Technical difficulties in Ireland
Yesterday at GU4DEC I witnessed an amazing thing. Michael Meeks, a non-Sun member of the OpenOffice.org community (he works for Ximian) asking GNOME developers to join OpenOffice.org to make contributions! He actually handed me 10 signed JCAs (Joint Copyright Assignment) from new members ready to contribute code for the common good. This was awesome.
The title of this blog refers to my (eventually successful) attempt at the venerable Trinity College Library to make additional copies of the JCA because of the great response to Michael's appeal. It turns out you have to PAY to get aess to this library if you are not a student. As near as I can tell, this is a tourist gouge (they have the original of the Book of Kells on display), but honestly all I wanted to do was make some copies. I'd figured out how to obtain the "copy card" that I needed to use the public machines but none of the machines outside of the library was functional. I had a hilarious exchange with the two security guards on duty, one at the info desk outside the library and one at the entrance to the library.
First I asked the library guard if I could just nip in to use the copier inside since all the ones outside were broken. No, I couldn't do that, "If we let you do it, we'd have to let everybody do it" as though there were angry crowds just clammoring to get into this library to make copies. Then I asked the info guard if one of the outside copiers could be fixed, "I'll just call and see..." (picks up phone as I walk away, puts down phone as soon as I've gone back to the first guard). When I come back later to ask what's happened with the request for repair I hear, "Oh, diddya still need dat den?". Then the Infobooth Guard offered to come over to talk to the Library Guard for me, but there was a different guard at the Library entrance. "Oh, yeah I was warned dat you was tryin to get into da Library widdout a pass". No love there. Asked whether any of them knew of any other copiers in the university or even in the part of town just adjacent to us which I could use? "No missus, I only know dis desk".
Finally, I walked around to the front entrance of the library (trying to get these JCAs to Michael before the end of the talk) and a very reasonable woman with NO guard uniform walked me through the front gate and pointed me towards the 5 working copiers on the first floor (hurrah!). Made the copies and walked back through the library to the Guard Exit, ignoring the guard ("Hey, whaddyou tink yer doin, Missus?") and I *just* made it in time for the end of the talk.