SpinachCon Wants You: To Help Make Free Software Better
Do you ever wish the free software was just a little bit better? As a longtime free software advocate, I certainly have had this thought many times. Sometimes nothing can be done because a particular feature is patent-encumbered, but sometimes clear user feedback is all that's needed. Enter SpinachCon -- it's a hackfest for users. The idea is that sometimes free software "has a little spinach in it's teeth" and it needs it's friends to let it know in a friendly way. People try the software, answer a few questions and get a free lunch in return.
I'm the Community Manager for MediaGoblin, a free software media publishing platform that anyone can run. You can think of it as a decentralized alternative to Flickr, YouTube, SoundCloud, etc. Like many small and medium free software projects, we rely on volunteers to fill in the gaps where a larger project would just hire someone. We're not at all opposed to paying more people to work on MediaGoblin. (See our in progress funding campaign http://www.mediagoblin.org/pages/campaign.html ...we would love, love, love to hire more people!) But before we can hire UX experts, we still need to improve our current user experience so we're particpating in the first SpinachCon.
SpinachCon is happening at a local Cambridge makerspace called Industry Lab (http://industry-lab.com/) on Friday, March 21st. MediaGoblin will be joined by Hyperkitty -- a user-facing Mailman application, Inkscape -- fantastic vector graphics editor (http://www.inkscape.org/en/) and LibreOffice -- a free office suite (https://www.libreoffice.org/). We'll be welcoming locals and folks who are in town early for LibrePlanet (https://libreplanet.org/2014/), the Free Software Foundation's annual conference, to start their weekend off with a nice, easy way to contribute to making free software more awesome. Pizza will be provided by our sponsor, the Open Invention Network, (http://www.openinventionnetwork.com).
About the Organizer
Deb Nicholson wants to make the world a better place with technology and social justice for all. After many years of local political organizing, she started handling outreach for the Free Software Foundation and became an enthusiastic free software activist. She likes talking to developers about software patents, to project maintainers about leadership and to activists about free software. She is currently the Community Outreach Director at the Open Invention Network and the Community Manager at GNU MediaGoblin. She also serves on the board at Open Hatch, a.k.a. Free Software's Welcoming Committee. She lives with her husband in Cambridge, Massachusetts -- surrounded by a community of food nerds and noisy musicians.