by admin on June 06, 2006 05:49pm


New friends from Linux World Brazil
I’m recently returning from Linux World Brazil where I presented on ‘OSS and Microsoft.’   One night in Sao Paulo I had the opportunity to chat with two of the leading OSS technologists in Brazil – Cesar Brod and Helio Chessini de Castro.  Cesar has an interesting background, working at Tandem from 1992-1998 and at various companies throughout Brazil, including his own consulting company.  Cesar is involved with Linux International and was also one of three finalists for the Free Software Community Award in 2004.  Helio is well known in Brazil as one of the key developers of Conectiva and a prolific KDE and Linux developer and instructor.  He currently works for Mandriva (who acquired Conectiva to form the Mandrake+Conectiva distribution).  If you’ve spent time in the Conectiva or KDE developer world, you certainly have heard of Helio.
We had a great conversation about the Linux/OSS environment in Brazil, particularly the history of this community.  Cesar echoed a statement I’ve heard from quite a few other OSS developers about those who ‘do’ actual technical work in the OSS community and those who ‘talk’ about it.  His point was that there has always been a developer community in Brazil – before OSS hit the scene – and Cesar has tried to keep this community focused on the real work, not simply the rhetoric and politics.   Cesar is a well regarded OSS participant and has some great stories about his early days at Tandem, how he discovered Linux (an alternative from flying back and forth from city to city to use a Unix machine) and how the OSS community has evolved.  Both Cesar’s and Helio’s  pragmatism, honesty, and open mindedness show their experience and wisdom – I hope to continue our discussions in the future.
Cesar was also kind enough to introduce me to his friend John “Maddog” Hall.  Maddog is well known in OSS circles and although we’ve heard about each other, this was the first time we had the opportunity to meet face to face.


(From left: Maddog, Me)
Maddog’s keynote was right before mine, so I had the chance to see him present on ‘Total Value’ of software.  It was interesting, and although I disagreed with some of his points (and the ‘blue screen of death’ jabs – come on, used any Microsoft software since 2003?), Maddog is a good presenter and hit some important points about standards, competition and choice that I agree strongly with.  Shortly after our presentations I had the chance to talk with Maddog.  We had a good conversation about change at large corporations (Maddog is a former Digital guy), and software trends.  Despite the name, Maddog is a balanced industry veteran who I could talk to easily for hours, his perspectives and insight are valuable and although I think we may disagree on some points, there are many others where we find harmony.
I have visited Brazil many times, and I was honored to speak at Linux World Brazil, but this may be one of the most useful of my trips as I was able to meet customers, partners, Microsoft teams, government officials and developers and thinkers in the OSS world.  New friendships are always important to me, but it’s the cascade of new thoughts from all of these various discussions that keeps me awake on my flight back to Seattle.
-Bill