Free Software hackfest Highlights: 2013-05-01

On Wednesday May 1st, we held the first instance of our new bi-monthly Free Software hackfest at the Dim Sum Labs.

I have to admit I didn’t expect so many attendees for the first time, especially on a public holiday, but to my surprise about 12 hackers showed up, all passionate about Free Software. That makes me really hopeful for the future of this event. Be sure to come next time on Wednesday May 15th!

We had a quick round of introductions so people could get to know each other, who they are and what they were coming to hack on during the hackfest. Most people didn’t have any plan other than discovering cool new projects and hacking on them, but some of us came equipped with ideas so we wouldn’t lack of stuff to do.

From then, three groups seemed to form themselves organically as people figured out what they would be most interested in.

Alex List lead a group around his project of creating a platform for temporary, discardable clouds with OpenStack. Apparently they didn’t write anything but had a productive brainstorming around the project, which should help kickstart it on a solid base.

Stewart Macke?zie introduced his project to change the world with a Free Software application/market written in Mozart Oz (that was the big discovery of the night for me), then spent the evening with a group of people doing some “analog hacking” (with paper and pen!) on it.

The last group formed around IBus Cangjie, my project to fix the Linux situation of the Chinese input methods mostly used in Hong Kong. Anthony Ho updated his Arch Linux packages, I spent some time helping Alan Chiang set up his development environment so he can hopefully start sending us patches or pull requests. I also spent some time with Haggen So who wanted to see if he could get it built on Ubuntu 12.04, but we didn’t make any significant progress on this.

Many people had to leave around 10pm, but a small group of us stayed later on, and we had a passionate discussion about a tough design problem I was facing in IBus Cangjie. As a result, I released IBus Cangjie 1.0 yesterday!

All in all, it was a great first time, even though I personally didn’t get as much done as I wanted to. However, we did get some good stuff done, found new cool projects to hack on and met new friends. Now I can’t wait for the next hackfest on Wednesday May 15!

Next time though, we’ll try to have pictures, so you don’t get to read such a boring wall of text.

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