I’ve been inspired to create a Sahana specific blog for a long time. And finally, its here:
Now, people might wonder why I’m creating a second blog? It’s not like i’m posting once a day to this blog either, yeah? Well, I think I’m crazy too, so your normal 🙂
Anyways, talkSahana is *supposed* to be multiauthored. Hopefully, I’ll get about to creating an aggregator, and modify wordpress to show some bobbing heads of the various authors. So, while you’re, you might as well peek over there 🙂
It is as Gandalf said: “The greatest event of our time is here”. Since 2001, there has been an effort to identify a newer list of the seven wonders of the world, and a voting system is set up here, with the results being announced on 07-07-07 in Portugal. Although criticism exists for the officialism of the process, the hype is there, and anticipation is at an all time high.
Since only one structure from the ancient wonders remain, it is high time something of this nature comes up, as there already is many different lists propping up. However, what we need is something accepted as ‘official’ 🙂
I love the way the Indian campaign for the Taj Mahal is going, BTW. A.R. Rahman does it again, with the release of a new single to encourage the world to vote for the Taj Mahal
So move it, and start voting. Awaiting the results on the great day: 07-07-07. 🙂
Today was the 3rd and final day of the amazingly different FOSS-Ed for Windows. Why amazingly different? Well, for starters, we had a hard time finding speakers from our community of merry fellows, for the simple reason that most of us do NOT use Windows regularly. Thus, this was something totally different for some of us, but all in all, the event progressed well. Actually, all credit to the organizing committee, consisting of Karthigha, Lohitha, Gunith, Gayal, Dr. Sanjiva, Hasmin and the zillions of others hanging around for a job very well done.
Day one at HNB towers was for total tech stuff. My presentation on “Thunderbird,Evolution and Firefox” was an eye opener for me as well, and I got to know of quite a few new cool FF addons as well 🙂 Lighting talks of day2 was something else though: I paired up with Suchetha to moderate the session, and it was nothing short of pure fun, and for a change, I guess the audience enjoyed it too (for those in the dark: lighting talks are where people come on stage and talk for 5 mins on some non-tech subject. Being unaware of the time, they are booed away at the end of 5 mins). The event ended with a very *interesting* panel discussion on IPR, with the panel consisting of Brian Behlendorf, and representatives from Microsoft Sri Lanka and the ICTA Sri Lanka.
All in all, another successful FOSS event underway, and now we look forward to the next one, which is 🙂
Asia Source II (Indonesia: January 2007) was one of the most inspirational events that I had ever attended, and it was loaded with fun. Our final presentation was filled with exactly that: FUN, and we were fortunate enough to have Elanto, who captured the whole thing on tape.
Groups were supposed to come up with creative presentations, and we being Track 4, and being known as “The Track from Hell”, settled for nothing less than our best.
The idea of performing a skit was inspired by something similar I had during my school days, where we performed Beauty and the Beast with a difference. This was basically something similar, where various well known characters come in costumes with the relevant background music, and give presents to the mother, who happened to give birth to a penguin 😉
The amazing thing was that we were able to decide, direct, train and present in 2 hours, on the morning of the presentation. And our creative fashion designers in the track also managed to find suitable costumes from within what we had. After deciding on the skit, I fixed the roles, whilst a combination of Agus and my laptops seemed to provide all the sound tracks we needed. Magie was in charge of HR, and together we tracked down the most suitable people for each character. Agus then worked his creative magic, cropping and gluing all the tracks to create one big track, whilst Magie and myself took to train the characters. Sam and Yasmin came up with the brilliant idea of making the presents meaningful, and got to work creating the extermely complex penguin puzzle, and trained everyone on the order of placement.
The following were the characters, and the person who played it, in order:
Mother – Dr. Francis
Penguin Child – Francis’ stuffed penguin
Mother’s sidekick – Sam
James Bond – Marek
Darth Vader, Star Wars – Mifan
Luke Skywalker, Star Wars – Waivit
Kate and Leo, Titanic – Yasmine and Hien
Will Smith, Wild Wild West – Agus
Bad Sisters – Joanna and Olivia
Gangsta Hood – Abilio
Dora and Boots – Sabeena and Anil
Ghostbusters – Roberto, Sri and Ravi
Cameraman – Elanto
And of course, the rest of Track 4 and the rest of Asia Source II 🙂
Adding the Youtube video below for your (or My) viewing pleasure
Being a sucker for music myself, I recognize the value of a musical instrument for musicians. Thus, we as the Sahana team ended up presenting Richard Stallman of FSF fame with 2 flutes from Sri Lanka: The traditional wooden flute, and the snake charming flute, to well, charm Snakes 😉
Knowing RMS to be a musician himself, who prefers playing the Recorder flute (so do I, hooray!), the gifts were an instant hit. I’ve embedded a video below of a rare moment where RMS plays his new gift, the snake charming flute. Unfortunately, the only snakes around were, well, us 🙂
RMS demonstrated his skills at Dinner in Chinatown the next day, where he played the recorder flute in the restaurant. However, he did have stiff competition that day as a small girl at the next table had a recorder flute as well, and the restaurant was filled with flying notes. Luckily we managed to escape with minimum bruises.
I hate late blog posts. But hey, someone’s got to do them. So, the day before the FSF awards ceremony, we met up with the GeoMancers (hope I got the naming right) of Boston, M.A. We met Adam Holt, Allan Doyle and Boy Genius, Chris Scmidt, amongst others. Chris works for Metacarta, and as a lead behind Openlayers, is an important figurehead for Sahana :). As a frequent reader of his blog, I got the chance to meet the boy behind the ramblings.
The meeting went well, after we managed to track down all loitering mancers. We spent the day musing on the importance of maps, the effect of Openlayers, the need for an on the move Googlemaps solution to replace our own paper maps of Boston, and the importance of having lunch on time, with frequent jokes from the folk from the Institute of Infinitely Small Things.
Sahana meets GeoMancers of Boston
Finally, the cat is out of the bag. Sahana, the FOSS Disaster management system, received the biggest recognition that the Free Software Foundation provides to projects: The FSF award for social benefit . This, amazingly is the only other award given by the FSF, the other being the award for Advancement of Free Software, whose recipient was Ted Ts’o this year.
The awards ceremony was held at the annual FSF general meeting at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Boston, U.S.A on the 24th of March 2007. 4 members of the Sahana team, namely Pradeeper Dharmendra, Chamindra de Silva, Ravindra de Silva and yours truly: Mifan Careem, attended the AGM/Ceremony to receive the award.
This is undoubtedly the biggest award the Sahana project has received in recent years. According to Richard Stallman, founder of the FSF, the FSF award for Social benefit is given to projects that make best use of Free Software, and provides benefits to society as a whole. The fact that this award was inspired by the Sahana project 2 years ago, adds more value to it. Whilst presenting the award, Richard Stallman said “We were inspired to create this award when we heard of the tremendous good the Sahana project was able to achieve through the use of free software. With this award we give recognition to their efforts”.Thus, Sahana received the FSF award for social benefit for 2006. The 2005 FSF award was given to Wikipedia, which speaks volumes itself. Every year, three finalists are nominated for the award by the free software community. This year’s other two finalists were Project Gutenberg and the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC).
This award belongs to the Sahana community as a whole, not just the development team. Thank you all for the support, the criticism and the motivation.
Now its time for the party hats, and possibly a party as well? 🙂
Francis from the Philippines has achieved what we have spent an eternity trying to finalize: Creating a graphic for the Sahana live CD version. The collection of Sahana based pins were created for a Rotary District Convention, where Bobby and Francis are presenting Sahana. IMHO, the pins look absolutely stunning, would look really great on a CD as well 🙂
Its great to see the increased interest in Sahana after AsiaSource II. Its a great feeling to know that we are not alone in this quest, and that we have friends all around us. Special appreciation should be given to the Indonesian initiative by Didieb, Agus, Bono, Yasmin et al, which was followed by a Sahana demo/workshop for NGOs. Some time ago, there was a similar initiative from Roberto in Philippines as well, where Sahana was presented at an exhibition/conference. There was also separate initiatives by Francis, Alvin, Jerome, Magie et al from the Philippines for the promotion of Sahana. There are also many individual awareness campaigns that I know nothing off 🙂
The world is a wonderful place, with lots of wonderful people. We are happy that we were able to inspire these talented groups at AsiaSource II, and hope that they would continue to the wonderful job they are doing ATM.
FOSS-Ed on wheels, the event where a bunch of geeks hop into a bus and spread the word in the outskirts of Colombo, was held in the hill capital of Kandy this time. The 3rd and 4th of March saw 10 geeks in Kandy, at the FeoW opposite Kingswood College. The organization of the event was wonderful, courtesy of the students of the Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya. For once, we were excused from carrying chairs and fixing the PCs :). All in all, it was a wonderful event, with an enthusiastic audience, tasty food, a cool climate, and terrific scenery’s. And the demonstration on Beryl would have certainly toppled some of the audience over 😉
Exactly a month has passed since the start of Asiasource 2, and I guess the time is ripe for the camp tribute. Asia Source 2 was a camp style workshop session spanning 10 days, held in the wonderful city of Sukabumi in Indonesia. The event revolved around Open Source in the Asian region, and had a truly amazing mixture of participants from all over the world, including NGO personnel, decision makers, IT managers, software engineers etc. The participants were divided into 4 tracks, and concentrated on various specialized topics. The event was all fun, ranging from daily morning dramas, plays and songs at a so-called morning circle, afternoon water-polo in the pool, a bizarre concept called the bazaar where people sell all kinds of things, and of course the daily workshop routine. The night times were filled with amazing events, such as a traditional musical show, a traditional games night, a karaoke night and an open-mic night etc. All in all, the event was fun, a new family consisting of around 200 members was created, and the greatest part is that, we still keep in touch 🙂