[Ubuntu-US-PA] Remix the Future - Update 2

Bryan Behrenshausen behrenshausen at gmail.com
Fri Oct 9 14:14:55 BST 2009

Hi everyone,

Just popping in with an update[0] on my progress regarding the
free/open-source software event at Millersville University.

This week, I had the pleasure of meeting with library administrators
and faculty to discuss my ideas for the event, introduce them to
Ubuntu, and ask for their feedback and ideas.  I was taken aback by
the overwhelmingly positive response to my (mere 10-minute)
presentation.  The library faculty indicated that the Identity and
Outreach Committee should begin the initial planning stages of an
event designed to introduce students to free and open-source software
programs.  In short, it looks like the event is really gaining legs.

Most exciting, however, is the news that the library would like to
make this event _exclusively dedicated_ to F/OSS.  Previously, we
thought we might merely supplement a pre-existing library event with
our materials, speakers, and team activities.  Instead, the library
would like to host an event that is completely dedicated to raising
awareness of F/OSS available to students, the philosophy behind this
software, and the impact this software is having (and can continue to
have) on campuses and across the world.  This broadened scope now
means we are hoping to feature:

* A panel of faculty and staff from a broad cross-section of
university departments (computer science, communication studies,
political science, library acquisitions, information technology, and
more) who can speak briefly about the impacts or potential of F/OSS in
their respective domains.  We would also love to have some folks from
the Ubuntu PA loco team present on the panel to talk about any issues
about which they are particularly passionate.

* A library display featuring literature on F/OSS philosophy,
programming, and history.

* A library course guide organized to help professors (in various
departments) integrate F/OSS materials or issues into their classes.

* Hands-on demonstrations of various open-source software programs
running on various pieces of hardware (netbooks, notebooks, desktops,
media center PCs, etc.); programs should include not only the Ubuntu
Linux operating system but also open-source alternatives to many of
the proprietary programs and platforms students are already using on
campus (OpenOffice, Pidgin, Rhythmbox, etc.).  We are interested in
highlighting not just an operating system but all kinds of software.

Additionally, I have spoken with both the library about the
possibility of installing a temporary library terminal dedicated to
running nothing but open-source software (as per Bret's idea[0]).  We
are confident that we can make this happen, but are still
investigating its feasibility.  I will offer more information on this
facet of the event as I have it.

Of course, a significant portion of my presentation to the library
staff concerned the nature of Ubuntu as not only a collection of free
software but a global project, a movement.  Many faculty seemed
interested to hear about everything loco teams can do (and continue to
do) to promote not just their favorite Linux operating system but also
the spirit of free software.  Everyone thought that the presence of
the PA loco team at the university would amplify its reach and its
effect.  I presented to the faculty the list of potential roles team
members can play at events like this one, noting that team members may
have their own ideas and/or talents they'd like to bring to campus.
So, team members could speak on our panel, demonstrate various
applications to students, speak about the benefits of open-source
software, distribute Ubuntu CDs, teach students to install and use
various applications, or even help students install Ubuntu on their
own machines (if they choose).  But, of course, team members may have
their own ideas as to what they may contribute, and the library
welcomes these ideas.

Previously, Elizabeth has asked about potential dates for the
event[1].  While I still cannot offer a definitive date for all of you
(sorry!), I can say that we are eyeing February as our "target month."
 Planning campus events in an organization with as much bureaucracy as
a state university often necessitates a painfully slow pace; however,
I do believe that holding the event in February will give us ample
time to plan and make the event truly spectacular.

Also, Jim has recently suggested an annual university event to mark
Software Freedom Day[2].  I discussed this possibility with one of my
colleagues at the library.  We both agree that this initial university
theme event will function as a litmus test for the level of interest
in F/OSS issues on campus.  If it's successful, the library may
consider holding a similar event annual to celebrate Software Freedom

I'm really excited about all the possibilities this event presents.  I
hope that we can continue our dialogue about it over the coming weeks
and months.  I promise to keep all of you updated on its details in
case anyone is available to assist.  In the meantime, if you have
suggestions, comments, or questions, please send them my way.


[0] https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-us-pa/2009-September/000875.html

[1] https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-us-pa/2009-September/000876.html

[2] https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-us-pa/2009-September/000878.html

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