• strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /var/www/freeasinkittens.com/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /var/www/freeasinkittens.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /var/www/freeasinkittens.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /var/www/freeasinkittens.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_node_status::operator_form() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::operator_form(&$form, &$form_state) in /var/www/freeasinkittens.com/sites/all/modules/views/modules/node/views_handler_filter_node_status.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /var/www/freeasinkittens.com/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /var/www/freeasinkittens.com/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /var/www/freeasinkittens.com/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /var/www/freeasinkittens.com/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 0.

Drupalcamp, How to and Q & A

Mar 6 2009 3:00 pm
Mar 6 2009 4:00 pm

Curious what it takes to run a Drupalcamp? Drupalcamp organizers from the U.S, Europe and around are gathering to discuss what it takes to run a drupalcamp as well as tips, tricks and best practices. We'll cover topics such as costs, venue choices, and how to find your audience. You'll leave this session with the knowledge and tools to hold a successful Drupalcamp.

Presented by:
Eric Goldhagen
Jacob Redding
Crystal Williams
Greg Knaddison
Chris Charlton
Blake Hall


Washington DC Convention Center DC
United States

Free Software, Drupal, and Kittens

This past Saturday was the 7th NYC Drupal Camp, and apparently something I said started a little bit of a twit-storm.

As part of the introduction to the event, I was asked to give a quick introduction to Open Source/Free Software. I've given similar presentations at many of the past camps and other conferences, and it was a busy week so I did not really prepare as well as I should have so I improvised a bit more than I usually do.

I pulled out one of my earlier presentations and gave the fastest possible history of the GPL, Free Software and the relationship between the copyleft nature of the GPL sofware license and the community-centric development process of a tool like Drupal.

Along the way I babbled about how participation in use of and development of Free Software tools is in itself a political act. Our agreement to be bound by the license and to return our modifications to the community -- a community that in traditional economic perspective includes one's competition -- is a radical act that in many ways is building a new cooperative economic model within the rotting corpse of free-market Capitalism.

I love Drupal Camp, it's not often I get to say "the rotting corpse of free-market Capitalism" to a crowded room of people.

In order to explain the use of the word free in the context of Free Software -- to get past the non-specific meaning of free in english -- often the phrase "Free as in Speech" is used to make it clear that even though most Free Software is also "Free as in Beer" we're talking about the rights the license protects more than the cost.

A while back, I had read an article and a blog post by a librarian, Karen Schneider, where she discussed Open Source/Free Software and compared Free Software to kittens.

“But how do I maintain it?” is another reasonable concern of librarians. Sure, OSS doesn’t cost, but that’s free as in "free kittens." Like all software, open source products require maintenance by knowledgable staff.

So, inspired by Karen's writing, I opted to use the phrase "Free as in Kittens"

This got tweeted and re-tweeted and I wanted to make sure that credit for the idea went to the right person.

For those that asked me to give the exact quote from my presentation, here it is as close as I can get based on my notes and memory: Free Software is Free as in kittens -- you can have it but you need to take care of it, nurture it, and clean out its litter box. Drupal is one of those cute kittens, it's free but you have to take care of it and maintain it, and if you do it won't shit all over your server.

Nice turn of phrase!

I'll have to remember that one.

A recent article of mine

A recent article of mine also references Karen's quote: http://rc98.net/kitteh.

the un is not optional, or the gentrification of drupal

I had an amazingly frustrating debate today on the NYC DrupalCamp organizers mailing list.

It seems that there are a lot of people who come from very mainstream backgrounds that seem to think that they have the right to appropriate anything they want. They want to redefine terms and ideas because they feel a sense of entitlement. They don't intend harm, they think everyone thinks like them and can't imagine valid alternatives to what they believe. The end result is actions that tend to erase history and turn new ideas into the same old thing.

Slowly things move towards self-promotion and traditional models -- from being a unique process to being a brand name, from substance to slogan.

The specific in this case is use of the term "unconference." An unconference is a very specific thing. It is not simply another term for a small conference, there are specific things that are required for something to be considered an unconference -- just as there are 4 criteria for something to be considered Open Source/Free Software.

What distinguishes an unconference from a traditional conference is the way it is organized. It is all about how the schedule is made; it is about everyone showing up to participate; it is about breaking down distinction between student and teacher/attendee and presenter. It's about mirroring the community centric model in how it is organized, not just in who is organizing. If you organize an unconference, you are putting your trust in the power of the community. You are putting in effort to organize an event you do not fully control. That's the entire point -- amazing things happen when you put talented and curious people in the same room with each other.

To paraphrase Kaliya Hamlin from Unconference.net, if the agenda or schedule is set ahead of time by a small group of organizers and not the day of the event by all the participants, it is not an unconference.

I've organized both, they each have their strength and weakness. I have no problem with people wanting to put their time into a more structured event, I do however find many problems with trying to appropriate the title Camp or Unconference.

For me, this feels like gentrification. Just as my neighborhood was slowly turned into a playground for rich youth who would rather eat at a chain like Papa John's instead of the local pizza shop, the same forces seem to be at work gentrifying the drupal software community. More and more, the community is dominated by people who want to talk about the business of drupal.

Somethings just can't be stopped, but some things can. Go ahead and organize a formal style conference, go ahead and put self-promotion and business ahead of community and collaboration, but DO NOT erase the history of what came before you. Drupal Camp is an unconference. An unconference is not pre-scheduled.

Just as the GPL is more interested in protecting the rights of the end-users of software over the "owner" than traditional licenses, unconference is more interested in the participants. I hope to do my best to keep it that way.

Today's photos


a wonderful drupal honor

At today's 10th NYC DrupalCamp, Ben Melancon gave me a copy of his new book, The Definitive Guide to Drupal 7. That would have been honor enough, but when I got home and saw how he signed it, I felt so honored I'm without words