Back from Open aLANtejo 2007

I finally got some time to talk about my recent trip to Évora for the Open aLANtejo 2007. The conference was as great as I expected after my previous experience two years ago, with a wonderful organization by the people at the NEEI and really interesting talks, all of them related to open source.

The first day I talked about FLOSS business models and our experience at Igalia. I tried hard to avoid a commercial presentation and I focused on the main challenges for doing sustainable development of innovative free software from small companies; the goal was to motivate students and professionals to start free software companies in Portugal. Quite a lot of people got interested and I kept talking about this topic during the rest of the weekend with both students from the university and people managing small open source companies.

On Saturday, I presented Gnome Mobile and Maemo, going from a more theoretical part about what is going on in the Gnome mobile sphere to the details of the specific projects and the ways one can contribute to them. The talk got even more interest than the previous one; at the end of the presentation, quite a lot of people came to see the N800 and to ask about ways to start developing new applications for Maemo or using this kind of devices for their specific (business) purpose. Really nice to have this kind of feedback; one feels that the level of coolness of all the ‘mobile’ side of Gnome is really very high.

The conference was also nice cause it allowed me to meet cool people like Flávio Glock, Isaac Clerencia, Erica Brescia, Daniel Liszka, Daniel López or Jono Bacon who were also invited speakers.

I look forward to going to the beautiful city of Évora again in the near future, and I advise everyone to not hesitate if you get an invitation for this conference.

aLANtejo 2007, 19-21 October, Évora, Portugal

This weekend I will be in the beautiful city of Évora, for a new edition of the Open aLANtejo, the first one entirely dedicated to open source. The conference is one of the biggest IT events in Portugal and I had a great time there two years ago, when I was invited to give a talk about Gnome and to take part in a classical KDE vs. Gnome round table.

This year I was again kindly invited to give two talks: the first one, on Friday afternoon, about business models and sustainable free software development, taking Igalia as case study; and the second one, on Saturday afternoon, about the use of free software for mobile devices, discussing in detail GMAE, Gnome Mobile and Maemo.

The conference program looks very attractive, and I am looking forward to being there.

Master on Free Software

By the end of this week we will start the first edition of the Master on Free Software, organized in A Coruña by the Social Program of Caixanova, the University “Rey Juan Carlos” (URJC) and Igalia. Caixanova will provide the facilities and do the management, and the people at the Libresoft group of URJC and ourselves at Igalia will be in charge of the contents and teaching.

The Master is a one-year-long course targeted to people with software engineering (or similar) background that want to specialize on free software. Our experience shows that it is often the case that engineers have good general skills on software design and development but lack the specific knowledge needed to contribute to the free software ecosystem. All the teaching, with a very practical approach, will try to reduce that problem.

Of course, Gnome, Freedesktop, Gnome Mobile and Maemo will have a key role inside the course, and will be used as main case studies.

We also will have the collaboration from key people inside the community, like Miguel de Icaza, Richard Stallman, Carlos Guerreiro or Bdale Garbee among others, who will be involved in the adivising committee of the Master and will give seminars on subjects like Mono, the free software moviment, software patents, Maemo or Debian.

Some companies, like Sun Microsystems or Telefónica I+D are also contributing, giving some seminars and/or taking some o the students for an internship by the end of the course. New companies can still get involved: please, drop me a line if you are interested.

All the teaching material (written in English) is expected to be published with a free license.

This first year we will start with a very reduced amount of students, trying to keep the quality standards high, and setting the bases for consolidation during the next years.

I will try to keep sharing this teaching experience, closely related to the Gnome project, as the course evolves.

Lots of things, but no time to blog

Lots and lots of things have happened since the last time I managed to blog: Guadec Hispana at Granada, Guadec at rainy (felt like home) Birmingham, Gnome Foundation Advisory Board meetings, GMAE meetings, Gnome 10th birthday, OSiM at Madrid, AGASOL, and a bunch of interesting projects we are involved in at Igalia. I have just promised myself to book some time from now on to blog much more often.

Describing Igalia from the Gnome perspective

Here is the text describing Igalia that we have just sent to the Guadec organization for the sponsors section of the conference webpage:

Igalia is a company from the south-west of Europe (Galicia, Spain), specialized in the development of innovative free software technologies and solutions.

Igalia has been increasing its involvement in the Gnome community since its creation five years ago, contributing with code and documentation to several components and applications, and sponsoring and organizing different Gnome events, from local hackfests to international conferences.

In May 2003, the first version of the Fisterra project was published by Igalia. Fisterra is a sophisticated framework for making the development of business management software easier with Gnome technologies. Since then, several companies have adopted solutions based on Fisterra.

Igalia developers have a deep knowledge of the Gnome technologies and during the last years, the company has carried out projects for evolving, adapting or modifying different parts of Gnome, including subcontracts for relevant international companies.

Brand new Igalia logo

Igalia logo

It has been a long way, but we finally have a brand new logo for Igalia.

This very dynamic and positive logo, based in four identical pieces that cooperate, was designed by Denis Radenkovic, of 38one (recommended to us by Jon Hicks, the Firefox logo designer), and it is inspired by the concepts of collaboration and knowledge sharing that are so related to the concept of free(dom) software.

In September we will be 5 years old as a company, we are each time more and more involved in the free software community, and it seems to me a perfect moment for refreshing our image.

During the next weeks, our webpage, and all the corporative material will be progressively updated. Bye, bye, igalia’s triangle.

Igalia talks and the final Guadec schedule

As I had explained before, we had submitted three talks for the Guadec 2006. A couple of weeks ago we received an answer from the program committee saying that all were discarded for the Guadec Core (the main part of the conference, Monday to Wednesday). For the BoFs it was already what I expected, they fit better in the After Hours (Thursday and Friday), but as we did not receive any explanation about why the Fisterra talk was not considered interesting, we requested that information in the mailing lists:

Date: Fri, 5 May 2006 10:42:57 +0200
From: Juan José Sánchez Penas
Cc:, guadec-list
Subject: Re: [guadec-list] Acceptance mails sent

After receiving rejections for two BoFs, I have two questions:

a) Wouldn’t be a good idea to send together with the rejections an explanation of why the talk/bof/whatever got rejected? It is a bit frustrating to receive just the notification without knowing why it was not interesting for the selection committee. Knowing the reason would also help in order to propose better talks for future Gnome conferences.

We have not received any answer yet, and I am completely sure it is because of the lack of time, but I still think the authors would appreciate a lot some extra feedback from the committee.

Anyway, we decided to re-submit the Fisterra talk proposal for the Guadec Hispana in the WarmupWeekend (Saturday and Sunday) and the two BoFs for the AfterHours, and they all have been accepted and are now officially scheduled:

You can see the final schedule at the conference webpage.