Akademy, if you happen to not know about it, is a yearly KDE conference that’s followed by various workshops and other events. This year Akademy happened to be really close to the Zabbix home, Riga – just some 300 km away in Tallinn, capital of Estonia. We decided to find out whether Akademy was any good.

Zabbix and KDE

While both Zabbix and KDE are open source, that alone would not be a very strong connection. Turns out, there’s more to it.

First, several of the Zabbix team members have chosen KDE as their desktop environment. Now that’s something more, but there are lots of KDE users, of course.

It goes the other way around as well – KDE sysadmins have chosen to use Zabbix for monitoring their servers. Good choice, if we may add. That’s an interesting topic on its own and we surely will have a separate blog post about it… some time later.

Zabbix at Akademy

Actually, Zabbix eventually not just visited Akademy, it ended up being a sponsor for the event. In return, we got a few banners displayed, a table to give out some merhcandise and a lightning talk slot. Woohoo! Turns out, conference participants really favoured Zabbix pens and candies (the latter one wasn’t unexpected, though). Hopefully, that will spread the word a bit 🙂

Zabbix among other Akademy sponsors

The conference

Short version – the conference part of Akademy 2012 was great.

A bit longer version…

The two days of conference started with an opening speech by Cornelius Schumacher, president of KDE eV, a business entity that “represents the KDE Community in legal and financial matters”.

Cornelius Schumacher opens Akademy

All kinds of really interesting talks followed. While the talks were discussing various issues regarding KDE, the topics were not exclusive to KDE – things like bug report handling, usage of tools like Bugzilla and commit message writing all had parts applicable to nearly any project. For example, several talks discussed bug report handling, developer contact with bug reporters, commit messages and other topics that have been very important at Zabbix for quite some time now.

It's not that hard to guess which distribution some participants favour

While some participants later expressed a desire for more technical, “lower level” talks, it seemed as if the broadening of the scope of the talks signaled another level of project maturity – and that doesn’t mean there were no technical talks, there was no shortage of them either.

Some talks also showed practical usage of KDE

After the talks on the first day, there was a sponsor-speaker connecting dinner, which happened in a place called Peppersack in Vana Tallinn (Old Tallinn).

Speakers and sponsors
...got caught by another group...
...and received "salty cupcakes"

And not to cool down, first day was concluded with a party at Rock Cafe.

Sweet karaoke duet

Akademy awards

The final event of the second day of the conference was Akademy awards ceremony. This year awards were received (according to the Akademy awards page) by Camilla Boemann, Lydia Pintscher, Kévin Ottens, Nicolás Alvarez and Laur Mõtus. Congratulations and thank you for the awesome work.

Akademy award recipients (Nicolás is missing)

Five more days of KDE

But things didn’t really end after the two conference days – five more days of various workshops, beards of a feather sessions and more focused talks ensued. For a hugely distributed, international team that communicates almost exclusively using e-mails, IRC, Bugzilla and similar tools, that is a rare chance to have face-to-face meetings, allowing to discuss various topics, hack on the code and in general get more familiar with each other. Even though Zabbix was not present at this time, we are sure these days were very productive.

Es esmu govs

Of course, the official part of the event was very nice and interesting – but there always are some not so official and not so serious things happening.

On the second day of the conference, after some chat in a group with Andres, mamarok and a bunch of other people, a camera-wielding man joined. Finding out there’s somebody from Latvia, he said “es esmu govs”.

Now that did take a while to parse. Mostly because that’s not really what one would expect from an Akademy participant. Or from anybody, actually. It means “I am a cow”.

He knew this phrase in a large amount of languages, and it turned out to be a great party trashtalk conversation starter – people were learning to say “I am a cow” in various languages right there in the IT College lobby, while perfecting their pronounciation in this or that language, or being amused about the Swiss German differences from one valley of Switzerland to another.

More Akademy impressions

You can read some more Akademy feedback on the dot, and see more photos on the Akademy wiki or Google+.

Long live KDE – Akademy 2013

We would like to say a huge thanks to all the people who made Akademy 2012 happen – they did a tremendous job to make this a wonderful event.

It was also a pleasure to meet participants, many of whom were known by their nicknames on IRC, but never seen in real life.

Obviously, we’re now eagerly looking forward to the next Akademy wherever it might happen… right, where will it happen? That’s not known yet, as the call for proposals to host Akademy 2013 was announced a few weeks ago.

Now that we know how great Akademy is, we surely will visit it again. See you all next year.