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EncuentroLinux, Chile

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 10/21/2004 - 19:10
I left Mexico on Tuesday and arrived early on Wednesday to Chile for the Fifth Linux Encounter. The timezone difference (two hours, Chile is at UTC-3) is just enough to make me tired (waking up at my natural 4AM is not fun, and I done it two days in a row), but it is worth it. I met the organizers, and some minutes after me, Peter Salus arrived. We came together to Valparaíso (around 1hr away from Santiago), and soon after that started meeting the Chilean users. In the evening, [friend]tbm[/friend] showed up. Besides Peter, Martin and I, the rest of the speakers and attendees are all Chilean - And I really liked it. In most of Latin America (Mexico included), conference organizers (me included, when I organized CONSOL) seem to think that you need to invite as much foreign speakers as possible to make a conference worthy - I now strongly object to this point of view, and have made the point over and over. There are 38 scheduled talks plus at least four BoF sessions. 30 speakers. The conference has around 650 attendees. Last year it received 450, and this year around 500 were expected - Quite well for a small country with a population around 15 million people and with very long travel distances. The organization team is doing a great work, they are constantly nervous and running (as any organizer should be, of course) but things are running quite smoothly. They are taking care of everything for all of the speakers, bringing us to the university, out to lunch, back to the hotel... What I liked most (and, again, I am writing this based on my past experience with CONSOL) is that we the foreigners do not get any special attention that Chileans do not receive - We are just part of the group of speakers. That is the most amazing thing on this conference, and what I will try to promote in my country and in any other conference I am invited to. This conference has a good deal of visibility. We (Fernando San Martín, Max Celedon, Rodrigo Henriquez and me) were invited to a TV show, TVNauta, in UCVTV, Chile's oldest TV station (I will get a digitized version of the program, will inform you later). Even Ricardo Lagos (Chile's President) was invited to the opening, and was going to attend (although in the end could not do it... Would have been really cool!). There is quite a good deal of interested people. Yesterday I have to admit I ended up tired of talking with different people about my talk (a mixture of my Social aspects in Free Software and Quality assurance in Free Software projects talks), about the Debian project (which has got a lot of interest around here - Chile currently has no DDs, although Bruno Barrera is in the final stages of the NM process... But I can feel more people will get involved). We have today at 18:00 (Chilean time - GMT-3) a Debian BoF (I am not sure on which room it will be, probably you can see it webcasted. This university is quite gorgeous. It is probably some 40 meters over sea level, on a cliff, and overlooking the Valparaíso/Viña del Mar bay. I am typing this looking at boats come and go. Wednesday and Thursday the weather was a bit fucked, but today it is sunny and beautiful, although a little bit cool... Well...Time to go to a conference. I am quite happy with the Free Software movement in this country. And, as I have told many friends, I am amazed by the enthusiasm shown in various countries in South America.
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Can someone have too much of South America?

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 10/18/2004 - 19:57
I really doubt so. Every time I have been around there, I have had a great time, and I have felt most welcome... But anyway, isn't this a bit too much? I have been down there for: *May 26 - June 5:* Debconf4 and FISL5 at Porto Alegre, Brazil *August 9 - 23:* National Free Software conference at Sucre, Bolivia. First Free Software Simposium , Arequipa, Perú *September 24 - October 4:* XXX Latin American Conference on Informatics, Arequipa, Perú *October 19 - 25:* 5th Linux Encounter, Valparaíso, Chile Besides this, I have been invited to be in Tacna (Perú) for December 6-10, and I just got another invitation to be in November 15-20 in Moquegua (Perú) - where the organizers assume I will also be in Arica, Chile, the previous week. I have not confirmed the one in Tacna, and I doubt I will go to Arica/Moquegua, as it is too much travel jammed together in a couple of months, and I have a HUGE work backlog. But, yes, I would love to travel as much as possible ;-) BTW, I would love to go to Tacna together with Nadezhda and stay around there for some days, as it is a long time we haven't had vacations, and being it December, she will *really* welcome going to the hemisphere where it is Summer :) ...I still have a very important doubt here: I have not (personally) done much. I am _sincerely_ not much of a programmer, my intervention in various Free Software and computer security-related projects has decreased (as I have been, paradoxically, too busy talking all over the place), there are lots of more interesting people in my country, in my continent, in my field of work... I love travelling... But why do I keep being invited? :-) I don't really care about the answer, I really like travelling ;-)
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