User:Mdupont/OpenLetterToFreeSoftwareCommunities

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Why should you come to Kosovo and Albania to promote free software, open knowledge and open society?

The Albanians are a very interesting people with a long history. Their land is mountainous, but with a wonderful Adriatic Coast and the country is very beautiful. It is well worth the trip and the people are also very friendly and welcoming.

Albania has been unfortunately historically cut off from the world, there has been very little contact with the "West" before 1992, since then they have been working on establishing better relationships with the rest of the world. History_of_Albania#Recent_history_.282001_to_present History_of_post-Communist_Albania. The reason why I mention this in the beginning is that it is very important to understand why there has been so little collaboration with the FLOSS world, it is, I believe, because there has been very little contact and interaction in the past. The exchange of ideas and free travel has been limited, and there is very little knowledge for example in America, where I come from, about Albania. I have been working the past two years on improving this situation and helping people there make positive and enriching connections with others, and that is also the reason why I am writing this letter. I would like to encourage you all to find our more about this Great place and people.

I personally think that it is important to make contact with these great people and to show them the benefits of FLOSS and open knowledge. My experience with the area has been very positive, the people are interested and enthusiastic. The young people of Kosovo who I have been working with intensively have benefited from our work and have reached out to make connections with many others.

The people of these regions cannot travel to Europe, most of them cannot get a visa to enter Europe, even if they are working on EU integration, they cannot visit the great free software events and even if they have a visa, the cost of travel is prohibitive. That is why we have to create events in the region, ideally there should be many events and also training possibilities for the people. If we cannot come to these events, we should make videos and also a document for translation that can be presented instead.

There has been some promotion of FLOSS in the region, but still many of the people are not aware about the issues. Many of the attempts to promote FLOSS have been active for only a short period, others have a limited scope and few international contacts. There are however some individuals who have done a great job, and many of them have been active for years. We should contact them and work with them, and that is what we have been trying to do.

Plan[edit]

We have a series of events planned this summer , the kick off party is on July 17-18 in Shengjin, http://albaniabeachparty.eventbrite.com/

After that there is Technology Day in Ferizaj on August 1., [1] [2]

We have the planned Conferences on Sept 11-12 in Vlore. There we will have a camp setup at the former Naval Academy of Vlore. We will have hotels for our speakers and for guests who dont want to camp as well.

Then for the two weeks between 13 - 24 of September, we have a series of road show stops planned, where we will visit different towns and hold talks. The current plan is 14-15 of September at the Planetary University in Tirana (Universiteti Planetar i Tiranës). The next stop is planned in Shkoder on the 17-18, and following that from the 20-24 in Prizren, we plan a camp to prepare for the conference on the 25-26 in Prishtina.

Links[edit]

Software Freedom Kosova 2010 Conference Sept 25/26 Prishtina Kosovo[edit]

Directly register your abstract of 200 words here:

Software Freedom in the Balkans 2010 Conference , Vlore, Albania Sept 11/12 2010[edit]

Directly register your abstract of 200 words here:

last year sponsors[edit]

http://kosovasoftwarefreedom.org/index.php/sfk09/sponsors.html

What you can do[edit]

We would like you to consider to come to Albania and Kosovo to speak and visit the region at our conference this year. Ideally you would come to both and we would also make some workshops in the one and one half weeks in between. Ideally we will be able to find sponsors who will provide donations to cover the travel expenses. For that we need to have a list of good speakers to present to the possible sponsors. This dilemma can be solved by finding people like you who would be willing to speak in September on the 11/12 in Vlore Albania and the 25/26 in Prishtina Kosovo We would like you to create videos lectures that can be shown at the conference, if you cannot come in person. A lot of the people in the region do not have good skills in reading and writing English, and having to use texts written in English is difficult, we want to translate and localize the documentation of key projects into Albanian, but also create training videos. The plan is to produce introductory videos so that people don't have to read but can watch and listen. The ideal is to have the text of the videos spoken and written so that we can create localised videos based on that.

So my goal is to create more awareness for FLOSS in the (South eastern Europe/Balkans) we have been working with the regional groups. Of course many of the other countries are far more ahead than Kosovo and Albania and have already established legal entities. We want to get representatives from the various free software groups come to our conferences, both international and regional groups should be represented.

Two Conferences in September[edit]

This year we have two conferences planned in September, FREESB10 in Vlore Albania (Sept 11/12) and SFK10 in Prishtina Kosovo (Sept 25/26). If you are interested in helping promote FLOSS, then you should consider to come and talk to the people, we are working . If you cannot travel, also to record a video presentation and we can play that. We would like to have developer rooms for the different projects, talks and also booths from representatives.

FREESB10[edit]

On Sept.11/12 2010 Flossk with flossal.org and Universiteti i Vlorës is organising the first Software Freedom in Balkans Conference.

We are planning a conference in Albania in 2010. Invited will be speakers from and speeches from the whole Balkan area. Special focus will be on public administration. Software Hacking Rooms for different projects are planned. The SFK09 had speakers from 16 countries, mostly from the Balkans, we hope that they will come again and bring more people.

The conference Free Software in Balkans is aiming to be an annual meeting of the free software users, developers and supporters in the Balkan countries. It will travel from country to country, year to year to different locations. The Conference will gather professionals, academics and enthusiasts who share the vision that software should be free and open for the community to develop and customise to its needs, and that knowledge is a communal property and free and open to everyone.

The conference will be a traditional event, which will gather a regional audience once a year for lectures and presentations by a variety of international and national professionals who will present the latest developments in the global FOSS community. The conference should bring all the activists from the Balkans to one place for cooperation.

The conference will also be used as a meeting point for a network of individuals, associations and companies with the aim of sponsoring and initiating projects which benefit the people of Balkans, by establishing it as one of the European centers of FOSS, which should result in commercial benefits for the Region.

Other aims of the conference are to introduce Balkan businesses and public to low cost alternatives to expensive proprietary software, to train local people in the latest developments in software and social-collaboration tools, to promote respect for legal licenses, and introduce the public to the best methods for localization of software and knowledge. The first conference of this kind is going to be hosted by the University of Vlora, in Albania. The ideators of the conference are Flavia Marzano and James Mike DuPont. The organizers are the University of Vlora, the FLOSSK (Free/Libre Open Source Software Association of Kosova), FOSS-AL (Free and Open Source Software Association of Albania), and the Albanian Academy of Sciences. By starting in Albania, we hope

http://www.facebook.com/pages/FREES-B/255314116446 http://flossal.org/freesb-2010-conference/ http://freesb.eu/index.php/FreeSBalkans/FreeSB2010/schedConf/cfp

SFK10[edit]

On Sept 25/26 Flossk with the Uni Prishtina is organizing the second edition of the successful conference Software Freedom Kosova 2010 http://kosovasoftwarefreedom.org/


Last year we were able to raise funds for all speakers, to be able to cover travel expenses, hotel costs and the social event. We were able to pick everyone up from the airport and take care of them. That is also planned for this year as well. We have been able to raise awareness for FLOSS in Kosovo and have inspired many people to learn about it. We have been recruiting editors for Wikipedia and for OpenStreetMap. We have been getting more users of GNU software and the Linux kernel by creating new local communities where we offered free learning on GNU/Linux.

Even if there are not that many developers and contributors in the region, we are working on recruiting more. The people need to have direct contact with the community and this will encourage more people to join.

We have time between the two conferences to also setup workshops and do intensive training sessions. If people want to come to both conferences and speak, then that will reduce the total costs because they can be shared between the two conferences.

Projects to contact[edit]

Kernels and Distros[edit]

  • linux distros :
Debian, http://www.debian.org/
Ubuntu, http://www.ubuntu.com/
Fedora, http://fedoraproject.org/
Opensuse, http://www.opensuse.org/en/
Mint Linux, http://www.linuxmint.com/
Archlinux, http://www.archlinux.org/
Slackware, http://www.slackware.com/
Mepis http://www.mepis.org/
Pardus Lunix, http://www.pardus.org.tr/
DelphOS, http://www.delphosproject.org/ (a 100% free/libre gnu/linux new distro featuring Sapphire, a new Qt non-KDE-based Desktop Environment)
etc.
  • BSD :
openbsd, http://www.openbsd.org/
freebsd, http://www.freebsd.org/
netbsd http://www.netbsd.org/
etc.

Office[edit]

Art and Images[edit]

Open Knowledge[edit]

internationalisation and localisation[edit]

http://translatewiki.net/wiki/Main_Page Translatewiki pootle launchpad

Geo Systems[edit]

Database systems[edit]

Web Browsing and Media[edit]

Video Editing[edit]

Web systems[edit]

Languages[edit]

Project Management tools[edit]

Project hosting sites[edit]

Organisations which support free software[edit]

Web Solutions[edit]

Desktops[edit]

Business Systems[edit]

Communication[edit]

Others[edit]

Participating[edit]

For each project listed above we should find members to join the project and help out as they can.

  1. we need a short Albanian description of the project, we should have links to the project from our webservers.
  2. we need people to take part in the community, on the mailing lists, they should also send out information about the conference and invite collaborators on our projects.
  3. we need someone to get the latest source code an test it. Bug reports and feature requests should be filed.
  4. we need someone to start translation it into Albanian.
  5. we need someone on the irc chat for the project, and to activly take part in the development as they can.
  6. our project members, the flossk contact people will also present the project to the others in the team and share experience.
  7. we should provide daily builds and test results and mirrors for the software on our servers.


These are the steps you need to do to take ownership of a software, it is an investment of time and resources to a project that we will all benefit from. The basic skills you will need to learn to do these things are :

  1. be able to edit wikipages
  2. be able to use bug trackers like trac (http://trac.edgewall.org/) or sf.net or others
  3. be able to use wget to get files
  4. be able to use tar and zip to unpack files
  5. be able to use make to build programs
  6. be able to use aptitude to install packages
  7. be able to describe all your steps in a simple bug report.
  8. be able to use git,bzr,svn to get the latest version of the software
  9. be able to use autoconf,automake,aclocal and other tools to prepare the compilation
  10. be able to produce small test files that isolate the problem
  11. be able to communicate the problem to developers on irc


My plan is to introduce people to problem solving in FLOSS teams by working on these projects. These tasks are basically the ones we would consider a first level support.

The first thing we need to teach people is to take vague problems and defining them well.

FLOSS development comes from problem solving, most software is adapted to solve some problem and when the problem is solved, the development stops.

By picking a project to work on , the student is creating a new problem to solve.

Just being able to run and test the software means that they understand something about how it used.

The learning process will be stimulated by having a simple task to work on.

The reason why we have such a large portfolio of projects, because there are many problems to solve in the world and many different ways to do them. By having people working on the different projects we will be able to have the students learn from each other, they can then tell the others what they have learned (in the local language) and the total learning will be greater.

Articles about promoting FLOSS in developing countries[edit]

http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/6049

Article about issues women have in FLOSS: http://www.metamute.org/en/Gender-Dimensions-of-Floss-Development

Free As in Education : http://www.itu.int/wsis/docs/background/themes/access/free_as_in_education_niranjan.pdf

more links from FSDaily : http://www.fsdaily.com/Community/Glyn_Moody_the_Latin_American_Free_Software_Revolution

http://www.fsdaily.com/Government/US_Public_Education_Outperformed_by_Poor_Countries_Using_Open_Source

http://www.fsdaily.com/Industry/Why_Free_Software_has_poor_usability_and_how_to_improve_it

http://www.fsdaily.com/Community/Will_Low_Cost_Laptops_Help_Kids_in_Developing_Countries

http://www.fsdaily.com/Community/Free_Libre_Open_Source_Software_International_Collaboration_and_Development_Roadmap