Friday, July 3, 2009

One more FISL

My voice isn't back yet. I am still in cold Porto Alegre trying to recover from one of the most great, crazy, tiring and astonishing experiences in my life as a Free Software activist: FISL10.

The event had everything. We had Kernel hackers talking about pure technical aspects, Peter Sunde who is a co-founder of The Pirate Bay, Lula, president of Brazil, Richard Stallman, the founder of Free Software movement.

I don't think most of our public knows, but the core of FISL team doesn't make a single cent making the conference happen. We only have 2 full time employees at Associacao Software Livre.org.

The first day was the day to deal with surprises. Few rooms were full, and we tried to make sure we would have a solution for this problem: stream the talks to one of our spare rooms, and make sure that, at least ~100 people would be able to watch the talks. This year, the popular technical sessions were security-related talks.

In the second day we managed to get this scheme to work, so we could re-direct people to building 40 when 41's rooms were full.

The third day was Lula's Day. Yes, we managed to get the president to accept our invitation, where he spoke about Free Software and the law project that aims to regulate internet in Brazil, known as Azeredo's Law Project.

I think most of our people didn't understand the reasoning, or the value, of having the President at the conference. Some just got upset because of the limited access to the exhibition hall. I was in touch with most of our international speakers, and they were astonished: we did what never, anyone managed to do. We got a president to speak in a Free Software conference.

The forth day, to be very honest, was just party. The last day is the most relaxed, but is also the day we have no energy left, and a lot of occasions during the day I felt like I needed just to sit down in a corner and cry. Cry of exhaustion, sadness, pain in my legs, happiness...

Now, each time I speak too much I feel like throwing up, because it is just too much effort. My vocal chords are exhausted. I am still recovering. I still ask myself why did I do that to myself. I still can't explain, but I would do it again. I will do it again once more, next year.

I am glad I met Elizabeth, Ryan, Peter, Marc, and many other people I don't recall the name, but I am very good with faces, and I hope to see you all next year for FISL11. But I will be just one more speaker at the conference then.

Blog post on president at FISL: here.

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