Did you know that Richard Stallman was interviewed by Kim Hill on Saturday?  I missed it but ended up listening to the podcast yesterday.  It’s pretty interesting listening.  He covers a lot of topics including 911 “conspiracy” theories, airport security in the US and why he considers some kinds of electronic surveillance to be deeply disconcerting in terms of the way they put a lot of power into the hands of law enforcement (which the public then has to take on trust will not be exploited).  Pretty thought-provoking stuff.

His views are perhaps on the more extreme end of the range to my own but I think the basic principle of his arguments are sound.  Kim Hill however seemed quite annoyed with him, repeatedly accusing him of saying things he hadn’t and extrapolating wildly though I suppose it gave him the opportunity to clearly define what his specific view was on several things, but why so grumpy, Kim?  Another surprise is that he sounds a bit like Woody Allen (which is something that a fellow librarian pointed out, and I have to agree).

If you’re looking for a little background radio to listen to this afternoon, why not check out the podcast for yourself? It runs to just over 39 minutes and LIANZA Conference gets a mention (yay!).  I can’t wait to hear what he says in his keynote address.  I wager it’ll generate quite a lot of debate so make sure you get along to that one.  You don’t want to miss out on the “watercooler conversation” that’ll go on afterwards.


If you are all about Web 2 0r 3.0, the semantic web and all the fizz and buzz of new technology, applications and things Webby which Conference sessions will suit you?

Here’s a sampler to whet your appetite:

Richard Stallman: Copyright vs community in the age of computer networks

Talking to the world: using online identities for professional (and personal) communication

Brenda Chawner and Timothy Greig’s session takes on a real issue, identities and blurring the lines between the personal and the professional when it comes to identifying yourself (are colleagues your friends on Facebook? Do you use your real name?):

As … online social networks become more pervasive, people in professional positions increasingly find that their networks include family and friends, as well as colleagues.This blend of personal and professional communication in multiple channels presents them with both challenges and opportunities. Most importantly, it provides a way for them to engage with people outside their immediate circles, but it can also make it difficult for people to know the identity of individuals they communicate with.

Concurrent session 6A: Fully Web 2.0

Library2.0 in rural outposts: developing a digital presence – Michael Parry. This session explores how a small town library has entered the blogosphere http://tararualibrary.wordpress.com/

Implementing Web 2.0 – Paul Hayton. Dunedin Public Library engages with its community via Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, WordPress, Wikipedia and other web 2.0 stalwarts. They’ll talk about how they do it, and how you might like to do it in your library.

Web 2.OhMyGod to Web 2.OhNo – Douglas Campbell, Chelsea Hughes, Courtney Johnston, CJ Wells. This sounds like a ripper from the National Library:

Libraries have fully embraced Web 2.0. We’re blogging, MySpacing, Facebooking, Twittering, Flickring, Beboing and SecondLifing. We’re self-congratulatory. We finally did it! Or did we…? … It’s time to take a look back over the first wave to see how libraries have used and abused Web 2.0. We’ll expose the good, the bad and the ugly, with a view to self-improvement.


One of the coolest Twopointopy Things is LibraryThing, and Conference brings you the inimitable Tim Spalding on Social cataloguing – What it is, and what it means for libraries.

Sally Tweets

Sally Tweets

It may be presumptuous of me but I’m guessing of the seven illustrious keynote speakers attending this year’s conference that only one of them has written a pop song.  I could be wrong though.  See the video below for Richard Stallman’s effort praising the benefits of free software (for a somewhat less polished version you can also see the man himself singing acapella)

All together now… “You’ll be free, hackers.  You’ll be free”.  Well, it’s kind of catchy but I can’t see it making the top 40 can you?

I have to admit that when I first saw the photo of the following keynote speaker my immediate thought was “Now, that looks like an interesting guy…”

Richard Stallman photoRichard Stallman is an interesting guy.  Twenty-five years ago he launched the GNU operating system. GNU is free software: everyone has the freedom to copy it and redistribute it, as well as to make changes either large or small.  The GNU/Linux system, basically the GNU operating system with Linux added, is used on tens of millions of computers today.

Since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time in political advocacy for free software, and spreading the ethical ideas of the movement, as well as campaigning against both software patents and the extension of copyright laws. Before that, Stallman developed a number of widely used software components of the GNU system, including the original Emacs, the GNU Compiler Collection, the GNU symbolic debugger (gdb), GNU Emacs, and various other programs for the GNU operating system.

Stallman pioneered the concept of copyleft, and is the main author of the GNU General Public License, the most widely used free software license.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of, and philosophy behind, free software, Mr Stephen Fry provides a lovely summary in the video below, which was posted as a happy birthday to GNU.  It’s a rather good watch and I think that Mr Stallman’s ideas about freedom of knowledge and information will find a very receptive audience amongst library professionals.

“The tastiest operating system in the world…and it’s all free”.  Big ideas.  Exciting possibilities.