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.


Inside the Fisterra framework, we define a special kind of business objects, quite similar to Java’s “Enterprise Java Beans”, and we call them “Enterprise Gnome Barnacles”. “Gnome” cause they are heavily based on gobject and Gnome technologies, and “Barnacles” cause Percebes (“barnacles”, more specifically “gooseneck barnacles” in English) are a kind of seefood very popular in the village of Fisterra which gave name to the project.

When I explained this to the 40 people audience at CaFeConf 2006, nobody knew what a barnacle/percebe was! Nobody! So this post is devoted to those who have never seen and/or tried Percebes, for some, one of the tastiest kind of seafood.


Back from CaFeConf 2006

I have returned from CaFeConf and Buenos Aires (I will miss the city a lot). The conference is one of the biggest free software events celebrated yearly in Argentina, with about 2000 (yes, two thousand) people registered this year, and about 100 talks, tutorials and workshops -a lot of them in parallel- spread over two days. My two talks went nice.

On Friday after lunch I talked about the Gnome project, during 1 hour, in the main auditorium, with about 150 people in the audience. I presented the history of the project (10 years of Gnome), what is being done today (technologies, applications, organization), and which are the plans for the near future (“Topaz”, world domination, technical priorities, new functionality), but also included some practical aspects about Gnome Love and how people could get involved (including non technical tasks and trying to show that we want diversity). The slides are available for download (in Spanish, with material based on several previous talks about the project and my own talk at aLANtejo 2005); as you can see, I decided to use the great “Gnome is people” picture composition from Luis Villa to close the presentation, and people seemed to like it. I got a bunch of interesting questions about Mono, 3D animations, the relation between Gnome and GNU, and the cooperation between Gnome and Python. And my hope is that someone from the audience decided consider becoming a contributor to Gnome after seeing how nice and cool we are 😉 (according to a fast poll I did, 1/3 of the audience was a Gnome user, and no one was a contributor to the project).

Two hours later, I was talking about Fisterra, a framework strongly based on Gnome technologies which makes life easier for people wanting to use or develop ERP-like free software for business management. This time the presentation took place in a small auditorium, which was full, with about 40 people attending. I talked about the motivation of the project, the architecture, the development process, and even about the business model we propose for it. People showed a lot of interest, asking several questions about functionality, technology and the plans we have for the near future. The slides (also in Spanish, not very technically detailed and quite readable) are available for download.

In the conference I attended to a lot of talks, and had the opportunity to meet very nice people: I had a great time with Dario Rapisardi, from the LinEx project; it was nice to chat with the people from Tecso (main sponsors of the conference), a software development company pretty similar to Igalia in the way they are internally organized; and it was cool to meet Enrique “Gallego” Verdes an Uruguayan free software advocate with Galician roots.

I want to thank the organization, and specifically Martín Brambilla, for the great work they did.

Talks on Gnome and Fisterra at CaFeConf 2006

In a couple of weeks (10th of November) I will be giving two talks at CaFeConf, a free software event organized every year in Buenos Aires by the local lug (CaFeLUG). In one of them I will talk about the past, present and future of the Gnome project, and in the other one I will describe in detail the Fisterra project. I will provide further information on the contents of the talks soon, but you can already check the webpage of the event for more information.

I have to publicly thank Germán and Fernando for offering me to participate in the Chilean Gnome Day at the Encuentro Nacional de Linux, but it was too complex for me to be there cause the day after the event I fly back to Europe from Buenos Aires. I would have loved to meet them again and I hope to be able to make it for the next time.