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<nettime> United Nations Meeting on Free Software
Heiko Recktenwald on Fri, 19 Oct 2007 05:15:47 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> United Nations Meeting on Free Software

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: NYC LOCAL: Tuesday 16 October 2007 United Nations Meeting on 
Free Software
Date: 15 Oct 2007 02:09:18 -0400
From: secretary {AT} lxny.org
Organization: LXNY New York's Free Software Organization
Followup-To: gnu.misc.discuss

   what="article on meeting"
   comment="perhaps too late to get in, registration required"
   recommendation="contact Nathan Eckenrode at n8k99 {AT} newyork-ubuntu.com">

  Subject: Linux.com :: Talking FOSS at the UN
  X-URL: http://www.linux.com/feature/119609?theme=print


     Everything Linux and Open Source

  Talking FOSS at the UN

     October 08, 2007 (9:02:00 PM)  -  5 days, 21 hours ago

     By: Lisa Hoover

     When Nathan Eckenrode goes to the United Nations in New York City next
     week to help demonstrate the technology behind open source software, he
     doesn't really expect to discover the answer to world peace. If he gets
     a little closer, though, he's all right with that.

     Last year the United Nations Institute for Training and Research
     (UNITAR) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
     (UNCTAD) held a joint meeting to discuss the feasibility of using free
     and open source software (FOSS) as a means to bolster the growth of
     technology in developing countries. Delegates were intrigued by the
     information presented by such notables as the Free Software
     Foundation's Richard Stallman, Intel's Danese Cooper, and IBM's Bob
     Sutor, and asked to hear more about the real-world practicality of

     In response, event organizers at UNITAR put together a one-day seminar
     scheduled for October 16 that will present case studies of successful
     FOSS implementations in various environments. Eckenrode is a member of
     the Ubuntu New York Local Community Team (NyLoCo), and "self-appointed
     community representative" who organizes group get-togethers and, most
     recently, a free CD handout in a New York City park. Since he attended
     last year's conference as an observer, Canonical, creators of the Linux
     distribution Ubuntu, asked him to help line up business people who use
     free software in their companies but are not in an IT-related field.

     Eckenrode says he feels compelled to encourage the delegates of other
     countries to explore free software because he believes in its inherent
     value and limitless possibilities. "One of my first reactions after
     trying Linux for the first couple months was, 'Wow! this could really
     help governments and other large organizations minimize the cost of
     setting up their computer systems.' So I leapt on the first possible
     opportunity to advocate this shift," he says. "I believe that an
     organization that is dedicated to international cooperation, social
     progress, and human rights issues should find that using FOSS will be a
     great benefit to the entire organization in terms which are not merely

     Eckenrode has been working steadily to line up other participants for
     the conference. "My participation [in past events] has been as an
     observer and demonstrator of the technology, while making several
     comments from the floor. After [the last] conference, there was
     considerable feedback from the audience that indicated 'that a
     subsequent seminar could be enhanced by appreciating the wisdom of
     firms who have ventured into using FOSS for non-technological activity,
     such as running their office or a business.'

     "Jane Silber of Canonical contacted [NyLoCo] asking for assistance in
     locating some firms whose primary business is not IT-related and that
     have shifted away from using proprietary solutions in the New York
     area, and who would be willing to share that experience with this
     conference. As I have been present for other conferences at the UN, I
     volunteered for the job."

     Eckenrode encourages anyone willing to share information at the UN
     event about how they use open source software in their business to
     contact him.

     Typically, UN meetings are closed to everyone except for UN member
     state delegations and representatives of registered organizations. This
     event is open to the public, but Amy Weesner, UNITAR's programme
     coordinator, says advance registration is required and space is
     limited. "We are expecting around 50-75 people and have requested a
     small room to encourage more discussion and interaction among
     participants and speakers." A link to a live webcast of the event will
     be provided the day of the seminar, and a post-event archive of the
     broadcast will be available for download.

     Weesner says that despite the fact that speakers like Stallman and
     Cooper were well-received last year, "This year [the delegates]
     expressed a wish to hear more from real-world users instead of the
     technologists and advocates. This year's agenda does not include open
     source software developers, apart from Chris DiBona, who will be
     representing the Google case." Other unconfirmed guest speakers include
     Virgin America, SchoolNet Namibia, and Banco do Brasil.

     Weesner credits the success of past seminars with fostering the
     continuing discussion about bringing FOSS into developing countries.
     "One of the most positive impacts from last year's meeting was its
     ability to get people's attention and spark open debate. And while in
     many ways it is difficult to gauge the real impacts of
     awareness-building events, we feel that requests for follow-up coupled
     with specific suggestions for presentations by real-world users means
     that our audience is paying attention."

     "Paying attention" is something that Eckenrode hopes will continue in
     the long term. "I am not really certain how many other people out there
     are sympathetic to the causes of both FOSS and the UN," he says, "but I
     would like for more people to attempt to think about it. To me it seems
     obvious that the world's largest organization dedicated to
     international coordination need not be dependent upon a single
     commercial enterprise in any regard -- but I could have it all wrong."
     Read in the original layout at: http://www.linux.com/feature/119609


  Distributed poC TINC:

  Jay Sulzberger <secretary {AT} lxny.org>
  Corresponding Secretary LXNY
  LXNY is New York's Free Computing Organization.

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