Shadowcat's Managing Director, Mark Keating, was recently voted onto the council for FLOSSUK. Mark has been involved with FLOSS for some time and has even presented at FLOSSUK conferences including Spring 2014 and the upcoming Spring 2015 events.
Shadowcat Systems Limited are corporate members of FLOSSUK, Ian Norton has served on the council for three years and Matt S. trout has also been a regular attendee and speaker at FLOSSUK (and the former UKUUG) events for a number of years.
This year Shadowcat Systems and FLOSSUK will be organising a conference, the Dynamic Language conference, together. Mark has also been involved in discussing using new media techniques for FLOSS. It was for these two reasons that Mark felt it wisest to agree when he was co-opted to a place on the council so that he could further help at a recognised position.
FOSDEM is only a couple of weeks away, and for the first time in their history the Shadowcat team will be making an appearance.
There have been a variety of reasons over the years why we have failed to attend this premier event, but the major one is that we get blindsided by it each time. It gets to January and we are usually in Florida for the occasionally annual Perl Oasis and the return from that sees us missing FOSDEM from the calendar. This is especially true when there is a FLOSSUK event soon after.
This year sees us more closely linked to FLOSSUK but with a gap in the schedule as there is no Perl Oasis. It therefore seemed opportune to take the chance to attend FOSDEM for the first time and to take a group from the Lancaster offices with us. So a small contingent from the Lancaster staff will be at the event including Matt S. Trout, Mark Keating, Ian Norton, Tom Bloor and Errietta Kostala.
 For those of you not familiar with the event it is one of the largest Open Source events on the planet, each year over five thousand open source practitioners and advocates gather in Brussels for a long weekend of discussion and latest projects announcements.
 I almost did the cliché with 'for the first time in forever'.
This weekend the youngest and the (near) oldest of Shadowcatters will be attending, and [presenting][pros], at two very different community events on either side of the Atlantic pond.
Errietta Kostala, easily the youthful element, will be at MozFest in London where she will be presenting a talk about utilising IRC as a tool for communities. Meanwhile on the other side of the pond, and the country opoosite, Mark Keating, close to the oldest staffer, will be attending the Google Summer of Code Ten Year Anniversary, on behalf of the Perl Foundation.
Once again the natural position ity seems of a 'Catter is to be involved with the community. Young or old, or any other metric you wish to division by, the Shadowcat staff are keen to be a part.
If you are attending either of these events try and grab either Mark or Errietta for a friendly chat or even just a quick hello.
Errietta Kostala, Shadowcat's latest staffer and intern from the University of Huddersfield, will be attending and presenting at the MozFest in London in October . Errietta, like the rest of the Shadowcat team, is a keen contributor to a number of Open Source projects and events. The MozFest will be the first time Errietta has presented and she is bounded with enthusiasm, and probably nervous anticipation, at the prospect.
Errietta wil be talking about how using IRC is still just as relevant in a modern project as it was fifteen years ago and the manner in which you can contribute and collaborate using it as a valuable tool in your OS toolbox.
## IRC isn't just old school: enriching community through text-based chat
What will your session or activity allow people to make, learn or do?
Participants will learn how to use IRC networks like freenode and moznet to communicate with other contributors of open source projects. They will be taught the necessary IRC commands to connect to a network, register a nickname and find channels and, if applicable, how to create a chat room for their own community.
How do you see that working?
We will help people install an IRC client if they do not already have one installed - a relatively quick process. We will have short tutorials of teaching IRC commands and after each one we will encourage participants to experiment with using them and also learning other IRC commands on their own. The session will use material adapted from this blog post.
How will you deal with varying numbers of participants in your session?
An IRC client doesn't take long or much background knowledge to install, so as long as people have that set up on their laptops they should be able to keep up with the session relatively easily. Having a co-organizer means we can split helping people in between us, and participants can even help each other.
What do you see as outcomes after the festival?
After the festival, participants will be able to access IRC channels for their favourite projects and collaborate with other contributors. They will also know how to get additional help on IRC features and commands, if needed. Ultimately this could mean more contributors to Mozilla and Mozilla projects!
This year's London Perl Workshop will once again be held at the University of Westminster's Cavendish Campus on Saturday 8th November. The theme this year will be Perl and the Internet of Things.
Once again the Shadowcat staff will be in attendance at the workshops and the surrounding social activities and once again we will be helping out with the vast majority of the organisational duties.
Mark Keating is once more the chief conference overlord and chair of the proceedings. Ian Norton and Claire Jackson will be on hand all day running workshops and registration. Tom Bloor will be managing the electronic toy room, a new feature at this year's event. Matt S. Trout and our latest intern, Errietta Kostala, will both be in attendance. Matt will once again present and if we can persuade Errietta to talk we will do so.
Each year the workshop has grown in size and splendour and we are glad to note that the complement of Shadowcat attendees has grown with it. We hope to see you there.