[TOS] Feed-back of the FOSSa conference in Lyon (France)

Ivaylo Ganchev ivaylo.ganchev at univ-paris8.fr
Mon Nov 7 18:27:19 UTC 2011

Hello Mel et al,

Nice to hear that the event interested you. Here are some more details.

> I was looking at the website for IRILL, and was struck by the second
> part of their mission, which reads: "educational: adapt curricula for
> users, system administrators, and developers to prepare them for a
> computing infrastructure in which FOSS plays a prime role."
> I wasn't able to find any more information about the education-specific
> activities, though... do you have any more information about what sorts
> of efforts are going on for the "education" part of IRILL's mission, and
> who we might get in contact with about it? (I apologize that I do not
> speak French, but others on this list do!) It sounds like there may be
> some natural overlaps of interest and potential collaborations here.

Actually IRILL is a new project and they just entered their second year of
existence. That's why they don't fully work on all the subjects on their
road-map. The curricula topic is one that interests particularly Roberto
Di Cosmo (the initiator and one of the main forces behind IRILL) , but
also one that is kind of hard to treat. I think he will try to bring to
front this topic during the year.

> I would love to hear more about this -- what role did open source play
> in the CS class? If there are any open course materials from the effort,
> there are some people on this list who are interested in high-school
> level CS education who might want to take a look.

I asked Benjamin those questions and here is a resume of his answers :
 - The technology used for this training is mainly open source.
 - They tried to give to the future CS teachers some notions on subjects
related to open source :
   = non-rivalry of the information
   = laws on detention and circulation of information
   = non-rivalry of commons
   = how to distinguish between different licenses (open, proprietary)
   = a chapter on the formats.

The main goal of all this is to learn the future teachers how to bring to
the attention of students the evolution of laws and values as a
consequence of the emergence of immaterial commons and goods.

This year they will organize the training as a series of conferences and
they will invite researchers in law, sociology, IT.

It seems that much of the resources are available online on the following
site (in French) : http://science-info-lycee.fr/

The personal page of Benajmin is here : http://www.prism.uvsq.fr/~beng/.
He said he would answer other questions if any.

> It's great that there's software usage training happening in France...
> do you think Thierry and the others at CF2L might be interested in
> taking the next step and starting to offer classes on how to modify and
> contribute back to Free Software projects -- even incorporating it into
> the basic usage training?
> For instance, let's say someone is learning to use Inkscape, and finds a
> bug or thinks of something that could be improved. If the class teaches
> the students how to get in touch with the Inkscape developer community
> -- how to find their mailing list, how to file a bug, etc -- the user
> could actually end up contributing back to the project.

It was indeed a great news when the last year the center opened its doors.
I am not sure what he would think about your idea, but I will try to talk
to him next time I see him.

Actually here are some more details about the center. It is part of the
Digital University of Paris-Ile-de-France. A virtual structure that brings
together universities of Paris Region and provides some services to them.
3 years ago a center for Apple technologies opened first. As it was a
success next year they (the digital university) decided to open another
one. This time Thierry and other volunteers, members of Paris universities
proposed that the new center should offer FLOSS technologies training.
They found, equipped and installed the training rooms, found people to
give the trainings etc... It was kinda hard job to bring all to reality in
his words.

So this year guess who is coming on scene : correct it's MS. Last year
there was still a clear distinction between the Apple center and the CF2L.
This year everything is under the chapter "Formations" (training) and you
can choose your training (be it an apple, floss of ms technology) and then
you're forwarded to the person that is in charge.

During his presentation Thierry insisted that it was a "political reason"
that in his university the FLOSS is on a high rank. The "It is political"
argument has it's weaknesses as well. For the same political reason the
CF2L never had a decent communication and the existence of all this was at
large ignored. Unfortunately they can't really communicate by themselves
and they rely on the Digital University for this to happen -- to spread
the word between the Paris region universities. In my university for
example the information last year about the existence of this center was
in a middle of a badly formatted mail and if I wasn't aware of the
existence of this thing I would skip it as did probably the biggest part
of my colleagues.

By all this I would like to say that it is certainly a great news that
this center exists and that it gains momentum, but there are many thing to
polish and to take care of (i.e. communication).

Here is a link with all the trainings for this year :

> In terms of projects available to students, I think Albert might want to
> get in touch with Greg Hislop, Heidi Ellis, and Ralph Morelli (all three
> are on this list) about http://xcitegroup.org/softhum/doku.php?id=about
> and also with others on this list about http://hfoss.org and
> http://openhatch.org.
> We've also got a lot of Summer of Code people on this list from many
> different roles -- from students to mentors to the folks who were/are
> responsible for running the program at Google, and they have tons of
> awesome insight. Some of us have worked on programs inspired by Summer
> of Code;
> http://blog.melchua.com/2010/03/04/summer-of-code-swimchart-now-with-more-generic/may
> be a useful resource regarding how to think of the generic structure of
> the program. (I ran a "Summer of Content" program back in 2007 with One
> Laptop Per Child and the Commonwealth of Learning --
> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Summer_of_Content_2007 is outdated now but
> maybe still useful in terms of people and organizations that got
> involved.)
> Another program that might be useful to look at for inspiration is
> http://ucosp.ca/about/, which is for software capstone courses, and came
> out of Canada.

I forwarded all this to Albert and hope that he will make usage of it. He
is very motivated about this project and I hope to have news about it

> Ivaylo, if you could help us connect the speakers with the people on
> this list, that would be wonderful -- ask them to join the list and
> introduce themselves and we can start making connections directly.
> Thanks again for taking such great notes at the event!

I will mail to them our thread in the hope they will jump on the list and
share some more insights. Otherwise I will try to post on the list news
from France when there are some :)


PS. Stephane Ribas which is on of the main organizers of FOSSA is in the
cc of this mail. I hope he will reiterate if there are more things to say
on a particular subject.

PSPS. it seems that the presentations are available on the FOSSA's site :

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