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Important meetings

Sometimes I like to treat this blog as a personal one and write down things that might affect in fundamental ways our future… or at least my own future, potentially.

Anyway, I’m currently living in Peru and had a series of meeting over the last two months with the new Electronical Government Office (ONGEI). Can’t say much for now (don’t want to spoil it) but I was in a meeting with the Prime Minister who seemed to agree with my proposal (in the big lines) and told me “you’re not Peruvian, are you?” in a kind of funny way (I managed to get the Peruvian accent so much that my Spanish friends make fun of me now). I’d also like to think I’ve been able to bend a little the shape of the future of the One Laptop Per Child project in Peru (on the side of Good) through my contact with the office’s director, but that was mostly a side-effect of what I hope is coming.

On Tuesday this week, I met with MySQL and MariaDB’s founder/creator, Michael Widenius (see picture). I didn’t really expect to like the guy, but as it turns out I felt soooo much related between the experiences of what happened on the MySQL-MariaDB side and what happened on the D0keos/Chamilo side that I ended up passing a good time. Those two historical events (for the projects themselves) happened pretty much at the same time, as well.

Yannick Warnier (Chamilo) and Michael Widenius (MariaDB) in Lima

This put me in the usual sharing mood, and I thought about Latinux. Now Latinux is mainly a Latin-American group (it’s at the same time an association and a company and an open-source software start-ups cluster) founded by my new friend (or at least close acquaintance) Ricardo Strusberg (*not* the guy on the left, that’s Santiago Gonzales), with whom I met a series of times during the last 12 months, and with whom we’re mounting the Official Chamilo Teacher and Admin Certifications (first one of them is currently in a review process and should be out before our Chamilo Users Day Peru on the 18th of November, so people will be able to come around, go to the workshop and get certified the same day).

So… coming back to the sharing mood. As it turns out, MariaDB suffers the exact same problems Chamilo does right now (and probably LibreOffice, to some extent). It is better than the software from which it moved away, it has most of the influent people in it, but there is no widespread adoption yet, because the original software kept the trademark and is still luring people into them being the best. Furthermore, the job was initially done so well, with so many people involved in the original projects, that it’s difficult to out-rank them with simple good intentions. A considerable marketing effort is necessary to make people know we’ve changed name, and that we are now better.

One of the reason I’m so fond of that certification effort is that it will definitely give a boost to our project, to have the ability to get yourself certified and prove you are a true professional. If we do it, we’re definitely moving one big step forward in terms of promotion. And so could MariaDB. So I mentioned it to Michael, who immediately agreed this was a great idea, and as I’m writing this post (which is two weeks later), Ricardo has been discussing the details of such a certification and they will be launching it at the beginning of next year all over America and France.

This specific encounter (that might shape the future of MariaDB considerably) was casually made possible by the organizers of the Comtel.pe event, who made it possible for us to meet. So thank you guys!

I can’t believe how things can happen so casually, but one thing is sure: if all of this would have been in another, more popular context, I would already have “casually” met with a bunch of the most popular IT people on the planet (in fact, I have a few practical examples in mind involving friends of mine). So, in a way, Peru is a great place, but there are still other (great) places to be out there.

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