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Germany's Open Side: Discovering the Open Source Scene and Meeting the Community in Berlin

A full programme awaited the FOSSFA-delegates upon their arrival in Berlin - a week of meetings, conferences, trade fairs and receptions all around the topic of Free and Open Source.

The Study Tour began with a welcome reception hosted by the TSB - Technology Foundation Berlin who introduced FOSSFA to Berlin as an Open Source business hub, the policies of the Berlin Senate and gave a virtual tour of the other Open Source focal points in Germany. This kick-off meeting gave a good oversight and set the scenes for the week to come. Highlights of the week included meeting Richard Seibt from the Open Source Business Foundation and the head of Lisog e.V. - the two leading Open Source organisations in Germany's South, as well as the organisers of the LinuxTag and the LiVe - Linux Association. Common challenges such as ensuring fair and open public procurement and overcoming common preconceptions concerning FOSS were identified between the meeting parties as well as opportunities to learn from each others experiences.

The LinuxTag, Europe's leading Open Source event was visited on two days and enriched by the presentation on the situation of FOSS in Africa, held by James Wire Lunghabo. The LinuxTag trade fair gave opportunity to meet with a number of interesting stakeholders from Germany and Europe and to share information on FOSSFA's activites and ict@innovation.

In addition, the LPI, Lisog e.V. and newthinking store receptions - the latter held especially for the FOSSFA delegation - presented possibilities for informal exchange. Even a concrete solution for connecting a Wougnet institute in Uganda through wireless technology was found at the newthinking store reception where practical demonstrations by Freifunk e.V., Edumagnet, and Deepametha where held.

We would like to thank the group for their commitment and interest and all who helped make this study tour a success! We look forward to the follow-ups and hope long term cooperations will come out of this short visit to Berlin!

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