So I ended up travelling about 42 hours straight to get to the WSIS conference. All of the people around me complaining about 17, or 11, or 6! hours, pfft! Watched the trailer for Lord of the Rings III on the way to New Zealand, and got all psyched to see the country forgetting I would be there all of 2 hours. Ah, well, I will be returning there in a few months (Mike! I am expecting a tour and a drink ๐Ÿ™‚

New York was snowing, 18 inches ๐Ÿ˜€ Like many Australians, real, thick, overcoming snow is fascinating. We have to supplement our ski fields with snow machines, I loved the place, and although I spent only a few hours there, am very keen to return.

So my flight path was Sydney -> Auckland -> LA -> New York -> Frankfurt -> and then Geneva. Phwoar!

My first WSIS day! “Send in the clowns”!

So today was great! Schmoozing with people from all over the world, discussing human rights, standards, how ICT can benefit people directly, development standards, many interesting and zany topics with many interesting and zany points of view. Being here with LPI has meant a foot in to door as to how world politics happen, what is happening with FOSS around the world, and how we as an international community come together for support with increased communication. The only disappointment thus far has been Stallman. Good old RMS has done it again, he managed to get into some sort of advisory role for the WSIS Civil Society who are putting together the Visionary Document for the WSIS. The full Visionary Document covers many topics from poverty, to womens rights, through media, cultural and ICT issues.

Anyway RMS has insisted upon an ammendment to the Visionary Document to effectively remove all references to FOSS or Open Source and replace it with Free Software:

“In this document, we use the term “Free Software” to refer to the specific
concept defined by the Free Software Foundation. Free Software is software
that is licensed in such a way that people have the freedom to run, copy,
distribute, study, change and improve it. Free Software implies access to
source code as does “open source software”; however, open source software as
the term is popularly used is not necessarily Free Software in our
definition. Some organisations release open source software without
permitting all of these actions. See and for in-depth discussions of this concept.”

I’m a bit sick of constant derailment of our efforts over semantics, but I digress. Maybe he truly doesn’t understand how destructive his actions are to our entire cause, because if he realised how hard he is making it, perhaps he would direct his passion and energy more constructively. People know the term Open source, they have associated it with Linux (RMS would hate that too ๐Ÿ™‚ and thus the word is getting out. If we change the ball halfway through the game, people lose interest and walk away. What we call the ball at this point is irrelevant, we should be encouraging people to play.

Youth Empowerment…

Sounded like a wanky kind of workshop, and it did end up being run like a kindergarten (“I want to see you all drawing on the butcher paper and putting it up on the wall for everyone to see”). It did however prove to be really interesting, youth from all over the world trying to make a difference, trying to figure out the issues of their respective countries. It is all well and good to talk about donating computers to the socio-economically disadvantaged, but what if they don’t have electricity, how can technology help them?

I participated in two discussions, one on developers and how we can change government policies to demand Open Standards, and facilitate community groups for support and discussion. the second discussion was about Youth Empowerment, how and why we as the youth for the world can make a difference on a large scale.

Rock on! Many great and motivated people.