Best wishes to local Free and Open Source Software communities around the country as they recover from end of year celebrations and muster themselves for LCA08
Open source and free software has provided opportunities for local, national and international leadership for many Australians in 2007. These leaders leverage a whole body of code, knowledge and community support. Open sharing and collaboration make it possible for Australians to participate, innovate using these technologies and communities of knowledge.
2007 started with Linux Conference Australia at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. The 2007 team organised a winning conference attracting record attendance. An Open Day event brought many new people in to see games, solar cars, and open office desktop tools. The audio visual team did an exceptional job making the presentations available online.
During March WikimediaAU enjoyed a visit from Jimmy Wales and is forming an organisation. Jimmy toured for educationau and promoted open participation and open technologies for education. An Australian and New Zealand Open Geospatial group is also forming.
A rolling tide of BarCamps was initiated by Ben Balbo resulting in some great events and lots of learning about organising unconferences.
In April, Brisbane based, Anthony Towns completed his term as leader of the Debian project seeing in the new GPLv3 and Debian Etch.
Sridhar Dhanapalan fought through a car accident to still represent Linux at the CEBIT conference in May.
June saw Melissa Draper, leader of UbuntuAU presenting on women in open technologies both at local community events, and internationally.
Adelaide University student, Joel Stanley won an OLPC internship and contributed to advocacy around the world.
Open source educator, Peter Ruwoldt was chosen as an observer for the Information Economy Advisory Board in South Australia.
Tim Ansell's space game Thousand Parsec won code time in the Google Summer of Code. This year, the program brought together 900 students and nearly 1500 mentors across 90 countries to contribute to over 130 different open source software projects. A second project the Google Highly Open Participation Contest was also launched offering High School students a model for contributing to key open source projects.
On September 15 a record number of teams participated in Software Freedom Day 2007. This international event is coordinated annually by a Software Freedom International, this year led by Australian, Pia Waugh. Teams worldwide distributed and demonstrated free open source software in their local communities. It was especially great to see more teams participating from regional areas.
September also saw Pia and Jeff Waugh launch of the Australian Open Source Industry and Community Census.
Open source software was discussed and distributed at education events including Computers in Education Group of South Australia and at Monash University OpenCDs of open source software for use on Windows computers was distributed at both events.
Copyright was a hot topic at the ALIA conference and Creative Commons Australia and New Zealand teams produced local adaptations of the Creative Commons licences.
November brought the eeePC with Linux installed to retail outlets in Australia.
It is selling well, having sold out its first run, and is bringing open code to more Australian homes.
Victorian Information Technology Teachers Association conference in Melbourne included excellent sessions on several open philosophies, pedagogy and projects including Alan Kay's ideas on education by Bill Kerr, Dr Kathryn Moyle on pedagogy first, Bryan McHugh on VELS - a multi-domain approach using free software.
The theme 'Success in Development & Business' headlined the Open Source Developers' Conference 2007. Arjen Lentz lead the Brisbane event covering numerous programming languages across a range of operating systems, and related topics such as business processes, licensing, and strategy.
Pia and Jeff Waugh won this year's State Pearcey Award for Young Achievers for work educating the ICT sector about free software.
The University of New South Wales and Pia Waugh have worked together on an OOXML CyberLaw Symposium to assess the ISO proposal. Linux Australia also submitted comments to Standards Australia on the proposal.
So now is a time for thanking the local user group organisers and for celebrating a fine year. The new year starts with the Linux Conference in Melbourne led by Donna Benjamin. A week of collaboration and challenging ideas around open technologies. Bring it on.