Anoth­er year, anoth­er Soft­ware Free­dom Day

Scrub that. That sounds far too mundane.

Soft­ware Free­dom Day rocked!!!

*ahem*

I could not attend last year (since it coin­cided with my mum’s birth­day), but this year I dived in head-first as an offi­cial help­er on the A/​V Team. I was assigned to do video edit­ing and encod­ing, which basic­ally entailed crop­ping the begin­ning and end off the recor­ded present­a­tions and then encod­ing to Ogg (Vor­bis and The­ora) format. I had a wicked rig set up in the UNSW Law theatre that we were using for the talks, con­sist­ing of two laptops and a DV cam­era. The DV cam­era was ori­gin­ally inten­ded to serve as a backup to a DVD cam­era we had set up else­where, but due to some tech­nic­al glitches it rose in import­ance. I ended up being solely a cam­era­man, since we weren’t able to read our recor­ded DVDs on the day (it later turned out to be a simple mat­ter of final­ising the disc).

Although it was tir­ing keep­ing an eye on the cam­era for the entire day (through all of the talks), I must say that I enjoyed myself immensely. Pia did a fant­ast­ic job of organ­ising and co-ordin­at­ing the event, not just in Sydney but also glob­ally (as Pres­id­ent of Soft­ware Free­dom Inter­na­tion­al). Silvia had the A/​V Team well organ­ised, and des­pite some minor set­backs I think we are well-pre­pared for LCA 2007.

What impressed me most was the speech by Sen­at­or Kate Lundy. She proved that it wasn’t orches­trated in an inter­view with James Purs­er a few days later. She truly under­stands what free soft­ware is about, and she does not fall into the com­mon traps of see­ing free as gratis, or open source as only hav­ing a cost bene­fit. She’s set up her own Joomla-based web site, and she uses Auda­city to record her audio.

It’s strik­ing to see how Sen­at­or Lundy dif­fers from her former nemes­is (while she over­saw the Com­mu­nic­a­tions and IT shad­ow min­istry), Richard Alston. That is a man who was labelled ‘The World’s Biggest Lud­dite’ by sev­er­al inter­na­tion­al news out­lets dur­ing his ten­ure. It is shame­ful to see how under­ap­pre­ci­ated she is in her party. Would it not best serve the interests of the coun­try to have a (shad­ow) min­is­ter who actu­ally knew some­thing about their port­fo­lio? Maybe so, but that would inter­fere with the politicking emoticon

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