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SPIP : un logiciel pour la société civile

dimanche 30 novembre 2003, par Joëlle Palmieri

SPIP est-il un logiciel comme un autre ? Non, c’est un "logiciel libre" et cela fait la différence. Comment ? On en a débattu le samedi 15 à la Maison des Métallos, et des utilisateur(trice)s ont échange leurs expériences.

Is SPIP just another software product and what is the difference it makes, from the fact that it is Free Software ? What happened on the 15th of November, in Maison des Metallos, Paris, one day after the end of the European Social Forum ?

It strated early, around 9:30, when the first activists arrived. They brought lots of food and good mood – some of them have worked for months on a common rproject, but they never had the chance to meet till then.

At 10:30 started the first meeting. The translators of SPIP met for their first time in order to present themselves and their work, and share some small piece of experience from the translation work.

For the ones who do not know, SPIP is a System for publishing information in the Internet. It was created by uZine network, based completely on Free Software, and primarily written in French. The magic of SPIP appears not only in the interface and the increadible easiness for use, it appears also from the fact that every day there is added something new, some new feature, some better possibility to use. It provides so many opportunities, that it is hard to believe that this system is young and .... free.

Translation is provided on more than 15 languages now, including such as : Chinese, Bulgarian, Vietnamiese, Occitan etc. The translators are volunteers mainly, working in their free time, communicating and helping each other online. The meeting finished with a pique-nique, which was self-sponsored, and every participant brought some food, or contribued to the food of the others.

In the afternoon was the really interesting part. Public was invited, and social organsiations presented their work in the global network, with the help of SPIP. People were asking questions, and from all parts there was speach about how powerful system it is. All different websites and networks were presented, in different contents, colours, countries, but the common was that everyone used SPIP for creation of their own site. Famous social rights networks like Les Penelpes, Rabble, Alternatives, and even the European Social Forum website was running under SPIP. There was an anty-sexist translation done in Spanish, which shows how many alternatives are possible with SPIP.

Over 20 websites were presented, and after that the mic was open for discussions. People were presenting their experience, students were taking interviews from the participants, everyone was enthusiastic and happy to hear how many technical problems could be solved with a « simple » solution.
La Maison des Metallos was providing with atmosphere of creativeness, of open access to the Internet. The computers in the entrance room were all running Free Software, which was helping everyone to get acquainted with it if they wanted. Most of the SPIP developers are using Free Software, too. The whole community was somehow « free » - unofficial, happy to have organised such a huge event, and based on activeness and enthusiasm from the part both of leaders and participants (all of them were somehow mixing up, and it was really hard to identify who is who).

In the evening hours, two voluntary SPIP trainings were provided : for beginners, and for developers. The beginners were shown how to install SPIP on their computer, and how to start creating a website of it. The deveopers were discussing how to go on with the new ideas, and what new featurs to add on SPIP. The idea of offering a « Mini-site » to the SPIP users were discussed. The Mini-site is a helpful design in 7 different types of templates, who could be chosen by the user for making her/his own website.

The day finished late at night, with the new 1.7 release of SPIP. There was so much done and said during this day, that was impossible to imaging before. All different people have met and discussed possible cooperation – non-technical and more technical people have had communication together. New processes and lots of opportunities were started.

For more information : please visit the official SPIP website. There, you will find lots of information, from desription of how to install SPIP, to the smallest details regarding the use of SPIP. You will find lists of websites, running under each language, you will also find translation on your own language. If not, why don’t you join the translators, then ?


Christina Haralanova – 26 novembre 2003

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