Girl Scouts' Digital Media Class, Day 1 & Day 2

This evening I taught the second class session of a 9-week program to teach ~14-year old Girl Scouts how to work with digital media using free software tools. Our first class was last Friday. The classes are two-hours long, on Friday nights (these girls are dedicated!), on a weekly basis. The Plan So you may have heard of the Women in free software caucus organized by the Free Software Foundation last year. One of the major goals of the womens’ caucus is to bring free software to girls and young women. Deb Nicholson and I have been planning a program to do just that over the past few months with Red Hat and the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. My co-worker Sue first got me in touch with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. It’s a really great organization to work with. We started with an informal email exchange this past summer, I met with them at their offices in downtown Boston, we devised a plan, and they helped make it happen. They located a computer lab for us to work in, a group of girls in an appropriate age group for the program who are willing to learn, worked …

Girl Scouts' Digital Media Class, Day 1 & Day 2

This evening I taught the second class session of a 9-week program to teach ~14-year old Girl Scouts how to work with digital media using free software tools. Our first class was last Friday. The classes are two-hours long, on Friday nights (these girls are dedicated!), on a weekly basis. The Plan So you may have heard of the Women in free software caucus organized by the Free Software Foundation last year. One of the major goals of the womens’ caucus is to bring free software to girls and young women. Deb Nicholson and I have been planning a program to do just that over the past few months with Red Hat and the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. My co-worker Sue first got me in touch with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. It’s a really great organization to work with. We started with an informal email exchange this past summer, I met with them at their offices in downtown Boston, we devised a plan, and they helped make it happen. They located a computer lab for us to work in, a group of girls in an appropriate age group for the program who are willing to learn, worked …

Third Fedora Design Bounty Ninja identified!

The Fedora Design Team Bi-weekly Bounty is a bi-weekly (well, at least monthly! 😉 ) blog post where we’ll outline a quick-and-easy design project that needs doing for the Fedora Community, outlining all the tools, files, and other resources you’ll need to complete the project. If you’re a designer and are interested in getting involved in the free and open source community, this is a good opportunity to get your feet wet! I am quite happy to report that we have identified our third Fedora Design Bounty Ninja: Christian Brassat!! Christian responded to our third Fedora Design Bi-Weekly Bounty – a t-shirt design for the Fedora Students Contributing program. Christian put together a most excellent T-shirt design for the program, using Inkscape and Nicu’s Open Clip Art T-shirt template, collaborating with the Fedora Design Team throughout the process, then prepping the final design for print using Scribus. He came up with a very nice concept for the T-shirt – it’s summery and fun with its tropical flowers, and relates to free software and mentorship with its sprouting-seed design – and carefully adhered to all of the Fedora branding guidelines. He also provided all of his source work! The original design …

Fedora Design Bounty: 'Fedora Students Contributing' T-Shirt

The Fedora Design Team Bi-weekly Bounty is a bi-weekly (well, at least monthly! 😉 ) blog post where we’ll outline a quick-and-easy design project that needs doing for the Fedora Community, outlining all the tools, files, and other resources you’ll need to complete the project. If you’re a designer and are interested in getting involved in the free and open source community, this is a good opportunity to get your feet wet! ‘Fedora Students Contributing’ T-Shirt Design The Fedora Students Contributing program (the artist formerly known ‘Fedora Summer Coding’) is a program sponsored by Red Hat, JBoss, and Indifex to sponsor university students to contribute to Fedora-related free software projects during a summer break. The program hooks these students up with experienced mentors to show them the ropes and get some awesome projects done. For example, Christopher Antila put together a totally rockin’ Fedora Musicians’ Guide, and Aditya Patawari put together a KDE-based Fedora Netbook spin. See the full list of awesome students & projects here. What we need is an awesome T-shirt to commemorate and celebrate the students’ accomplishments, for this past summer and for future Fedora summer programs like this. The shirts will be given out to the …

Fedora Board Meetings, 27 Sept 2010 & 1 Oct 2010

I apologize in advance for the brevity of this blog post; I’ve been cranking full-speed ahead on the new www.fedoraproject.org with Sijis Aviles and Jef van Schendel and need to get back to it quickly. 🙂 The Fedora Board is now fully on its new schedule. What this means, exactly: Every Monday, the Board will meet via phone at 2 PM Eastern time. Every other Friday (starting with this Friday), the Board will hold a public ‘office hours’ style questions & answers session in #fedora-board-meeting at 2 PM Eastern time. So, the Board is meeting more frequently, which I think is a good thing for Fedora overall. This blog post is going to summarize two board meetings: the 27 Sep 2010 Board phone meeting, and today’s public IRC meeting. Fedora Board Meeting 27 September 2010 Full meeting minutes: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Meeting:Board_meeting_2010-09-27 Meeting thread on advisory-board-list: http://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/advisory-board/2010-September/009306.html The Board for the past two months or so has been working to put together a solid vision statement for Fedora, to help guide what we do. It hasn’t been an easy road, but this meeting was our deadline to have a draft statement so the task dominated this meeting. We happily came to agreement on …

Fedora Board Meetings, 27 Sept 2010 & 1 Oct 2010

I apologize in advance for the brevity of this blog post; I’ve been cranking full-speed ahead on the new www.fedoraproject.org with Sijis Aviles and Jef van Schendel and need to get back to it quickly. 🙂 The Fedora Board is now fully on its new schedule. What this means, exactly: Every Monday, the Board will meet via phone at 2 PM Eastern time. Every other Friday (starting with this Friday), the Board will hold a public ‘office hours’ style questions & answers session in #fedora-board-meeting at 2 PM Eastern time. So, the Board is meeting more frequently, which I think is a good thing for Fedora overall. This blog post is going to summarize two board meetings: the 27 Sep 2010 Board phone meeting, and today’s public IRC meeting. Fedora Board Meeting 27 September 2010 Full meeting minutes: http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Meeting:Board_meeting_2010-09-27 Meeting thread on advisory-board-list: http://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/advisory-board/2010-September/009306.html The Board for the past two months or so has been working to put together a solid vision statement for Fedora, to help guide what we do. It hasn’t been an easy road, but this meeting was our deadline to have a draft statement so the task dominated this meeting. We happily came to agreement on …

You must be this tall to ride: __

I believe that Fedora and Linux in general need to reach and inspire a wider set of users. Free software affords us so many benefits we should strive to share, but there’s still a formidable bar in technical skill required to realize those benefits. What can we do to help expand the reach of free software? One way is to teach! I’ve taught free software to kids and it was an amazing experience (and I have another Red Hat-sponsored project involving teaching kids how to use free software in the works that I’m excited to talk about in detail soon!) Although interacting with a group of kids or adults in person and teaching them about what free software can do is vitally important, I am afraid it’s not entirely scalable. It’s also entirely bending the user to the software itself, without at all bending the software towards the user. “Yeah, it works a little weird there, here’s a clunky workflow for getting around that” is the sort of phrase I end up using a lot of times while teaching others how to use free software. I am concerned that bending users to the software, and not bending the software to …