[Foss4g2008loc] conference topics

Gavin Fleming GavinF at mintek.co.za
Mon Oct 15 10:21:29 EDT 2007

[sent by Gavin on behalf of Carrin]




We need to be careful about restricting the non-FOSS topics only to
South Africa.  Many developing world delegates will only get sponsorship
if they can present, and as they are unlikely to be using FOSS, we are
immediately excluding many people from participating.  And they will
want to be there because they want to learn.   Obviously there needs to
be a strong FOSS content, but I think we should rather look at the
topics and see where people from developing countries could contribute.
Only developing countries have Millennium Development Goads (MDG) among
other topics (see below) and if they are not using FOSS does that mean
that we don't want to hear what they have to say?  And if no-one can do
a presentation on the MDG's using FOSS, do we simply close that session?
There are a number of topics where we want people to demonstrate what
they are doing and to see how what else can also be done using FOSS.
There may be instances where FOSS can't do what people need to be done,
and that should be part of the debate, where is it applicable and where
isn't it.  I would really like to see FOSS people
discussing/debating/advising people about what they could use for their
projects in areas where FOSS is not being used and  relevant
presentations are not available.  


So I'd suggest that we open up non-FOSS talks to the developing nations
and see what sort of response we get.  If no-one is using FOSS for the
MDG's is there not some way we can create an opportunity for this group
to have access to people who can see the abstracts beforehand or sit in
on the session and generate some discussion afterwards.   Developing
countries will come because they want to learn about FOSS, but they will
want examples from developing countries because we operate under very
different constraints to the developed world.  People will want to come
to the conference because they will learn something, and I think we need
to find a way of educating people using relevant topics.  The gist of
the motivation was education through debate, and for that you need both
FOSS and non-FOSS.   


some of the other topics in which there may not be many people using
FOSS in the developing world: 

Sustainable Development 

Millennium Development Goals 

NGOs, CBOs, community development

Land management and reform 

Disaster management 

Participatory GIS 



Carrin Martin 



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