Jabber meeting: meet the candidates

only ten days left to vote for the Fellowship seat in FSFE’s GA. To give all Fellows the possibility to chat with all of the candidates we will held a jabber meeting on Monday 25 May at 20:30 – 21:30 CET.

The candidates Björn, Henner, Michel, and Torsten will all be available to answer your questions about their candidature.

What do you have to do to participate?

  • Login with your Fellowship jabber account (see the Jabber page in the wiki)
  • Join the multi user chat (MUC) room “fellowship” at the server conference.jabber.fsfe.org
  • Ask your questions

We encourage you to test connecting to the MUC before Monday so you can contact us via fellowship (at) fsfeurope.org in case you have any difficulties.

Jabber server: new SSL certificate

The SSL certificate for jabber.fsfe.org expired some days ago, so we just got a brand new certificate from CAcert.org.

When you connect to the jabber server, just accept the new certificate and your jabber client won’t complain anymore about an expired certificate.

Here you are the MD5 and SHA1 fingerprints of the new certificate:

MD5 Fingerprint=2A:69:EA:67:6C:F1:F3:E5:9D:80:BD:40:C0:F4:30:15
SHA1 Fingerprint=58:42:8D:EB:61:8D:E4:29:9F:21:CE:CE:26:2B:F2:87:75:CF:B8:BD

In case you have problems, please write to fellowship (at) fsfeurope (dot) org

Happy messaging!

FSFE and the Fellowship reorganise their domains

In the past months, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) visibly improved the technological infrastructure of the Fellowship. We moved the Fellows’ blogging platform to a new site, we created a Planet to aggregate the Fellows’ blogs and we provided them with an improved and functional wiki.

In order to make the whole Fellowship infrastructure easily accessible we also
reorganised the domains for these services.

Starting from today these will be the new addresses:

Along with the changes in the Fellowship domains, we also changed the address
of FSFE’s institutional website which is now: http://fsfe.org.

The old fsfeurope.org address will continue to work, redirecting to our pages, but
http://fsfe.org is from now on FSFE’s official address.

It is time to tune your bookmarks and to join the Fellowship!

New blogging platform

Work on the new Fellowship technological infrastructure continues, and today we can announce the new blogging platform available at blogs.fsfe.org, and the related blog aggregator at planet.fsfe.org.

Existing blogs on www.fsfe.org have been automatically migrated to the new platform, and since the old platform will be discontinued soon, we invite you to read carefully the instructions at http://wiki.fsfe.org/Blogs (whether you currently have a blog on www.fsfe.org, or you want to start your blog now).

If you have any questions or suggestions, just write to fellowship(at)fsfeurope(dot)org and if you want to help us improving the new Fellowship platform, you are welcome! Please have a look at http://wiki.fsfe.org/FellowshipHacks/.

Thank you for support, and happy blogging!

The Fellowship-Hackers team

FSCONS 2008 – The first speakers are ready

FSCONS 2008 is beginning to take form. This year, FSCONS is divided into three tracks, dealing with Free Software, Free Culture and Free Content. The conference will take place on october 24-26 at the IT-University in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The following speakers are confirmed:

* Lars Aronsson – topic to be announced – Free Content Track
* Frank Schulenburg – topic to be announced – Free Content Track
* Peter Stuge – Coreboot – Free Software Track
* Niclas Nilsson – Agile Development – Free Software Track
* Johan Thelin – Qt for Embedded Linux – Free Software Track
* Ville Solarius – Jabber workshop – Free Software Track
* Magnus Hagander – PostgreSQL – Free Software Track

Do you wish to suggest a speaker, hold a lightning talk, or help out in any other way, please visit http://fscons.org/help-us/

Our first newsletter is available for download at http://fscons.org/newsletter-080616.pdf

For more information: http://www.fscons.org

Free Software as Social Innovation

The event was held in a converted warehouse, hosted by an organisation called "The Hub" which in itself was quite interesting as  it was also an exercise in social innovation: an office space for small organisation with a very strong green ethic.

The day opened in a very relaxed manner, with M6-IT setting up thin clients running Debian/Ubuntu for the NGO people to play with later on.  The representatives from the NGOs came from a broad range of backgrounds, from dealing with inner city issues in London to working with medical staff in Kenya or educationalists on Sudan.  

Then, to my pleasant surprise, the presentations began with Georg Grieve speaking.   He gave an excellent run through of why Free Software aligns with the ethos of NGOs, happy to take a few questions during his presentation.

Next Matthew Edmondson, M6-IT, spoke more specifically about Free Software applications, and talked to a number of issues about the barriers to adoption: social, market and technological.

This generated some lively debate, with some interesting stories about real life encounters, such as with the Visual Basic developer who was a Greenpeace activist.

At this point some of the NGOs started to ask a few questions. (Very
broadly, "why should they care?") This was particularly interesting for me, because while we in the FSFE clearly understand why we care, here was a customer perspective. One indicated that she had Firefox on her computer but still used MSIE.  

We managed to avoid burning her at the stake, but it was close. 🙂

But did we successfully answer her question? (We'll never know, of course, because we won't know if she'll stop using MSIE and indeed stop using the rest of it).  A variety of reasons were proffered, from "standards, interoperability" to "design features" to "because MSIE makes it easier to do bad things your online bank account".

The day broke for lunch (mmm, some very nice pasta) and there was a lot of intermingling.  This was a further revelation to me because of the low awareness of the "what is" of Free Software.  One attendee was quite frank, he was a Microsoft Windows administrator/provider for a number of very small Charities/Voluntary bodies, with a known set of problems.  He was quite disinclined to pick up a new set.  Another worked for a large UK charity and was more aware of Free Software but was pushing water uphill internally.  

I think my contribution to the day was to persuade them to get hold of some live CDs and see how it went.

The afternoon was to be a hands-on session for the NGOs.  I was unable to stay but it looked like it was going to be a good session as the meeting was very animated.

But if there's one thing I couldn't help but take away it's that while
preaching to the choir is relatively easy, this event reflected my experience elsewhere that we still have a tremendous amount of work to do in order to break the internalised belief of the ROTW that their computing experience will be the same with or without Free Software.  

We need to work on Benefits, Benefits, Benefits…  

Please excuse me for making one negative comment.  In my informal chatting with the techies, one thing that came through was the potential for a Free Software marketing event to reveal internicene warfare with the potential consequence to alienate the audience.  

I own up, I've been using KDE for ever with no plans on changing.  One techie talked to me about Adrian de Groot's KDE 4 presentation the previous night, promplty confessing to having "a few problems" with KDE and wasn't convinced that using C++ was a wise decision.   Different approaches, same philosophy, giving us the four freedoms, surely we could avoid even hinting about these "difficulties" in such fora?  

I still haven't got my head around why Iceweasel exists (I have heard both that Firefox is and isn't compatible with Debian licensing, but since I don't know anything about Debian, I am an uninformed amateur on the problem.    But the day was running both.  Firefox has done a really good job in raising awareness of Free Software, people have heard of it.  Shouldn't we avoid any opportunity for confusing or alienating the uninformed?  

However, I emphasise: M6-IT ran a good workshop, FSFE presented well,  I met a lot of interesting people, I was pleased to have gone

Free Software founding fathers at "La Sapienza" University

The event will be held Thursday June 7th from 9.30am until 1.30pm at the Aula Magna della Caserma Sani, located in Via Principe Amedeo, 184. It is reachable walking from Termini Rail Station or by the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele metro station.
Admission is free for the whole event. Audio/Video streaming will be also available. More info here, in Italian. Full press release here, in English.