South Africa at Fosdem 2009
Walter Leibbrandt and Friedel Wolff of South African localisation specialists Translate.org.za attended this weekend’s Fosdem 2009 conference in Belguim. They sent Tectonic their thoughts on the two-day European FOSS gathering:
Fosdem 2009 started! We attended the beer event last night in the centre of Brussels and apparently the bill at midnight was already close to €10 000. We were tired after the flight, so we didn’t hang around until 03:00 like some people apparently did. Several people came to greet us and we also had a random question about what the country domain of Translate.org.za on our T-shirts was
Surman talked about the importance of values in projects, and predicted that work on mobile platforms will become very important for the FOSS movement. He challenged people to think about the edges of the “map” of currently chartered territory to think about the things that will impact the open web.
A cool thing about a place like FOSDEM, is that nobody needs to explain what is meant by “the four freedoms” and things like that.
Bdale talked about the Debian project and the important role it plays in the world of FOSS. He echoed the sentiments of Mark about the importance of values in a project, and talked about important milestones in the Debian project where the project grew to include rules about how the Debian project leader was elected, how disputes were addressed, etc.
The second and final day of Fosdem 2009. We had the opportunity of meeting geeks from so many places. We met users of our translation software, and could even give small demos to several interested people. Here at Fosdem you can meet the actual people working on OpenOffice.org Calc, GNOME infrastructure, Amarok hackers.
It ended with Lesley Hawthorn [programme manager for Google's open source team] closing with a talk about the Google Summer of Code. She talked about how community involvement and how to get people into open source projects that might not be of the typical personality types that we know from most open source projects. She talked about her work organising the Google Summer of Code inside Google with really very little resources. Translate.org.za took part in Summer of Code in 2008 as a mentoring organisation and saw how Google team had to endure some pains.
This was a cool opportunity to meet really influential people and see how Translate.org.za is also a player in the community that people recognise.