Guadec 2006 in Barcelona?

Today I have known about the campaign in favor of celebrating the next Guadec 2006 in Barcelona. It seems to me a nice idea. Barcelona is a comfortable and gorgeous city, well communicated, and a considerable amount of people, companies and institutions are already supporting the candidacy. I guess the final decision will be made in a few months in Stuttgart, but I haven’t heard about any other more or less formal candidacy yet.

The Catholic Church against “The da Vinci Code”

It’s quite shocking the effort that the Catholic Church is putting in fighting what they call the lies inside the best-seller “The da Vinci Code”.

In my opinion the book is just a very addictive, entertaining and enjoyable piece of quite simple literature, which makes the reader reflect a bit on the elimination of the feminine side in most of the theories of the Catholic Church. The main discussion should not be if Jesus had descendents, but rather if the role of women in general should have been much more important both in the history and the present of the institution. Well, nothing really very different to what happened and still happens in the rest of the society.

Guadec-es 2005: Extended Deadline

We have announced today an extended deadline for the people planning to submit papers or tutorials to the II Guadec-es, the Spanish speaking version of the Guadec. The new deadline is the 27th of March. So if you can speak Spanish and have something interesting to tell related to the Gnome project, please go and write your paper or tutorial proposal right now! 🙂

Richard M. Stallman in Corunha?

It’s still just a well-founded rumour, but it seems that RMS is coming to Corunha to give a talk in the Faculty of Computer Science, and the unconfirmed date would be the 2nd of May.

It can be a nice opportunity to attend one of his disertations on the principles of the Free Software Moviment.

The pity is that I’ve already seen some of his presentations on the Internet, and I can imagine that the content of this one will be quite similar. One of my favourites is the talk given in Porto Alegre in 2000, which I think summarizes in two hours all the Stallman ideas related to software and society.

A new step towards Software Patents in Europe

A sad day for democracy (even for representative democracy). A sad day for Free(dom) Software.

The European Council Presidency has just adopted the “Software Patent Agreement”. The proposal had already been voted before in the Council, with the abstention of Austria, Belgium and Italy, and Spain as the only negative vote, and it was now again in the agenda as an A-item (non discussion topics).

Despite of the efforts carried out by some of the members (Denmark, Poland and Portugal, among others) trying to move the agreement to the list of B-items (discussion topics), the Presidency (Luxembourg) claimed it was not possible due to procedural and practical reasons. Some countries decided to submit written texts (explaining their disagreement) together with the proposal to the European Parliament, but finally the list of A-items was accepted by the whole Council without discussing or voting again.

In the next three months, the European Parliament will vote the proposal, needing the negative votes of the majority of the members in order to be rejected. Any amendment should be approved by the majority, also.

In the past, the European Parliament had already opposed to software patents, requesting to the Council the avoidance of any low allowing them. The Council, ignoring the request of the Parliament, created a proposal, in May 2004, which allows to patent “computer made inventions”, a subtle way of defining which finally is a patent on software algorithms.

If this is the normal behavior of the Council, and this is the kind of institutions that the European Constitution legitimates, we can start to think in running away from *this* version of Europe.

The Six Laws of the New Software

Dror Eyal defines six interesting laws to have in mind when creating new software. Summarizing, they are the following ones:

  • Single idea (create software that fulfills a specific need, be able to explain what software does in a single sentence)
  • Collaborate (don’t create software that do everything, interoperate with other software complementing yours)
  • Disappear (reduce and simplify the user interface)
  • Simplify (reduce the learning curve of the technology)
  • Release (publish prototypes, think in iterative releases and let the user base grow)
  • Comply (follow standards)

Guadec-es 2005: In Galiza this year

The second edition of the Spanish speaking Gnome User and Developer European Conference (Guadec-es), is going to be held this year in Corunha, Galiza, 19-21 May. The first edition was held the past year in Almendralejo, Extremadura, and it was a big success.

It would be great to organize around the same days a similar meeting but with galician Portuguese as the communications language. It’s a real pity, but the Portuguese speaking community inside the Gnome project is not as big as it should be. We have to keep working in order to improve the situation.