On Saturday 13th August Free Software activists came to FSFE’s PDF Readers Sprint in Manchester and found 59 previously unreported adverts for proprietary PDF readers, all of them on UK Council websites. Printing and signing of letters to the institutions began, and nearly half of them were prepared before the end of the day.
Between 15.00 and 18.00 attendees (one of whom was already a Fellow) wenth through a list of UK Council websites and searched for proprietary PDF Reader adverts. Anna Morris provided delicious cakes of different sorts, and the identi.ca feed and Fellowship Jabber chat room was projected onto the wall.
UK PDF Readers Sprint
Initially we were short of computers to use for ad-hunting as several laptops which people had brought had technical problems. Fortunately a combination of ICS and borrowed equipment from the hackerspace resulted in one laptop per attendee.
During the afternoon there were discussions about PDF, compatibility, and the ISO standard. Particularly at the start I answered questions as to why the campaign focused on adverts for PDF readers and not websites which promoted proprietary office suites, web browsers or media players.
Overall the sprint was relaxed and enjoyable, and and will be followed up shortly by posting letters to the reported institutions and publishing the results.
Written by Sam Tuke