One week to Education Freedom Day

OBPlogoAs Education Freedom Day is just around the corner I would like to highlight a few of the possibilities of participations during that day. I am indeed very happy to see projects contributors getting involved and I would like to highlight the Open Book Project lead by Jeffrey Elkner, Kevin Cole and a few others running their own event in Washington, DC. The Open Book Project has for us some special significance as I am also involved in Free Software advocacy and running educational groups which cover how to program at a young age. Definitely learning to code early enough is a good thing for every one as it teaches you the fundamentals of problem solving and logic. I have been using software such as RUR-PLE myself (part of the GNOME Education Suite) but the Open Book Project goes further and provides all kinds of books, tutorials and courses around the Information & Communication Technology with quite an extensive part on Python itself, split well enough not to bore the kids (or at least that is how I feel). Jeffrey Elkner is also involved in the Guido van Robot programming language which is very similar to the RUR-PLE I love. So why do I care about Python in education would you ask? Well that is probably because the language is simple and close enough to the English language and allows you to do wonders at the same time. So rather than learning something that is only useful within its educational context, why not make the slight extra effort to learn something that is also used by real developers? And it is all Free Software!

Of course those materials are usable by either teachers, students or self-learners and EFD will be a day where you can either join the team in Washington DC or get in touch with them and see how you could contribute without being on site.

openhandbookYet another day and another project needing some love on Education Freedom Day: the Open Education Handbook! Started in September 2013 and initiated by the Open Education Working Group from the Open Knowledge Foundation, the Open Education Handbook initially intended to cover Open Data use in education but has quickly evolved into a document extending to the different aspects of open education, such as resources, data and culture and how those fit together. While it is currently the second version, the targeted final release is for October 2014.

So on Education Freedom Day, the people from Campinas in Brazil, together with interested participants either locally or remotely, will work on a Portuguese translation of the Open Education Handbook. Note that the event is actually happening on Monday 20 January and should you not live in the area feel free to contact them through our Portuguese mailing list. Of course if you are more generally interested in contributing to the Open Education Handbook then looking at the Open Education Working Group mailing list is probably a good way to start.

Celebrate EFD with us on January 18, 2014!Education Freedom Day is happening in many other places and can be a very good way to get involved in Free Educational Resources building or advocacy. In the coming days I will highlight other projects as well. Stay tuned!

SFD Hong Kong, we had so much fun!

I have been helping to organize a lot of SFD events in mainland China for almost a decade now. Being born and raised in Hong Kong, I was indeed very exited to organize my first SFD in my home town. It was a half day event starting at 13:15, we arrived at the venue at 11:00 to set it up and did some last minute promotion. As for myself I hosted a BoF about building communities in Hong Kong. Since I was told it lacks strong FLOSS communities locally we are considering to start one. Nick Jones from Network Box offered us a venue while Michael Iannini offered to run meetings in Wan-chai (different area so we still need to bridge the two proposals). There are still a few details to be ironed out but it’s a very positive start. Besides, from Naruhiko’s presentation, we learnt that the LibreOffice Japanese team is made of 50 people, so not so much in proportion to the project.

Below you can find snapshots of the great moments, please enjoy!

A huge thank you go to our sponsors, our speakers, our workshop hosts, our exhibitors and especially our volunteers, they are Graham, Michael, Mathieu, Jacqueline, Oi-to, Amity, Ray, See-ming, Messy, Cameron, Guo-feng, Hu-zhou, Xi-lin, etc. Right after the event, I received a lot of thank you notes from our speakers and volunteers for organizing the event and having them to participate. In fact without YOU it would have been impossible to have such a wonderful event! THANK YOU!

There were seven booths including LibreOffice, Stroke5, Blender, GNOME, Fedora, LinuxPilot and HKLUG.
Our exhibitions included LibreOffice, Stroke5, Blender, GNOME, Fedora, DFF, LinuxPilot and HKLUG.
Fedora 20 with GNOME 3.1 was demonstrated in our SFD HK 2013 event.
Fedora 20 with GNOME 3.10 was demonstrated in our SFD HK 2013 event.
An old friend from Beijing, Michael who is the BLUG founder. He was good in bringing the atmosphere up.
An old friend from Beijing and the BLUG founder, Michael was good in bringing up the atmosphere!
Graham from PolyU and DimSumlab, helped us in getting the venue for free and gave an introduction speech to kick start our event.
Graham from PolyU / DimSumLabs, helped us in getting the venue and gave an intro-speech to kick start the event.
Naruhiko Ogasawara, LibreOffice Japan team, came all the way to share with us their project and community in Japan.
Naruhiko from the LibreOffice Japan team, shared with us the project and community in Japan.
TK Kang talked about OLPC and announced his upcoming OLPC BaseCamp event in Malacca on 16-18 November 2013.
TK Kang talked about OLPC and announced the OLPC BaseCamp event in Malacca on 16-18 November 2013.
Nick Jones introduced us how NetworkBox Corporation is profiting from Free and OpenSource software.
Nick Jones explained how Network Box Corporation is profiting from FLOSS.
Fred introduced the Google Summer of Code program to some students during the event.
Fred introduced the Google Summer of Code program to students to join.
A BoF was hosted to discuss about building a stronger FLOSS community in Hong Kong
A BoF was hosted to discuss about building a stronger FLOSS community in HK.
At the end of the event we invited all the speakers to come to the stage to do a wrap up.
We finished the event with beer and local food in Tsim Tsha Tsui East and heading home at 2am with big smile on our face.
We finished the event with beer and local food in Tsim Sha Tsui East and left at 1am with big smiles on our faces.


Speaking at OpenSym + WikiSym 2013


During my last visit in Hong Kong I met a few of my usual friends and about 2 weeks later received an invitation to speak at the OpenSym + WikiSym 2013 which will be hosted in Hong Kong from 5 to 8 August 2013. Of course I’d thank Haggen for passing the message and the team behind the conference for the invitation.

I have decided to present my work with Open Education which happens to match the conference rather well (I was told), and will therefore summarize what has been done around Beijing since about 2006. The interesting part is that this project (named greenboard) covers a lot of different pieces ranging from hardware donation, curriculum design, using Free Software and customizing or translating the possible solution. It will of course talk about GNU/Linux, some of the GNOME and KDE educational applications we are using as well as putting it all together and allowing teachers to control the classroom. Since there will be researchers and communities flying from all over the world to participate for the event, I look forward to receiving good insights, get further ideas to improve what we have done so far and why not, expand to new territories.

As a side note the conference call for talks is still open, the submission deadline being on May 17, 2013. So feel free to either come and talk about something interesting or just drop by and say hi in early August if you are in town!

Call for hosts for GNOME.Asia Summit 2012

The GNOME.Asia Committee is inviting proposals to host GNOME.Asia Summit during the 1st quarter of 2012. GNOME.Asia Summit is the yearly GNOME Users and Developers Conference in Asia. The event focuses primarily on the GNOME desktop, and also covers applications and the development platform tools. It brings together the GNOME community in Asia to provide a forum for users, developers, foundation leaders, governments and businesses to discuss both the present technology and future developments.

GNOME.Asia Summit was held in Beijing, Ho-Chi-Minh City, Taipei and Bangalore respectively over the last four years. We would like to continue finding new locations as we spread GNOME throughout Asia, and we are looking for local organizers to rise to the challenge of organizing an excellent GNOME event. The GNOME.Asia committee will assist in the process, but there is a definitive need for individuals to be actively involved and committed to the planning and delivery of the event.

You can learn more about GNOME.Asia Summit at our official website:

For those of you who would like to host the next GNOME.Asia Summit in 2012 you are hereby invited to write a formal proposal to the gnome-asia-committee-list (at) gnome (dot) org . The deadline for the proposals is July 4, 2011 Monday UTC 2359. Please send your proposal to gnome-asia-committee-list (at) gnome (dot) org. We might invite you to present your proposal in more details over our regular IRC meetings, or send you additional questions and requests. Results will be announced by the end of July 2011.

The conference will require availability of facilities for one week, including a weekend, during the 1st quarter of 2012 (January to March 2012). Dates should avoid other key free software conferences or other events that may have conflict and will be confirmed together with other GNOME teams which might get involved.

Key points which proposals should consider, and which will be taken into account when deciding among candidates, are:

  • Local community support for hosting the conference.
  • Venue details. Information about infrastructure and facilities to hold the conference should be provided.
  • Information about how internet connectivity will be managed.
  • Lodging choices ranging from affordable housing to nicer hotels, and information about distances between the venue and lodging options.
  • The availability of restaurants or the organization of catering on-site, cost of food/soft drinks/beer.
  • The availability and cost of travel from major Asian and European cities.
  • Local industry and government support.
  • Please provide a reasonably detailed budget.
  • Bear in mind that at GNOME.Asia Summit, the hallway track and social activities are also very important.

Please check the GNOME.Asia Summit check list [1] and howtos [2] when putting together a proposal. Please also feel free to contact gnome-asia-committee-list (at) gnome (dot) org if you have any questions.

Please help to spread the words and we are looking forward to hearing from you soon!

GNOME.Asia Committee


GNOME 3 rocks!

Following the release of GNOME 3.0, the world has been celebrating GNOME 3 here and there starting from April 6th: 141 registered GNOME 3 release parties spreading over 47 countries according to this wiki page. Being on the GNOME.Asia committee for 4 years already, I am happy to see that 43% (61 parties) of the release parties are from Asia (in 15 countries), India actually organizing the most (20% i.e. 29 parties in total), followed by Greater China (9% i.e. 12 parties in total). That makes me feel that all those efforts and time spent on GNOME.Asia are starting to bear fruit.

In Europe, we have 41 parties (almost 30%) coming from 21 countries, Germany leading the pack with 8 parties, followed closely by Spain and France (6 parties respectively).

The Americas have 36 parties (25%) coming from 8 countries with Mexico hosting almost half (16 parties i.e. 11%). And finally we also have 3 parties in Africa. While this is not a lot for such a big continent it is definitely a start for GNOME and we should try hard to keep those people motivated and participating in the project.

In Greater China, it’s worth mentioning that organizers from Taipei, Kaohsiung, Beijing and Hong Kong coordinated their events to provide live video between each others. It is a good sign for the community to see collaboration among different cities or countries and maybe something we could extend on different aspect of GNOME.

Another challenge among us now is to transform those celebrations into deep involvement in the project. GNOME has a lot to offer, and that was very obvious when we discussed with the college hosting GNOME.Asia 2011, however the road to participation is not always clear to everyone. I wonder what could be the most effective way to achieve this goal and would be happy to hear how people started to get involved at first (maybe something to learn there?).

It is now time to promote GNOME 3 by blogging about your parties! Don’t forget to tag your blog posts,  microblogging messages and photos with #gnome3parties, and link them to the GNOME wiki page. You can also join the best photo competition by simply adding your photo link here.