Posts Tagged ‘people’

Who is FSFE?

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Brains!Here we have some of the brains behind FSFE. It’s just who we have at the office today, Alina, Hugo and myself. Matthias has run off for now.

That’s one of the things about FSFE people: always busy with new projects (like learning to cook), new bits of information to get out into society (Hugo does that), new applications to promote (like yacy). They don’t stand still. Some of them don’t stand still long enough for me to draw a silly picture of them or get a picture of their hair. Henrik Sandklef, for instance, was at FSCONS but didn’t get a caricature in a previous flashcard because he didn’t stand still all weekend, he was so busy organizing things and making sure that things worked out right at the conference. You can see Henrik in the GHM photo, right in the center.

There’s also the FSFE people whom I haven’t seen since I started my artistic career (ten days ago). The formal composition of the FSFE as an association and the core team of the FSFE shows that I’ve missed more than half of them. So do not think that my set of drawings is complete — far from it, given that Gareth (UK), Shane (FTF), Georg (Founding President), Pablo (Spain), Reinhard (Finance), Patrick (Italy), Bernhard (Germany), Henrik (Sweden) and Fernanda (Vice President) are all missing from my portfolio. Come to think of it, I should really boot up my Apple //c and type in the old “Animals” program to create a taxonomy of all 15 members of the association. In theory four yes/no questions should suffice.

Fake screenshot

Who is FSFE?

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Plussy over your deskWho is that masked man woman looming green thing? This is just a shot of Matthias at his desk. The Plussy on the wall behind him is the mascot of the Fellowship of FSFE. You can support FSFE — and perhaps save Matthias from a terrible fate and get a dinner in the process — by donating time or money.

FSFE shares an office with KDE e.V., and this evening I’m switching hats from blue (KDE e.V. board meeting) to green (FSFE FTF work on cataloging the legal situation for Free Software around Europe). But first .. Berlin! (Cue Leonard Cohen).

Who are the GNU Hackers?

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

As an extra event around FSCONS, I had the opportunity to meet a bunch of GNU hackers (part of the GNU Hacker Meeting, GHM). The GNU hackers are the people who maintain particular GNU packages, ranging from binutils to gcc to GNU Scheme to the new GNU PDF library. Cool folks all and neat to see them all in one room — and it illustrated for me that although I’m usually interested (from a technical perspective) in the desktop layer (e.g. KDE), there’s a huge stack underneath. That deeper software stack now has a face for me — up until now, somehow the “shared technology stack” underneath the Free Software desktop sort of stopped for me at X, HAL, DBus, Strigi. Let us not forget the bits underneath that make a GNU/Linux system run.

GHM Photo

(Click for full-size version, where you can see that my camera has focus problems with wide pictures under mediocre lighting conditions) From left to right, we find that I’m really bad with remembering names: ?, ?, Matthias Kirschner (FSFE), Jose Marchesi (GNU PDF), Simon Josefsson (GNU TLS, recipient of Nordic Free Software Award 2009), ?, Bruno Haible (gnulib), Alfred M. Szmidt (glibc), ?, Nacho Gonzalez (sysadmin), ?, Henrik Sandklef (FSFE), Brian Gough (FSFE), Alina Mierlus (FSFE), Andy Wingo (Guile), Werner Koch (gnupg), Karsten Gerloff (FSFE), Eelco Dolstra (nix), Paolo Bonzini (GNU Smalltalk), ?. Drop me a note with who’s who (the list of attendees is on the GHM page, also the gnuticias site).

Who is KDE?

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

A Fab Four (KDE)Clearly, whiteboard is more my medium than Kolourpaint with a trackpad. However, all of the stores in this area of Berlin close at 2pm, which means we haven’t been able (or rather: forgot to, this morning, and then tried and failed after lunch) to purchase some pens for use in the KDE office. I’m at the office for a board meeting this weekend, where we’ve just been talking about how to report best on the contents of these meetings. Suffice to say that blogging is not the right medium, but at least there’s a sketch of who’s here.

Who is the FSFE?

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

The FSFE stand at FSCONS was staffed by a mix of full-time employees, interns, volunteers, Fellows, country team leads and (occasionally) anyone who would stand there for a few minutes while the rest took off for a food break. In order to show who the FSFE is, I took to drawing little portraits on the whiteboard. Now, my artistic skills are well known — I believe I’ve written of my sheer awesomeness with Kolourpaint; phrases like “skillz like a road-kill hedgehog” apply. Nonetheless, here is a little flash-card which you can use to identify FSFE people at your next conference.

people of FSFE flashcard

The human face of the FSFE

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is an organization that does a lot of behind-the-scenes things, mostly policy and legal, which can be a little hard to see at times. Of course we are always happy to support Free Software projects manage the legal and organizational aspects of, um, projecthood — that means supporting copyright consolidation (or supporting copyright management, don’t let me suggest that consolidation is necessary in all situations), asset management (as a project you have a domain and a name and possibly a brand and trademark, make sure those are protected), and other fiddly bits that aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.

After all, in the long list of contributors to Free Software projects: artist, translator, coder, writer, supporter, forumista you rarely see “legal” except when it comes to the largest of projects. As a consequence, the FSFE’s work is often a little bit hidden. The FSFE newsletter (under the general news part of the site) gives a view of what the association is doing in an official capacity.

The human face of the FSFE — the people behind it, as it were — are members of the Fellowship of FSFE, supporting the work of the FSFE financially as well as organizationally (e.g. booths) and doing fun stuff at the same time (e.g. fellowship meetings, get-togethers of Free Software people who work on different projects, different places). Some of the Fellowship groups are not all that active — here in the Netherlands we’re largely dormant, even though we live fairly close together and I even think we could agree on a pub to meet at.

There is an interview series with Fellows — Smári McCarthy, Timo Jyrinki, Myriam Schweingruber are the last three — that illustrates really well the range of people involved in Free Software across Europe.

The person who does most (all?) of the interviews is Stian Rødven Eide, who can’t exacly interview himself to talk about the cool things he does, so I’ll just point to his own blog and in particular the entry on Gnutiken, the Free Software boutique. Basically a cafe that caters to the Free Software crowd, it seems, with a hardware and consulting business co-located. I hope that’s a good description, anyway.

This kind of boutique strikes me as a kind of ideal sprint location, bringing together a relaxed atmosphere with fanatical devotion to results. I used to fantasize about buying an orchard in the middle of Sweden and converting it to a campground / chalet-huts area for Free Software development, hacking and relaxation, but that never went farther than surfing some real-estate sites. There’s the Linux Hotel which can provide that. Most of the sprints I have been to — KDE sprints, that is — were short, just a (long) weekend, and I wonder what would be achieved if we could hold a group together for an entire week, working not only on new features but also putting concrete effort into “papercuts” type fixes and stability improvements.

Anyway, the human face of FSFE: the fellows. See the Berlin group on the 10th of September, Wien or Helsinki or one of the other groups — or start one up yourself. Heck, I’m going to have to arrange something in the Netherlands now. How does October 28th sound?