About SYCL

In Short

SYCL is organized and curated by Loris Cro, VP of Community at the Zig Software Foundation and creator of Zig SHOWTIME, a community and show for makers, which is why SYCL uses Zig SHOWTIME’s Discord server and YouTube channel.

You can find Loris on GitHub, Twitter, Twitch, and his personal blog.

Read the SYCL 22 announcement blog post.

The Story

In June 2020, as the pandemic raged on and lockdowns were starting all around the world, the Zig project was about to bloom. For a few years Andrew Kelley had been working on Zig in his spare time and he was just about to go independent to work full time on Zig thanks to increasing donations from the community.

Around that same time I (Loris) was working at Redis Labs as Developer Advocate and started becoming interested in Zig. The pandemic had completely upset my work routine because in-person events were not a thing anymore. Conference organizers were scrambling to take their events online and given the short notice and lack of experience, most events had become extracurricular conference calls. I wasn’t very happy with this situation and so decided to start streaming on Twitch and to reimagine how an online-first event would look like, which lead me to start Zig SHOWTIME.

You can read more about the birth of Zig SHOWTIME in The Upcoming Future of Online Meetups (2020).

Soon after, Andrew announced the Zig Software Foundation – a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation created to support the development of Zig – and asked me to join him as VP of Community. As I started to lose faith in the direction of my role at Redis Labs, I accepted his offer and became the Foundation’s fist full-time hire. In the beginning the ZSF was not able to sustain two full-time employees (Andrew and me) and it was my first task to get us there – if I wanted to keep my new job.

Everything went well to the point that we even managed to hire Jakub Konka to work full-time, so we can say that the Zig project really bloomed in the middle of a pandemic, against all odds. Of course, this is not the end of the story: there was (and still is) a lot of work ahead of us.

In April 2021 I wrote a blog post titled Playing the Open Source Game where I commented on my disappointment with modern Free and Open Source Software. In that post I also came up with Software You Can Love as a way of describing some of the values that – seemingly – were part of the early Open Source movement but that – definitely – were not part of it anymore.

One exact year later, in April 2022, we held the first ever European Zig meetup in Milan, Italy. We had 60 people show up in total from not only all around Europe, but also from the US, Canada and even South Africa. The event proved that it was finally time for in-person events to make a comeback. Zig bloomed in the middle of a pandemic and as such our community was truly born online-first. It was time for us to start building our in-person event muscle.

In my case, just like I adventured into starting Zig SHOWTIME at the beginning of the pandemic, I’m now working on designing my ideal conference, within the limits of practicality. On my personal blog you’ll be able to read more about what I learn from this adventure, starting from the already published SYCL 22 announcement blog post.