AOP 2008: Free and Open Source in Finland

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tero Kuusela Turuxi-vastaava, Linux-Aktivaattori ry

Turuxi is the local Free and Open Source user group in the general area of Turku, Finland. We function as a working group of a nationwide non-profit organization Linux-Aktivaattori ry (in Finnish).

As one of the most active FOSS groups in Finland, Turuxi's mailing list now has 56 subscribers. Our monthly meetings are regularly attended by 6-15 people depending on the topic. The topics cover a wide range of FOSS-related -- and unrelated -- stuff.

Perhaps the most visible part of Turuxi's activity has been event-organizing. After our first event -- a local gathering to celebrate Debian's 10th birthday -- soon after the group was founded, we've been organizing several small events. And since 2003, we have also held yearly a larger event called "Avoimien ohjelmien päivä" (AOP for short). The name can be roughly translated as "Open Source Software Day", but in Finnish it's also a play on words about free and open attendance.

The theme of this year's AOP (in Finnish) was "FOSS in professional use". The schedule was built around four presentations (some of the links in Finnish only):

  • Arto Teräs introduced the many faces of Linux from mobile devices to supercomputers (slides available in english)

  • Asmo Koskinen gave a presentation about the Edubuntu project

  • Teemu Välimäki explained the economical and ethical benefits of FOSS to businesses

  • Tommi Virtanen discussed developing for embedded Linux

In addition, there were lightning talks about various topics. And of course the 11 booths, where people from various Finnish community and business groups had many interesting discussions with our visitors and each other.

We had secured a very nice place for the event -- the common ICT-building of 3 universities of Turku. We were thus hoping for a good student attendance, but unfortunately we got a murky day with some sleet which crushed those dreams. Most of our about 60 visitors ended up being FOSS users from other cities around Finland and not many fresh faces from Turku had decided to battle the weather.

Google supported AOP 2008 as our first ever international sponsor. Our visitors were clearly glad of the fact, since the nice handouts sent by Google ended up being the most coveted in the event. They even sent something special for female visitors, since this year's event coincided with the International Women's Day :)

We were pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm Google's Open Source team showed to support our small group's modest event. Encouraged by this experience, we're looking forward to making AOP 2009 even better -- with hopefully even stronger involvement from our new friends at Google.