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Frans Spiesschaert

Account namefrans
OpenPGP fingerprint4961 DB74 4F70 064A 99A7 B4F3 F56D 9D9E 1156 D1D4
Status Debian Contributor on since 2020-01-04

Short Biography

My first experience with Debian goes back to mid 1999 and was due to an incredible level of coincidence.

At that time, as a member of the Department of Social Welfare Studies at the University of Ghent (Belgium), I was involved in a collaborative research program in the field of applied social sciences together with the Universities of Brussels and Louvain. The computer infrastructure at my department was rather outdated, and because the department faced a temporary but severe lack of financial resources at that time, I was stuck to that old equipment for some more time, making it hard to exchange documents with my colleagues at the other universities. I had the luck to get in touch with a working group of students in computer science, named Zeus. This student working group still exists. They introduced linux to me as a less resources consuming OS, and they informed me on WP8 being released for free under linux, which could offer me a chance for better interoperability with my colleagues at the other universities. They lend me installation media for RHL 6.0 and for Debian 2.1 and so I decided to give it a try. No success with RHL 6.0: it froze while booting the computer. But with Debian all went fine, both booting the computer as well as installing the OS.

Since that time, I switched to Debian, both for personal and professional use cases. By the years I got interested in learning more on the background of Debian. And so I got convinced of the values of open source software, first of all from a technical point of view, but not least also for its virtues and potentialities in supporting the enhancement of social justice and of equal opportunities for people all over the world (remember my social welfare sciences background). Although in the beginning I did not at all come to Debian for its philosophy, I learned to see how vital and decisive the Social Contract and the Free Software Guidelines are in giving Debian its unique identity within the Free Software Community.

I started to contribute to Debian in 2014. Now, at the beginning of 2020, I am the most active member of the Dutch localisation team. I am also a member of the Debian Edu team. Among other things I take care of merging translation contributions to Debian Edu Doc at hosted.weblate into the master branch of Debian Edu Doc.

I would like to continue to contribute this way, but in a more visible way by becoming a Debian member. In the long run I also would like to help packaging documentation, because I'm convinced that good documentation could encourage more people to try out a switch to free software, especially less technically skilled users, like I myself once was.

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