The Association for Free Software

AFFS Annual Conference

The introductory message from 2002-4 AFFS chairman, Marc Eberhard:

Dear all,

AFFS can now confirm Handsworth Grammar School, Birmingham as the venue for AFFSAC 2004 and AFFS's AGM on 15 MAY 2004. Many thanks to Richard Rothwell (head of ICT at the school) for the offer! Agenda for the AGM and proposed changes to the constitution will follow shortly.

We can also confirm, that there will be tables available for interested companies to exhibit at the event. Thanks to all the companies who have already responded and taken up the offer! The price is GBP 100 and we still have a few tables left, but hurry!

Catering will very very likely be on site this year as we're currently finalising details.


This was an all-ticket event, but tickets were free to members and membership applicants (fee 10 pounds). Members were guaranteed entry to the AGM, regardless of tickets.

You could apply online and pay the membership fee at the door. You wouldn't be able to vote at the AGM, however, because the applications are processed after the end of the AGM.

Talks Programme

The conference was a single-track conference with short breaks for refreshments and discussion during the day. All abstracts and available slides are now online.

Conference schedule

Time Title and Abstract
10.00-10.30 Registration

Free Software: the year in review

Brian Gough

PDF of slides

Opening Keynote: A review of the major events of 2003-2004 and their implications for the future of free software.

Session 1: Applications

Core Linux: learning through compiling

Tony Whitmore

OpenOffice document (sxi) of slides

Core Linux is a minimalist distribution that provides a basic compilation environment and not much more. Users shape their system through the compilation of software from source code. This talk will look at how Core Linux provides a useful tool for those wanting to learn Linux on a fundamental level.


The GNUstep Project

MJ Ray

HTML slides

A short presentation about the GNUstep project, which is a Free Software Foundation desktop project, based on a object-orientated C language and the OpenStep platform.


A Free Software Payroll: Sense or Suicide?

John Pinner

PDF of slides

Clockwork believe that free software will not 'take off' in business until core applications like payroll are available. We have developed a new payroll which will be released under the GPL. Many people think that this is commercial suicide. The talk will discuss the rationale behind the development of this product.

12.30-13.30 Lunch
Session 2 - Actions

The Open Information Pledge - using the grassroots

Tom Chance

PDF of slides

Digital rights organisations have by and large failed to exploit their grassroots support. I'll talk about a campaign I've developed specifically to mobilise a new activist section of the Free Software community to campaign for open formats, and a success story.


Digital Freedoms

Martin Keegan


UKFSN Update

Jason Clifford

Campaign for free and open source software in Africa: actors, institutions, initiatives and challenges

Dapo Ladimeji

Session 3 - Community

Birds of a Feather


Question Time

An opportunity to discuss questions with our distinguished panel:

  • Ian Lynch, Education Lead for the project,
  • Brian Gough, Maintainer of the GNU Scientific Library,
  • Martin Keegan, UKCDR,
  • Tom Chance, Open Information Pledge project leader,
  • Jono Bacon, Writer/Journalist/Developer and Wolves LUG Founder,
  • Dapo Ladimeji, Council member of FOSSFA

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


MJ Ray would like to thank Kevin Donnelly, Chris Croughton, Roger Leigh, all the speakers (listed above), the 2003-4 committee (Marc Eberhard, Alex Hudson, Adam Bower, Richard Smedley, Ian Lynch) and the attendees at the conference who participated so readily. All helped to make this conference work once again.


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 participated if they wish. The agenda for the AGM was:

  1. Approval of past minutes
  2. Reports from the 2003-4 Executive Committee
  3. The 2003-4 Financial Accounts
  4. Free Software grants
  5. Amendments to the constitution
  6. Election of 2004-6 Executive Committee members
  7. Any other business

Relevant documents are:
Alex's Constitutional Amendment
AFFS constitution

Getting to the conference

The venue is Handsworth Grammar School, Grove Lane, Handsworth, Birmingham, B21 9ET. Grove Lane is north off the A41 between M5 J1 and Birmingham City Centre. Some car parking on-site may be available, with access from Dawson Road. We have a map graphic (36k PNG) and a Streetmap link to the venue. You can also use this Multimap link.

Buses run to Soho Road. Metro nearest Winson Green Outer Circle. Centro have route maps and journey planners on their web site.

The Association For Free Software