[free-software-melb] Free Software Melbourne/Australia. Past. Present. Future.

Michael Verrenkamp jabjabs at fastmail.com.au
Mon Nov 19 04:18:57 UTC 2018


Just an update on were we are going with Free Software Melbourne and Free Software Australia in a more bored sense.

On Thursday 15th November was our final "official" meeting for FSM for 2018; while there will be an end of year dinner to come in December (date to be decided) - we also had our yearly committee vote.

There have been three changes to committee.

Firstly Damien Zammit has stepped down from his role. To put it bluntly, Zammit is simply far to busy saving us from the clutches of proprietary software to be worrying about, frankly, a minor role of organizing these monthly events - and we are forever grateful for his work in the field. He is doing far too much good in the role of software warrior to be worrying about writing an announce for these events! That said, the time he put in especially in terms of the audio archives of meetings in 2016/2017 are wonderful. A real treasure to be cherished and a great record of our past. I'm sure he will turn up from time to time with our ongoing meetings and we look forward to hearing about the latest developments of his work or just being one of the many cool folk in the community.

Secondly, Ben Minders while not officially stepping down from the committee will no longer be directly organizing and running the monthly event. While not the direct reasoning, we choose to prefer the narrative of Ben re-starting the engine of Free Software Brisbane! Anyone want to step up for Free Software Sydney/Hobart/ACT/Adelaide/Perth/Darwin etc/ ? We are more than welcome to help you out.

A little note on Ben's time with FSM. Ben has been a part of the committee since March 2015 as Secretary and took over the full reigns of the organization in March 2016. To say that Ben has been the driving force of FSM for the last 2 and 3/4 years is a bit of an understatement. He has kept the organization alive and on target and constantly out in the Melbourne scene looking for people to share their projects and ideas. Always ready to organize the next meeting, get it all prepped and announced and then ready to jump on to the next months meeting ready to 'spread the good word' if you will.

Having organized, along side Linux Users Victoria, the last three Software Freedom days has not been an easy thing to do. But it is something that we the committee have always jumped behind when guided by Ben's ideas and concepts. Personally it sometimes felt like we were taking credit for his work like a group high school project but it was never intended in this fashion. 

You could always count on Ben to turn up to these events with a big smile, a great attitude and always some news about some new programming technology that half of us had never heard of. There will be a lot less 'pan-docs' presentations going forwards. He will be missed at these events but definitely not forgotten, I'm sure whatever groups he gets involved with up north will be glad he turns up. So lucky them! 

He will leave a vacuum of interesting ideas, resources and most importantly personality. So best of luck to Ben where ever he may go. 
This is good thing! Dang it! Needless to say, we wish him all the best in his new endeavors and we will be hearing from him from time to time in future - probably via a projected live stream via Jitsi or Mumble.

With this we have to focus on the future and were FSM will be heading.
 
The direct Melbourne based committee now consists of essentially three positions. Tatiana and Myself (Michael) are still serving and will be organizing events going forwards. Les, a frequent attendee will also be pitching in when possible even if in a semi-part time situation. We couldn't be more than happy to welcome him on board!

We will be doing some contemplation over the next few weeks and months as too the direction of FSM and Free Software Australia as a whole. This will come down to the timing of meetings, the kinds of meetings we want and how we can interact with other people and groups for the benefit of everyone. To essentially get at the heart of what we and others want us to achieve. A somewhat nervous but exciting thing to be doing. We want to be a force for good and welcoming to all that want a free digital world too.

FSM/FSA in 2019 will continue to provide an alternative voice in the crowded world of computer technology. A community for which we can meet and discuss the ideas and technology that will help us try to keep and  eventually grow our freedoms. Don't be shy, we are welcoming and the digital water is inviting. ;)

A side note, just because you are not part of the 'committee' doesn't mean you cannot help out if you wish. This is a community, not a dictatorship.

Thank you to everyone that has come along this year. We could not have done it without you. 

Also Special thanks to the following people. 

Ben Sturmfels for creating FSM and guiding us through out the years. Also for providing on going mumble servers for us to organize these events.

"System Saviour" Adam Bolt from providing on going hosting of not just the website but these mailing lists. Without this service I wonder want awful state this organization would be in, or more accurately, what nasty non-free alternative we would be trying to use.

The folks at Electron workshop for not only providing us a meeting space but also for putting up with our noise, especially on games nights. 

It might be early to say this (42 days early!) but Happy Gnew Year and we hope to see you at one of the many events on next year.


Michael Verrenkamp
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Committee Member - Free Software Australia - http://www.freesoftware.org.au/
Advocating for freedom in computer software


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