It was only 7 days of AsiaSource3, but a month of my life was consumed in it, what with all the little preparations and mostly post-camp events accounted for. Not that I’m complaining. After a weeklong stay at IIRR, the small camp site in Silang was deserted. But it doesn’t end there. Blog entries and pictures were posted, facebook friends were added, and a community was formed.
While everyone has gone back to their own jobs and lives (and geekery), I am here – stuck in the moment – and just about to write my own entry. (I may just be a big procrastinator, but I’m justifying it as a perfect timing while the hype is starting to subside.) AS3 is perhaps one of the most remarkable events I had as a FOSS advocate and a systems engineer. It was – in all its glory – the opposite of what you call a Conference. It was an unconventionally set-up camp. What makes it more unique is that everything is spontaneous, free, and open!
What is Asia Source 3?
Asia Source 3 is a gathering of FOSS advocates and enthusiasts (beginners and experts alike) from NGOs, SMEs, academe, and private sectors all over Asia. It was a six day hands-on open source camp held in Silang, Cavite, Philippines aimed at building Open Source IT-skills from November 7 to 12, 2009.
The camp’s theme is “Building Capacities and Empowering Humanity through the use of Free and Open Source Software to connect, cooperate, and collaborate – the FOSS way.” True to word, the atmosphere is not of a typical classroom setting. The approach emphasizes cooperation by allowing the participants to flexibly shape the topics and pace of all tracks. It also fosters the spirit of collaboration by giving participants the opportunity to share their knowledge through afternoon elective sessions.
The success of the camp was largely attributed to its organizers. Asia Source 3 was jointly organized by UNDP’s International Open Source Network (UNDP-IOSN) through its ASEAN+3 Centre of Excellence (Philippines) and InWEnt – Capacity Building International (Germany) together with the Tactical Technology Collective (Netherlands), Aspiration (USA) and The Centre for Internet and Society (India). Funders include the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ), the ASEAN Foundation and the Open Society Institute. Much thanks to all of them.
There were four tracks wherein the participants are allowed to choose from, each one being equally as interesting.
Track 1: Managing Your Information (facilitators: Dom, Sam, and Handoko)
Track 2: Migrating to F/OSS (facilitators: Tomas, Jace, and Sree)
Track 3: Broadcasting Your Information (facilitators: Allan, Cheekay, and Clair)
Track 4: Joining the F/OSS Community or Using F/OSS Tools (facilitators: Mifan and Johan)
In the mornings, each track is expected to do a Report Back. Whoever says geeks are not creative should be ashamed of themselves once they see the report backs. Each track did very creative ways of relaying their days worth of lesson to everyone. It was quite competitive too, as everybody took it seriously. And I mean seriously!
I was in Track3, the best track ever! (…and everybody says that about his own track…)
The fun never stops after a week of learning and collaborating. To keep in contact and build strong ties post-camp, a community site (started as a project of Track4) was put up on the web. The wiki site, updated with all the discussions and sessions throughout the camp, was also made available for the public. Check on the ff. links.
Community Page: http://www.as3community.iosnasean.net/
Overall, AsiaSource3 was a great experience for me. Beyond the FOSS culture and the camaraderie developed among us are the fun times (READ: evening parties, tours, Gunner’s morning song, Babul’s spicy treats, track5 and more track5!) and the best memories to keep — and share — from the 150
delegates friends I met.
FOSS is fun! Keep it open! Looking forward to AsiaSource4, hmm.. XD