Synergizing efforts by Linux Users Groups worldwide

At the closing session during the Asia Conference on the Digital Commons, I was the second person to volunteer a discussion group on a topic that deals with how to push forward the Asia Commons as a network for Access to Knowledge. My topic was how to unite all Linux Users Groups worldwide in the fight for copyleft and open content.

The topic was well-received as eight people joined the discussion, which included Swee Tat of Singapore and Frederick Noronha of India. We were lucky to have the two for their respective expertise – Swee Tat as an experienced FOSS developer and Frederick as a prolific FOSS journalist.

I contextualized the discussion by saying that many Linux Users Groups are too concerned about the technical stuff (which is just fine, Swee Tat argued) without seeing the greater possibilities of coming together for greater outcomes. As the discussion went on, another concern cropped up – how the people perceive FOSS.

In summary, two concerns were basically raised – how the people perceive FOSS and how FOSS groups perceive the bigger picture as what was painted by the Asia Commons conference.

Swee Tat proposed an exercise to help map out different targets of the collaboration and what specific collaborative projects are in order to effectively influence the targets. I found the specific mind map approach of Swee Tat incapable of capturing our thoughts (target groups were not really separated from collaborative projects), but it started the thoughts to come up, nonetheless.

As a result, the group saw the following as the targets: enterprises, governments in terms of policy, education, health, NGOs, common folks, and youths. Collaborative projects range between install-fests and conference of enterprises’ developers. Out of the wide range of possibilities, the group decided to focus on:

  1. Maintaining a wikipedia entry on LUGs and collaborative projects
  2. Coordinating an Asia-wide Software Freedom Day in September
  3. Sharing of content and links among Linux Users Groups

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