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EC Dumps Open Source Conference 103

jaruz writes "MERIT is no longer organising the conference on the topic of Open Standards and Libre Software in Government at UNESCO Paris, November 24-26, 2003. Until now, MERIT was responsible for the logistics and through the FLOSSPOLS project, EC funding for the conference. This is now wholly withdrawn. They 'have taken this decision in consultation with the European Commission, whose support for this conference was earlier being provided through the proposed FLOSSPOLS project at MERIT.'"
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EC Dumps Open Source Conference

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  • MERIT still has their subscription to Forbes.
    • Or maybe MERIT has simply discovered a serious discrepancy between their diverse interests [unimaas.nl], and are now going after the money. Don't forget that the patent-loving side of the EU seriously despises the "open source posse". Also remember that the whole premise of Open Source in Government is a serious nightmare for companies throughout Europe. Barring a good and plausible explanation, I figure they were simply bought out.....
      • Not all companies... I for one work for a company that would love to see free software in all public organizations - especially if the configuration and support was done by us :]

        And we're not alone - from what I know, there are plenty of FS-companies in germany and some in the other EU countries too (hm, in my town in Sweden, I thenk there are 5 or so FS-based buissnesses).

        The only ones NOT wanting this are US companies like M$...
  • Why are they pulling support? If it's because they don't have the extra money, you can't really blame them. Same goes with lack of interest. But if this is some sort of anti OSS stance they are taking, then it's something to be concerned about.
  • Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tsa ( 15680 ) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:02AM (#7246935) Homepage
    Maybe it's good to check the links first before putting a story on /.. I could not find anything about the EC dumping this when I followed the link. I would expect it to be on the MERIT website! Therefore as far as I'm concerned this is an unconfirmed rumour and thus no news.
    • Participants of the conference have all received an e-mail with the announcement.
    • by Gerv ( 15179 )
      The reason there's no links is because the quoted text was an email (which everyone who signed up for the conference received.)

    • I submitted the same story - with the remark that said announcement (made by email to subscribers) hadn't made it to their website yet. Strange way of ending such an event though..

      Having said that, it could be a bizarrely accurate spam as I didn't trace the mail back ;-). =Ch=
  • The FLOSSPULLERS recently withdrew their BRIKNIT from this year's HoseCon. The resulting void has opened a gaping rip in the Plesk market.

  • Where from? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yanestra ( 526590 ) * on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:08AM (#7246954) Journal
    Where is this information from?
  • by dyfet ( 154716 ) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:25AM (#7247001) Homepage
    Last night I received notification from the director of MERIT at Maastricht that they had withdrawn participation from the conference. Prof. Soete also indicated that this decision was taken in "consultation" with the European Commision. However, this neither indicates whether it was the EC choice to withdraw, or that MERIT for other reasons choose to no longer sponser or act as an intermediary. In the latter case, perhaps the EC would find a different conduit for funding.

    Originally I had been asked to participate at this conference primarely to talk about recent work in developing free software solutions built around GNU Bayonne to enable e-government access for the blind. I knew they were having some type of difficulty with sponsorship and funding. I think it is unfortunate this happened, but I have seen no facts to indicate what precisely had gone wrong, although I am naturally curious.


  • I can not understand all these damn groups with funny Cryptic damn names.

    Can you story submitters please speak some damn english !

    DAMN == Don't Argue Mookie News.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    What is the future of Open Source and Free Software? I asked myself that very question because Open Source and Free Software is the most revolutionary movement today. It is changing everything.

    To answer this question I went to slashdot.org, this website, since slashdot is known across the internet when it comes to Open Source and Free Software. I read the stories and the comments. I read the comments at the -1 threshold because I wanted to read real people's opinions and knowledge on Open Source and F

  • I'm European, albeit not French. According to the site, "free/open source software [is] commonly referred to as Libre Software in Europe" - WTF? This is the first time I've seen the term used. I do know that the French are very scared of English words being too commonplace in their language, but this is ridicilous. They already use "software" in the phrase, what's so bad in saying "free" like the rest of the (English speaking, the site is in English anyway) net?
    • Re:Libre software? (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Libre software has been used for a number of years now, and not just in Europe (and certainly not limited to France). Every year there is a FLOSDAM conferencem where the "L" is for Libre :). There is (in France...) the annual Libre Software Meeting (three years now).

      "Free", in English, is confusing; does one mean free as in cost or free as in freedom? "Libre"/Livre (Spanish) has no such immediate ambiguity; although, since the Air France lavortories advertise themselves as "Libre" when available also, I
      • Re:Libre software? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheMidget ( 512188 )
        although, since the Air France lavortories advertise themselves as "Libre" when available also, I wonder if there is different overloaded meanings in French for that word

        "libre" = free as in speech, but also available (as in seats, meeting rooms, restrooms, parking spaces, timeslots, and yes, girls ...)

        "gratuit" = free as in beer

        If you see "gratuit" on a restroom door, you'd be in Belgium. Indeed, in Belgium most public restrooms charge a small admission fee, and it's worth pointing out if one doesn't

      • although, since the Air France lavortories advertise themselves as "Libre" when available also, I wonder if there is different overloaded meanings in French for that word :). Perhaps I should find myself an available (?Libre?) girl next time I am in Paris?!

        Checking my Larousse dictionnary, all connotations of the French "Libre" relate to freedom but the one you mention. This particular connotation applies to what is not busy or not held up by something/someone. This connotation could be translated by "

    • Re:Libre software? (Score:2, Informative)

      by fmjrey ( 618827 )
      I'm also European, and French, although I live in Belgium, lived in the UK and the US. This is not the first time I heard the term Free/Libre Software, and I also wondered why the word 'Libre'. I thought in the end that this wasn't such a bad thing: if the word 'Free' can be confusing in English, might as well find another word that removes the confusion, notably for those that do not understand English like native speakers.
      'Libre' in French only means free as in freedom and not free as in free beer. It is
      • Well, our friend the Anonymous Coward was probably submitting his answer [slashdot.org] while I started to write mine. In the end we can conclude that 'Libre' does not bear the same confusion in French and Spanish as the word 'Free' in English.
      • German is more fun. They also have two words: "frei" and "umsonst".

        "Frei" usually means free, as in speech, whereas "umsonst" (or sometimes, "gratis") means free as in beer.

        However there is one notable exception: Freibier!

        • Freibier is gratis? Hah, interesting.

          Why "umsonst" and not "kostenlos" though?
          • Why "umsonst" and not "kostenlos" though?

            To me, at least, "kostenlos" (literally: without cost) implies really not having any cost at all. That is not true even of most free software: While you have to pay nothing to obtain the software, you still have to administer it, and that costs you. So kostenlos would be TCO==0.

      • We could translate it as "liberated software", except that sounds like either it's been looted, or it's burned its bra.

        But "libre software" is just clunky. How about "software libre", or even "software libre!" - preferably accompanied with a rum and coke?
    • I've come across this several times in English sites; there's nothing new here (I thought when I first saw it). The English language is full of foreign words that were absorbed into the language when there didn't exist a native equivalent.

      Most Americans already know that the Spanish word "gratis" (no cost) would translate into English as free. Funny that became better known before "libre", the Spanish word (and probably other romance languages) for "free as in freedom" that would unfortunately also just
  • Wasn't that the followup to the BUTTCHEZ Program?
  • This could be about the corruption they have in the commission? They blamed it on the workers, but surely the commissioner should take the blame on himself, like ministers does it in our governments (well, mostly). Maybe they are affraid of using any money at the moment, because of this event lately.

    BTW, typically the EU never tell what particular institution that pays for a project ... this is a first for me (could be wrong, though)
  • EU involvement in Open Source is like your mother-in-law taking a keen interest in your pornography collection.

    The European institutions are about throwing large amounts of money at people who's only real skill is to be good candidates for large subsidies. I once spent a day in Luxembourg getting information on various EU projects for IT research and development. _Never_ _again_.

    Large sums of money, or even the remote promises of large sums of money, do not produce good software nor do they promote good
    • Re:Good thing (Score:4, Interesting)

      by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @05:44AM (#7247381) Journal
      The European institutions are about throwing large amounts of money at people who's only real skill is to be good candidates for large subsidies.
      Wrong! The candidates for subsidies don't even need that skill. An acquaintance of mine works for a consulting firm, which has the sole purpose of leeching as much subsidies as possible out of the EU and Holland for their clients. Apparently it's good business: these people work in posh offices and drive in very nice cars.

      But you're right, certain people have come to believe that it's their god-given right to live on public largesse. Others take a more cynical approach and commit blatant fraud to get these subsidies. It's not hard: set up a firm to research, well, cold fusion for instance, and get the inevitable subsidy. Spend lavish amounts of cash on equipment and consultants' fees, which of course you purchase through your other firm (or a friends', if you're careful). When people start expecting results from your research, declare the whole thing a failure and file for bankruptcy. Then start all over again. It's easy and low-risk.

      The heart of the problem is lack of oversight of all these EU committies and bureaus, which leads to a tendency for these bodies to bloat and increase their span of control. One way of doing that is, yes, increasing your budget and extending the range of causes you spend it on. The USA has the same problems, though to a lesser extend. Read P.J. O'Rourke if you don't believe me.
    • Large sums of money, or even the remote promises of large sums of money, do not produce good software nor do they promote good practice.

      Wow. Those are probably the most insightful words I have yet to read on this site. Thumbs up.

  • This is typical of about 60% of current project funded ventures...This has nothing to do with being good or bad. This has got to do with the current situation facing Eurostat, the Commission's statistic department. Turns out that some rather high paid officials have been pocketing funds, I think in the region of a million Euro or so. However, it goes deeper. Apparently there are companies being paid to do work that is never done (which happened to be owned or linked to said important officials).

    Anyway, poi

  • It hasn't been the EC for some time, it's the EU (European Union) now. Before that it was the EC, further back the EEC and probably something else even further back.
    • Indeed, before the EEC it was the ECSC ;)
    • by Malc ( 1751 )
      It had me confused for a while. It's been years since it was called the EC. I was looking around the web sites for a while trying to figure out what EC stood for before it finally dawned on me. People shouldn't be so lazy - names should typed out in full before introducing an abbreviation. Oh well, this is /. and writing quality is low on the list of priorities.
  • MERIT now organizes a conference for the patent lobby [unimaas.nl] (patent lawyer interest groups)!!

    [ EPIP 2 ] Copyright and database protection, patents and research tools, and other challenges to the intellectual property system

    Maastricht, November 24-25

    On November 24 and 25 of this year a conference will be held at MERIT in Maastricht on the topic "Copyright and database protection, patents andresearch tools, and other challenges to the intellectual property system". This is the second meeting of the EPIP (Europ
  • Euros are finally getting on the bus with Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush.

    This happened the same week that France and Germany voted in the UN Security Council to approve of US rule in Iraq.

    Now Freedom Fries can go back to being called "pommes (de terre) frites" and French Fries.

    No more anthrax in Le Gare du Nord, they hope!
  • the conference is wholly without MERIT


Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!