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FOSS.in .. what’s that? November 23, 2006

Posted by fredericknoronha in Blogs.
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It’s a Free [Libre] and Open Source Software held in Bangalore, held for six years in the past (earlier known as Linux-Bangalore). Some reports on it come from The Hindu, Monsters And Critics, Indiaenews.com, the Telugu Portal, IndianMuslims.info, Mangalorean,

It’s difficult to fit such a story into the “news” format, but here’s The Hindu:

Spotlight to be on free software: FOSS.In is eer 1,500 software professionals: Bangalore: Information Technology users have been into a revolution for some years now. With proprietary software packages costing a lot (most come from international giants in the field), home PC users and even small businesses cannot easily afford them. Or keep upgrading their software as new versions are released.

An answer to them comes in the form of an IT event, FOSS.IN, to be held here from November 23 to 25. The abbreviation stands for Free and Open Source Software, licensed freely for users to study, change, and modify its design for their individual requirements because the source code is easily available unlike most other software.

Since late 1990s, open source code has been widely used to build software. India with its huge “coder base” is considered an important player in the rivalry between FOSS and the traditional closed or proprietary software.

This year, about 1,500 professionals will converge here as part of the country’s Open Source community. The event is aimed at those with necessary skills in coding, testing and documenting or contributing to FOSS projects and want to share ideas and expertise with likeminded colleagues.

Prominent speakers: In Bangalore, FOSS.In is expected to bring prominent speakers and experts such as Aaron Seigo and Andrew Cowie from Canada, Christoph Hellwig from Germany and Sulamita Garcia from Brazil.

Rahul Sundaram will speak on the “One laptop for each child” plan, with an ideal to create laptops costing under $ 100 for children in developing countries and the difficulties it has faced in India.

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Piracy, FLOSS, peer production, new models, innovation… November 1, 2006

Posted by fredericknoronha in Blogs.
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Of all the many bytes emerging out of Athens and the IGF, this one made the most sense to me:

Piracy creates jobs, but [Free Software and] Open Source and Open Standards create opportunity, create entrepreneurs. And I think that’s the challenge for the IGF as well, how to look at it is a public interest forum, the Internet is a public space, and how can we facilitate maximum sharing, maximum creativity, peer production, new models, innovation.

Anriette Esterhuysen, at the Internet Governance Forum, Athens, November 1, 2006 http://www.intgovforum.org/IGF-Panel2-311006am.txt.

Spam, content, legal aspects, diversity, human rights, IP-network development… November 1, 2006

Posted by fredericknoronha in Blogs.
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Via the IGF Community Site one can find links to some events coming up (at the time of writing) at Athens, Greece. An anti-spam toolkit, a content creation workshop, another legal aspects workshop, an overview of diversity, yet another on human rights and the internet, workshop on IP-network development

An interesting pitch for most of these events. For instance, in the case of spam:

Why you should attend: Because spam is the one thing that everyone can agree we wish to get rid of. To do so though requires understanding of the problem, the various methods that can be used to tackle it, and international co-operation. The workshop hopes to promote all three.

And, in the case of content:

Without content, the Internet is simply wires and electrons. It is not enough for developing countries to have Internet infrastructure available, they also need the content skills to make use of it. This topic is as critical and as urgent as the provision of technical infrastructure.

Well argued. But as our mailboxes drown in spam, and this wonderful tool called the Net remains meaningless to a few thousand millions… don’t we need solutions real fast?

Who’s saying what… and where? November 1, 2006

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Soenke Zehle wrote late on Oct 30: “I just added the official and unofficial IGF-Community feeds to the list of incom sources… seems that http:/ igf2006.intgovforum.org has emerged as meta-site for the IGF in Athens.”

Geert Lovink shot back on via this Incom-L discussion: “Thanks, Soenke. I wonder how many of us are in Athens right now. Are people blogging there? I read some articles about the summit on BytesForAll and was wondering if participants there were as pessimistic as this BBC guy Bill Thompson.”

Actually, here are the unofficial and official “blogs” for the IGF. But it’s happening so fast, it’s probably going to be difficult to keep track! And one can just imagine what the “mainstream media” — with their “space constraints” and filters — are going to be saying! Anyway, isn’t talking about media flows and control all old hat, and a 70s thing?

IGF: send in your comments … via SMS November 1, 2006

Posted by fredericknoronha in Blogs.
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Is this a shift of power? Is it just a form of tokenism? Does it work? Will it really involve the diversity of people across the globe? Kieren McCarthy posted to the Governance mailing list and Plenary list an announcement of how SMS questions can go to the IGF main session.

Privacy, security and internet researcher and activist Ralf Bendrath forwarded it to the Incommunicado or Incom-L list. “The ‘incommunicado’ list, an electronic
mailinglist that focuses on the spread, reappropriation, and reinvention of ICT across the ‘Global South’.” Ralf wrote: “Very nice (and techno-culture-aware) try, though a bit late. Spread it to colleagues in mobile-phone-using countries…”

Oxford-based freelance journalist, writer, reporter, sub-editor Kieren McCarthy also argued: “Again, this is a little late in the day, but we have grabbed two dedicated mobile phones — one for French and one for English — to receive SMS text questions for the main sessions tomorrow. The sessions are about Diversity and Access and since the common refrain is that Africa and developing countries only tend to have Net access through their mobiles, it seemed like a good idea to try to make it as simple as possible for them to interact.”

She adds: “It is not perfect of course (two languages, and using actual phones when some SMS software would be 1,000 times more effective), but it is better than not having it. Plus maybe people that don’t want to get up and speak into a microphone will be encouraged.”

Is it? Are our assumptions wrong? Or is it just something wrong with me? I’m sitting in India’s smallest state. To get out my mobile phone would be both a pain … and costly! Good old email might just work better. For me!

Anyway, full details on the igf2006.info site that takes you to http://igf2006.intgovforum.org/