Because we planned a smaller event, we chose a smaller venue than in previous years. With only a single track of talks, it was clear we could find a suitable lecture hall at many of the universities and colleges in the Boston area. For us, Bunker Hill Community College proved ideal for our needs. Minutes from the heart of downtown Boston and so close to the subway system that it has its own station, BHCC features prominently in the movie Good Will Hunting in the office of Robin Williams's character.
The event kicked off with a welcome from our newly appointed executive director John Sullivan, who listed some of the things he'd like to achieve now that he's running the show: better access to the people running the organization and an increased focus on our campaigns work. This was followed by a talk from Brett Smith about the work of the GPL Compliance Lab. The Compliance Lab is responsible for resolving license violations that involve GNU software. Brett acts as the liaison between the FSF and its attorneys at the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) in New York City.
With the first two FSF talks out of the way, it was time for an outside perspective. This came from conference regular Máirín Duffy, who works on the Fedora distribution of GNU/Linux. Her talk Empowering Girl Scouts using free software described a collaborative effort to teach groups of Girl Scouts and other young people in Massachusetts how to use free creative software like GIMP and Inkscape. The children made a variety of creative works, including t-shirts and posters, which were later printed and put on display.
After lunch, Richard Stallman gave his keynote speech. Unlike previous years, he did not announce a new philosophical essay, but instead offered a warning about the dangers of cell phone tracking and proprietary software on mobile devices. There was positive news to report in this space: the Replicant project has successfully built a fully free, functional version of the Android/Linux operating system for the HTC Dream phone.
Lightning talks followed. Bob Call, Jason Self, Asheesh Laroia, Mary-Anne Wolf, and Dave Crossland offered short but sweet insights into their work on router hacking, Python advocacy, real-world accessibility for disabled people, and free fonts.
The conference concluded with our annual Free Software Awards ceremony. GNU Gnash maintainer and GNU veteran Rob Savoye received the Award for the Advancement of Free Software, while Andrew Lewman from the Tor Project stepped up to take home the Award for Projects of Social Benefit.