Czeching It Out at LinuxExpo in Prague

Friday, May 23, 2008

I was recently invited to give a keynote at the LinuxExpo - the largest central European Linux and Open Source Software conference that was recently held in Prague (Czech Republic). The event was well received, and our very own Open Source Team also provided some gifts for the attendees.

The event consisted of two conferences (LinuxExpo and Open Government) running in parallel and both were kicked off by presentations from Googlers. Attendees were treated to a choice of two concurrent panel discussions one on document exchange formats, the other on adoption of Open Source by users.

I had a full room - around 300 people - with typical Czech crowd of government representatives mixed in with our fellow geeks and Open Source enthusiasts. I gave my talk in Slovak and after my 45 minutes ended, one person in the audience was sleeping. I chalked it up to the lights in the room being off, but was delighted when a crowd of people followed me, excited about the talk I had given, hoping to get their questions answered. I later learned from Prague Googlers that it is very rare to get questions from the audience right after your presentation, and I was glad this cultural nuance meant I got to have such great one-on-one time with the folks who attended my session.

Petra Packs the House at LinuxExpo Prague
(photo credit: LinuxExpo Organizer Team)

Most of the questions were about programs for students, and the Czech tech-crowd was mostly excited to hear about Google Summer of Code™. Six days later I gave the very same talk in Bratislava, Slovakia to students of Computer Science at Slovak Technical University. This crowd was quite interested in various Wine projects that Google contributes to and their questions were generally more technical.

Many thanks to my fellow Googlers our Prague office for their hospitality and to everyone I spoke with for making me feel so welcome. Thanks for helping me spread the Open Source love.