed out and realized that finding the right kind of food was a challenge in Singapore except Little India.

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Day 1, The first day of the conference was at Biopolis Matrix Auditorium with a single track which could accommodate a larger audience and the next two days of the conference were at another venue where we had five parallel tracks. The conference began with a welcome note by Mario Behling and Hong Phuc, followed by Harish Pillay. Lennart Poettering’s talk was all about systemd– Where we come from, and where we want to go in 2015. Then was another talk on how Mozilla launches Firefox OS open web mobile platform in Asia and how one can get involved. There were a couple of interesting talks throughout the day.  This conference was unique in its own way. While there were talks going on in the auditorium Hong Phuc and Mario were busy looking after the food arrangements to be made for lunch. At lunch, there was a looonggg queue and the ones at the last could only get some 😦 . I interacted with a lot of people during lunch time. Post lunch , there were a couple of more talks scheduled.

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Day 2, onward the conference was at NUS Plug-In@Blk71 with five tracks: ‘OpenTech for Software and Hardware Makers’, Web technologies, Python, Mozilla and DevOps. There were talks on diverse topics such as Open Sourcing Biology, Atomic Project, Testing, Teaching FOSS to kids, 3D Body Visualizer project, DevOps, etc. At lunch, there was packed food for all the speakers and volunteers. We enjoyed having the food with a bunch of other folks while sitting on the floor. The day went fairly good.

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Day 3, here comes the last day of conference with a bunch of talks and workshops scheduled, mine was scheduled in the last slot of the day at 4:00 pm. Huzaifa Sidhpurwala gave a talk on Security which was housefull and flooded with questions. Workshop by Harish Pillay on ‘Internet of Things’ was interesting enough where each one in the room imagined a situation without internet and tried to connect with each other. At the end of the day, here comes my turn and I talked ‘all about Web Application testing’. I was a bit afraid if people would really stay back till last but still there were enough people and some of them looked genuinely interested in whatever I talked 😛 . Following that, was the closing keynote by Mario and Hong Phuc. Both of them thanked all the volunteers, speakers and attendees who contributed to make the conference a success. They announced the venue for FOSSASIA 2016 to be Singapore. The conference came to an end and it was time to depart 😦 bidding everyone goodbye was kind of little sad. And I still remember the tender good bye hug from Hong Phuc. The conference was over and everyone together did some wrapping up at the venue and headed home.

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While being in Singapore I got a chance to visit some places around. Starting with Little India, it smells and looks like India entirely. It was a complete turnoff though but the south Indian food at Anand Bhavan was way too good. The streets with vendors standing on roadside was no different than what we see in India. Mustafa mall in Little India was a huge mall with tonnes of variety where I just couldn’t manage to buy anything(was too busy to look around at things 😛 ). Then, the magnificent view of the Singapore city from the Singapore Flyer, a visit to Bugis Street, China town was enjoyable. I also managed to visit Gardens by the Bay, extremely beautiful gardens and finally walked  the entire bay to reach the Merlion, have a glance and just rush back to the hotel to catch the flight in the afternoon.

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That was an awesome conference in an awesome city! It was nice to meet all the new folks. Thank you FOSSASIA 🙂 🙂

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