27 September 2012

Install Fest

Next week-end, October 6, ROSEdu in partnership with the Romanian Ubuntu community organizes the traditional Linux Install Fest in the Politehnica University of Bucharest. Is quite a big event, at the 6th edition, targeted mostly at new CS students and the last time I participated, in 2010, it was attended by over 100 people, most of them interested in Ubuntu and Debian. (then I saw a couple of openSUSE requests and no one for Fedora, do the math)

Our communities are friendly and working together, so the Romanian Fedora community was invited too. Myself, I am not sure if I will be available, but anyway relied the news item, maybe there is someone interested to offer installation help (there is NO active Fedora Ambassador left in Bucharest) or maybe someone wanting to get help.

This year they will have some stations to demo various distros, so if there is someone interested in demoing things like GNOME Shitell, feel free to take the offer, I am passing it. Too bad F18 is in Alpha stage with MATE support still incomplete, I may have demoed that.

image from the 2010 Linux Install Fest

24 September 2012

Last week of WLM

Now is the last week of the Wiki Loves Monuments 2012 photo competition and while the global competition already surpassed the last year numbers (it happened during the last week), on the national level we are still a bit behind in Romania, with still around 800 more pictures needed to match the last year. I have myself a batch of newly taken photos to upload, but we can do it only with the help of the larger community (the number of Romanian photographers participating is about half compared with a year ago), so is time for a last push. Below are the banners and posters we used in the campaign so far, feel free to share and re-use:

wiki loves monuments
wiki loves monuments
wiki loves monuments
wiki loves monuments
wiki loves monuments

20 September 2012

Web is down. Who cares?

Earlier today I prepared a set with a few pictures to upload to Commons forWiki Loves Monuments when I noticed the Romanian language upload wizard is not working, it is the default we use and promote. The bad part: nobody complained, even if it was not functional for almost a day. And we were wondering why the contributions slowed down!

Once the problem was found and reported, it was fixed and now everything works again (it affected other languages too, at least French and Polish (languages with plural forms for words), which also took important upload hits yesterday.

The conclusion I draw from there: we are too used with websites not working, we say "I'll try later" and go on with our lives. Nobody bothered to write a few words in the contact page, even "you suck, upload is borked" would have been very useful.

13 September 2012


For a community project (and not only) you need a solid base: a good infrastructure, good processes and clear goals. With this base built, people are enabled to come and make it shine, acting themselves like heroes. But people come and go, a solid base will make heroes appear continuously, a healthy project will have both.

The incontestable hero this year on Wiki Loves Monuments is Pere López, a long-time wikipedian who uploaded by himself over 5700 pictures so far and continues to do it. He is returning to the contest, after he was a top contributor in the previous year too. And his close "competitor" (they help each other) is another Catalan contributor, Enfo, now at over 3800 pictures.

In the Romanian contest, we have our own hero too, Andrei Kokelburg is the top contributor, closing to 1100 pictures so far, and he will continue uploading too. Currently, Andrei is ranked the 6-th in the global uploaders (5-th if we don't count a robot doing automatic flickr imports). He is passionate about this (as a museum painting restorer in his "real life") and will continue contributing historical monuments photos even after the contest ends.

And they are not the only ones, in Romania we have over 120 people participating so far, 5 of them with over 100 pictures each. The total number of peoples in the contest? 5612 and we still have a couple of days until the half of its duration (more stats on the dedicated page, which keeps into account only activity on Commons, there are other sources too).

There is time for more heroes to step up and I am looking at YOU :D

Agnita Ansamblul bisericii evanghelice fortificate (1)
picture by Andrei Kokelburg contributed under a CC-BY-SA license to Wikimedia Commons.

07 September 2012

One week of Wiki Loves Monuments

Almost one week passed from the start of the Wiki Loves Monuments photography contest (there are still a few hours until the end of the day) and people are submitting photos with historical monuments from their countries to Wikimedia Commons for use on Wikipedia and more. So far it looks good.

On the world level, the stats are good, the uploads as I write are over 47,000 images (my guesstimate: they will close to 50.000 by the end of the day/first week), poised to reach a total of the month that will set the contest as the world's biggest (passing the last year numbers, which made Wiki Loves Monuments 2011 the biggest photography contest so far). Of course, is not all roses: unfortunately a few countries backed-down at the last minute, so WLM happens in *only* 32 countries (still not bad).

On a national level Romania is not doing bad either, we reached 1000 pictures in less than one week and joined this select club (there are countries that reached this milestone after the first weekend, hats off to them!), a performance which took almost two weeks next year. The number of people contributing is 65, which is also not bad, unfortunately most of them are still at under 5 images. They may grow.

On a personal level, even if as an organizer I won't qualify for any prize, I still want to add my photos. My strategy was different this year: I uploaded my bulk of images, standing in the queue for a while, from the first days, to kickstart the contributions. And there were quite a few of them, at 365 images giving my "15 minutes of glory", for a short while I was one of the top dozen contributors worldwide. Also at the moment my pictures are one third of the Romanian uploads, but my uploads slowed-down (if I want to post more pics, I have to shoot them first), other people will have to step up. I am confident this will happen.