Sat, 15 Oct 2022
I wanted to write about my experience with LibrePlanet, and what the theme "Charting the Course" means for me.
The FSF's annual LibrePlanet conference is coming up in March. I read that this will be a hybrid of in-person and online. I enjoyed the ones that were held virtually. However, the LibreAdventure part made it even better. That made it feel much more like an in-person conference where you could walk around and talk to other people directly. I hope that the FSF continues to use it for the 2023 meeting.
The first LibrePlanet conference I went to was in March 2010. I arrived early to volunteer at the FSF office to help out. I don't recall what I did, only that it had something to do with the lunch tickets. I found the FSF staff to be quite friendly and welcoming, even getting together in the conference room to talk during lunch.
The conference was at the Harvard University Science Center. It lasted for three days, and I was impressed with the entire thing. For me, I was able to meet many people in person that I'd only read about or spoken with online. Purely as one example, I remember meeting Richard Stallman for the first time. I was standing near the registration desk, with my back to it. Then, behind me, I heard a voice ask the registration desk staff where the GNU Hackers Meeting was held. Before this, I'd only watched RMS's recorded talks, but I recognized the voice and turned around to meet him.
The activity during the conference was non-stop: I'd get up for the meetings in the morning, which would begin at 9, go to talks and socialize with people throughout. After it was over for the day, things kept going full steam. I would break off with people to continue mixing and hacking, often until 2am, when I started to feel exhausted from running non-stop all day. I was one of the founding people of the LibreWRT project, which was formed during one of these nightly hacking sessions (later merged into libreCMC). This provided just enough time to get back to the hotel to sleep for perhaps 5 or 6 hours before getting up the next day and doing it all over again. I was exhausted but happy.
I've continued attending LibrePlanet and found it a great way to recharge my free software batteries each year.
The theme for the 2023 conference is "Charting the Course," which, for me, reflects on the status of the free software movement. We're at the forefront of figuring this out and determining the best course to take for the advancement of software freedom. If we have our feet on the ground and look forward to the future, we can figure out how to best advance the cause.
I look forward to attending in person and hope to see you there.
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