X Hispalinux Congress Review

From last Thursday to Saturday (technically Sunday 03:00AM) I was in Cáceres – Spain.

I drove there with my friend Valério on Thursday morning – we left Portugal at about 07:00 AM to be in Spain at 10:00 AM because it’s one hour later in there and we had about 3 hours of sleep – and got on Cáceres on time. The problem was finding the University campus… we drove and drove and then decided to ask someone… yes we were in Cáceres, yes we were in the opposite side of the city! Lucky us, we took about 45 minutes to find the damn campus.

In the good Portuguese way of doing stuff as late as we can, I hadn’t managed to get my presentation on OCRFeeder done!
OCRFeeder’s presentation was at 06:00 PM and I finished it 30 minutes earlier! Yes, we Portuguese are hardcore like that; but at the end of the day what matters is that stuff get done and we get a sense of accomplishment.

It was the first time I presented OCRFeeder to the world (it hasn’t yet been released) and I presented University of Évora’s R&D Center (CITI) as well as the way I built the program. I referred it’d be “LIBRE” and this Stallman worshiper who hanged around all the event with his arrogance and funny/stupid haircut asks me in an arrogant Spanish:
“Well, if it’s gonna be free software it means it’s not yet free software right!!!!????”
Me (in a not-so arrogant Spanish): “Well, it hasn’t yet been released because it’s being tested… so…”
And after this he just got off his seat and went out the room… “Gracias por la educación!” – I thought.
It was a very technical presentation but you know what? There were girls attending it! Yes, I go as a speaker to a Linux conf abroad and there are girls at my presentation!

Cáceres is a very beautiful city with it’s mix of Islamic, Roman and Gothic old buildings. As my own dear city of Évora is, Cáceres is World Heritage by UNESCO.

One of the things we Portuguese find more curious about Spain is the difference in what comes to the culture of embracing something from abroad. In Portugal most of the people on my age speak English and you almost can only listen to English-sang music. Well, in the second night in Cáceres, me and Valério heard some metal music coming from a bar nearby and when we approached… yes, they were singing in Spanish. In Portugal, for example, the only movies dubbed are the ones for children, in Spain, everything is dubbed and it gotta have something to do with them not understanding very well the English language. I’d like to highlight this is NOT a bad thing, we just find it very curious because things are so different here.

In the first day we met a very nice guy from Venezuela called Gustavo Narea. Gustavo is a Computer Science student at Madrid and also works for GNULinuxMatters – a non-profit organization which does an amazing job on bringing FOSS and non-tech people together. He’s a strong believer in FOSS but unlike many of us in the Linux world, he understands that GNU/Linux also needs marketing to win! And he’s right.

BluePad‘s presentation really went well on the second day – Friday. I think people liked that we gave it in Spanish – as I had done in the previous day. In the end we got many questions and people came to complement us and ask more things… oh, and you know what?? YES! There were also girls in BluePad’s presentations! It was really nice. 🙂

On the last day – Saturday – we attended Gustavo’s great conference and some others. Hispalinux Congress was ending but not until we had the last dinner with all the speakers and main staff. Drink was free until midnight and it was 10:00 PM. We rapidly declared one of the tables to ourselves (me, Valério and Gustavo) and later some other nice people joined in for the “Iberian-LatinAmerica” table. We ate until there were no more cheese and smoked ham in the dish, then we just switched it with another table’s dish… no, seriously, we did!
It was really nice to see that after hundreds of years of fighting and decades of “not-getting-along-with-them”, Portuguese and Spanish were now so happy drinking together and talking about our neighbor countries. I was astonished that all of the Spanish guys within the conversation were asking us our opinion about Portugal and Spain joining to form Iberia!! Yes, they like the idea! It’d be cool and Iberia is a beautiful name for a country.

In our way home we did a mistake and were heading to Portugal alright but not towards our city… plus, we couldn’t find an opened gas station and my car was low on it. So we just turned back to Cáceres and drove around until we found a gas station.
We had a nice time in Cáceres, I am looking forward to the next time! 😉