My speech at TEDx Prishtina – 2014

“I am what I am because of who we all are” says the Ubuntu philosophy from a Southern African region, which is based on the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity. That’s how Free and Open Source communities try to function globally.

I’ve been a community guy since the age of 14. That was when I started my professional journey, and that was also when I joined Kosovo’s tech community.

Being a part of this community has led me to ask some questions: How can my work impact the community around me, and how can communities change societies?

At 14, I joined FLOSSK, a nonprofit whose acronym stands for “Free Libre Open Source Software Kosova”, a not for profit organization that had just been conceived at that time – back then, a small group of people with one cause in common: that of free and open source software and knowledge. That cause quickly became my way of life, and an indivisible part of me.

The first thing I did in FLOSSK, was getting involved in this mapping project. I remember those cold winters we spent mapping Prishtina’s streets with some malfunctioning GPS devices, that would only work on solar energy, for the sole purpose, of collecting enough data to build an Open Map for our city.
We used to meet at our old, small place very early in the morning, we split up in groups, and started mapping. Things went well, except that the data we collected very often were all scrambled, because, of course (winter), there was not enough sun light required to keep the devices running during the whole day. However, we stick to it, because we wanted to create something that would have impact, free, open, and available to the public for communal use.

The involvement in this community project, was what lighted a spark of interest in me, and it opened the doors to a whole new world. First, it taught me that working for a social good or for a community, is overwhelmingly awesome, and that the community provides opportunities that otherwise might not have existed.

Let’s take the Open Source global community as an example of such a community. Communities like Mozilla, with now over 200,000 active contributors, who brought the free and open web into our hands. Or GNU/Linux, the free and open source operating system that runs about 90% of the Internet you use everyday.

People usually get involved in these big Free/Libre Open Source projects because of knowledge earned, developing new skills, and the enormous feeling of satisfaction that comes from building something for millions. More importantly, the whole process of learning, experimentation, and experience are all priceless – you can’t buy them. That is worth more than money.

The current education paradigm in post-war Kosovo is long overdue for a complete re-structuring, and in the absence of good conditions, we found the power of the Internet as an opportunity without political, economic, and cultural borders; I was aware that the surrounding environment wasn’t going to give me what I was seeking. I believed that I had more potential, and I believed that I was capable of doing more.  So, I and a lot of others like me, have chosen the DIY way, and the involvement in the global Free and Open Source movement – a place where we found no limitations, and an environment which would fulfill our creative potential.

Being part of these communities, the experiences, and knowledge gained, changed my life and the way I think. From my first job at 16, projects and events we organized, and up to the successes in the US as an exchange student, were all possible thanks to the help of all the people around me – the community. The spark of interest became a fire, which drove this insatiable desire to change things in my local community for the good, and have been doing that ever since.

Thanks to our involvement in these communities, we the self-motivated, tech-savvy citizens, have been able to introduce Kosovo to the global Free and Open Source movement, and more. We did the GLOCAL thing ( Global <=> Local), individually and together.

Yes, Kosovo has Mozilla Representatives, we organize the biggest Free and Open Source Software Conference in Balkans, we have project ambassadors, we organize Barcamps for people to meet and share ideas, we contribute in Wikipedia through Wiki Academies to have more content about Kosovo on the Internet, we do Digital Diplomacy to help the integration of Kosovo in the digital world, and many other projects where we created close relations with international tech giants as well. In lack of a platform for local communication and cooperation, we also decided to open another big project named Prishtina Hackerspace – a physical, co-working, experimentation space where we can gather to share knowledge, work on projects, innovate, build and socialize.

We’re working towards creating an environment for our community where the ideas and new creations are not to be spent in idle activity, non-productivity, and the creative potential is not to be misused or misdirected. And all this, doesn’t require a huge investment, but it can not be done alone! We are loving it, and we believe in our work – that’s all!

We have learned not to be discouraged by our surroundings, but rather try to change them, because we can! That’s what I’d like to share with other people, that’s what we’ve been trying to do as a community.

I believe in community work and people that are part of it – I believe in the potential and energy that we can represent, and I believe in the idea of Freedom – Free/Libre and Open Source ideology. I want to end by reminding you that only together as a community can we work towards a better future for the societies we live in.

Remember: “I am what I am because of who we all are”, and so is each one of you!

 

Links:
What is Free Software? : https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html
Free Software Movement: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-intro.html
What is Open Source Software?: http://opensource.org/
Open Source movement?: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_movement
What are Hackerspaces?: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hackerspace
Mozilla’s Mission: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/mission/
Mozilla’s Manifesto: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/manifesto/

 

Video coming soon… 

SLIDES:

Wiki Loves Monuments – Albania & Kosovo

Wiki Loves Monuments photo competition organized for the first time in Kosovo and Albania

Wiki Loves Monuments is an international photo contest for monuments running this September, organized by Wikimedia globally, as well as in Kosovo and Albania organized by FLOSSK and Open Labs.

Cultural heritage is an important part of the knowledge that Wikipedia collects and disseminates. Everybody can contribute images as well as write articles. An image is worth a thousand words, in all languages at once, and enthusiastic people can (re)discover the cultural, historic, and scientific significance of their neighbourhoods by uploading photos to Wikimedia.

In 2012, Wikipedia volunteer communities in 35 countries joined this initiative. In 2014 nearly 40 countries all over the world are participating through national contests organized with their national monuments, partners, rules, events and winners.

The organizers – FLOSSK from Kosovo and Open Labs from Albania – with the support of the Institutes for the Protection of  Cultural Monuments in Kosovo and Albania, through digital access to cultural monuments, want to promote the cultural heritage of the respective countries to the world. Read the rest of this entry

MOSSCon 2013

Some of you may know me as a FLOSS and GNU/Linux enthusiast and activist since late 2009 (when I was 14) and that dealing with Free and Open Source software was always a natural outcome of my dedication and willingness to expand my knowledge and learn more about FLOSS ideology and the awesome community behind it.
You may know me as Altin, the FLOSSK guy that has been working together with his friends the last years on promoting, developing and translating Free/Libre and Open Source Software in his lovely small country – Kosovo. But this time the story takes place in Louisville, Kentucky.The city that I came in as an exchange student from Kosovo.

Folks, I wanted to share 1/4 of my great story of being an exchange student in this country, or better saying; an update on what i was working on during most of my stay here. I would like to keep it short this time as I will be blogging again after May 18th when this event is done! (That will be a more “in depth” story)

During my stay in a completely new environment with different culture, different language, different mentality, and knowing nobody, I managed to put a team together to organize the first (and looking to be very successful) Open Source Software Conference in Kentucky – MOSSCon (Midwest Open Source Software Conference).
Being still an High School student with a limited amount of time, MOSSCon is a challenge that was worth starting it and it is something that I will always be proud of. I am happy to have initiated and leaded this conference and I am even happier  to have met all these awesome people that taught me these important steps for my career. I am glad that after I leave this country, someone will remember me of doing a good thing and I will remember that I left something good behind. A group of people that I will never forget, a group of people that will continue organizing an awesome annual conference about Free and Open Source Software in Kentucky.
MOSSCon in now on the process of being a registered 5o1[c]3, we already formed the board of directors and we are almost done with the papers and all that… I’d like to point out here something that is very important about it and motivated me even more, something that I never expected to happen, especially (in US) at this time and at this age; The board members elected me as the “board president”.

This is not over yet, the most important part of it is yet to come, and we’ll see the results on May 18th. There is still lots of work to do!
We had lots of people joining and leaving the organizing team, but MOSSCon stays a community driven conference; “By the people, for the people” as we like to say it, and all credits go to the “organizing team” which is mostly made out of KYOSS (Kentucky Open Source Software Society) and a group of enthusiasts who share the same vision that the software should be Free and Open to the community to develop and adapt it to their needs. A community of enthusiasts of all age groups that is established to promote software freedom, open source software, free culture and open knowledge, a global movement that originally started more than 25 years ago. Read the rest of this entry

A visit in University of Louisville – Speed School

Weeks ago I got an invitation to see a CyberDefence competition in one of the classes in University of Louisville – Speed School (Computer Science department).
To be honest, I really had some tough time trying to find the right building, UofL campus is Huge !!,
I would easily compare it by the size of one of the biggest neighbourhoods in Prishtina.

CyberDefense competition was lots of fun…
I was very excited to see students practising their knowledge in that field…  Just being in an environment where people do stuff that I love and do best was inspiring and very motivational for me at the same time.

CyberDefense competition worked like this:
There were 5 teams made out of students, each trying to protect their virtual servers while the Red team (in another room) which was made out of senior students and professors were trying to hack into their systems… Read the rest of this entry

/dev/mapper/cryptswap1 is not ready yet or not present

I had this error going for a long time now (usually while my system was loading from a reboot) and my swap space would usually just not work…
I finally had some time to deal with that.
I couldnt even reformat it in gparted or something similar…

This is how I fixed it:

First you turn your swap space off

$ sudo swapoff -a

commented out the existing swap line in /etc/crypttab

comment out the swap line in /etc/fstab

# /dev/mapper/cryptswap1 none swap sw 0 0

reboot your pc/laptop

now you should be working without a swap space, try reformatting your partition in gparted to a linux-swap type (in my case it was /dev/sda3)

after successfully reformatting it, proceed this way: Read the rest of this entry

Setting up Mozilla Louisville Community

One Month ago, I arrived in Louisville Kentucky with a 1 year student exchange program…
I am enjoying my time here so much. I especially enjoy the fact that there are lots of tech places where I can hang out.. (One of them: LVL1 Hackerspace).

I have also been actively involved with some communities since I came here. I helped the organizing team of louisville.startupweekend.org, I attend LVL1 Hackerspace meetings and I also got involved in KYOSS (Kentucky Open Source Society).

Some 2 weeks ago, I attended the KYOSS monthly meeting which was held at LVL1.
I was really impressed and very happy to see all those passionate wizened faces at LVL1 while thinking of myself, one day, tirelessly doing the same thing…
While everyone introduced themselves, I met a guy there called Alex (Alex Hagerman) who was also a Mozilla contributor, probably the only one in town.
Days before that, I was searching the Internet to see if there was a Mozilla community in Louisville, but couldn’t find anything.
While I was talking with Alex during the meeting, I stated that and suddenly we came up with the idea of starting Mozilla Louisville Community.

I am still a high school student here, it takes me so much effort, dedication and time; but nothing is stronger than my will and passion to contribute to Mozilla. Read the rest of this entry

Hello world in Arduino

This is the most basic programming that you could do with an arduino uno.
It just endlessly turns the light built in the arduino on and off.

So, after having an arduino uno and a usb cable to connect it to your pc, you would want to have also the arduino software.

Conky configuration

Conky is free software (a desktop widget) which runs in X on Linux and BSD. Originally a fork of Torsmo, Conky’s torsmo-based code is BSD licensed. New code in Conky has been licensed under the GPL 3.0.

Since its inception, Conky has changed significantly from its predecessor, while maintaining simplicity and configurability. Conky can display just about anything, either on your root desktop or in its own window. Not only does Conky have many built-in objects, it can also display just about any piece of information by using scripts and other external programs.

Lately I was configuring/designing/modifying a Conky configuration and I decided to share it with others.

SETUP

Go to github repository and get the Conky config files: https://github.com/altinukshini/conky_blue

Note: If your battery is not showing than you are probabbly using another format exc (BAT1 or BAT2) instead of BAT0 which is the default one.
To fix this issue change line 65 in conkyrc file:

from: ${battery_percent}%
to: ${battery_percent BAT1}%

To call this script in Conky, use the following in your conkyrc:

lua_load ~/.fluxbox/conky/conky_blue/clock_rings.lua
lua_draw_hook_pre clock_rings

Because I have used this conky configuration with fluxbox I have put it under .fluxbox folder on my home directory. Read the rest of this entry

Recursively change permissions to all subdirectories and files in Drupal

I used to have problems with Drupal’s sites/default/files/* directories permissions because for some reason they got messed up and this is the script that I used to fix that.

find . -type d -exec chmod 753 {} \;

this is for the files:

find . -type f -exec chmod 664 {} \;

Getting started with PhoneGap for Android

First of all a short description of what’s phonegap:
PhoneGap is an open source implementation of open standards. That means developers and companies can use PhoneGap for mobile applications that are free, commercial, open source, or any combination of these.
PhoneGap is an HTML5 app platform that allows you to author native applications with web technologies and get access to APIs and app stores. PhoneGap leverages web technologies developers already know best… HTML and JavaScript.

During this blog I’ll be showing mostly the main things you should be knowing when you start working with PhoneGap.
So what I’ll be talking about will be:

  • Importing some of the libraries that you will need…
  • How to make your application go Full Screen in Phonegap
  • How to add a Splash Screen and give it a (delay time)
  • How to create a basic menu with quit and reload function.
  • How to change the application icon instead of the default android one.
  • Where to put some specific lines for the code to work properly.
  • Make app compatible with older versions of Android.

OK, first of all you have to set up your environment for android developement as you have to follow the guide provided from phonegap here. Read the rest of this entry

Enable email notifications in Open Atrium

I was struggling to find the way to enable email notifications in Open Atrium because they just didn’t work after the install and finally I found out the way that works, no need for SMTP or any other module.

Only 2 steps:
1. Install/Enable PHPmailer.
2. Enable “Immediate” notification on the admin settings page

1. Steps to install PHPMailer

If you are using php5 then take this source and extract it inside:
YourAtriumRootFolder/profiles/openatrium/modules/contrib/messaging/messaging_phpmailer

and make sure you save the extracted folder name like: “PHPMailer” (case sensitive)

Go to Admin > Site building > Modules and enable “Messaging PHPMailer” module.

2. Steps to enable the notifications

Go to Admin > Messaging and Notifications > Notifications Settings and tick/enable “Immediate sending” and Save Configuration.

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