The last two weeks have been quite event­ful. Each of these prob­ably deserves its own blog post, but since I don’t have the time to write them all I’ll just give a summary.

Document Freedom Day, 26 March

The first annu­al Doc­u­ment Free­dom Day (inspired by Soft­ware Free­dom Day) was cel­eb­rated glob­ally. In Sydney, the cel­eb­ra­tions were hos­ted by Google at their offices, sup­por­ted by the Inter­net Soci­ety of Aus­tralia and the Sydney Linux Users Group (SLUG). As the SLUG rep­res­ent­at­ive, I was asked to say a few words about our organ­isa­tion and its rel­ev­ance to doc­u­ment free­dom. Not hav­ing time to pre­pare, I man­aged to ad-lib a speech, draw­ing on memor­ies of what I had writ­ten before on the Domes­day Book and Domes­day Pro­ject. I’m not an exper­i­enced speak­er, so I’m very glad that it came out well.

Sen­at­or Kate Lundy and Dav­id Vaile delivered great talks that made us think about open­ness of inform­a­tion and their import­ance to soci­ety. For the most part, we did­n’t men­tion the war (which unfor­tu­nately has been lost), but there was no escap­ing acknow­ledge­ment of the Waughs. Any­one dis­il­lu­sioned at the state of polit­ics in Aus­tralia ought to speak with Kate. Even after 12 years in par­lia­ment, she is still inspiring.

All in all, it was a fant­ast­ic night. Thanks to Alan Noble, Andrew McRae and the oth­er folks at Google for mak­ing it hap­pen. Andrew and Sarah Mad­dox have writ­ten good sum­mar­ies of the evening.

I would have loved to have taken Kate up on her invit­a­tion to join her ‘Found­a­tions of Open: Tech­no­logy and Digit­al Know­ledge’ loc­al 2020 Sum­mit, but alas a trip to Can­berra for one day was a bit much. I’m glad to see it all went well, though.

Sydney Linux Users Group Annual General Meeting, 28 March

What can I say? Thanks to every­one in SLUG who sup­por­ted my can­did­acy for the role of Pres­id­ent. The new Com­mit­tee looks like a great mix of tal­ents, and we already have some good ideas in the pipeline. The next twelve months is look­ing to be excit­ing indeed.

We had the first gath­er­ing of the new Com­mit­tee on Sunday. It was a han­dover meet­ing, with the old Com­mit­tee mem­bers present to pass on their wis­dom and exper­i­ence to the new. My sin­cere grat­it­ude goes to the depart­ing Com­mit­tee mem­bers. I feel truly hon­oured to have worked with them over this past year.

Australian Open Source Industry & Community Report 2008 launch event, 1 April

Free soft­ware and free beer! It appears that with FOSS, you can have your cake and eat it too 😉

Note: there was no cake — but there were Iced Vo Vos! Sweet!

It’s great to finally have some author­it­at­ive stat­ist­ics to back our cause. Com­mon myths were dis­pelled, and we had con­firm­a­tion of things that seemed so obvi­ous to us but might have been less so for others.

BarCamp Sydney, 56 April

Bar­Camp 3 was not­able for expan­sion to two days of rev­elry. The ven­ue migrated from UTS for the first two Bar­Camps to the UNSW Round­house for the third, which des­pite the longer com­mute I feel was a good move. Attend­ance did seem thin­ner than in pre­vi­ous years. This was prob­ably due to vis­it­ors spread over a lar­ger ven­ue and across two days. One thing I like about Bar­Camp is that I get con­tact with people and ideas that I oth­er­wise would­n’t notice from FOSS gath­er­ings like SLUG. Bar­Camp has con­sid­er­ably more pro­pri­et­ary soft­ware developers and entre­pren­eurs. Less Google, more Microsoft. As much as I love FOSS, I do like to see what’s hap­pen­ing in the rest of the ICT universe.

I made an effort this time to attend talks that were less tech­nic­al and more busi­ness or per­son­al devel­op­ment ori­ented. Stand-out speak­ers included Nick Hodge, Matt Moore and Richard Hayes.

Per­haps the high­light was the Sat­urday even­ing. Mike from Atlas­si­an led us through a few rounds of Were­wolf, a vari­ation (and an improve­ment, IMHO) of the clas­sic Mafia game. I still can­’t believe that we did­n’t deplete the bar tab that Mike set up for us. We’ll have to have SLUG’s Deb­SIG present at Bar­Camp 4 😉

LotD: Open​Of​fice​.org en masse in NSW schools!

A fabulous fortnight / Sridhar Dhanapalan by Sridhar Dhanapalan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA 4.0 licence.
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