The Association for Free Software

AFFS Annual Conference

The first AFFS Annual Conference took place at Aston University on Saturday 17 May 2003. Doors opened at 1015 and the event ran until 5pm. It was an all-ticket event, but tickets were free to members and membership applicants (fee then 10 pounds).

Talks Programme

The conference was a single-track conference with short breaks for refreshments and discussion during the day. The programme is shown below. It was reported in Aston Aspects and you can read Brian Gough's AFFSAC Report.

AFFS Conference Schedule
1015 Doors open; coffee, posters and chat
1100 Session 1: System: Chaired by Brian Gough
Jason Clifford
Running an ISP using Free Software
Alasdair G Kergon
1155 Session 2: Sound: Chaired by MJ Ray
Bob Ham
Free audio software in the recording studio
Introduces the linux audio developers community. Describes the key concepts of digital audio workstations, how the proprietary software world implements them and what software developers in the linux audio community are doing to match it. [ and produce free software that already has the professional recording world pricking its ears. ]
Richard Bown
Rosegarden - music software for everyone
Approaching its 1.0 release this summer, Rosegarden-4 is the latest installment of this long-running free software project that delivers easy to use, quality software for composing, recording and mixing music. Bedroom musicians, schools, community centres and studios can all now benefit from using free, legal, well supported music software that puts users first and means that making music on your computer is easier for everyone.
1245 Lunch
1345 Session 3: Education: Chaired by Richard Smedley
Kevin Donnelly
John Adams
Moodle: the weapon of choice
Moodle is a course management system (CMS) - a software package designed to help educators create quality online courses. Such e-learning systems are sometimes also called Learning Management Systems (LMS) or Virtual Learning Environments (VLE). John Adams uses moodle to document client installations and for developing the open software assisted learning site OSAL.ORG He will be presenting moodle as a tool to support the adoption of free software in a commercial and educational setting.
Simon Waters
1500 Session 4: Community: Chair tbc
Ian Lynch
Using the Law to make sure free software has a fair chance in commercial markets
The presentation will provide information about Section 26 of the Competition Act 1998 and how it relates to getting free software into organisations dominated by a single commercial interest. I will draw on Microsoft Schools Agreement as an example of practice which is probably unlawful with regard to the act under Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. This will be extended to show how other corporate agreements could be considered unlawful and the technical issues in making a successful complaint to the Office of Fair Trading.
Martin Keegan
Preserving freedom in the digital environment
Ciaran O'Riordan
Software patents in Europe
1600 AGM start
1700 Close

If you would like more information about the conference, please email frontdesk.


The AFFS AGM took place at the end of the programme, starting around 4pm. Only current members were entitled to vote, but all attendees could participate if they wished. The agenda for the AGM was:

  1. Approval of past minutes
  2. Reports from the 2002-3 Executive Committee
  3. The 2002-3 Financial Accounts
  4. Election of 2003-5 Executive Committee members
  5. Election of 2003-4 Honorary Officers
  6. Future conferences and meetings
  7. Results of Elections
  8. Any other business

Minutes from the AGM are now available.

Getting to the conference

The conference was in MB568, which is on the 5th floor of the main building. There were signs to show the way from the main entrance. The event was listed on the main information board and security and porters were informed and able to give directions.

The Association For Free Software