Anoth­er year, anoth­er Soft­ware Free­dom Day

Scrub that. That sounds far too mun­dane.

Soft­ware Free­dom Day rocked!!!

*ahem*

I could not attend last year (since it coin­cid­ed with my mum’s birth­day), but this year I dived in head-first as an offi­cial helper on the A/V Team. I was assigned to do video edit­ing and encod­ing, which basi­cal­ly entailed crop­ping the begin­ning and end off the record­ed pre­sen­ta­tions and then encod­ing to Ogg (Vor­bis and The­o­ra) for­mat. I had a wicked rig set up in the UNSW Law the­atre that we were using for the talks, con­sist­ing of two lap­tops and a DV cam­era. The DV cam­era was orig­i­nal­ly intend­ed to serve as a back­up to a DVD cam­era we had set up else­where, but due to some tech­ni­cal glitch­es it rose in impor­tance. I end­ed up being sole­ly a cam­era­man, since we weren’t able to read our record­ed DVDs on the day (it lat­er turned out to be a sim­ple mat­ter of final­is­ing the disc).

Although it was tir­ing keep­ing an eye on the cam­era for the entire day (through all of the talks), I must say that I enjoyed myself immense­ly. Pia did a fan­tas­tic job of organ­is­ing and co-ordi­nat­ing the event, not just in Syd­ney but also glob­al­ly (as Pres­i­dent of Soft­ware Free­dom Inter­na­tion­al). Sil­via had the A/V Team well organ­ised, and despite some minor set­backs I think we are well-pre­pared for LCA 2007.

What impressed me most was the speech by Sen­a­tor Kate Lundy. She proved that it was­n’t orches­trat­ed in an inter­view with James Purs­er a few days lat­er. She tru­ly under­stands what free soft­ware is about, and she does not fall into the com­mon traps of see­ing free as gratis, or open source as only hav­ing a cost ben­e­fit. She’s set up her own Joom­la-based web site, and she uses Audac­i­ty to record her audio.

It’s strik­ing to see how Sen­a­tor Lundy dif­fers from her for­mer neme­sis (while she over­saw the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and IT shad­ow min­istry), Richard Alston. That is a man who was labelled ‘The World’s Biggest Lud­dite’ by sev­er­al inter­na­tion­al news out­lets dur­ing his tenure. It is shame­ful to see how under­ap­pre­ci­at­ed she is in her par­ty. Would it not best serve the inter­ests of the coun­try to have a (shad­ow) min­is­ter who actu­al­ly knew some­thing about their port­fo­lio? Maybe so, but that would inter­fere with the pol­i­tick­ing emoticon

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