6 year difficulties of open source conferences in Hong Kong (COSCUP 2017 version)

I shares a topic of “6 year difficulties of open source conferences in Hong Kong” (Chinese title: 香港開源會議的六年辛酸) at “The Art of Conducting Open Community 開放社群經營藝術” track in COSCUP 2017 in Taipei. Hereby is my speaker script and resources.

Community leaders, event organisers and participants, Hello, I am Sammy Fung from Hong Kong.

I co-organised more than 10 conferences in Asia and Hong Kong since 2012, from GNOME Asia Summit, Hong Kong Open Source Conference, COSCUP, PyCon HK and other events. It is my pleasure to work with people with passion among the world. In past 3 years, I and my team in Hong Kong got some difficulties, and I will share with yours in next 5 minutes.

3 cases of our difficulities

The 1st case, at our community events, we meet new potential leaders and they appreciated our works to support them and the community. But they are not interested to help us or make little donation to support our work. And later on, our relationship with them turns poor, because they thinks why we are not happy with them about no helps and donation from them. It is a miscommunication issue, and we are always welcome to work with everyone for the community.

Before the 2nd case happens, sometimes an engineer was joking that “(Someone, for an example,) Sammy is bad guy lor” when he mind on some little things, for an example, he is ok with japanese dinner, but one night, he did’t want to have japanese dinner with me, he will say “Sammy is bad guy lor” (“Sammy 係衰人囉”).  XD

And the 2nd case, we supports this engineer to give his tech sharing for a couple of times. Two  years ago, during COSCUP, he posted to a Taiwan Facebook group with some thousands of members, this group is administrated by him. And he write on the facebook, without our consent, says: ” ‘Big vendor A’ didn’t pay for sponsorship money to a Open Source Conference in Hong Kong after a month of the conference”.

And then about 2 weeks later, also without our consent, he also talked to “big vendor A” at event in person, and ask them when will they pay back sponsorship money to the conference. This behaviour show to others that he seems to be a representative of our conference, but unfortunately he is not our staff the conference without our consent.

When I and another core leader told him that he should not do this 2 things, but he still thinks he is right and he didn’t feel anything wrong about his behaviour, and no apologise to us. At the end of conversation, he turns to angry about us, and he starts to blaming and judging every events of my community. And he thinks and keep saying online and offline that, I and another core leader are bad guys for 2 years and still continues badmouthing. Keep saying “Sammy is bad guy lor” (“Sammy 係衰人囉”), but this time it is no longer a joke. It looks very funny (XD) but I and another core leader also have hard feeling to above events.

The case number 3 is that, when we reject a proposal from a maker, and another similar proposal was accepted by our program committee, the maker complains on his Facebook and phone call, to complain and blames a core leader who actually is not a member in the program committee, and he also blaming speakers (who are a team of seniors) not respecting their maker’s community culture.

For this 3 cases, it is no doubt that I and my team are doing right things, but we didn’t handle these cases perfectly after they happens. Sometimes our core members receives phone call and then blame on phone for fifteen minutes up to an half hour, so you found out how difficult does our team facing.

And I got more difficulties from community and personal, but I am not going to mention at this session.

So, in this two years, sometimes I think it again and try to think from more angles. And 3 things I learnt from this 3 cases.

3 things I learnt from above cases

The first thing I learnt from above cases: “Be calm”. You can feel angry but stop your anger before the public know it. And we should forgive their sins. (Luke 11:4)

The second thing I learnt is, when Badmouth happens, let’s explain the case to public in simple language, deliver one to two key points, in less than 5 sentences, just answer a key point in his complaint. Keep open for discussions.

The third thing I learnt is, when bad mouth happens, don’t believe that the case will be gone soon, harm is already made. It is not a task we should care with, we should all care about our belief and mission, and how we should achieve it.

How did we start to organise open source conferences in Hong Kong ?

I started to join and contribute in open source community in 1997 starting with Hong Kong Linux Iser Group. After 2005, I stopped to organise community events for 2 years, and then it was no open source community in Hong Kong.

A community member told me on phone: “oh, sammy, we need you”. I replied immediately: “I hopes I can sit in front of the speaker stage as audiences”. Because I hopes I can listen to other people’s sharing at events , to achieve it, just organise them!  So, I rebuild the community from scratch, from almost zero.

In 2010, before I started to organise conferences, Haggen was invited to give a lecture in university about open source licenses and history, and he invited me to share for 10 minute about the local open source community. I told two hundred students that I want to participate FOSDEM in Europe and COSCUP in Taiwan, unfortunately we had no open source conference in Hong Kong, and when will we have it ? And I hopes students can help us.

Today, it is my Seven year attending COSCUP since 2011, and I still didn’t attend FOSDEM yet. And I and my team organise Hong Kong Open Source Conference for 5 years.

HKOSCon team and my suggestions

At Hong Kong Open Source Conference, we manages different functions: design, finance, marketing, operation, program, recording, sales, and web. I and another core leader looks over multiple teams because we are still lack of man power.

Thanks for my team’s contributions for 6 years, and the conference will be continued in next year. And I am giving 3 suggestions to our conference team.

Suggestion one, we should call for community participation before call for proposals for next year conference, and we hopes more community can help us to organise some sessions, like how does FOSDEM do and like how does COSCUP do, to reduce our time and cost on man power, and to increase the number of contributions to the open source community.

Suggestion two, we should change our sponsorship model. For higher level of sponsors, we will move their sessions from main conference at weekend to pre-event corporate training day, a day before conference.

Suggestion three, it is my idea from first year of our conference, we can work with more speakers and help them increase number of contributors to develop their open source projects. Overseas and local developers are always our speakers, and we would like to invite you to join our conference in Hong Kong, and meet with other developers at our conference in Hong Kong.

And from my sharing in this twenty minutes, I hopes you will understand the truth behind the story when someone says “(Someone or) Sammy is bad guy” (“Sammy 係衰人囉”)  XD

And when someone says “Open Source Conferences in Hong Kong are bad”, and I hopes you will also understand that we are doing right and people should respect all other speakers, participants, volunteers, helpers, sponsors and organisers, no matter who they are.

My script can be found on my blog today, sammy.hk, and we can keep contact on twitter, my twitter is @sammyfung, thanks for your joining this sessions today and COSCUP. Thanks Irvin and his team, and COSCUP to organise this wonderful conference for 12 years. Thank you.

Remark: Presentation Slides and Speaker Notes are available at http://bit.ly/sammycoscup17

香港01在香港開源年會前的訪問報導

五月尾香港01主動邀請我們做訪問,藉著兩小時閒談,我希望借報導在年會前吸納十個八個新人來參加。

香港是一個集中銷售部門的城市,因此十分缺乏一些非銷售的信息和活動,我辦開源會議的原因就是以少少力量,來填補這個大缺口。我想在香港本地參加開源年會,自己出手辦,便能如願參加。

「唔希望搞到叻人去哂外國」

記者用了我這句來做了 soundbite,可能記者都感受到近年人才流失。當時我想起一位香港開發者去了英國,在一間網站安全公司工作,便說了這句話。亦已知今年年會有兩三位本地講者和參加者,也在年會後離開香港,到歐洲和澳洲工作。

我自己也有到歐美工作的想法,從Beyond到日本以至家駒事件,我也明白理想也許和現實不同。雖然香港慢慢變得不是香港,但這刻還是有半點「香港是我家」的感覺,而且神帶領我偶然找到較合適的教會牧養慢慢栽培,亦擔心轉到外地後的教會生活。

三件事:Python、安全性、博出名

「曾試過用開源程式語言Python為客戶開發軟件,卻被質疑安全性不足,甚至被批評他們藉此「搏出名」。」

當天我簡述曾遇到幾件不同的事,報導中把當中三件串在一起,看起來加強報導效果,所以我想寫下這文來記錄沒詳細說明的部份。

十幾年前創業時,我曾到一個潛在客戶開會,推介採用 Linux 伺服器系統。但客戶的資訊科技主管說,開放原始碼會增加系統入侵機會,然後我已沒有打算會接到這個潛在客戶的單,便說教 Linux 的安全性是比專屬軟件安全,以及對用家有更多的好處。

去年初跟一位認識數月的好朋友見面,她一位從事資訊科技的朋友說,我做這些會議都是為了名聲。我心中對這說法,從空白到後來累積一點一點的不滿,第二天早上爆發了出來,也讓我失去當時最好的朋友。雖然我知道答案,我不是博出位。雖然我也知道可能因她朋友所言而導致壞事情發生,但我也一直不斷思想和檢視自己所做的,我是否真的「博出位」?我也思想自己在不同方面事情上安排,以及祈求這件壞事有一天能得到回轉,能得回一個好朋友。

去年接了一個 Python project 來做,取代原有以 asp 開發的程式。但聽說在客戶那邊的資訊科技部門,在會議上因保護自己工作,而說「怎麼有人會用 python?」,我沒想到十幾年前的情況仍然繼續。我心想,Google、Dropbox 在創業時已用 Python,又豈能說 Python 沒有人用?香港就是存在不少這種只用 Microsoft 專屬技術的資訊科技主管。

步往2018

我在今年年會開幕演說時,說到明年也會繼續年會。雖然回歸後20年來看見香港步入困難,近來我也感到心淡,不論是別人或自己辦年會,明年這些開源會議也必繼續。

延伸閱讀

香港01港聞 – 港企業不重視IT 辦開源年會自強「唔希望搞到叻人去哂外國」

Opening Speech of Hong Kong Open Source Conference 2017

The Honourable Legislative Councillor Charles Mok,
Dr. Toa Charm, Chief Public Mission Officer, Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited
Dr. Haggen So, President, Hong Kong Creative Open Technology Association
Distinguished Speakers, Guests, Fellow Hackers and Free and Open Source Software Supporters, welcome to the fifth Hong Kong Open Source Conference.

When I was founding chairman of Hong Kong Linux User Group in 1997, I starts to involve in this global open Source community.

10 years ago, I hopes I will visit FOSDEM in Europe with several thousands of open source developers.

In 2011, it is my first year to attend COSCUP in Taiwan, attending my first open source conference in my life, joins with other 1,200+ participants. It was tearing in my heart to meet with wonderful open source community outsides Hong Kong in person.

In 2016, according to Linux Weekly News’s community calendar, open source conferences occurs in 90% of days between March and November.

5 years ago, we started the first Hong Kong Open Source Conference, and try to bring overseas developers and global open source technology culture to Hong Kong. It is an only opportunity for Hong Kong people to meet them in Hong Kong, without travel to other cities.

This is my heart to organise Hong Kong Open Source Conference and we must continue in next year. And we looks forward the conference becomes the Hong Kong or Asia version of FOSDEM.

And I would like to thank our sponsors.

Platinum Sponsor is Cyberport.

Gold Sponsors are Gandi and IBM.

Silver Sponsors are MySQL and Microsoft.

Prize Sponsor is Jetbrains.

Drink Sponsors are Tranquini and Glaceau vitaminwater.

And 3 Patrons who are individual supporters.

Thank you all of them and thank for all of you to participate HKOSCon.

Thank you.

(It is original script of Opening Speech of Hong Kong Open Source Conference 2017 by Mr. Sammy Fung, Conference Chair, HKOSCon 2017)

Google Slide: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1l3yUbDTVmGwClPTqxW6vDGZ8DZKH2TK4nmwdenTlqQ8/edit?usp=sharing

HKOSCon 2017 Opening – Recorded Facebook Live Stream: https://www.facebook.com/hkoscon/videos/1935210853413789/