Genius Kids, German History and Dancing Geek(o)s: Social Program @ openSUSE Conference 2016

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This is a guest blog written by Tanja Roth, Technical Writer at the SUSE Documentation Team.

With 75 speakers from different open-source projects (like KDE, GNOME, ownCloud, Nextcloud, SaltStack) and more than 100 talks and workshops, the openSUSE Conference 2016 attracted about 300 attendees from multiple countries.

However, the organized talks, workshops, and BoF sessions were only one part of openSUSE Conference 2016. As the community event also fosters collaboration among developers and community members located all over the world, casual meet-ups and hack sessions were equally important.

In addition, the conference also provided room for connecting on a more personal level. For example, oSC16 started off with a pre-conference party at Kater Murr, a local Nuremberg pub. On this occasion, the pub also offered openSUSE beer, brewed by Mahr’s Bräu, Bamberg.

beer

The osC16 social program also included city tours and tours to explore the underground cellars of Nuremberg. On Saturday, 70 kids between 7-17 years of age took part in a CoderDojo, led by experienced mentors from the community, to explore technology in an informal and creative environment.

Another highlight was the live gig of the SUSE Band on Friday evening in the Z-Bau Saal — they rocked the hall with a great selection of cover versions!

osc_16_1

Taking into account that it was only the third live gig they played together, the performance of this multi-national “team” was all the more amazing. Originally, the SUSE Band started off by just doing some jam sessions during Hackweek 11. For Hackweek 12, they met again to rehearse some songs and finally came together for a first live performance at the Hackweek party in Nuremberg in Apr 2015. In the following months, the band members took up regular rehearsals during their free time and had their second gig at the SUSE Christmas Party in December 2015, where they played a set of 6 songs (plus 3 encores).

osc_16_5

The gig at the openSUSE Conference marked another milestone in the band’s history because the setup in Z-Bau — which is  also a well-known cultural center used by a lot of musicians — allowed them to take advantage of the professional PA system. The location also provided a sound engineer and a lighting technician. Though the stage in the Saal was rather large, it was just the right size for the 8 musicians entering it that evening:

  • James Michel (bass, vocals, percussion)
  • Stefan Dirsch (bass)
  • Panos Georgiadis (guitar)
  • Bo Maryniuk (drums)
  • Dario Abatianni (lead vocals)
  • Pranav Salunke (guitar)
  • Ralf Flaxa (keys, sax)
  • Devin Waas (vocals)

osc_16_3  osc_16_4

While most of the band members are located in Nuremberg, Devin Waas from Prague joined the band on backing vocals for this gig. Devin only had the chance to rehearse with the full band twice before the gig, but it all worked out just fine. The band started with a highly energizing version of “Everybody Needs Somebody” (The Blues Brothers), then brought it down to a calmer note with “Every Breath You Take” (The Police) and “Sweet Home Alabama” (Lynyrd Skynyrd). Then Dario introduced the first tribute song of the evening, “Purple Rain” (Prince) before the band went for full speed again with “Paranoid” (Black Sabbath), followed by some all-time classics like “Hotel California” (The Eagles), “Urgent” (Foreigner), “Nothing Else Matters” (Metallica), “Long Train Running” (The Doobie Brothers) and “Superstition” (Stevie Wonder).

At the end of the regular set, the audience requested more, and the band re-appeared on stage for two encores: “Tainted Love” (Soft Cell) and another tribute song to a famous musician and artist who passed away this year: “Space Oddity” (David Bowie). For “Space Oddity”, Craig Gardner joined the other musicians on stage for the vocals.

When looking at the faces around me and on stage, I could tell that everybody had a lot of fun! The 60 minutes of live music were well received by the audience, which consisted mostly of community members, accompanied by friends and family members for the evening program. Some also got hold of the large green plush chameleon in front of the stage and whirled it around the dance floor. 🙂

The SUSE Band is still searching for a name – if you have any suggestions, feel free to post them!

As an attendee of the conference, I would like to thank everyone who contributed to it and who helped to organize it – from the conference tracks to the social program accompanying the event, everything was organized very well! Even the decoration of the building had been adjusted for the geeks with green neon lights in the Galerie, for example.

From my point of view, the conference reflected once more what I appreciate very much about working at SUSE and in an open-source environment: Colleagues and community members who are passionate about what they do, and an international and creative setting that unites people from different backgrounds and cultures.

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Meike Chabowski
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Meike Chabowski

Meike Chabowski works as Documentation Strategist at SUSE. Before joining the SUSE Documentation team, she was Product Marketing Manager for Enterprise Linux Servers at SUSE, with a focus on Linux for Mainframes, Linux in Retail, and High Performance Computing. Prior to joining SUSE more than 20 years ago, Meike held marketing positions with several IT companies like defacto and Siemens, and was working as Assistant Professor for Mass Media. Meike holds a Master of Arts in Science of Mass Media and Theatre, as well as a Master of Arts in Education from University of Erlangen-Nuremberg/ Germany, and in Italian Literature and Language from University of Parma/Italy.