Software Freedom Day 2008. Not so much in the UK, though.


Yes, it’s that time of the year again, when the great and geeky unwashed masses around the world again get under the shower, have a shave, put on a colourful t-shirt and show the rest of the world the benefits of free and open software. I did my bit in 2006 when I tried to persuade the inhabitants of a small town in New Zealand to convert (at least they’re now all using firefox) but since I am back in the UK these Kiwis will not have the benefit of me looking like an orange sausage again (they give you tight orange t-shirts to wear).

So this year I thought I help out one of the UK’s team. With me living in the south – east, London comes to mind, but there doesn’t seem to be much demand for FOSS in the capital.

The one entry in the London section states:

  • “Meet outside school or train station at around 1300.
  • Go into Kingston town centre, make some noise and hand out many Ubuntu cds, flyers, balloons etc
  • Unfortunately no speakers were able to speak, so no talks and straight into the social.
  • End and begin a social evening in nearby public house, restaurant etc. “

Now, call me a notorious moaner, but is that all London has to offer? No install fest, no radio interviews, newspaper articles, tables on highstreets full of glittering compies?

Sad. Very sad.

P.S. And for those of you wondering why I’m not doing anything this year, I have not even been able to contact my local LUG. Apparently it’s extinct.

Crofters in Scotland want to be recognised as indigenous. What’s next?

The Independent reports that the Scottish Crofting Foundation wants to have Scotland’s 13000 crofters recognised as ‘indigenous people’, the same way as the Maoris, the Aborigines, the Sami, Native Americans and other ethnic groups are recognised by the UN. Now, if I’m not particularly mistaken, crofting is nothing but subsistence farming on small bits of windswept land. I am pretty sure that being a crofter does not automatically make you an indigenous Scotsman or vice versa: if a gentleman from, say, Kazakhstan would get hold of a small plot of land in the Highlands or the Western Isles and try to live of the land, he could call himself a crofter. They don’t even have a common language, as not all of them speak Gaelic. And if I’m ethnologically rightly informed, even the most indigenous Scotsman is a happy genetic mashup of Pict, Norse, Saxon, Roman and Celtic (e.g. Irish) forefathers. Some of them will have more of one ancestry or the other, depending on where they live. Traditional dress of truly indigenous cultures is also usually more sophisticated than wellies and overalls.

If we would take this further, we could argue that the Open-BSD users of Northumberland should be recognised as indigenous as well: they have their own language that nobody else understands, have their own specific tools that hardly anybody uses, and they don’t necessarily have to belong to one ethnic background.

Or what about knitters in Stepney? Bikers in Transsylvania? Book Binders in Oamaru? Tulip growers in Holland?

I rest my case.