For two times in a row, I attended the Software Freedom Day celebration in Quezon City. Last year, it was held in UP Diliman, College of Engineering. This year, same area, but specifically at the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI).
I felt guilty, though, that I came at around 4pm, two hours before the event would be concluded. When I came through the lobby, it almost felt that there was no event at all. A lady from StratPoint, one of the event’s sponsors, approached me and introduced herself. After my asking her where the event was being held, she pointed me to the “back”. She said that the registration area is located in there as well. So I went straight ahead. But I couldn’t see any “registration area”. The open space was a bit chaotic, with some people glued to the computers and others chatting with one another. I then decided to enter a conference room, without any idea what was being discussed inside. The topic was OS migration. Of course, it’s not a new concept to me. But I stayed inside until it was finished. The guy who spoke was from Q-Linux. I’m sure the audience–mostly college students or young hackers, I guess–learned a lot from him. I thought that I would learn something from the topic. Perhaps had I come when the topic started, I would have so.
After that talk, I proceeded to the bigger conference room where Drupal was to be discussed. Before that happened, Rick of CPU led a raffle game, giving out to winners Red Hat souvenir items (laptop bag, mug, and document bag) courtesy of Q-Linux. I was sure I didn’t have any chance to win just because I was not registered (sob).
The talk about Drupal (presented by Noel Colino) was interesting. Since I’m a fan of Joomla, I didn’t have any deep knowledge about Drupal. But at least, I now know a bit of history about it. I came to know that Dries Buytaert (Drupal exponent) was supposed to name it as Dorp, a Dutch term for village or community. However, when Dries tried to register the name for a web domain, he mistakenly typed ‘drop’ instead of dorp. Later, the name was changed to drupal, a Dutch term for “drop”.
I found the talk very familiar, realizing that Drupal and Joomla have similarities in terms of scripting language and terminologies. The advantage of the speaker was that he was not a hacker himself so he was able to explain stuff in a rather non-technical way.
On the personal side, I felt that I didn’t belong, because people I saw were generally younger than me and that I knew only a few of them. Had I not initiated to greet friends (including Jerome Gotangco and Francis Sarmiento), it would have felt like I was a ghost. I should understand that I came to the tail-end of the event, when the energies of people would invariably flag down and other friends and familiar faces would already be gone.
It’s indeed another frustration for me that PLUG was not made one of the organizers of the event. But that’s another story.
Indeed, for a community of software freedom lovers, or for any community, for that matter, personal relations matter a lot. It’s enough that two persons love the cause, they somehow need to have established closeness beyond that political love.
Let’s separate this personal rant from a point I’d really like to make. I think that the event is much more successful than the previous one. Messaging was better (with the streamers and posters mounted around). I’m sure that the organization of the event was much better in the morning if I would base that to the cute kit provided.
The event showed the same thing as last year: That things can be free (as in free speech and free beer). Yes, the kit and refreshments were free. (I guess the speakers likewise gave inputs gratis et amore.) Well, credit that to the event’s sponsors.
The SFD event this year must be commended as it was last year. As I said, I did not witness the entire event but based on my impressions in the afternoon, it should win once again as the best SFD event in the world.