Another year, another GUADEC. I’ll post more on stuff later when I’m awake again, because I’m completely wasted. It feels nice to have the support of a community behind you, thanks to all you people.
The one thing I wanted to mention right now, lest I forget, is that I kept thinking about Bruce Perens’ heckling Dr. Edgar Villanueva Núnez. While Bruce’s argument sounded reasonable, something didn’t gel with me, and I couldn’t put it under words.
When getting off of the plane in Amsterdam I noticed a guy carrying a really big carton box with Peru-Lima on the side, looking eerily familiar. So I stepped up to him and polished up my best Spanish to ask him about it, since at the talk his explanation might not have been very comprehensible with the ad-hoc translation, and I was very tired myself to follow.
Talking to him I realized what I felt was wrong with Bruce’s attitude. Basically, Bruce’s argument revolved around the idea that there should not be discriminating laws that favour open source, because it turns us into the bad guys. A choice should be made on technical excellence.
But you know, that argument is completely not relevant. Dr. Villanueva’s mission statement is not to put free software on the map, or favour it, or have it prosper. People jumped on him making him a hero to the cause – a fact which he himself seemed most of all surprised at – and then he gets attacked by another hero.
What Dr. Villanueva is trying to do is to enforce laws to have free software because he wants his people to have the possibility of getting good software that doesn’t have to cost much and they can look at and change. He’s doing it for his people, not for the free software community. And really, wasn’t that the point of free software in the first place ?
Sure, Bruce makes a good point, and I agree with him.
But Dr. Villanueva is not a free software hacker. He’s a statesman trying to do right by his people. And to see a politician honestly trying to do right by his people is a refreshing sight. And on top, he seems like a very bright man and he took out the time to answer someone he doesn’t even know in a private conversation and explain his reasoning. I hope Bruce after the talk yesterday did the same thing.
For those wondering, recorded Ogg streams will be online sometime soon. The hard disk is in my backpack and there’s some basic splicing to do, and then they’ll be out there.