Scola 2009: Event on Free software

On March 21st, I attended the exhibition Scola 2009 (Salon Centre Ouest du Libre et des Alternatives). I was pleased to find such event in my region.

I found this show quite by chance. I am a member of APRIL, and I received a message on Friday, March 20th, saying that Frédéric Couchet, Executive Director of APRIL, would in Tours (my city), the next day for a conference!

At the same time, I discovered the event, and some regional associations around the free software, especially Libre en Touraine.

This post is a brief summary of my visit to the exhibition.

First, about communication: I think the association should do more advertising around the event. A mailing to ICT departments of the regional companies would certainly generate more visitors, or lead to some additional ideas or exhibitors.

Personally, being warned only one day before the event, I could not free myself as I wanted, and only attended two conferences.

Of course, this is not a great Parisian event (like Porte de Versailles), but the advantage of this small event, is the friendliness.

For me, the exhibition is mainly a teaching tool: a showroom to show that a PC can work with other thing than Windows, training for the installation of Linux, conferences to understand what is free software …
The exhibitors were not very many, and didn’t have specific messages. But the focus was on conferences and trainings.

Conferences I noticed:

  • Free software: a common property, to develop and protect,
  • Using Linux daily,
  • Voice over IP with Asterisk,
  • Interoperability and formats.

The more interesting courses was: daily use of Linux (Ubuntu), a presentation of OpenOffice 3, as well as software Blender and Inkscape.

The conference of Frédéric Couchet was fairly standard (presentation and explanation of the 4 freedoms …), but comprehensive and open to the future of freee software. Some important points:

  • Free software are no longer the domain of a few geeks. It now reaches a large audience,
  • After software, talks are focused now, to the document formats, and the concept of interoperability.

With their democratization, free software must find new messages: the availability of sources and the ability to modify them, does not really interest Mr Lambda. Ensure an independence against commercial companies, or fight against marketing products, are more interesting arguments.

Discussions around the file formats, and interoperability, are a logical response to the current trend of replacing our local applications by Web services.

Discussions also focused on the « hardware »: a lot of manufacturers still don’t publish freely their specifications.

If you live in the Touraine, please note this show, somewhere in your calendar for March 2010.