Proposal: "I come from a Land Down Under. No, the other one. Or: Why New Zealand is a fantastic place for open sourcers"

Short Form


This session is a presentation on some of the wide array of cool open source, open data, & open science things happening in New Zealand and will include discussion of functional political activism in a small parliamentary democracy, The Hobbit, mandatory minimum four-week PTO requirements, unarmed cops, no TSA, and lots of pictures of spectaculars vistas, beaches, recreational opportunities, and the basics of expatriation.


From an open source perspective, New Zealand rocks- HARD, and in lots of ways.

In 2013 the New Zealand Parliament blocked software from eligibility for patent, largely because of the efforts of individuals in the open source community.

Because of the accessibility of politicians, the New Zealand Open Source Society can actually get meetings-in-chambers with real, live, elected members of Parliament- just like big corporations do!

New Zealand is the home of Linux shops like Weta, Mega, Silverstripe, Gamefroot, Ponoko, the over 200 full time employee open source consultancy Catalyst IT (the presenter’s employer), and home (or a large contributor) to an array of open source projects including DocVert, Greenstone, Piwik, Moodle, Mahara, the Koha library management system, and many others- yet the country is a mostly unpopulated, sub-tropical paradise with fewer than five million people.

For lifestyle- active open source and open data communities, walk-and-bikeable cities, great ingredients for cooking (and next-to no HFCS), unarmed cops, no TSA (heck- no security at all at domestic airports), and amazing beer- NZ is fantastic.

Come listen to a Silicon Valley reject wax all poetical about his adoptive home, hear the maths behind deciding to expatriate, and ask hard questions about choosing the easier life.


culture, community, mordor, anti-patent, lifestyle, hobbitses, Activism, socialist hell

Speaking experience

I've led miniconfs at LCA a couple of times, run the main stage at New Zealand's annual "NetHui" event, ranted eloquently both on the steps of NZ Parliament and before select committees in opposition to software patents and, separately, on internet freedom, have blathered on various topics on the radio, and been a carnival barker. No, I haven't given this talk before and don't have accessible links to any I have given, but can do this without a net and do know what I am doing.


  • Daniel alcatraz

    Daniel Spector



    Daniel Spector has been professionally involved with open source to some-extent-or-another for…eh, about a dozen years. The official “loudmouth (ex)Yank agitator” at Catalyst IT, New Zealand’s largest pure open source shop, Daniel has run the “Open in the Public Sector” miniconf at a couple of times, helped produce the “NZ Open Govt Data Barcamp & Hackfest, worked on Wellington’s “Public ACTA” event and is extremely active in promoting OPEN (source, data, government and access), and fights – tirelessly and, alas, constantly – for internet freedom, government procurement reform, and an absolute ban on software patents.