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 😉