11 November, 2010

First day of Latinoware


So this is the morning of the second Latioware day. Last night, just before the party/rock concert Maddog told me he just finished a blog - which made me realize that I didn't... So my notes on Brazil, Latinoware and openSUSE here.

Brazil

Brazil is a curious country. That's not only due to everyone speaking Portuguese (and barely any English) which makes me think I need to learn either Portuguese or Spanish. Some things are just off. For example, it seems the government has looked at other countries and decided that yes, they had to do something about the speeding. So they put huge, clearly visible bumps on the road every few kilometer.


The bumps are so strong you have to slow down to a crawl - what everyone does. For the bump. Then - speeding again. On the road to my hotel is an electronic speeding thing showing how fast you go. It seems that, despite the maximum speed of about 60, everyone tries to drive 35 at most - past it, speeding again.

The traffic lights, on the other hand, are a marvelous piece of work. It seems they are build with impatient drivers in mind: they actually count down! It's quite some machinery (will try to take a pic later and show it) but it works great. I like :D

I've been told by the others here that Porto Alegre (which I will visit next week) is much more like a 'typical Brazil city' than Foz so I'll refrain from further commenting other than saying I really, really, absolutely *love* the Brazilian people. They are so energetic, nice and huggy, hard working and very, very creative.


Latinoware

So on that last note, you can imagine how Latinoware is: imagine a huge number of energetic, nice, huggy and enthousiastic people at the booth, giving talks, walking around - it is just awesome. And impressive. The Latinoware conference takes place at Itaipu, an interesting and big hydro plant. Big as in absolutely mindbogglingly huge. The Hydroplant runs linux and for a good reason: durability. During the building of the thing (which took 30 years and turned the world second-largest water fall into the worlds largest water fall) they realized it would take them at least 100 year to recoup the costs of building it. The livespan of the longest-living IT companies at that point in time was about 20 years - something they didn't want to bet their future on. Free Software, on the other hand, is obviously a much more long-term choice - you have complete control.

Now the Itaipu story is NOT a one-time thing in Brazil. Brazil runs Linux (and often openSUSE!) all over the place, to such an extend that Microsoft has realized they have no chance of selling much of their products other than by cooperating and going with the flow: there is a large 'interoperability' lab and several Microsoft developers were at the conference. Banco de Brazil has over a 100.000 SUSE installations and they are not alone. Universities and high schools are working with linux, teaching their students. I spoke with Sandro, who teaches at a Brazilian university and they use SUSE Studio to create special live CD's for their students to use. They love the fact that you can quickly point and click a custom linux distribution together and Sandro complained (!) that we do not promote SUSE Studio enough.


About the pictures in my blog: First one is Carlos, one of the most energetic and creative people I have ever met. An amazing person, really full of Free Software and openSUSE. I said creative, well, that is an understatement. He made openSUSE soap, a table soccer game (see one of the other photo's), a set of surprise-thingies for the ambassadors at the conf (can't talk about it yet hehe) and a billion other things. Wow.

Second pic is Izabel in front of the openSUSE booth before we started filling it up with stuff and people. Izabel is a Brazilian Angel who organized the openSUSE attendance at the conference. She has been around in Free Software in Brazil since 1998, organizing GNOME meetings and other events since 2003. A very special girl, I can tell you that!

Next pic is the GNOME team & me (LTR: Izabel Valverde, Vinicius Depizzol, yours truly and Luciana Menezes). Have I told you Izabel is cool? Well so are Vinicius and Luciana ;-)

Last night there was a rock band at the conference hence the image of a stage with a dancing tux and firefox in front of it. Nice party, but entirely void of alcohol. That was OK with me, I promised myself no alcohol at least until next Friday - so there was no temptation...

Next up again Izabel (have I said she is awesome yet?) showing two GNOME dolls for her talk about women in openSUSE and GNOME. The dolls are actually meant as a joke against the typical 'female' stereotypes. Which are probably different in Brazil compared to anywhere in the world anyway - in Brazil there are many women in management because that's something they are considered to be good at... Something this country is much more modern at than NL.

Next the results of Carlos' creativity: an openSUSE table soccer game. Really something, I tell you, that guy is special... The image following this one is Carlos giving an openSUSE training during the conference; then me and Thomas; finally Camila looking pretty in my camera ;-)

Now it is 2 hours before my talk in the Brazil room so time to start mentally preparing. Take care all!