Archive for May 2006

The Euroscience Open Forum 2006 promises to bring science to the people

May 31, 2006

Euroscience Open Forum 2006 ( ESOF2006 ) will take place in Munich, Germany from July 15th to 19th, 2006. ESOF2006 is hosted by Wissenschaft im Dialog ( WiD ), a non-profit organisation founded by the most significant research funding organisations in Germany. WiD‚Äôs purpose is to promote interaction and dialogue between science and the general public. The impressive ESOF2006’s program includes sessions such as:

  1. Bringing science to the people
  2. European science policy: gloomy forecast vs. bright horizons
  3. The European Research Council: who are the movers and shakers?
  4. What do you expect from science?
  5. Green chemistry: a tool for socio-economic development and environmental protection
  6. The story tellers of science: architects of culture?
  7. Open Access: threat or blessing?
  8. Standing on the shoulders of giants: mentor-inspired genius
  9. Quality science journalism: is a new style needed?

The full programme is available at



Venezuela started a National Plan of Technological Alphabetization in free software

May 30, 2006

Last week, the Venezuelan National Center of Information Technologies (CNTI) began a National Plan of Technological Alphabetization in free software to train 864 Attendants from 330 Infocentros (Public Computer Centres) located in all the country. The training program includes introductory courses on free and open source software. The lectures will take place at the Infocentros and the Computer Labs of the Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela (UBV). In a near future, the training program will be extended to the general public.


Designing Spreadsheets with OpenOffice Calc (Part I)

May 29, 2006



  1. Spreadsheet: file
  2. Cell: location that can contain information. Defined by rows and columns
  3. Constant value: data typed directly
  4. Formula: sequence of values, cell references, names, functions, or operators that produce a new value from existing values

Before starting this session, I have two administrative points to cover:

  1. Once you click on a topic, you have to click the “Go Back” button in your browser to return to this Blog
  2. Topics 2 though 13 will link to the website over which I do not have any control

Now, we can start this session on Designing Spreadsheets with OpenOffice Calc (Part I).

Today’s topics:

  1. Learning the parts of the screen
  2. Entering data
  3. Selecting items
  4. Adding/deleting rows and columns
  5. Saving your work
  6. Creating a new color
  7. Changing the cell background color
  8. Formatting text
  9. Changing the cell alignment
  10. Rotating text
  11. Optimizing row/column size
  12. Freezing column/row headings
  13. Hiding/showing rows/columns

To learn more:


Marcel Gagn√© reports on the Calgary LinuxFest 2006

May 28, 2006

I know it has been three weeks since the LinuxFest but I thought it would be nice to post a link to Marcel Gagn√©‘s (Canada’s Linux Guru) comments on the event.

The post is available ‚Äúhere‚ÄĚ

Some pictures of the event are available at Shawn Grover’s blog

If you want to read again my comments on the event, you can check this post

Finally, for those interested in podcasting, Jon Watson made the audio of his talk available at


Free Software and Proprietary Software cause a face-off in a meeting of the National Assembly

May 28, 2006

This is one of the headlines of the First page the Venezuelan Newspaper “El Mundo” on its edition of May 23, 2006. The article refers to a discussion between the Member of Parliament, Luis Tascon, and the Ex-Minister of Planning, Felipe Perez Marti during the re-drafting of the Venezuelan Information Technology Bill. The discussion was caused by disagreements in the content of Article 75 (the one that originally said that the Public Administration would use preferible Free and Open Source Software F/OSS). While Felipe Perez Marti and other advocates of F/OSS argued that the Law should give preference to the use of F/OSS because it would allow Venezuela to achieve technological independence, the advocates of proprietary software and Luis Tascon alleged that the Law should be neutral to allow all users to benefit from using proprietary software. The future of the Bill is uncertain as there are some groups interesting in halting the discussion and re-drafting a new Bill from Scratch.

More information


The first ‚ÄúVenezuelan Free Software Documentary‚ÄĚ was released

May 27, 2006

The documentary ‚ÄúSoftware Libre: Cap√≠tulo Venezuela‚ÄĚ (Free Software: Venezuelan Chapter) was released to the Internet this month. The film is under the Public Domain, allowing anyone to download, modify and distribute it. The 26-minute film is ‚Äúthe first Free Software Documentary‚ÄĚ made in Venezuela.

Logo Ministry of CultureThe project was produced by the Venezuelan Ministry of Culture under the direction of Andrea Colorado. In a language suitable for a general audience, the film tells what free software is and why it is important for Venezuela. For instance, the film mentions:

* how translating a new Linux distribution and Open Office to one of the Venezuelan Native People dialect will help them preserve their cultural heritage;

* how free and open source software will be used to avoid situations like what happened during the Oil Strike in 2002-2003 in which personnel of a consulting company that joined the strike used back door access to PDVSA‘s intranet to halt the Venezuelan oil production;

* how elementary school students are unleashing their potential with the help of Linux and free and open source software; and

FLISOL* how the free and open source software community is taking free and open source software to the general public through Linux installation festivals like the FLISOL (Latin America Free Software Installation Festival).

You can download the movie from any of these mirrors:


Introduction to Open Access

May 26, 2006

What is it?

Call for free, unrestricted access on the public Internet to the literature that scholars give to the world without expectation of payment.


Widen dissemination, accelerate research, enrich education, share learning among rich & poor nations, enhance return on taxpayer investment in research.


Use existing funds to pay for dissemination, not access.

David Prosser

The previous text was taken from the presentation "Open Access Initiatives in Europe" that David Prosser, SPARC Europe Director, made at the UNICA Seminar 2006 – Trends in Education and Research: Developing Skills and Communication across Europe. The Seminar was held in Helsinki on 18 – 19 May, 2006. Other presentations include:

  • Cristóbal Pasadas Ureña: "Information literacy developments in Southern European countries"
  • Christina Tovoté: "Information literacy and libraries in Scandinavia and worldwide"
  • Antonio Fantoni: "Making the strategic case for institutional repositories in universities"
  • Bo-Christer Björk: "The economics of open access publishing"
  • Robert Terry: "Accessing the research literature – a funder's perspective"
  • Nicole Dewandre: "Policy issues: report on the EC study of scientific publication markets in Europe, and next steps"

For more information and to access all the presentations, visit the Website of the UNICA Seminar 2006