Am in the international Open Source Conference held in
Malaga in Andalucia. Andalucia and Extremadura are the two
states that have adopted Gnome across the board: education and
government. There are 400,000 users in these two areas (20%
of the Extremadura population are Gnome users) and have around
100,000 Gnome desktops deployed.
This is a very big number of Gnome desktops
deployed. This might be the largest Linux desktop deployment
in the world (China will follow later with the Gnome-based JDS
system next year).
This is entirely a Debian/GNOME setup, and there is a local
industry that has emerged out of this: various small companies
here are providing the support to the governments of Andalucia
and Extremadura (Will get the name of the consortium of open
source companies tomorrow, because right now I forgot).
They have developed quite a set of interesting tools: from
back-porting changes to the stable version of Debian
(addressing one of Debian's weaknesses) to developing tools to
manage large network deployments (similar to Red Carpet's
enterprise features, but for Debian) and a nifty tool to
create bootable distributions and turn them into CDs that
people can carry around (metadistros).
There are tons of stories floating around, and people very
excited about this technology. From the kids that after doing
their work in school ask the teacher for permission to use the
"Guadalinux" (this is the name they use to refer to the Linux
machine, based on the distribution name) to the class rooms
that are now entirely quiet due to the kids playing with the
Also grandmothers refer to the web as "mozilla" they
pronounce it "mo-ci-yha", as in `I found in mo-ci-ya that you
can do this and that'. Very interesting stuff.
During a few conversations with the various officials and
engineers that work on this project, I have mentioned that
they should probably should join the Gnome Foundation's
Advisory Board, something that I think we should fast track.
I asked the education secretary if they had any issues with
Gnome, and if there was something we could fix, or improve for
them, and they said `So far we have not had problems with the
teachers'. A good perception.
The technical guys on the other hand had a few requests:
from Evolution failing to send SMTP mails in some occasions
(we should investigate this) to better integration with the
braille stack in the accessibility framework (accessibility
here is very important due to a fairly strong Spaniard
organization called "La
My friend Charles Curran from the UK Linux Users group is
also in town, he is now living in Sevilla, and came to the
meeting. It was very nice to see him again.
Lastly, about 30 Gnome Developers from the "Gnome Hispano"
got together in the afternoon to meet and discuss. I learned
that a "GUADEC Hispano" is being planned for May in
The Mono presentation went fairly well, I was still a bit
tired from the jetlag, but it came out OK. I updated
MonoDevelop from CVS, and things worked out of the box: I
demoed the intellisense feature which is just a great way of
developing Gtk# apps.
While jetlagged and unable to sleep, am checking out the
Nemerle language. A
functional language designed by Michal Moskal for the .NET
Framework that works out of the box in Mono.
This compiler is self-hosting, which is fascinating.
Worked out of the box on Mono 0.30