Culture Freedom Day announced – May 19th 2012

After all this months saying nothing I was in fact working really hard on bringing a new celebration to life: Culture Freedom Day! Of course I didn’t do it alone and was heavily supported in my work by Pockey Lam and the members of the DFI board (yeah, we added a new name to our organization over the winter as many more things will be coming up and SFI was too limiting). I could probably write a lot more about the reasons of creating a new international day “just” for Free Culture but it’s all writen already here.

Two months left to the celebration, real work is actually really starting now ;-)!

Happy Culture Freedom Day to all

Celebrating SFD tomorrow in Shantou, China

As the title says it, I will be finally celebrating SFD tomorrow. That’s only one month and 10 days after the official date. Since we are doing this in Shantou University we had a few scheduling issues and were trying to also coordinated with Professor Mao from Taiwan, himself SFD organizer this year. I will be presenting “Why Software Freedom matters” which I initially wrote for GNOME.Asia 2011 and then reviewed with Richard Stallman to share it with SFD teams this summer. Pockey will be presenting “Why and how to contribute to Free Software”. The STU Linux Association will present as well but I am not aware of the specific topics yet.

And for those who wonder what’s happening with SFD during the “low season” we still need to open the 2011 competition. Unfortunately my 3 development machines have died on me over the past month and I did struggle with Debian not installing from USB or burned CDs to be faulty (Murphy’s law you know, I really feel great about the whole thing! 🙁 ). On the bright side this will give equal time to all teams to submit their report.

Last but not least the SFI Board will have a meeting early next month and should finalize a few cool things we’ve been discussing at the last meeting. So stay tuned! back online! is back online!We have been working on getting back online as we lost access to (our old home for the past 3 years) due to an unwilling admin to give us access to both the domain and the server. That also means we had to start from an old backup I had “somewhere” (backup backup backup, and always do backups!) which was half working for no reason (oh, did I mention you also need to test your backups?).

Once the fun was over, all the work of updating content, upgrading to latest versions of stuff and integrating the new rocking SFD map and registration system (and localizing it) took place. I also want to thank Candis, our hosting partner in Asia, who is always here to support us whenever we need space and bandwidth.

Now, the system is only half integrated as I still need to figure out how to write an API to synchronize registrations between global SFD and local chapters. I personally feel this direction could boost SFD celebrations by letting local organizations handle promotion AND registration themselves (on their own infrastructure) while still getting the same centralized point where everyone knows how to find all the teams in the world.

We are still far from it as for example shipping companies require addresses in English only which means even if the form is localized and hosted by a local representative, people would still need to use English for the address. Also telephone format is an issue as a few of our team leaders never had to make international calls in their life and wonder what is their own international dialling code. Localizing the form and getting more teams will surely reveal several other issues.

But at the end of the day those problems of having new teams that we never heard of before are good problems to have. They are problems we need to resolve with highly motivated individuals or organizations in specific regions who could make SFD grow and therefore boost FOSS awareness and adoption. In China for example the local chapter takes care of getting their own team packs and shipping it to teams. This is one way and I am sure there are many others.

SFD preparation has been a blast for me this year and I can only think that 2012 will be even better. In the meantime let’s get ready for Saturday 17th, 2011 and Happy SFD to all! I’ll be celebrating in Shantou, China, where will you be?

I'm speaking at SFD, are you?

Software Freedom International 2010 Presidency

Catching up with life since my return from GNOME.Asia Summit as a lot of things have happened as well last month. On December 1st the SFD General Assembly was held (IRC meeting) and as our former president Robert Schumann stepped down I was elected the new president for 2010! This is definitely a big responsibility and I will try to keep up the good work that has been carried out since 2004. The good thing is that we have more board members this coming year (some new ones and some older ones) which hopefully will help us to do more. I want to thank everyone for their support and more specifically my colleagues from SFI, our sponsors, the members of the Beijing LUG and all the SFD team leaders around the world without whom we would never have done so much. so, Thank you all!

SFD 2009 Packing Video

I would like to extend a HUGE thank you to Daniel for making the SFD Schwag Packing Video this year. Daniel actually already did the Beijing SFD 2007 video which got us elected as Best SFD Event that year and will follow us during the whole Software Freedom Day in Beijing, where we will have 10 teams pushing Free and Open Source Software (and 85 teams nationwide thanks to SFI, BLUG, COPU, Sun and Mozilla – more about this later). So right now just sit back, relax and enjoy the show!

SFD 2009 Goodies Packing from Daniel.

Packing SFD 2009 schwags

sfdpacking09For the second consecutive year, BLUG is packing the schwags that pre-registered SFD teams are entitled to. We’re actually having 12% more pre-registered team this year with a very different country split (compared to 2008). The volunteer group just made it to BLUG office and are working diligently on each team pack. Our “movie maker”, author of the Beijing SFD ’07 video, also joined and is documenting the whole process. Thanks to everyone from BLUG and hopefully all the packs will make it on time for your SFD events!

Summer news

20090726Everyone is probably enjoying the summer, and preparations for Software Freedom Day are starting. Schwags are being made and the great guys & gals from the Beijing LUG will as usual help packing when they’re done. Targeted shipping date is around August 18th for those wondering which will give ample time for delivery (about one month). In parallel we’ve been working locally on our events and we’re planning big this year: SFDChina was launched about a month ago and we’re planning for about 100 teams nationwide. This year we’ll join forces with Sun, Mozilla and of course COPU, and try to provide more support to each individual teams.

In the miscellaneous department I broke my foot and am now wearing a cast (2 more weeks to go), saved a Chinese man from drowning (and he was about twice my size) and plan to visit Qingdao again for the Qingdao LUG 2nd Anniversary! We also started a MIPS User Group or MUG and the official first meeting will be merged with Beijing LUG September meeting covering GSoC MIPS projects results. Hopefully we will be able to keep the rythm of one meeting a month and encourage other Gdium or Lemote owners around the world to do the same.

Last but not least we’re preparing hard for a Gdium trial around Beijing. We had the chance to get in touch with a passionate team of teachers and headmasters and hopefully we should be starting to deploy around end of the August.

Getting better gifts at SFD

sfdThanks to Freeflying, I have been involved with Software Freedom Day since August 2007. We, at the Beijing LUG organized the Beijing chapter that year, with the support of COPU, were one of the 2007 winners and I started to get involved with the great organization behind SFD. In 2008, I (and the Beijing LUG) took care and shipped all the goodies for the first 300 registered teams, and co-organized 3 events in China. This year I’ve been promoted Vice President of SFi and as such, can’t hide as being just another volunteer (though I am just ‘another volunteer’). So in order to give better support to all the teams out there making SFD happen every year, we’d like to know what kind of goodies we can send out that will help you to make a better event. Of course, we’re running on a limited budget (10,000 T-shirts won’t make it really) but it’d be really nice to get a global brainstorming going and see how SFI can provide better support. You can either get back to me by commenting on this blog or by emailing our mailing list. Looking forward to hear from everyone!

Meeting with Shanghai LUGs

Software Freedom Day

Time just flies! August meant a lot of travelling for me, as well as getting my hands dirty with the making of the Gdium and shipping out all the Software Freedom Day goodies. Yes Software Freedom Day is just around the corner, on Saturday September 20th and from what I can read on the mailing list everybody is hard working on its preparation.

Nevertheless I had the opportunity to visit Lemote office twice, get some special deals for the Beijing LUG and on my last trip to Shanghai even stop there and meet the nice people from Shanghai LUG and the Dining Philosophers.

It was for me the opportunity to see in real Lullideath with whom we regularly converse on IRC (and discover she was a girl…), meet again with Geek, one of the founders and core members of the Shanghai LUG and a few other great and enthusiastic people from Shanghai. Amazingly there was even a French guy who used to teach Mandriva at Supinfo in Qingdao! Among the many topics we discussed one was about Software Freedom Day in Shanghai and trying to get both LUGs coordinate and do something together, the other one was about regular monthly meetings in Shanghai which today are not so regular. Shanghai LUG has been increasing its meeting frequency from twice a year to quarterly events this year and the Dining Philosophers do meet monthly but not at regular dates. I do believe one of the success of Beijing LUG has been to be regular on our meetings and have a stable meeting date and point: every second Tuesday of the month at the same place. Location tend to be difficult to find and keep, and we have had to change yearly based on group size, budget and convenience. I sincerely hope Shanghai LUG and Dining Philosophers can join forces to have those regular meetings. It can start as just dinners and evolve into something more technical down the road. With companies such as Intel, Lemote, ST Microelctronics, HP, raincity, PowerE2E and many others it should be fairly simple to find speakers and topics that attracts the Shanghai Linux and Open Source crowd.

So good luck to you guys and hopefully I can return for your next regular monthly meeting!