free software promotion and local status

Paul Sutton zleap at
Mon May 6 17:34:03 UTC 2019

Further to this,  I think this morning (6/5/2019) on BBC breakfast there
was an article with regard to a company, in Sheffield, UK who were so
fed up with the lack of skills they are setting up their own training
academy so they can develop the skills they need.

In light of this,  would it be worth setting up something like
fsfe-education, so that we can discuss, co-ordinate with other free
software projects, Debian, Mint, document foundation, apache, gitlab,
learning machine (ok they are a training provider), LPI, RedHat etc and
many others and see if we can find a way to help people develop the
skills that industry really want and value.

Perhaps also working with employers,  and initiatives such as google
summer of code, outreachy, (to promote to hard to reach and
under-represented groups) and others they can help provide paid
internships,   where as,  as projects we can give people a good
grounding in how to contribute to development, be it writing, testing,
reporting issues, documenting software.  There is now Google Season of
Documentation to do the latter.

What we also need to do is stand up for these skills,  If I can type a
report does it matter if I use, libreoffice, or LaTeX,  and others use
Docx (other that the latter being at the mercy of Microsoft in 5, 10 or
15 years time) Surely the content and how it is written is important.

Perhaps, if we go it alone, we as a community write free software as a
collaborative effort, If we encourage people to contribute to free
software it should be something you can put on your CV / Resume and have
it count for something.

I am already on IRC for Debian and the Debian-users list so part of my
contribution could be to just carry on as I am doing,  helping people,
answering questions etc.

I am dis-illusioned with part of Adult education not really providing
the same opportunities as those offered to other age groups,  in the UK
there seems to be help for young people up to 25,  help for over 50's
but nothing for very very little for those in between, who maybe those
leaving the forces, career changers, people returning after having had
children and many others.

What we do needs to be open to ALL ages,  do that and we become
properly inclusive and leave others behind.

Just a thought,


On 06/05/2019 13:41, Paul Sutton wrote:
> Hi
> On of the digital skills sites is I think th
> e issue with these digital unite et al is lack of volunteers who are the
> digital champions with these skills to share them.
> It needs education on open standards,  but the argument is that everyone
> uses MS word, and closed software as it seen as 'standard'.  Sites
> suchas learnmyway also cover how to use facebook,  and make no mentionof
> privacy aware social media.
> While we can make an argument to them for using open standards, we can
> perhaps spend our time teaching via the Internet,
> Within the free software community there is some 'mentoring' such as
> within Debian, I have requested this as I need to learn packaging.
> I also feel that here is also an emphasis, in our communities, on self
> learning, self research, having a go rather than simply asking (or in
> some cases demanding help).  An expectation to search before asking.
> If we perhaps offered something similar to debian-mentoring but for
> general free software, sign post people to similar help and within that
> discussion promote people like the learning machine, and once we have
> 'educated' our way, with the passion we have for this,  as this has to
> come from the heart, and not from the fact you are being paid to do it.
> End goal would perhaps be to teach people how to contribute in an
> effective way
> All this can be done via e-mail, and may have the effect of producing
> people who then go to digitial unite , learn my way to either be digital
> champions with free software skills or ask for more help in these skills
> which will create the demand that way.
> I need help with packaging, using tools like git, github,
> properly,  local providers are not going to do this,
> until there is a demand.
> What is also needed is recognition that these skills are useful, we in
> the community don't need a qualification to prove our skills, we learn
> and help each other and recognize each others skills.
> Just a thought, I can try and convince people to offer training in libre
> office but one person won't make any difference.
> Paul
> On 06/05/2019 09:04, Bernhard E. Reiter wrote:
>> Hi Paul,
>> thanks for sharing your experiences!
>> Helping others to understand Free Software is an ongoing task
>> and it needs wit and patience. :)
>> Am Freitag 03 Mai 2019 13:01:52 schrieb Paul Sutton:
>>> I tried to approach people such as digital unite in the UK, who are
>>> working to bridge the digital divide by developing digital skills.
>> That is I guess.
>>> They work on a set curriculum on how to use digital kit, use the
>>> Internet, use e-mail, social media etc,  and this is set by people above
>>> them and funded by government.
>> One of the next step can be to find out who has an influence
>> about what is taught and then start reasoning with them.
>> (There is quite a bit of evidence that teaching skill with and for Free 
>> Software products is better. Maybe some of this can be used to argu the 
>> point.)
>> Best Regards,
>> Bernhard
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Paul Sutton
Twitter : @zleap2018
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