Abdullah Diab’s Blog

iCommunity FOSS 09

I mentioned many times before that I was planning to make a workshop about Free Open Source Software (FOSS) in Damascus, and thankfully I did 🙂

The Idea

The idea was to spread the culture of FOSS between the interested people here in Damascus.

What I noticed was that almost 99% of computer science students didn’t know what Free Software is and what Open Source software is!

The Process

So I started contacting engineers and people who I know that they’re capable of teaching this culture to our faculty students, and I managed to make 3 people agree on lecturing in the workshop.

After a while I realized that I can’t make the workshop as I thought, I won’t be able to make lectures inside the faculty because of some freaky stupid bureaucracy.

So the solution came with the idea of iCommunity, and thankfully it solve the problem.


iCommunity is a committee inside SCS – Syrian Computer Society, which is responsible of connecting the youth

computer science interested people with the SCS and other governmental offices.

It has the power that SCS gave to it, which is to think and prepare for projects that young people want to do and they can’t.

By having iCommunity we can achieve almost what we want with some powerful support from SCS.

And I’m one of the 6 managers of iCommunity, together we decieded that we will make this FOSS Workshop a reality.

The Workshop

The workshop took place in Damascus, Tishreen Park, SCS Center. From February 3rd to February 5th.

Everyday had lectures, coffee break and installation festival.

The First Day 03/Feb/2009

We had 3 lectures:

  1. What is Free Software? What is Open Source Software? and Why?_ Eng. Firas Kassem & Eng. Humam Hawasly._
  2. What are the licenses of Free and Open Source Software? Eng. Nada Al Benni.
  3. What is Creative Commons? Eng. Zyiad Maraqa from Jordan.

The Second Day 04/Feb/2009

We had 2 lectures:

  1. Arabic Free Open Source projects, and managing them. Php-ar as an example. Eng. Khaled Al Shamaa.
  2. Linux is a great choice for an operating system. Eng. Emad Mahayni.

The Third Day 05/Feb/2009

We had 3 lectures:

  1. Building unified communication using IP-Telephoney by open source projects. Eng. Ahmad Osman.
  2. Practical experiment with using Free Open Source Software in a daily life. Eng. Hani Al Safadi.
  3. Finding Free Open Source alternatives to proprietary software. Abd Allah Diab.

The Installation Festivals

We told people to bring their laptops so we can teach them how to install Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex on it.

There were many interested people so the festival was great.

My friends in the college helped us in the festival, I can’t find any way to thank them.

We also played this video, that describes what would have happened if The Matrix was real and ran on Windows 🙂


We distributed two DVD’s to the audience, the first one was Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop Edition DVD i386, and the other was an Open DVD which included a debian repository and free open source software for both operating systems Linux and Windows.


Media Coverage and Articles

Creative Commons website wrote about Zyiad’s lecture in the worksop:

Ziad Maraqa, co-Project Lead from CC Jordan, spoke yesterday in Damascus at the iCommunity FOSS Workshop, a notable gathering for the Syrian Free Software community.

Al Watan Newspaper in Syria wrote about the workshop daily (Arabic):



eSyria, Syria blog website wrote about the workshop daily in its Damascus website (Arabic):






This is a photo of the iCommunity Managers:


This is a photo of the installation team, 4 iCommunity managers, and some students:

I’m the one with the gray suit and glasses in the middle 8)

And this one is from above of more students, 5 iCommunity Managers (the 6th is the one behind the camera) and the installation team 🙂

We had wonderful time, and we got great feedback of people attended the workshop.