Software Freedom Day 2005

Today is Software Freedom Day. Go-Open Source funded the event at Canal Walk in Cape Town. A whole bunch of freaks from CLUG, SLUG, the Shuttleworth Foundation, University Western Cape, City of Cape Town and a few faces from Obsidian and other open source companies came together to celebrate and promote free software.

Early in the morning, things just seemed to go wrong. The DVD players that we wanted to use to play the Go-open series and a message from Mark Shuttleworth weren’t delivered. The event manager then just bought another DVD player, and a laptop was used on the other plasma display. From there, the other problems seemed to just fade away, and things got very busy. We had many, many copies of the OpenCD, and just gave it out to anyone who would take it. The theory is that if they won’t use it, they’ll give it to someone who will. We didn’t have time to explain what the software about, there was stages where I literally gave out 30 CD’s in one minute. Some people did ask whether it was trial software or demo software, and I quickly explained that it’s fully functional unrestricted software, and that they can make as many copies as they want.

This event has exposed lots of people to OpenOffice.org, and I think those people will feel liberated with the idea that they won’t have to buy or pirate other office suites anymore. As word of mouth spreads about OpenOffice, people will open up to concepts such as free software, and will consider using more free software packages.

One lady came to me very excitedly and explained how she only uses the “motzerella” browser on her PC, and she refuses to use anything else. It’s amazing how many people get the “Mozilla” name wrong :)

All round a good day, although I expected it to be a bigger event, then again there’s always SFD 2006 for that ;)

Pictures available from: the Go-Open Source gallery

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