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Open Everything Madison & Sweden news

My posts are often reflective and questioning, but nearly as often informative.  The “Where are we going?” question is much more interesting to me than the “Where have we been?” question.  I am, however, tasked with writing about Open Everything Madison on Saturday (as well as Berlin and Hong Kong), so I’ll try to post something substantial about that.  Of course, I’m already much more interested in the next Open Everything Madison.  You can see the planning for the next OEMad at http://openeverything.us

OEMad 2008

Aside from our poor job with documentation and the functional, but less than ideal, handoff from Berlin, I’d say the day was an overwhelming success.

Some of our documentation can be found at various twitter accounts.  Search for oemad and you should find them.  There’s also the Google search for oemadDebriefing notes are found on the main site as well as Articles and Resources.  Some pictures are at Flickr but as of posting Non-Profit Tech’s photos are not being indexed.

I’m both saddened and elated when I tell interested people about Creative Commons, Free Schools and Really, Really Free Markets.  Of course I’m saddened that these are more ubiquitous terms in our language, but mostly it’s a positive feeling.  I’m always scared that my political leanings (which I think free schools and RRFMs show) will feed the “open source is communism” argument.  As companies like OpenNMS, Red Hat and MindTouch clearly show, that’s a bunch of bunk.  As a technology person first, I fear that the benefits of open source code are lost to the politicized “freedom”.  Clearly I’m a fan of both.  At the moment I’m having trouble finding a succint list of the benefits of FOSS, so if you’re up for a longer read, check out Albion, one of the oldest sites on the Web.

It’s also incredibly disheartening to see people interested in free culture being down on Creative Commons liscensed music.  I listen to plenty of non-CC music, but I think at an event promoting openness, CC music should be played.  Or maybe other bands that promote openness that might not license CC.  I don’t know much about Radiohead, because that’s not the type of music to which I listen, but I think I’d be ok with their music playing.

We pretty much stuck to the schedule.  It wasn’t exact, but close.

We broke up into two groups for the 1:30pm-2:30pm Open Knowledge section and I (along with the other organizers) went with the Education and Libraries group.  Having a professor there was very beneficial.  As I mentioned above, I introduced a lot of people to the idea of free schools.  If you think free schools are weird, just remember that’s the only diploma former USC professor Cory Doctorow has.

The 2:30-3:30 Creativity, Innovation, and Economic Opportunity section was a lot of fun.  We had a small group to discuss Art, Content and Property and we mostly discussed music; Radiohead, Girl Talk, Creative Commons, Nine Inch Nails and Jamendo.

By the time we got to the technology part of the day (a little later than 3:30) everyone was starting to get tired.  But technology and openness are so easy, the discussion was still good.  One of my friends that attended most of the event said that keeping it a cohesive event and him not coming just for the technology portion certainly made it more interesting.

After the event and cleanup, four of us went out to get Sushi on State Street and of course the conversation continued.  After that, I headed to DevMadHouse at Extra Bold Portfolio Studio on Pickney St and 4 of the 6 people there had also been at OEMad, so the conversation continued and being a hack fest, centered more upon technology.  At DevMadHouse there was no schedule to adhere to and we had the venue all night so conversation was even more fluid.  There was some good conversation about FOSS in industry and whether Google is to be trusted with their Microsoft-like “embrace and extend” of OpenIDPhotis always makes sure I don’t live in a FOSS bubble, which I suppose is a good thing.  Also of note that weekend was MadXmasAbe and Jonathan went, leaving the rest of us behind at DevMadHouse and then returned. Photis came to DevMadHouse after MadXmas.

OEMad 2009

As mentioned above, there are complete and changing notes on OEMad09 on the wiki.  As much as I’d like to rehash all my ideas on that site so you have a single source of info, I don’t think that’s a good use of my time.  Please check out the site. However, here are some of my biggest ideas: open gaming (actually either playing games on Linux or FOSS games on other platforms), open food (we could make it!), open hardware (building!) and live music.  Getting a local documentary film maker to do a documentary on the process of making an open event happen would be totally cool too.  Please, please, please share your ideas for the next event either here or especially at http://openeverything.us.

Calling it OEMad first off might be a misnomer as I think there’s a good possibility it will be in Milwaukee.  Nothing is set in stone though.  Potential names would be Open Everything Wisconsin or Open Everything MidWest.  If there is any traction from Minneapolis or Chicago groups, we may not be able to claim OEMidWest.  Time will only tell.

Yesterday at work I asked a non-attendie what we would have to do to get him to come to the next one.  This is really the person in which I’m interested.  Linux needs a critical mass.  I’m ok admitting that part of why I support FOSS are selfish reasons.  I support universal healthcare for much of the same pseudo-altruistic reasons.  It’s not just for me, but also the institutions and people I care about. For instance, I hate to see my alma mater’s (NCSSM and UNC) throw money away at proprietary software.  Still, I’d say that’s a somewhat selfish motive.

Back to the point, he said “Open Strippers” half joking but we did have an interesting conversation then about Creative Commons and the idea of a performance.  A conversation that easily applies to live music performances and theatre.  I also mentioned the Girls and Geeks discussions at BarCampMilwaukee. Of course, there’s also open source sex.  So, I wonder what we could really make happen in this regard.  Not just the sex regard, but bringing people in the door who are lazy, unmotivated or simply uninterested in openness (or just don’t know it yet).  Of course, it’s the “just don’t know it yet” crowd in which I am really interested.

SWEDEN!

I bought a Flickr Pro account in anticipation of the Sweden trip this summer.  I figure this way I can post Christmas photos too.  I get a new camera for Christmas, so I suspect I’ll be taking a lot of pictures!  The Sweden trip will be 7-9 days.  My travel partner is wanting a shorter trip and I’m wanting a longer one, so I think keeping it at 9 days includes two weekends if you leave on the right days.  It will depend on what sort of deal AAA can help me with.  She is interested in dancing, the outdoors and visiting the cities.  I am interested in fotboll, ishockey and metall (probably any English speakers can make those out…especially if you know me).  So, I’m definitely looking for suggestions, both for her and for me.  We’ll also probably be visiting Helsinki, Finland.  I don’t know if we’ll have time to visit Copenhagen.  It’s so close, but we don’t want to feel rushed.  I’d kinda like to go north of the artic circle just for the experience.  That might make it so Siberia doesn’t interest me as much.

Well, typing all of that with a broken arm wasn’t entirely pleasant, but I’m glad I did it and I hope you enjoy.  If I had the time, I’d re-read for typoes, but whatever, release early, release often.  If you stop by, please leave a comment!

What’s up next? — one week later

Recently I read “You should go to law school where you intend to practice law“.  This has got me thinking differently about where I might go to school.  Duke, UNC and Bama are all still on the list, but maybe Louisville and UK should get more consideration.  Rankings of those schools are 12, 38, 32, 100 and 59, respectively.  Wake (42) isn’t totally out of consideration either.  UW (36), Marquette (95) and Northwestern (9) have also gotten more thought from me because of my current proximity.  Other than Duke, I don’t know how these schools stack up in intellectual property and environmental law, the two things in which I’m most interested.  Of course, The University of Hawaii (82) could be fun.

Still no idea when this might take place.

I’m still thinking UNC all the way for Business or PhD.

A lot of people have seemed confused by how someone that works in technology could have such different goals, so maybe I should spend some time discussing what I want to do.  I’d like to be a voice of reason in information, like Lessig or Doctorow, one of which is a lawyer and the other which is an author and activist.  I’d also like to see more FOSS in business, both using and developing for.  At some level, I don’t care if people want to buy proprietary Photoshop, but what I don’t like is that Adobe won’t produce a version for Linux.  If a version works on Mac, it shouldn’t be hard to make it work on Linux.  If people won’t use proprietary technologies like .NET then it would be easier to make things work in Linux…or Linux users could live with a version in WINE.  The more hooks into Windows the harder for WINE to work though.

There are plenty of places I could work where I could reach these goals; MindTouch, academia, Dell, Red Hat, Sun, IBM or any number of companies that support FOSS.  I’m doing some of this at my current job, but we are deeply engrained in the Windows world.  We are looking at MindTouch and Drupal as alternatives to Sharepoint and we’ve started a Linux laptop program.  However, after several months at the job, I realize it’s going to be a long, long time before I’m not frustrated by Windows at that job.  It’s a good job, but at some point I feel there will need to be change.  I’m also spending a lot of time with Open Madison Group (OMG!) outside of work time but I’d like to not feel like I’m leading a double life.

Basically, I want to change the world.  I think there are a lot of ways to go about doing that.  I just need to pick one.  I hope that helps clarify some things.

Shaping up to be a good one.

As usual, I’m running out of time for the day.  As I said in a comment to another post, I broke my arm on Friday.  This is going to slow me dowm in planning for Open Everything Madison.  However, some other problems I thought might happen for OEM are not going to be problems.  I’ll post more about that when I have some time.