Red Hat @ Nullcon 2016

Nullcon 2016, http://nullcon.net/website/nullcon-2016/cfp.php is a premiere security conference held each year in India. Training’s, booths, networking parties, awards, talks, hacking challenges and a lot more makes this conference. What attracts me the most is the creative badges at Nullcon, so well thought and made they totally stand out as a USP to the conference.

Red Hat, has been getting a chance to be  the badge sponsors to Nullcon for consecutive 3 years now. Nullcon organizers are creative in making the badges and the effort is well appreciated when the the security enthusiasts are fond to see the first thing they hit

IMG_20160312_132103.jpgthe conference and are curious to the know the Badge for the year.

With the preceding years badges made on a floppy drive and with Red Hat being the sponsor and being informed about the badge making process , the first thing Red Hat wanted to know is to see the badge come up so well to beat the precedence set by the previous year.

This year Nullcon badge was a hardware badge made in the shape of a bug with some soldered LED ‘s that lit with the batteries, it has Red Hat branding done on the top of the badge and looked something like this —>

This years anticipated turnout was of 800 delegates and they merrily carried the glittering badges around and took them back as a memory !

It was a sense of pride to feel the happiness People has with the badges. The badges were accurate timely made with other details of the attendee and the QR Code.

Red hat also had a booth at the conference and was a genuine effort by the Red Hatters to open a dialogue with the visitors on the emerging technologies by Red Hat like Openshift, OpenStack and Red Hat cloudforms and the security aspects. Prasad Mukhedkar from the emerging technologies team in Red Hat pune did an exceptional job here by taking questions from people on the emerging technologies for people wanted to know even more he went ahead and did a small session on cloud forms security at the booth itself. It was so interesting that people came back again after they came to know from their friends about the session. We drew this idea from the “poster sessions” at PyCon India just that we used more live forms like an LED to demonstrate in detail.IMG_20160312_130835.jpg

Since the conference has more ethical hackers and information security people we thought we should create a gimmick at the booth to draw people’s attention to the product security general knowledge and recent happening around it which made news.. So we had our product security guy, Prasad Pandit who designed a small quiz and we ran the quiz at the booth to distribute some cool swags for people who got it right. It was a great time people literally scratching heads and raising hands to answer, the result was in no time we had interested folks turning up at the booth to take the quiz. What we saw were some contented faces at the booth after they won the goodies.

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It was interesting point to note that people came to Red Hat’s booth just to say that I am your customer and you guys are doing a great job. There were students inquiring about some internship openings. There also were some security architects who wanted to know more about the product security and hence left their contacts with us. This is precisely what makes you feel so passionate about the place you work for !

Prasad Pandit also spoke about the Fedora Spin available for security as the ready tool for people who use Fedora or had interest to use them so we had some Fedora 23 DVD’s at the booth given out to people.

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There were some interesting sponsors with booth presence like Synack, Checkrmax ( scan un-compiled code), Sans (information security training & certification) Superhero ( for middleware security).

http://nullcon.net/website/nullcon-2016/sponsors-and-partners.php

A lot of people just turned up to say hey hi what product are you here to talk about and we smiled and said “Emerging technologies”

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FUDCon Pune

“Great places are where great people meet” such was the site at MIT college Pune from 26 to 28 th June where the yearly FUDCon  APAC chapter was conducted. The aspiration to host and organise  the conference came true when Pune was officially announced as the venue for the APAC conference.

http://fedoramagazine.org/india-calling-namaste-fudcon-apac-2015/

All thanks to a detailed and promising bid by the organisers.

The organisation and planning of the event started from the CFP and the website, which was going to be the place people to watch for the most sought after event in open source.

It took us a good 3 months of effort for the CFP to be live and eventually more intense efforts towards outreach on CFP. We did a fair enough job on that justified by the number of talk submission we received with a reasonable good number of 140 talk submissions. The CFP  planned to close by 9th March got extended by a few more days.

Sponsors :

The budget estimates were based on the repositories from the the FUDCon 2011 handled by more or less the same organisers with room for inflated travel rates (web fares) and real time experiences from recent events. The organising team also sought help from Red Hat, Pune as financial sponsors. The estimated vis a vis the actual closed within the budget. MIT college sponsored the wifi. Hasgeek and Sanisoft came in as angel sponsors when the organisers needed them the most.

Planning :

The weekly planning meetings started from Jan 2015. This mostly included organisers and volunteers from Red Hat and was open through dial in for those who wished to attend the meetings. The minutes were regularly posted and pirate pads updated. The best part was we never had to follow up or remind  volunteers to attend these meetings, there was always much euphoria around it 🙂

The planning was fairly around head like- Travel, Accommodation,venue, Outreach , FUD-Pub,Swags and collaterals and conveyance.To save on the burden for associates to pay and expense later we used the existing vendor base for bill to company and some awesome negotiated rates.

Vendors who did a splendid and a professional job were Creation Magnifique for T shirts and socks, Country wide travel for local and airport conveyance, Cocoon magarpatta hospitality for accommodation and BLUO for the FUDPub and Food delight for the lunch. An awesome conference happens when you manage to have few volunteer who have these niche vendor management skills. The key to that to have overestimated deadlines for the finish.

A learning to have prioritised swags over all makes a difference in the last few days of planning.

Talk selectors realised there were a number of talks on Docker/atomic , storage and OpenStack which warranted a series of separate talks which we called as tracks for better management and audience understanding. And thus we had 3 technical tracks, one bar camp track, a track for BOF. and two main talk tracks.

Talk selection were done and published and travel sponsorships were being approved soon after that. The sponsorship were more based on the criteria of active contributors to Fedora  than on the basis of being a speaker.

The tickets were thoroughly looked at and travel sponsorships partial or total were done. The travel consumed  30- 35% of the total budget.

Schedule :

We had some constraints over the HTML format of the schedule and that’s where Sanisoft came as a sponsor and there was our schedule with 89 speakers, 7 tracks , 36 deep dives and 13 hands on workshops. :http://fudconin15.shdlr.com/grid

Fedora Booth was mostly manned by Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay and Prasad Pandit.

The talks ran smoothly except for a few glitches in the wifi which were mainly due to changes in the firewall settings which created confusion for a while. Apart form that the BOF’s were mostly used for the fedora ambassadors meeting and Bar camps had limited entries which did not use the whole conference day.

FUD-PUB- the networking event was an awesome place with all that one can expert as perfect setting including bowling alley, foos ball, pool, karaoke, drinks a dance floor and  not to forget the awesome food !!

The last day of the conference was mostly workshop and got over with a closing note which detailed the active volunteers, the journey from bid to bid adieu from glitches to milestones and to watch for’s in the coming days.

The next FUDCon venue is in discussion.

11058328_923241681074082_7695307419398170296_nAnd last but not the least, a community grows flourishes with its members and more so with the ambassadors who act as crusaders of the technology in specific and community engagement in general. Conferences like these are aimed at increasing awareness, collaborating on technology platforms and sharing through community work. Coming together is either the first step towards building a community or holding hands and pursuing the goals of a successful institution. An event is successful by not just the smiles  its captures or the pats it receives but more from the culture its brings or passion it encourages in the future!!

Photo credits to Jared Smith 🙂

Kushal Das thank you for these awesome captures :https://www.flickr.com/photos/kushaldas/sets/72157653370892863/page1

Special thanks to all the volunteers who made it happen, you were an awesome group to be with 🙂  : http://fudcon.in/conference/about.html