[sf-lug] Software Freedom Day in general (was: mastering CDs in bulk for Software Freedom Day)

Larry Cafiero larry.cafiero at gmail.com
Mon Aug 31 09:18:01 PDT 2009

Having participated in Software Freedom Day for the last couple of years --
and having offered to provide my three decades of press experience to help,
only to be respectfully told "no thanks" -- Rick brings up some excellent
points here about the SFD organization, or lack thereof.

Further, I don't know who maintains the pages and/or server for SFD, but on
more than one occasion, our page had "disappeared" or had reverted back to a
2007 page. I'm still scratching my head about this one.

But regardless, I think any opportunity to promote the use of open source
software should be utitlized, and it's incumbent on those of us who wish to
do so take the reins and make the events our own.

[Of course, there's also the option of doing it yourself as well, a la

Larry Cafiero

On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 1:26 AM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:

> Upthread comment that started this discussion:
> > Software Freedom Day is coming up fast. http://softwarefreedomday.org/
> OK, here's an effort -- at which I may not succeed, but I'll try -- to
> articulate why Software Freedom Day ("SFD") typifies a _sort_ of event
> I've learned to classify as "best ignored".  Please note that I see this
> problem as entirely separate from, and in addition to, the problem of
> SFD's principal aims (getting people to propagate discs of MS-Windows
> software) being, in my opinion, badly conceived and a poor use of time
> and money.
> Here's how to construct an major event according to the usual geek
> thinking patterns:  1. Have an idea about what you think other people
> ought to do.  2. Create a Web site declaring "[foo] Day", and fill it
> with text exhorting people to do what you think ought to be done on that
> day.  3.  Provide no organisation worthy of the name except a vague
> concept of "teams" (to be provided entirely by others); no funds; no
> resources that don't already exist; no guidelines for press relations
> that aren't utter, totally ignorant rubbish.  4. Sit on your ass.  (5.
> Profit!  Just kidding.)
> SFD is an absolutely classic example.  As noted previously,  consultant
> Matt Oquist got together with UK OpenDisc (Windows apps CD) guy Phil
> Harper, created a Web site, and declared a "day".  Functionally, it's
> been mostly about getting other people to distribute copies of Phil
> Harper's OpenDisc and its derivative OpenEducation Disc, mostly at those
> other people's expense -- although Canonical's been mailing out bulk
> sets of rather sadly obsolete inventory of Ubuntu 8.04.1 CDs (possibly
> also later ones, but the Web site doesn't say so), and a half-dozen
> other sponsors have thrown in t-shirts, balloons, stickers, buttons, a
> couple of computers, and so on.
> Lather, rinse, repeat:  Happens again every year.  They put stuff up on
> the Web site, and various disconnected others elsewhere in the world are
> expected to do the actual work.  Just follow the franchise!  Why, you
> might even get prizes if your "team" is judged to be particularly good.
> Do they have any meaningful advice to give about how to deal with the
> press and run local events in general?  Reading
> http://softwarefreedomday.org/StartGuide suggests the answer is "Nope,
> not a bit".  No focus, no insights, no practical tips and example
> machine setups, just generic artwork and "marketing materials"
> (by other people entirely), and boundless if by-the-numbers enthusiasm.
> As with other obnoxious memetic infections (
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme),
> if you ignore it, you get your time back.  And then you can do something
> actually worthwhile and properly planned out, if you wish.
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