FSFE supporters Vienna

Posts Tagged ‘free software’

Booth at Veganmania in Vienna 2013

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

On 8th and 9th of June 2013 the Vienna fellowship group of the FSFE organised an information booth at the Austrian vegan society’s summer festival. This year’s festival was the 16th and, as always, welcomed visitors from all over Austria and quite a few guests from other countries too.

On the run up to the festival it looked dangerously like it wasn’t going to work out very well due to the awful weather – In the days before there was heavy rainfall causing floods all over central Europe. Fortunately, the days of the festival, and only those days, saw perfect weather: It was warm and sunny. According to official estimations – about 9000 people visited the festival.

For our booth we ordered new leaflets from the German headquarters and, as before, we prepared free software operating system discs. This time we made more than 200 pieces with five different distributions: Ubuntu 12.04 (for absolute beginners), Debian 7.0, openSUSE 12.3, Fedora 18 and Trisquel 6.0 (for experts).

Our little booth was at the centre of the festival area directly opposite the main beverage stand. At times most areas were too crowded for comfortable walking or standing. Nevertheless, our booth, even at those hectic times, provided a calm little corner, which was obviously inviting for people to stop by. We can say without doubt that our spot was one of the best.

On both days we set up our booth at about 9am and packed up at about 10pm. Starting from about midday it was hard to take a break because there were always people very interested in our subject of independence on computers and mobile phones. On no other of our quite successful booths before have we had so many engaging talks with people who had been unfamiliar with free software before, but who were instantly very interested in giving it a try.

This time we made sure that we didn’t just give away random discs to anyone willing to take something for free. We evaluated the knowledge level and explained the basic concepts of free software and even the history of why we insist on the term free instead of open and GNU/Linux instead of Linux. Our visitors listened very carefully to our explanations about why free software can’t always work on any proprietary hardware and why open file formats are the saner way to share digital data.

Like always in such situations, one of the most frequent questions was about, the nowadays unexpected fact, of how something good and reliable can be given out for free. We narrowed the wide field of possibilities down to two main ways that free software emerges: The first route is paying programmers to write something needed, but not yet existing (without the plan to sell the result afterwards). The second explanation refers to all those programmers unsatisfied with writing crippled proprietary software in their jobs, since many of them just want to prove to themselves (and others) how well their programs could work if there was no need to ensure that workflows are profitable for companies.

In numbers we handed out fewer discs than at other occasions such as DFD or SFD, but I’m sure we got a lot more about our core concerns across.

Looking back on both days, I’d like to say, that Veganmania seems to be by far the best kind of event for our booth. At Linux weeks and similar events most of the people are not very interested since they believe they know everything that they need to know about free software already. It makes more sense and reaches more people when we have a booth in a shopping street. As far as Veganmania is concerned, it seems that people there are generally open to thinking critically and therefore, more willing to try out something new in order to limit the control of corporations and governments.

We even got invited to have our booth at the large vegan summer festival in Zagreb in September.

New material

Feel free to use and adapt our information material as you please:

DVD/CD cover (for DIN A4 sheets, extended with openSUSE)
DVD/CD label (for printable disc, extended with openSUSE)
Basic free software introduction (DIN A3 poster)
Distro information sheet (DIN A3 poster)


You can open images in full size by clicking on it. (Unfortunately the quality of the images is very limited due to a very old digi-cam.)


Workshop für Freie Software auf der Konferenz der Initiative Zivilgesellschaft

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Am 23. Oktober 2011 hielt ich auf der 9. Konferenz der Initiative Zivilgesellschaft in der Modul Universität am Kahlenberg (Wien) einen Workshop mit dem Titel: “Unabhängig am Computer: Freie Software ist nötig” (1) ab. Auf dieser Konferenz treffen sich zweimal jährlich Personen unterschiedlichster zivilgesellschaftlicher Initiativen um sich gegenseitig über ihre Visionen und Arbeit zu informieren und um zu netzwerken.

Besprochen wurde neben Fragen zu sozialen Netzwerken hauptsächlich warum und wie Freie Software unabhängig von Konzernen und Regierungen macht. Welche Freien Programme bekannte proprietäre Programme ersetzen können, war selbstverständlich ebenfalls ein wichtiges Thema. Auch Fragen des Datenschutzes und der Comutersicherheit wurden behandelt. Alle Personen, die den Workshop besuchten, erhielten das neue von mir als Fellosship-Folder vorbereitete Handout (2) (natürlich wegen dem noch nicht anerkannten Status ohne Fellowship-Impressum) und eine Ubuntu-Live-CD als Starthilfe um sich einen ersten Eindruck über Freie Software zu verschaffen. Ich erklärte dazu, dass die Ubuntu-CD nicht ausschließlich Freie Software enthält und dass die Workshop-Teilnehmenden über die Links auf der Rückseite des Folders an komplett freie Betriebssysteme kommen können.

Obwohl die meisten Personen, die an dieser Konferenz teilnehmen, näher am Pensionsalter als an ihrer Jugend stehen, war der Workshop erstaunlich gut besucht. Viele hatten schon praktische Erfahrungen mit Open Office gesammelt. Es herrschte reges Interesse an Alternativen zu proptietären Programmen und an Lösungsmöglichkeiten für Probleme mit proprietären Dateiformaten. Die anwesenden hätten gerne Kontaktdaten von Menschen erhalten, die ihnen bei Computerproblemen helfen können. Da auch die Idee eingebracht wurde häufigere Konferenzen über das Internet abzuhalten und Skype als schlechte technische Lösung erkannt wurde, bot ich den Anwesenden an geeignete Freie Software zu suchen und bei der möglichen späteren Einrichtung zu helfen.

Der nächste Workshop dieser Art wird zwischen 8. und 11. Dezember 2011 mit dem Titel: “NGO’s brauchen Freie Software” am Tierrechtskongress (3) im Don Bosco Haus in Wien 13 stattfinden. Wenn möglich wird das Team der Wiener Fellowship-Gruppe dort auch einen Infostand organisieren.

  1. Beitragsberschreibung auf der offiziellen Seite der Initiative Zivilgesellschaft
  2. verwendetes Fellowship Flugblatt als PDF
  3. Beitrag im Programm des Tierrechtskongresses