DST to host Software Freedom Day

Published in Tectonic

South Africa’s department of science and technology has thrown its weight behind free and open source software and is to host a Software Freedom Day event at its new Pretoria offices this Saturday. And as part of a desire to build stronger links with the free software community, the department has partnered with users groups, NGOs and software vendors to organise the day.

Organisations involved in the day include DST, Impi Linux, Meraka, Pretoria Linux Users Group, Gauteng Linux Users Group, Sangonet, Translate.org.za and Linux Chix and others.

Opening the day’s event will be department director general Dr Phil Mjwara.

“Besides distributing free software the progamme will include a number of presentations, demonstrations and workshops,” says Aslam Raffee, CIO:information systems at the department.

Raffee says the department is happy to be supporting the community by holding the event because “for us to really benefit from free software we need to be more than just end-users. We need to be more involved and contribute to the community around free and open source software.”

“Meraka Institute’s Envir Fraser will be talking on the use of free software in many of its programmes such as human language technologies,” he says.

Creative Common’s will be presenting a talk on the various Creative Commons licences and Translate.org.za’s Dwayne Bailey will be talking about software localisation as well as running a “translate-athon” on the day.

During the day there will be a screening of “Elephants Dream”, the world’s first open source movie built with open source tools such as Blender. Also being shown will be the film Cosmic Africa.

There will also be a series of workshops on open source tools including OpenOffice.org, open source content management systems including Apache Pluto, and Gnome for end users.

NGO network Sangonet will also be on hand with their petition to government to increase the adoption of free and open source software in the public service.

NetDay will be demonstrating its thin-client Linux system.

Impi Linux will also be showing off its new desktop, as well as the customised version currently being piloted at the DST.

The day’s events will start at 9am and run throughout the day. the venue is the department of science and technology’s Pretoria offices in building 53, CSIR Campus. There is a map to the venue here and everyone is welcome to attend for free.