Linux Australia educating schools

Last year Linux Australia had a stand at a massive event called the Education Expo in Sydney. Our stand was extremely popular so we are doing it again this year! This event has over 10,000 attendees including parents, teachers and students and we’ll be giving out information, software, giveaways and hosting a “Linux Challenge” for kids where they complete some tasks and then get a “Linux pack” with certificate, badge, toy and CD 🙂 Will post thanks and photos after the weekend.

FOSS in Universities – vital to research!

So while working for the ASK-OSS research project, which is looking at the use of FOSS in Australian research and education, I keep coming across some absolute pearlers. The most recent was the FOSS policy put forward at Buffalo University in the US:

direct unmediated unfettered access to information is fundamental and essential to scholarly inquiry, academic dialog, research, the advancement of research methods, academic freedom, and freedom of speech

the free flow of information has for many years been hampered by incompatibilities between Microsoft software and non-Microsoft systems caused by Microsoft-specific modifications to open protocols (such as Kerberos[1]), document formats (such as HTML[2]), and programming languages (such as Java[3])

open-source software provides an alternative through whose use the core missions of the University at Buffalo can be preserved, nurtured, and enhanced

And so on and so forth. It makes for very interesting reading. I’ve also compiled in last months ASK-OSS newsletter the rationale of some well known Australian research projects about why they choose OSS. Check it out at the May Newsletter and join the newsletter for free (low traffic, very interesting!) if this sort of stuff is interesting to you 🙂

ARGH! I just want our webcasts!

This year at CeBIT Open Source was a big deal. We were told this was because the previous years survey had an open ended question asking what people wanted to see, and the overwhelming response was “Linux”. Linuxworld coming to Australia for the first time was also probably an incentive 😉

Anyway as such, at CeBIT Linux Australia was a big participant. We had a large popular demo zone, our booth was extremely popular the entire three days and we ran two panel sessions. We were told that VioCorp would be recording the panel sessions and would a) have it all online within a few days and b) provide us with the video footage. Not only have neither of these happened as expected, but one of the panel sessions were missing from the CeBIT guide, you have to register to view the videos with an email address (and untick the “please bug me” option), they only have one of the panel sessions up, and they only offer videos in Microsoft Media Player format (when asked about Real Player as another option, they said “sure!” and proceeded to put a Real Player option up that has _NO CONTENT!_). Needless to say, I’m pretty annoyed. I would have brought a video camera for our sessions had I known. If anyone else wants to bug VioCorp about this, speak to Ian Gardiner there. Details on the website.

Google party in Sydney

Yesterday Google had their opening party for the new Sydney office. They sent out invitations to the broader community and had about 300 people turn up, most of whom were of the technical variety 🙂 I had a fun night chatting to loads of SLUGgers, researchers, and of course the Googlers. It was probably one of the most diverse technical crowd gatherings in Sydney, which meant a load of fringe people got to meet each other.

Google have something like 15 engineers in the local office (mostly Google Maps people) and they flew in 15 engineers from their New York office who were fun and interesting. Google’s office is, very cool to say the least. Bright colours, loads of room, nice hardware, a pool table and excellent kitchen. It actually reminded me of when I worked at OneTel, whose offices were Feng Shui compatible (seriously!) with loads of fish tanks, bright colours and a spacious work environment.

Google are very proactively getting more women into Google, and it was interesting to talk to Lars about some of the rationale behind that:

1) they want the best engineers out there, female and male
2) they want their workplace to reflect the diversty of ideas and approaches in the global community
3) they want a great workplace that is comfortable and fun for everyone

Pretty sensible really 🙂 They had some cool Google girl shirts, and I’ll wear mine to the next slug meeting 🙂

Hats off to you Google, I can see why it has become an engineer’s Mecca and it is great to have a team on the ground in Sydney. We look forward to your engineers participating in SLUG and the local technical community 🙂

Blogging from CeBIT

CeBIT has been going well. Loads of fun and the Linux Australia stand is constantly surrounded by 10-20 people. We are showing off tasty XGL, giving away FOSS CDs, and talking to loads of cool people. We also have loads more new people coming to SLUG next month, both newbies and techs, so make them welcome 🙂

From my perspective, community outreach events like being at CeBIT are really important both in growing our community, and in educating the masses about why the community is the backbone of Open Source, and its greatest asset.

Rock on everyone! 🙂

Linux Australia at CeBIT, come visit!

Linux Australia will have a stand at CeBIT tomorrow through to Thursday. We’ll also have a big demo zone where loads of cool FOSS stuff will be shown off from embedded, to desktop and server stuff. We’ll be running a panel session on Thursday afternoon where leading innovators in the Australian market will talk about why FOSS is invaluable to them in their industries and in innovating. That’ll be on stand P1 at the front of Hall 4. So come along, visit the LA stand and demo zone and check out the panel session. This is the first time CeBIT has had an Open Source display, so it’ll be very cool to be getting in front of ~25,000 consumers with FOSS.

Rock on Linux Australia! 🙂

Linuxworld rocking :)

So The last two days have been the business day sessions of Linuxworld have been great. Over 2000 people registered for the trade show which has been buzzing everytime I’ve visited. The Linux Australia stand has also been consistently busy so it has been great!

The conference itself hasn’t had quite the crowds we had hoped for, but like any conference, it has to build a reputation, and for the first Linuxworld locally, we did quite well. The content has been great, I’ve been the MC and the timing has been fine (apart from one minor glitch, sorry Sophos!) and people are pretty happy with the results. Government Day is tomorrow which will be fantastic. I have Peter Quinn from Massachusetts speaking, Sunil Abraham from the IOSN, Dr Yusseri Yusoff from the Malaysian Government, and Edwin Bruce from the New Zealand Government. Plus the local state and federal Government people including Patrick Callioni from AGIMO, Elizabeth Gordon-Werner from NSW Dept of Commerce, Michael Carden from National Archives of Australia and Kevin Russell from Opensource WA. All have awesome stories and were great presentations. It’ll be great!

Anyway, maybe I’ll get a few more hours sleep tonight, but I have had a good time, and I hope everyone else has too 🙂 To be fair, it needs to be made clear Linuxworld is a business and Government conference and not a tech conference, but hopefully it’ll fill the void in Australia for such information and get our business and Government communities more educated about this space, and also about the Open Source community.

So I’m turning on comments for this blog post, and would love peoples feedback about Linuxworld. Obviously people that were actually there would be really useful (at the trade show or conference or both 🙂

Linux in Aussie school

I saw this in the news and loved the quote:

“School education should be about cooperation and sharing knowledge, which is exactly what open source is about – that’s why I can’t understand why schools don’t embrace it on that level,” he said, adding there is a “big black hole” when it comes to Linux in education.

Rock on for FOSS in education!

I’ve also been flat out with last minute things for Linuxworld next week. The event is going to be fantastic for business and Governments understanding FOSS, I am looking forward to meeting a bunch of people speaking, including Peter Quinn (ex-CIO of Massachusetts Government), Sunil Abraham (IOSN), Yusseri Yusoff (Malaysian Government), and Martin Fink (HP). Of course it’ll also be great to see Maddog and Bdale there 🙂

Leon is coming back!

Here is part of a message about Leons pretty gutsy recovery. He has always been a strong character in the community and now he is showing his strength in his rapid recovery:

Leon was conscious most of the day yesterday (thursday), and very much in his own mind! Yesterday, when I arrived at the hospital, he had been positioned in the pink chair again, and was holding his head up with minimum support, and impatiently jiggling his legs and tapping his fingers, while looking huntedly about the room, obviously unhappy with his situation. Through answering yes/no questions with a nod or head shake, he was able to communicate (quite emphatically!) that he was very angry, and depressed, and in quite some pain from his back in the position he was placed, and frustrated about not being able to speak, or make himself understood when he mouthed words. He let me know that he didn’t want me to leave him, even to go to the toilet, that he was scared of the prison his body was being, and he wanted to get back on top of things, specifically asking for his laptop!

Rock on Leon, keep it up and we are all thinking of you 🙂