Q&A Silva Arapi: Learn more about Tirana Nextcloud Community


Silva Arapi is a student who is working on a masters degree in Information Security. Arapi has been a member of the Open Labs Hackerspace for the last two years where she helped organize different events around open source software projects. She is also a co-organizer of the Open Source Conference Albania, one of the biggest conferences in the region, dedicated to open source software. She has been leading the Nextcloud project in hackerspace for the last few months and she has contributed mostly by advocating it. Arapi is very passionate about the topics of privacy, espionage, massive surveillance, etc.

What is Open Labs Hackerspace?
Open Labs Hackerspace is a not for profit organization based in Tirana and dedicated to promoting open source software, open knowledge, freedom, transparency and decentralization. During the last five years of its existence the members of the community have been organizing hundreds of events on a volunteer basis related to different open source projects which are supported by this organization.

Some of these projects/organizations are: Mozilla, Wikimedia, Fedora, Nextcloud, Open Street Map, LibreOffice etc. One of the biggest events that the community has been organizing is Open Source Conference Albania or shortly OSCAL, which this year had its 4th edition. OSCAL is a gathering of all of this projects and of all of the ideals and ideology that we are trying to promote.

How are you contributing to Nextcloud, why did you choose Nextcloud?
I am contributing to Nextcloud mostly by advocating. I have organized different events in the hackerspace like: workshops, meet-ups, localization sprints etc. As a result of these events, the Tirana Nextcloud Community has been growing gradually and more people are willing to contribute. A big achievement was finishing the translations and having Nextcloud 100% translated into Albanian, and also the fact that this active community also impacted on the Municipality of Tirana’s decision to migrate into Nextcloud.

I chose Nextcloud because I am very passionate about security and data privacy. This issue has become more and more critical with the massive use of the cloud services to save this data. What I really like about Nextcloud is the philosophy with which the product is built: helping people to gain control over their data!

I also like the fact that this is a very updated and innovative software, offering new apps and new choices for the users, and of course I also love the community behind it. So I have been enjoying very much talking to people about the critical issues of privacy when it comes to saving your data in the cloud, why they should use open source software to do that and why Nextcloud is one of the best choices available.

What’s the topic of your talk?
The topic of my talk is: An introduction to the Tirana Nextcloud Community!

What will you be talking about?
I will be talking about the community work we have been doing in Tirana in order to spread the word about Nextcloud, show people how it works and what it does and why they should use it. I will also talk about the events we have been organizing and our achievements for the last few months. I’ll share my thoughts on the importance of the community in order for a open source project to grow and what I have learning while making these efforts for the Tirana Nextcloud Community to grow.

What kind of Open Source /NC community is there in Albania?
The Tirana Nextcloud Community has been growing gradually. There are more than 6 active members of the community who help in organizing Nextcloud related events but there are also many others who have been participating in these activities and helping us with translations into Albanian.

This is a very aware community about security and privacy issues who believe in Nextcloud’s potential to make an impact when it comes to preserving the right of privacy while saving data in the cloud, and we are happy to be contributing in order to make this difference happen.

Do you also use Nextcloud or do you offer NC supports or services in commercial or voluntary basis?
I use Nextcloud and many of the apps in a daily basis. I use it to save and share my files, I use the Calendar, Contacts, the Task manager, the e-mail app etc.

We have also set up Nextcloud as part of the infrastructure of the hackerspace where every member has an account and we use it to share files, events etc with one another.

All of this has been on voluntary basis! When people come to the hackerspace and they have a question that is Nextcloud related, everyone from the community who has the knowledge or skills to help them, will do that.

What is RailsGirls program and how is NC and your organization associated with you?
RailsGirls is a program which aims to bring more diversity in the world of open source software. The program helps women to work for three months for an open source project of their choice for which they have to apply and if they get chosen, they will get all the technical assistance by a mentor and two or more coaches who will be helping them to achieve their objectives.

Nextcloud was part of this program during the last edition of RailsGirls Summer of Code and two girls from our community are now part of this program and currently working on the Nextcloud Contacts app.

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