Notes on my Drupal presentation in Cairo, Egypt

As I noted earlier, Open Craft knew that I was in Egypt, and invited me to give a Drupal presentation. I chose Drupal performance tuning and optimization, and userpoints as the topic.

As usual, the 2 hours allocated for the Drupal performance tuning and optimization presentation were not enough, and it went on for about 3.5 hours total. Userpoints on the other hand was shortened considerably, but I was able to present all the important parts.

Attendees: Egyptian Drupallers and Open Source enthusiasts

I met many Egyptian Drupallers, including Mohamed Sameer (whom I knew for years vua the internet only and the first time we meet. He just flew in on 3 am Saturday from Finland where he works for Nokia), Abdel-Karim Mardini (co-founder of Open Craft), Omar Abdel Wahab, Alaa Abdel Fattah, Manal Hassan (husband and wife and founders of the famed, Abdelrahman Ghareeb and Amr Mostafa.

There were many other Drupal developers whom I did not remember the names. Some work for Open Craft, others work for IT Synergy (another Open Source company in Egypt), and some work for other places.

Some of those I knew by IM, others by email, but none of whom I have met face to face before.

Noel Hidalgo and the Luck of Seven

Noel Hidalgo, who is on a seven month journey around the world to interview and document open source culture around the world. He blogged about the presentation live here, and recorded it on video too.

Slides for the presentations

You can download the slides for Drupal Performance tuning and optimization and userpoints presentations from 2bits.

Free Softwre and Open Source in Egypt

From what I saw, Egypt has a vibrant Free Software / Open Source community. Companies are started based on Open Source, and free software products such as Drupal and SugarCRM, which is unprecedented in the Middle East.

Things like an Egyptian Linux Users Group and Linux Install Fests do happen.

However, for a country of 72 million (or 80 million, I heard both figures), participation in Open Source is far less than the full potential given the population size.

Part of that is economic, but also may be cultural (lack of activist mentality, apathy in politics, language barriers, ..etc.), but those factors (and many other potential ones) need to be studied and analyzed further.

Me a Drupal core developer?

I was suprised, delighted and felt awkward all that same time when some of the audience labelled me a "Drupal Core Developer, and even looked up to me as a source of national pride (being Egyptian).

I tried to correct this by saying I am more of a core contributor.


So, this seminar was all positive, and a great experience. Well worth the trip from Alexandria to Cairo.