Software Freedom Day 2009 – worldwide coverage!

I’m helping do a local Software Freedom Day event in Canberra this Saturday (19th September) and I had a quick look at the worldwide map and was extremely impressed to see such diverse worldwide coverage. It is worth comparing this years map to say 2005 there is a lot less coverage, and a lot less countries. It is wonderful to see such an important event really taking off. Hats off to the Software Freedom International board who are doing an amazing job! I know how tough that job can be πŸ™‚

sfd09 map
sfd09 map

The SFD09 Canberra event includes participation in a local computer fair on the day, followed by an installfest and workshop a week later. All information on the Canberra SFD 09 webpage!

Happy Software Freedom Day!

Today is the day! There are over 600 teams (including the additional Sun events from almost 100 countries participating this year, which is almost double the size of last year!

Over 600 teams for SFD08
Over 600 teams for SFD08

There are some really exciting events happening, some of which are highlighted on the new SFD community Planet, but check out the Software Freedom Day website and join in the fun. Even if there isn’t an event near you, you can have your own little outreach effort. Talk to your friends, family and colleagues about software freedom and why it is so important. Today of all days you ahve the world behind you!

For those not sure about what software freedom means, I’ve wrote a little piece called Software Freedom, underpinning your human rights which should hopefully help. There is also plenty more information on the SFD site!

Happy Software Freedom Day everyone!

Software Freedom Day podcast

Simon Phipps has recorded a great podcast about Software Freedom Day starring Simon (Sun), Jono Bacon (Canonical), Josh Sullivan (FSF) and yours truly (SFI). It was a fun podcast, some great conversation and worth checking out. Thanks to Jono and Josh for participation and Simon for putting it all together! Great work everyone!

Some SFD08 videos already up on Youtube

I’ll be posting all the Youtube SFD videos here for everyone to find πŸ™‚ If you have a blog and want to blog your SFD related news, send the feed to me to add to the new SFD planet!

Software Freedom Day, Richard Stallman in New Zealand

SoftwareFreedomDay 2008 KDE Jos Poortvliet

Software Freedom Week 08 – BVBCET, Hubli-India (Promotional video)

Open Hardware Foundation – Lourens Veen

Softwarefreedomday aankondiging Bas de Lange (check out the SFD shirt preview)

Sun celebrates Software Freedom Day

This year Sun joined the wonderful sponsors of Software Freedom Day, and they’ve launched their own series of events and information around software freedom. Rock on Sun!

Sun sees the promise of open source software as the perfect way for society and business alike to forge a world of expanded opportunity, increased flexibility, and continual innovation. Software Freedom day is a global celebration of these virtues. So join in, release your ideas, launch a community, explore new code, … have fun!

Only 10 days to go!

Who wants to sleep with Bill Gates?

I have a lot of blogging to catch up on! In the last month I’ve been to Norway, the US and Niue on really cool projects and conferences, Software Freedom Day is only just over 4 weeks away, and I’ve had some awesome ideas I want to blog. All will happen in the next few days, but last night I went to another Girl Geek Dinner in Sydney, which was awesome. About 80 women who love technology, great cheese and chocolate, talks and networking. It was a really fun night, and a huge thank you to Damana who organises the events!

Some highlights:

  • Fountain of Chocolate – now I’m not really a chocolate sort of girl, but when you throw strawberries in the mix, I’m totally there! Plus lovely cheeses, champagne and other nibblies made it really nice! Thanks Thoughtware!
  • A talk on Agile programming, presented in Agile format, that left me a little confused. So Mary in about 45 seconds explained what they meant. Thanks Mary, you rock!
  • Mary winning the sparkly girly Microsoft shirt in a competition where you sat down if you weren’t geeky enough. Her putting it on and the girl sitting next to me saying “I really wish I was more geeky, I LOVE Microsoft!”. I made the introduction figuring Mary probably would grow tired of it fairly quickly (seeing she is a Linuxchix gal) and the other girl told us that if she could sleep with any man (but her husband to be) it would be Bill Gates. Mary and I were a little stunned at that one πŸ™‚ The girl was very enthusiastic about big trends and also fangirls Google, so we had a very interesting and fun discussion after the fact, but I’m still a little stunned. I mean my picks would be Trent Reznor or Jet Li, but I guess it takes all sorts. Also, to be fair she was pretty nervous, and a really interesting person nonetheless πŸ™‚
  • Quote of the night, in reference to Ruby on Rails:
    Question: I’ve heard that Ruby on Rails doesn’t really scale when you starting getting thousands or tens of thousands of users?
    Answer: There are loads of large successful Ruby on Rails implementations. For example, Twitter!
    FAIL! πŸ™‚

I’m looking forward to the next one, which will be at Tech Ed. That will be quite weird but hey I’ve been invited onto a panel about women in technology there, so it should be interesting πŸ˜‰

TechFest, TechGirls, GeekGirls and Software Freedom

The last couple of weeks have been CRAZY! After getting back from my incredible Gung Fu week away, It was straight into everything. I flew back Saturday night, Sunday morning Jeff and I ran an OLPC TechFest in Sydney which had some amazing people come along, get talks about the OLPC server and XO projects, and then have some useful hacking time. In the middle of that I ran away to a wedding which was a big and wonderful Italian wedding, so Jeff was left holding the fort at the TechFest. There will be a more full report about the TechFest soon but there is a great write up by Sarah Maddox, so thanks Sarah! Awesome work by Martin Langhoff and Joel Stanley, who both totally rock!

A couple of days ago I spoke at a TechGirls event up at the Central Coast. I was the keynote speaker to about 200 girls aged 11-16 from the area, and it was fantastic! I got some excellent feedback (from girls and teachers alike) and I received this email which made it so incredibly worth it!

I thought you spoke extremely well and you have inspired me and my friends a lot. I aim to be a Graphic Designer sometime in the near future and you have encouraged me to follow my dreams. Up until today i was undecided if that was the career i wanted to pursue but after your speech today it has made my mind up. Thankyou very much for attending and sharing your views today. You have helped me choose my career.

Yes! I got a few other awesome emails and it was so exciting to have so many girls keen to get into IT.

Tonight was the third GeekGirl dinner in Sydney, which was awesome. Over 110 people (about 85% women) all getting together for an awesome evening of food, wine and talks. We had Claudia and another girl from Yahoo, and then Sara Falamaki, and all the talks were awesome. Then we played Guitar Hero for a while and it was a late night home. An awesome night and a major thanks to Damana, all the other organisers and to Yahoo for putting on such a great night πŸ™‚

I’m currently (and have been for a couple of years) President of Software Freedom International, the body behind Software Freedom Day which is coming up in September. This is an awesome day and we had over 330 teams from over 90 countries last year all taking the concepts of freedom, democratic software, and of course FOSS to the mainstream. All the teams generally do events that are locally relevant and you’ll see some teams have an entire village do a march, or a music festival, or, as Nepal did last year, a candle lighting ceremony πŸ™‚ It is a fascinating and exciting event and I’m so proud to be able to help make it happen. Anyway, we opened registrations for teams almost 2 weeks ago and we already have over 160 teams registered for this year! We are expecting around 500 teams. Check out the easy to browse map for teams near you, and register your event today! Only the first 300 teams get a team pack with shirts, stickers, badges, some CDs and more πŸ™‚


Lastly, one of my best friends Sue recently posted a whole schwag of photos on Facebook from our trip to China in 1999. It was one of the best trips of my life. I learnt a lot there and it reminded me how much I want to return! Below is a (kind of crappy) scan of one of my favourite photos!

Horseriding along the Yellow River (Huang He) in China

Yes, that is me with short, red hair and riding a young and very fast horse. The locals thought I was lost control but I galloped to the group in the distance and back again. It is one of my best memories πŸ™‚ There are also some photos of us at Shaolin Temple and more, but you’ll have to find me on Facebook πŸ™‚

Foundations of Open 2020 submissions are up

I was really proud to be involved in Senator Lundy’s Foundations of Open Summit and wanted to follow up with some more resources. There are videos from all talks available, Donna just did a great blog post about it as did Brianna from Wikipedia.

It is important to recognise the initiative and interest of Senator Kate Lundy in openness, and I greatly thank her for her efforts in getting openness on the political agenda.

The submissions from the day (which all participants were open to contribute) are also online which all contribute to the 2020 Summit discussions are awesome. Some tidbits:

The rise of the use of FOSS in the IT industry is without doubt a revolutionary force that will have a huge impact on the way that society interacts with computers into the future. The question that I would like addressed by the Australia 2020 summit is what can be done to ensure that Australia can benefit to the maximum degree possible from this change in the IT world.

Andrew Tridgell – Freedom Fighter πŸ™‚

It is widely acknowledged that open access to Crown copyright material is important not only as an element of open democracy, but is Ò€œa key driver of social, cultural and economic developmentÒ€. With the emergence of digital technologies that enable dissemination of government material at low cost, copyright law is now the last significant barrier to truly open government.

Jessica Coates – Creative Commons

Establish a national mechanism for discoverability of spatial data. Discoverability is necessary to effectively deliver spatial data when and where it is needed, especially in emergencies but increasingly for general use, and would unlock enormous opportunities for innovation and creativity with the use of these data.

David Hocking, CEO ASIBA

Australia’s infrastructure will face even more difficult challenges unless we take advantage of IPv6, particularly for water and energy. For instance, critical energy and resource conservation measures will require large increases in the scope of control systems. There is an urgent need for greater national IP capability to use in reducing our global footprint in this way, but the capacity of our
current IP system is nearly exhausted.

Tony Hill – Internet Society of Australia

Amend the Broadcast Act to clearly define the fair use of broadcast material nationally for all educational institutions. Amend the role of Screen Rights to measure/clear international sources.

Clarify that educational organisations have clearance to use any free- to-air live broadcast services and to share them nationally within the academic realm for purposes of study, archive and analysis. As part of their participation in Australian society, any broadcaster supplying free-to-air (unencrypted) services anywhere within our shores would be bound to allow national open access to their material for educational use.

George Bray

Physical Infra-structure and facilities be made available for the schools sector to improve network speeds and bandwidth traffic loads.

Kevin Karp, StudentNet

Open information and knowledge Γ’β‚¬β€œ allow information produced by the public sector to be easily accessible and freely available to citizens and businesses for reuse, including commercialisation with appropriate exceptions such as law enforcement, security and privacy. Placing government produced IP in the public domain, such as maps and data, can unlock public and private value – U.S. property appraisal data makes a more innovative service for home buyers than

Patrick McCormick, The Nous Group

Open Source is no longer an emerging technology. It is here now. OSIA[2] believes it’s in Australia’s best interest to not only adopt Open Source software, but actively contribute to the Open Source economy of ideas and innovation. Each of the 10 areas of focus for the 2020 Summit depend on the new reality of a global interconnected information economy. Google and Wikipedia were built with Open Source Software because it was the only way it could be done. Open Source Software enables us to compete, connect and communicate.

Donna Benjamin – Director – Open Source Industry Australia

If the potentially major transformative benefits to be derived from Ò€œOpenÒ€ both from the technological and digital knowledge perspectives are to be fully realised then it is essential to establish or identify internationally credible standards and specifications etc. which support the desired outcomes. The real value and potential of PSI is realised only through its extensive re-use. Open will overcome the present major impediments which prevent this full potential from being realised.

Neale Hooper – Principal Lawyer, Whole of Government Licensing Project, Office of Economic and Statistical Research, Queensland Treasury

The availability of high speed broadband across Australia has the potential to reduce many problems of resourcing and access to information faced in Australia due to our dispersed population. Students and researchers in remote areas could be provided with equal access to quality resources and texts that students in metropolitan centres have. If every student has access to a computer and high speed broadband, then all students, regardless of socioeconomic status, can have access to knowledge.

However, the ADA is concerned that overly complex and restrictive provisions in the Copyright Act 1968 continue to impede this potential. […] In short, the ADA sees great potential in the digital education revolution, however, without significant copyright reform the ADA believes that students will have access to high speed broadband, but will not have the access to knowledge that should flow from this.
Laura Simes, Australian Digital Alliance

Laura Simes, Australian Digital Alliance

We have The Internet technology and we have the need. Many more activities need to be open and accessible, so that together we might advance the world instead of letting it slide into catastrophe.

Nick Sharp

Openness as a default position for ICT innovation and development provides many clear opportunities and advantages. Clear leadership and assistance is necessary from the Australian Government so individuals and organisations from all sectors can make informed decisions how openness can benefit them.

Me πŸ™‚

Another news article about the event was in the Canberra Times, which had Jeff and I as the photo. Unexpected and a little odd πŸ™‚

Foundations of Open in Canberra Times