Last weekend, September 2nd to 4th, we organised the first ever FSFE summit to bring together our pan-European community and Fellows for a whole weekend. A conference as a gathering, with the potential to build bridges and band together.
The FSFE summit was part of the QtCon, an event where people from different communities – Qt, KDAB, KDE, VLC – and our friends and community from the FSFE came together under one roof to get in contact with each other, to share skills and knowledge. All of this in a welcoming environment that offered a lot of space for all of us.
Looking back, one of the greatest things to hear, multiple times, was about people who came for the FSFE summit and then went to a technical talk about Qt or KDE once in a while. And about Qt developers that came and said it is great to have the chance to hear a political talk and they were joining the FSFE summit from time to time. Mixing our different communities and sharing expertise rarely seemed so easy. Two of FSFE’s local heroes turned out to be KDE contributors, just like one of our current community representatives, Mirko Böhm. Many VLC contributors were joining the FSFE 15 years party and so many stories more that have to be told.
Our initial plan, to bring our communities together at the same event and under one roof, turned out to be happily accepted by the communities and visitors of QtCon. Thanks for everyone who made this event possible, the countless volunteers and the participants. Seeing all of you bringing this event to life was fantastic.
With just eight days left, the FSFE summit is very close. This week, we finalized the schedule and herewith I like to point out some specialties of our program and recall the initial idea behind the summit.
Let’s go back to the beginning of our thoughts: Initially, the idea of organizing a FSFE summit was to organize for the first time a main event that brings together FSFE members, friends and supporters from all over Europe. It should be free to attend, open to topics and nice to be at. Then, like a coincidence, just some weeks later we were invited to join the QtCon and since then we have been more than happy for this generous offer.
Being part of the QtCon for the FSFE is kind of symbolically as well. It is our chance to be part of a setting in that the FSFE summit is an integral part of a bigger event. An event, that includes four other communities and, with KDE and VLC, two prominent Free Software solutions. Such a setting feels in a way like the offline-realization of how the FSFE feels about its general and political role: an organisation that is deeply embedded inside the Free Software movement.
The FSFE summit, as part of the QtCon, is in need of volunteers. Make your mark and be part of the QtCon-team to facilitate the overall conference experience for everyone. There are interesting positions available and after all you will receive a t-shirt and it is said to receive some good karma.
If you are unsure, what to expect behind a task, you get some more description, when you click on a task.
After signing up, you can fill your account with some details and self-select the tasks you like to help us with. The system will count each commitment, so other volunteers can easily see where there is still need for contribution and which tasks are already taken. Also, you can have an overview of the tasks that you have assigned to you.
In the time of writing, most tasks still lack a lot of volunteers. Please consider contributing and make it yourself an extraordinary experience by becoming part of the QtCon team.
On Friday evening, September 2nd, beginning around dinner time, we offer and set up a dedicated space close to the dining area, where chosen projects are invited to present themselves or a contemporary project. This is your chance to reach out for new audiences, contributors or donors. Unfortunately, due to space limitations, we can only offer this opportunity for up to ten different “posters”. If you like to be one of them, please apply by writing to email@example.com and use the tag [poster].
Please be aware that space is limited: Each presenter will just have space to hang up one poster/banner or to put one roll-up with a maximum size of A0 paper size (841 × 1189 mm, upright). Additionally, there will be one standing table in front of each poster, that can be used to put some leaflets or other printouts. Each poster/project is only allowed to be presented by one person.
Deadline to apply is August 24.
Disclaimer: This is a copy of our announcement on qtcon.org
This week is a good week: The registration to the FSFE summit is open! Also you find a first final schedule of our external speakers and all the background information about the idea, the setting and the venue. Please be a bit more patient about our community schedule that is still in process to be finalized.
With this blogpost I also like to take the chance to thank the amazing team behind the summit that invested the last weeks of their online-time, coffee-breaks and even their daydreams to offer you an event that is worth for you to come and worth to be the official 15 years of FSFE celebration: pan-European, by the community, old stagers and newcomers, in the heart of Berlin, each day another theme, all talks about technology, freedom and society, social events in the evening, the possibility to meet, share and organise …
and all of this organised in full day schedules, full day catering and also full breaks to network with included entrance to the conferences of Qt Contributors, VideoLAN developers, KDAB and KDE Academy as well …
Special thanks go to Cellini Bedi, who does an awesome job in taking care of our speakers and helping them with their presentation and accommodation. Our translators (of whom I am unsure if they like to be referenced, so I let it be) who translated our summit pages into Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Albanian. And on this occasion – although the community schedule is not yet published – I can already whistle-blow that there will be a dedicated community sessions for FSFE translators and newcomers at the summit, run by André Ockers. And last but not least Elio Qoshi from ura design who made our beautiful logo and the banner on our summit pages (and header image of this blogpost).
2014, in reaction to the so-called “heartbleed” bug in OpenSSL, the Parliamentarians Max Andersson and Julia Reda initiated the pilot project “Governance and quality of software code – Auditing of free and open source software”. Which is now managed and realised by the European Commission’s Directorate General of Informatics (DIGIT) as the „Free and Open Source Software Auditing“ (EU-FOSSA) project. FOSSA is aiming at improving the security of those Free Software programs that are in use by the European Commission and the Parliament. To achieve this goal, the FOSSA project has three parts:
The settings of the first ever FSFE summit are getting more and more concrete and I like to share the recent steps we made to shed some light on what kind of event we are heading towards. This post will update information about our Call for Participation, our logo and introduce our summit committee. Expect to read more in-depth posts about the venue, the program and its organisation in upcoming blogposts.
This important decision is long overdue and a good step towards opening up scientific results. And to give back to the public what they indirectly paid before with their tax money. However, this EU minister’s decision misses the opportunity to declare and understand software as a part of the research. Means to also include the free availability of the software used for publicly funded research. Indeed, there is not a single word in the press release to cover any informatics, software, “computer aided research” or anything alike. Everything that the ministers seem to care about is the final paper that is published as an article.
But we are in year 2016 and it is time to understand that software is information and knowledge – just as any article is.
Software as integral part of modern research
Software is an integral part of nearly all modern research. Beginning from metering, calculations, demonstrations to following stages of statistics, writings, publications … nearly all steps involved in a research project are in need and covered by the use of software.
What does it help the information society if a scientific paper is published in Open Access but all the steps involved towards creating this publication are built by investments in intransparent, closed and proprietary software solutions and data formats? Especially as the creation of a paper often involves many years of investigation and millions of Euros of fundings.
What does it help the science community, if the software that was used to achieve a result is not transparent? Software is really not without fail: miscalculated prison sentences, hardware scanners that randomly alter written numbers or professional software abuse to cheat on emissions by car manufacturers … – How can a researcher really believe in any result of a software that no one is able to look into and prove it to work correctly?
If the EU ministers responsible for research and innovation really aim at opening up scientific knowledge but keep software out of their scope, they do a very selective choice and only open up the very final stage of any research process. Articles are only able to list outcomes and results of a research process. Not including the software to be freely accessible means no one can see, reproduce or test the process itself or the mathematical methods that have been used to achieve these results.
Most researchers would love to have the software free as well
The EU ministers decision also seems not to be in line with what a majority in the scientific world is waiting for. Because having the software and data that is used for research freely accessible is definitely in interest of many researchers.
As an example, at the end of 2015, I was lucky to have been invited to shape the outcome of the JPI Climate symposium “Designing Comprehensive Open Knowledge Policies to Face Climate Change”. JPI Climate is a collaboration between 17 European countries to coordinate jointly their climate research and fund new transnational research initiatives. Given this transnational, European background, JPI Climate was setting up common Open Knowledge Policies. These shall help to find sustainable ways of archiving and ease the exchange of data and results – which in turn shall boost innovation in climate research. Naturally, JPI Climate was calling their members to publish under Open Access. But in contrast to the EU ministers, the JPI Climate does understand that all the way of the research process until the publication of the final article is just as important as the publication itself:
the symposium’s results confirm that access and availability issues are just one issue within the “openness” approach of “Open Knowledge”/“Open Science”; therefore, comprehensive policies (i.e. tackling the whole research cycle) should encompass measures related to “reuse and re-distribution” of data, information and knowledge and “universal participation” when designing, creating, disseminating and evaluating such data, information and knowledge.
Hence, participants on the common symposium agreed that
4. Research data, metadata, software, methods, etc. funded by public bodies should be open/public. Open licensing for data and software avoids collusion with legal restrictions at national or international level.
6. Open software/formats (independent from vendors) should be mandatory for data repositories and Data Management Plans (DMPs). Research Funding Organisations should take the lead and foster changes of business models when dealing with data
In addition to research results and data, open source software (used in the research process) should be mandatory and published under a free license.
Open Science needs Free Software
Obviously, the science community is large steps further than the EU ministers responsible for research and innovation. Many researchers all over Europe already seek for the mandatory use of Free Software in research process and the publication of software whose development was publicly funded. If EU ministers really like to realize their now proclaimed vision that “knowledge should be freely shared”, they should listen to their community and keep to their advise.
It is time to understand that software itself is knowledge and an integral part to create more (scientific) knowledge. And it is time for the European Union to note: There is no Open Science without the use of open standards and Free Software!
“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” (multiple sources ) And if you organize a large conference for the first time, you have to do a lot of tough predictions. How many people will attend? Who are the interested speakers? What is your community going to organize? A lot of questions whose answers sometimes depend on or influence each other. For example, if a lot of people attend, speakers get interested in talking. Or if the community organises interesting opportunities to share and learn, more people are likely to attend and so forth.