[gnulinuxinasia] A report on Asiasource2! (Patrice Riemens)

  • From: "Frederick Noronha [फ़रेदरिक नोरोनया]" <fred@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: gnulinuxinasia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2007 01:48:27 +0530

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Patrice Riemens <patrice@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: 13-Aug-2007 01:17
Subject: [SummerSource-L] A report on Asiasource2!
To: asiasource2-participants@xxxxxxxx
Cc: africasource2-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx,
summersource-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, asiasource-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Hiya All (& sorry for X-postings!)

This is a piece I wrote for the Waag Magazine quite a few month ago, on my
return from the Asiasource2 Camp in Sukabumi, Indonesia. As things happen
it was not published due to 'circumstances beyond my control'. But you
might (still) be interested. Enjoy! (I hope)

cheers form patrizoio & Diiiinooos!

--------
English:


The second 'Asiasource'  Free and Open Source Software (F/OSS) camp was
held from 21st to 30th of January in Sukabumi, West Java, Indonesia. Waag
fellow Patrice Riemens took part as 'F/OSSopher' and in-charge of the
'bazar', annex (Turkish) tea-house and 'slackers salon'. His report:

Asiasource2, for short, was the fifth large 'sourcecamp' and event since
the summer of 2003. Previous sourcecamps were held in Croatia, Namibia,
Bangalore (S.India), and Uganda. Smaller gatherings took also place in
Tadjikistan and Morocco. Sourcecamps are broadly regional in character,
and attract a wide array of participants from various countries and with
very diverse backgrounds.

A sourcecamp is week-10 days long, very intensive ('24/7') training and
knowledge-sharing get-together for a 80/100-some (mostly) ITC-people
working with/for 'civil society organisations' (aka 'NGOs') in the Global
South and Transition Countries. The goal of sourcecamps is to motivate and
facilitate the adoption by these organisations of F/OSS - as tool, but
also as a mind-set and attitude.

Collaboration and sharing of skills ranks very high on the agenda of
sourecamps, both at the event itself, and afterwards. Hence, top down,
hierarchical models of teaching are shunned in favor of active
participation in formal and informal working groups. In the mornings,
parallel issue 'tracks' - typically including 'migration' (from
proprietary software to F/OSS) and 'localisation' (making F/OSS available
in local languages, sometimes fine-tuning it to local cultural habits),
plus some other core issues (eg.  content management systems, audio/video
streaming, WiFi, etc.) - are treated in a  more formal manner.

Afternoons, after a confy lunch and rest, are devoted to more informal -
and numerous - 'skill share' sessions, where a variety of subjects - not
necessarily technical - are discussed, mostly submitted and introduced by
the participants themselves. And the 'facilitators' who are more or less
formally in charge of the 'track' sessions become participants and
learners again.  Evenings are devoted to socialising, cultural
performance, and ...
partying. This is a young crowd after all!

Which is reflected in the format and daily routine of sourcecamps, which
some might say is a cross between  an active holidays village and a
boot camp of sorts. The formula, with wake-up serenade, 'morning circle',
communal meals (and Qs ;-), outings, and a lot of group activities
generally, may not immediately appeal to all, but is intended - and
succeeds - to forge a strong bond between the participants, lasting way
beyond the event itself.

One can say that every sourcecamp creates its own larger community,
besides many new circles of friends.

In that Asiasource2 was not different from the previous sourcecamps, even
though it was the first one not directly organised by the Tactical
Technology Collective - 'TacTech' for short, - which introduced and
fine-tuned the concept since 'SummerSource' on Vis Island (Croatia) in
2003 till 'Africasource2' on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda, in
january 2006. In true Open Knowledge fashion, TacTech does not claim
'intellectual property' on the format, but has set up a 'replication'
apparatus and manual instead. Asiasource2 was the first test and succeeded
brillantly, albeit with the support and presence of quite a few TacTech
members and 'veterans' from previous source events - like me.

As 'F/OSSopher', my role at sourcecamps is to expound, well, the
'philosophy' behind Free and Open Source Software, especially since F/OSS
has evolved into a full-fledged ('new') social movement, reaching much
beyond the realm of technology applications alone. But doing this is
something of an uphill task, since most nerds, given a choice, rather prefer
to get their hands on a nifty piece of software than discuss
elusive and contentious socio-political issues with some old blatterer ;-)

Nonetheless, together with Jaya from the Bangalore Alternative Law Forum,
we succesfully participated in a serie of 'speedgeeking' sessions (5
minutes to make your point to 12 succesive groups of  7-8 people) which
left us
exhausted but happy. Apart from that I was glad to relax in the 'bazar' (a
row of canopied mini-pavilllions), serving Turkish Tea to various
participants and co-facilitators, according to the hallowed 'Sl@ckers
S@lon' formula...

Relating all what happened at Asiasource2 would be an endless and
potentially tedious exercise, but one can gather a lot of its atmosphere
by viewing the event's site and its blog (see URL below). Suffice to
enthuse about the wonderful venue ("Yawitra Asli", see pics) and
surroundings, the spectacular excursions (to a vulcano, followed, for the
more 'chresmatically' inclined, by a visit of a large so-called factory
outlet in Bandung), and of course, the wonderful social atmosphere,
enhanced and enabled by a classroom of volunteers from a hospitality
college (courtesy of the local organiser who knew them well) for whom we
functionned as training material - much to our delight and confort. (And
yes, 'ArtDino! - one of my pet dinosaurs - even found the love of his life
in their midst,
and decided to stay behind in Jakarta!)

Six weeks (*) after Asiasource2, the event's mailing list is full of life
witnessing to what may be the most tangible and beneficial outcome of
sourcecamps: the creation of a strong, regional but trans-border community
of sociable techies, ready, willing and able to provide self-manageable
and affordable (generallly free) ITC advice and services to civil society
organisations who can put them to great use.


(*) and this is still the case, _six months_ after the event...
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