GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/23 September) — Free software advocate Software Freedom International (SFI) feted a group of public high school students in Koronadal City in South Cotabato for its continuing efforts in promoting the adoption and use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in the area.
The SFI board specifically recognized the Koronadal National Comprehensive High School’s FOSS Society or KNFOSS as one of the three “highly recommended entries” out of the more than 1,000 teams worldwide that vied for the 2009 Best Software Freedom Day (SFD) Event
SFI made the announcement in time for the 2010 World Software Freedom Day celebration last September 18.
“This is a major achievement for our group. We never expected or aimed for any recognition when we decided to go out and share our experiences and learnings about FOSS to our community,” said KNFOSS’ 2009 SFD team leader Jan Louis Gazo.
Software Freedom Day or SFD is an annual celebration of free software advocacy that is presently observed in more than 100 countries worldwide.
SFI said the celebration, which was launched in 2004, aims to “educate the worldwide public about the benefits of using high quality FOSS in education, in government, at home and in business.”
SFI is a non-profit organization that coordinates SFD at the global level by providing support, giveaways and a point of collaboration for volunteer teams around the world that would organize local SFD events in their own communities.
This year’s SFD sponsors and partners include Canonical Lt., Google, Nokia-QT, Redhat, Linode, Markerbot Industries, Danish Unix User Group, Linux Magazine, Ubuntu User Magazine, Free Software Foundation and Free Software Foundation Europe.
SFI said the 2009 winners will get a Tux-Droid and a trophy as prizes while the highly commended entries will receive certificates.
For this year, it said, the prizes at stake are Open Source (GPL’ed) Makerbot 3D printers sponsored by Makerbot and the book Free Software Free Society: selected essays by Richard M. Stallman that is signed by the author.
Gazo said KNFOSS launched month-long activities in celebration of the SFD 2009, among them the FOSS sharing series among high school students and elementary pupils in two public schools in Koronadal City.
He said the group also sponsored a seminar series on video and photo editing, OpenOffice and personal computer or PC troubleshooting and installation using popular Linux operating system Ubuntu.
For this year, KNFOSS adviser Latreia Estabillo said they continued their FOSS sharing series last September 17 at the Bacongco and Saravia national high schools in Koronadal City.
Both schools are located in the outskirts of the city and among the city’s public schools that cater to students belonging to the B’laan tribe.
“It was a rewarding experience for us. We saw during the sharing sessions how much they missed from these available technologies mainly because of the lack of proper access and at the same time how eager and motivated they were to learn and adopt them,” she said.
Aside from the sharing sessions, she added that they’ve launched “FOSS raids” or random sharing sessions in selected classes within their school and scheduled a seminar for teachers on various open source applications in education. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)