Sometime last year, after the 10th Open Source Convention in Portland, Oregon; I blogged about OSCON lessons for Africa. I had expressed my hope that the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa - FOSSFA would be given needed support to make an appearance and also have its say.
The history and circumstances of video technologies have long militated against open source success, but a number of events this year point to the inevitability of open source reaching even into the video space. It's about time!
Glynn Moody writes an insightful analysis of Microsoft's latest attempt to confuse the issue of open standards by throwing a new word into the mix: balance. It didn't fool Glynn, and it shouldn't fool you, either.
Legal issues are very important for open source projects. We are providing free panels on open source legal issues at OSCON. These panels have been organized by Mark Radcliffe of DLA Piper and Allison Randal. The presentations will take place on Wednesday, July 22 at the San Jose Marriott in room Willow Glen 1. For more updated information, please see http://en.oreilly.com/oscon2009/public/schedule/detail/10440.
According to Techworld, Jonathan Zuck of the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) has recently accused the European Commission of having a bias in favor of open source. This is an interesting claim for a number of reasons, not least of which are the questions "who is the ACT?" and "what are they doing in the halls of the European Commission?". But the question of reported bias is also an interesting one, and characterizes on of the great philosophical and political challenges of our age.
Now that the dish is prepared, is very easy for people to eat it. But to prepare this dish was not a joke. I remember the first meeting we had, at Granja do Torto, which I understood absolutely nothing of this language that this people were deciding, and that was a huge tension between those who advocated for the adoption of free software by Brazil and those who thought we should do the sameness of always, buying, paying for others intelligence and, thanks God, prevailed in our country the issue and the decision of free software. We had to choose: or we were going to the kitchen to prepare this dish the way we wanted to eat, with the seasoning that we wanted, to give a Brazilian taste to our food, or we would eat what Microsoft wanted us to eat. Prevailed, simply, the idea of freedom.
My recent visit to Brazil was a wonderful validation of the belief that I've held for more than 20 years: if you give people a better way to do things, they'll do better things. The Brazilian government continues to expand its adoption of open source, both across more and more ministries and deeper within each ministry. I had the pleasure of talking with one of Brazil's top IT strategists, and she told me some very interesting things, both encouraging and alarming.
Yesterday I had a chance to meet the lead singer of O Teatro Magico and then see their show. It was amazing! This creative group of musicians were about to "live the dream" by signing with a record company a number of years ago, but after they recorded the songs for their first album, the recording company said "sorry, but you need to change everything so that it sounds more like pop."
President Lula's acceptance speech is instructive, as it specifically calls out the social benefits of free and open source software (original Portuguese, [with English translation bracketed], emphasis mine):