Yesterday Erik and I went to the first Open Knowledge Festival Meetup in Berlin. The event aimed at presenting the festival and build links between the various Open communities.
The format was interesting, it was a “speed geeking”. Seven tables, groups of 10 to 15 people and one speaker per table, presenting his/her project. We were supposed to “give the audience a broader idea of what open is”. I did seven times the same five minutes talk, presenting FSFE, Open Standards and Document Freedom Day.
My talk insisted on the aim (freedom), and not on the means (opening stuffs). After a short presentation of Free Software and FSFE, I switched to Open Standards and tried to explain why something even more technical and remote than software (standards) was also political.
Like with Free Software, questions around standardisation (or the lack of standardisation) often boil down to “who controls the technology we rely on?”. Since people in the audience where mostly open knowledge, open culture and open data advocates, I stressed and explained why to be archived in the long run and spread as widely as possible, data has to be in Open Standard.
The train tracks metaphor worked well to explain standards. If all train tracks have the same width, trains can run everywhere. If each 15km the width changes because a different company built it, long distance train lines can’t exist. From there it is possible to go back to IT, digital collaboration and freedom of choice. With a few more minutes, it would have been nice to extend the topic to DRM and other creative ways invented to lock users in (and why we shouldn’t accept them). All the topics we work on are linked, we can’t stress that enough.
The other talks sounded very interesting too, but I could unfortunately not listen to them. See Hacks Hackers Berlin, Africa Hack Trip, Open Bank project and Code for All from (de) Open Knowledge Foundation Germany.
Note: The room was full of women \o/ ! (..and full of macs…)
Looking forward to doing more with these communities!