Software Freedom Day 2006 Report
Team members above are, left to right, first row, Emir Pérez, José Mai, Nydia Correa, Judy Wilson, Geraldo Vallejos, (second row) Kareem Young, Jan Wilson, Omar Riverol, (third row) Trevor Young, Maria Jorgenson, and Debbie Jorgenson.
Linux.bz, Corozal Community College, Corozal Junior College, and the Linuxbz SFD06 Team were on hand at the new CCC labs for the first Software Freedom Day celebration in Belize.
Another major purpose for the day was to have the public see the new Xavier and Fletcher computer labs at CCC. Endevora Jorgenson, principal of Corozal Community College, has had a dream come true by having a new building on campus with two labs which was inaugurated in February, 2006. During the initial plans, Carlos Lopez, a teacher who was on study leave, helped draw up the design. Support for the project came from the Social Investment Fund, and money came from the Caribbean Development Bank and from the government of Cananda. Jorgenson wanted to have an event so principals, educators, and administrators could see the possibilities with techology and with open source. Combining an open house with Software Freedom Day was the perfect opportunity.
This was our first Software Freedom Day participation, so we were not sure what the response would be. Publicity was widespread: we distributed fliers and invitations to all secondary and tertiary schools in the country, we had ads in both major national newspapers, and announcements on local TV stations.
We had lightning presentations on several open source applications scheduled that were publicized. Included were The Gimp and applications in OpenOffice.org. Ubuntu with Firefox was running on all the computers. There was also a presentation of how to set up a lab with open source software, and of Markus, an open source grades program being developed by Jan Wilson.
Because of the difficulty of the mail system in Belize, we did not get our t-shirts and goodies until one month after the event. We know that is being remedied!
There are several factors that we believed contributed to the small turnout. One is that we are located in the northern most district of Belize, and from the major metropolitan areas, it is a two-and-a-half or more hour drive. Another is that the event was held during the month of Belize’s September Celebrations. We think it’s great to add a Software Freedom celebration, but we think it may have interfered with our turnout.
We will be renting a booth in the Belize Chamber of Commerce’s annual business Expo held in Belize City, the days scheduled for Software Freedom Day! It’s perfect timing and we will have an opportunity to be exposed to hundreds and hundreds of people. And we’ll be outstanding in our lime green t-shirts!
Judy Wilson, SFD team leader won a prize for the best localized version of the logo. She got a t-shirt signed by big open source names, including Mark Shuttleworth, who she says is one of her heroes. She is now serving on the Board of Software Freedom International as a one year invited team representative.