Idea: running the F38 release party like we did Creative Freedom Summit?

@duffy provide a great write-up on how we organized the Creative Freedom Summit using only FOSS tools - namely a combination of Jitsi being pipped into Element and PeerTube to provide a virtual conference with live chat and instant, shareable recordings.

With the release party coming up, do we want to try doing this again instead of using Hopin? I haven’t looked into it too much, but I don’t think Hopin is FOSS. It would be nice to start using a FOSS solution for conferences and lead in this space.

I would especially be interested in @riecatnor’s opinion since she has been involved in running both in the past. Marie, what do you think of this idea? Is it doable? What differences are there to consider?


Happy to share my experience here.

TLDR; The Jitsi/Peertube/Matrix experience is excellent for folks with Fedora and/or Element accounts who are using the Element application, and less so for others. It’s also a lot more work for the event organizers. Hopin makes it very easy on the organizers to get things set up, provides detailed analytics, and has a refined user experience (polls, different session rooms, an event chat vs session chat, etc). As a virtual event organizer for both Release Parties and the Creative Freedom Summit, I think there are pros and cons for both.

And I will also share my opinions:

  • If a fundamental goal of an event is to highlight how great Free Software is, then the Jitsi/Peertube/Matrix (let’s call this the “Open event solution”) is an excellent choice. If the fundamental goal is to put on an event is to bring people together for content related to Free Software and make it as easy as possible on the organizer(s), Hopin is an excellent choice.
  • As someone who served as the FCAIC, I can say there are many responsibilities (probably too many) to juggle and I happily accepted Hopin as a virtual event solution because it made that part of my job very easy. I think in order to use the Open event solution for the RP’s, we would need volunteers (prob at least 6?) to step up to help @jflory7 and imo we are a bit too close to the RP (which I think will be beginning of June?) to get it all set up and ready to go in time. For the Summit we started planning beginning of October and the event was mid January.
  • In Fedora, we are working to create an Operating System and variants, not an event platform. I used to say this as FCAIC when questioned about the use of Hopin, “if this event were in person, would you refuse to use the car/bus/hotel elevator/hotel setup because they weren’t running open source software? Would you walk to the venue, use the stairs, or not look at the slides being presented?”
  • As a main organizer for the Creative Freedom Summit, I am tremendously proud to say that we used an entirely open stack to run the event. And the reason we chose to do that was because a primary goal of the event was to promote Free Software, and we had a solid group of volunteers to help make it happen. We debated using Hopin, but the Open event solution won out because of the goals of the event.

Here are some examples of the differences between the two options:

  • Open event solution required us to build an event website, there were a lot of hoops to jump through to get approvals for this (tho worth it!). Hopin is already approved, and has a website built into building an event, and it is easily customizable by an organizer. I guess a decent answer to this if you went with Open event solution would be to make a Release Party page on the Flock website but it would still take significantly more work to update, even for small changes.
  • Open event solution required us to use Sched to create a highly visible and nice looking, central, schedule, which then had to be embedded in the event website (and cost us a bit of money). Hopin has a built in schedule feature, and as soon as the schedule is input, it can be added to the front page with the click of a button (and is paid for already). Though I will say that Hopin’s schedule feature wasn’t it’s most shining feature.
  • Open event solution required us to make best guesses on analytics, Peertube gave us the most solid analytics (how many people were in the chat room, how many people watched peertube, how many people claimed a Fedora badge, plus info from a post event survey). Hopin provides detailed analytics on how many people register, join, how many are in each session, how long people spend at the event, etc etc… and provides you the ability to email everyone after with a link to a survey if desired.
  • Open event solution provides an automatic upload to peertube… but you need to disconnect and reconnect the stream to cut the sessions. In Hopin you can create an individual session for each session, and they have made them available pretty quickly on the admin dashboard… though you have to go in and click a button to make them show up under “Replays”. The stream would also randomly cut with the Open event solution- not sure if we figured out why?
  • There are more differences but this post is already getting long :laughing:

I don’t want folks to think I am being too negative about the Open event solution (that I helped to organize :sweat_smile:), so I am going to add a few pros for using Open event solution for the Release Party:

  • The RP is a single track of content, and works well for that. (Once you move to multiple tracks of content, you are looking at a much more complex setup for the Open event solution. If we ever ran Nest again, this would be a LOT of work)
  • It would make the handful of people who refuse/are unable to use Hopin very happy (I think this is a mainly a codecs issue, iirc, but for some it could be a values thing)
  • It could ease the path from user to contributor… we get a lot of attendees at the RP’s that aren’t active contributors. Getting them onto our Element server could entice them to stick around. (I will point out that this would cost us money since we pay per active user per month)
  • It could be a point of pride (and bragging rights) that we use an open stack for our Event solutions

I hope this helps! And if there are specific questions, I am happy to try to answer them :fedora:


Thanks for the detailed breakdown! I think in the end what you say makes a ton of sense. I wouldn’t want event organizers to be using tools that make their lives harder unless they themselves are interested in using an open source stack.

In line with our Freedom Foundation, this is the direction I would personally like to go with Fedora’s virtual events. Hopin has fantastic conveniences and creates excellent “production value” for our events as part of the Hopin product. However, I hypothesize using an open, free platform would also be a net-positive in us reaching more people who avoid or cannot use proprietary web codecs.

Because Hopin comes with a lot of production value baked into the product, @riecatnor is :100:% right that a team is critical for this to succeed. Ultimately, we need a team to drive some of these things. Our superpower in Fedora is that we do have people and a real Open Source community. So, we can cut out some of the pre-baked value of Hopin and instead have a super community team that leverages and uses some of the best of what Free Software has to offer.

In the short-term, I am also learning the ropes with the release party and Flock this year. It is my first time on both counts. :sweat_smile: Because it is also new work for me, it is hard to know clearly where volunteers are most needed and how to organize the event planning better. While I learn the ropes this year, I will reach out for targeted asks for help and bring people interested in helping together as much as possible.

The timeine for our current event requires us to use Hopin for F38 though.

This is Fedora! If there was ever a place where someone would be interested in using an open source stack, it is here.[1] :wink: The challenge is to organize folks together and move as a coordinated, well-organized team.

This is also where I’d like the CommOps conversation to steer toward:

  1. I would be concerned if there wasn’t an interest. ↩︎

1 Like

Also, if someone is interested in this kind of events work, the best place to share your interest is by editing this wiki page:

1 Like