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, 5–6 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: OpenOffice.org en masse in NSW schools!

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