Day four: The results

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On the last day the technical and public parts of the conference were merged together - it was time for every topic to present a summary of work done at the meeting and tell about future plans.
The main auditorium There was still one longer speech reserved for the final day: Richard Stallman's story about the GNU project. As most of the public talks this was also given in French, to many people's surprise he didn't need a translator. The drawback was that a number of foreigners couldn't understand, compromises are always difficult to make. Advertizing could perhaps have been more visible to attract more people, there were still a lot of empty chairs in the main auditorium.
Saint IGNUcius Saint IGNUcius gave us the pleasure to hear the Free Software Song in French!
There were two topics that different from all others completely: Libre software and development and Libre software for the blind and visually impaired. The first one resulted in probably one of the biggest achievements of the whole conference: the African Association of the Users of Libre Software, an organization to promote technological cooperation and the use of free software in Africa. The new association will organise conferences and training sessions, establish contacts with other associations in the world and coordinate efforts to solve the specific problems of Africa. As Pierre Jarillon said, free software allows all people in all countries to be actors, not only consumers.
Jan Buchal giving his summary Jan Buchal told that the topic for visually impaired didn't attract a very big audience, but he certainly made us think about the matter by simply being present at the meeting. There are projects currently developing libraries to facilitate making existing and future programs accessible also to blind people.
It was nice to hear the summaries of all the topics, many had established new relationships and attracted new people to take part in discussions and development. Especially the education topic leaders mentioned that the demand for information and practical demonstrations had been very high, on top of the planned program they had organized several additional sessions. It was a general consensus that the meeting had been successful.
Gilles Savary, Pierre Jarillon The closing words were said by the European Union parliament member Gilles Savary. He gave credit to the achievements of this particular meeting and the free software community in general. He also invited the free software developers to take part in decisionmaking by coming to the EU parliament and tell the representatives about their views.
Gilles was also concerned about the current hot topic in Europe, software patents. The possibility to acquire patents for obvious software techniques like has happened in the United States would clearly be harmful to innovation and general progress in the software industry. Savary promised to make his best that this view is also heard in the parliament when discussing proposed changes in the law. See the full transcript.
Invitation, next year again! Francois Pellegrini and Pierre Jarillon had the pleasure the reveal the last slide. Now it's over, but we'll make it even better next year!
Snacks and drinks But hey, the event just couldn't be properly closed at the auditorium: Bordeaux wine completed the French way to do it right.

Day five: The surroundings

Saturday was the last day of the meeting, but as my train wasn't leaving until Sunday evening I eventually had some time to see the region, too.

Climbing over the gate The adventure started already in the morning. The campus restaurant was closed so we went hunting for breakfast outside. Somebody had decided to close the side gate, but technical problems are easy to solve... (Didn't help though, as the nearby cafeteria and all the shops were also closed.)
The waves left their bubbles like soap on the sand The Atlantic Ocean. The weather wasn't particularly good for a beach day, but I and Mark Wielaard made a full day trip to Arcachon before falling into deep sleep in the night train back home. Happy hacking, see you next year!
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Copyright Arto Teräs <> 2000.
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Last update 23.05.2002.