First day at the GCDS
This is my first post about this year’s Desktop Summit in Gran Canaria, and also the first entry in this blog for a long long time. My intention is to keep a diary of the conferences here, if I can find time between attending the talks and going to the beach.
The first talk of the day was given by Robert Leftkowitz. He made the case for software development as a liberal art, and Free and Open Software as the kind of software “that a gentleman would use”. The concepts he used go back a long, long way. It is extremely uncommon to hear ancient Greek philosophers being quoted in a keynote. It is always reassuring to think that two or three thousand years ago human being just like us encountered the same problems and moral dilemmas that we face today. By the way, I had never before heard someone say that software is rethoric, and it is a suggestive idea.
The second keynote was given by Walter Bender, who gave a overview of the Sugar learning platform and the humane and altruistic motivation behind it, always keeping a “low floor and no ceiling” attitude. I specially remember one simple sentence that has hidden depths:
“Nothing in our children’s future resembles 1970’s office work”.
The third keynote was given by Richard Stallman, and it was weird. I have seen Stallman a few times, but never before had he managed to fit a history lesson, a flamewar about C#, an auction for a gnu and the geekiest song on Earth in the same talk. My life would have been completed if at some point he had drawn a couple of katanas to fight the enemies of freedom.
After lunch, Quim Gil gave the news that Nokia will discard GTK+ and Hildon for the Harmattan release of their Maemo platform, and will be turning to Qt as the main UI toolkit as part of a bigger Nokia movement. He also discussed some of the free technologies that will continue to form the base of the software run by the Internet Tablets.
The lightning talks were quite entertaining, but some of the projects exposed (i.e. Gothenburg, stuff around Nepomuk, etc…) could certainly have deserved a bit more time.
See you tomorrow!