RMLL Security track : why, how and for which results

What are your goals when you set up that kind of conference track about Free Software and Security ? What are you doing to reach them ? How do you know you have reached them ?

Here are some of the questions that you can ask to yourself when you are an organizer of this kind of event.

We (doegox, moutane and cbrocas), the current RMLL security track chairmen) will try to answer to these questions as honestly as possible 🙂

Why ?

To understand the objectives and the spirit, Peter Czanik, lecturer, gives us some answers through the report of his participation in the RMLL 2017.

Here is how he summarizes his coming this year:

“I participated again in Security track … “Participated” as I did not only give a talk on syslog-ng there, but also sat in to most of the presentations and had very good discussions both with visitors and fellow speakers. The organizers brought together talks from diverse IT security-related fields, a very good opportunity for cross-pollination of ideas“. (Note: emphasis is on our own)

Peter has perfectly synthesized what we are trying to achieve through the RMLL Security track  year after year:

Do our best to facilitate meetings and exchanges between lecturers and the public. The goal is that these exchanges generate collaborations between developers or projects but also produce new features in free software of the Security sphere.

How?

Here, we are not going to give a detailed list of things we think that have to be done but rather, a short list of important (according to us) levers that helped us to reach these goals.

First of all, while respecting the technical and free software DNA of the Security track, we try to ensure that as many security disciplines as possible are represented in the subjects covered by the conferences given.

In 2017, you were able to participate (or read / review later) interventions on the following topics:

  • privacy ,
  • digital forensics ,
  • networks and systems security ,
  • cryptography,
  • low level offensive
  • or retro-engineering.

We want both attendees and speakers to confront to different subjects or disciplines of Security that are not always familiar to them.

This allows everyone to discover new fields of exploration and to pick innovative solutions that she/he can reuse in her/his projects or work.

Beyond the different and varied subjects, we also try to establish a climate as friendly as possible in order to maximize exchanges. During the conference, it is very rare to find a “star attitude” among our speakers. They are all free software users and/or developers and so, perfectly understand the importance of sharing with and helping people.

During talks, we do our best to encourage attendees to interact with speakers both during the session and during breaks or later during the event.

It is also very important for us the speakers  feel comfortable for coming and attending : they usually don’t know the event (and so attendees), the city and even sometimes the country. So we provide far before their arrival:

  • a dedicated mailing list,
  • complete information : how to come, to find accommodations, to do their talk, to contact us, to be reimbursed etc.

The goal is for all lecturers to come in confidence, get rid of most of their practical questions to be able to take advantage of the event in the most open way.

During the event, we also set up a speakers’ dinner. The goal is to provide them yet another opportunity to get to know each other better, exchange and let ideas “pollinate” 🙂

For what results?

In terms of measuring tools to collect and quantify these results, we do not have a lot of resources.

We systematically conduct a survey of the speakers while the organizers of the global edition do the same (or not ;-)) with the participants. It serves us (try to) to improve us year after year. But it also serves to identify the positive things that could happen :).

Contributions

Here is a “living” list, certainly not exhaustive, of the contributions and interactions born of these moments of exchanges.

Who came ?

You will find below some of the speakers who came to the RMLL Security track year after year :

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