Got back from my trip to FISL 8.0 in Brazil and I had an insanely good time. After my rather tortuous trip, I checked into the hotel, and headed straight to FISL where I met with Sulamita (my tour guide and the queen of sarcasm) and the Intel chaps. I spent three days and took back a number of very cool memories and thoughts, which include:

  • The the ubuntu-br team are incredible. They did an excellent job at FISL and were a very cool bunch of people indeed. They did some long days answering the questions and dealing with the huge amount of interest in Ubuntu. Well done folks!
  • Was great to meet Aaron Seigo, Keith Packard, J5, Jim Gettys, Simon Phipps, Knut Yrvin and Lucas Rocha again. Aaron never ceases to amuse me and we always have a laugh when we meet up. Hope to catch up with the tiny little bastard again in the future.
  • FISL is well run, quite community orientated and has a huge government presence. The talks were well organised and schedule made sense. A well run event that was always very well attended.
  • Ubuntu was by far the most dominant distro being used on computers from what I saw. This is pretty much a trend at conferences now. Yes, I know thats a smug thing to say, but I care not. :)
  • A drunk a lot, and slept very little. Every night I went to bed at around 5am having been out drinking with a bunch of people in Porto Alegre. At one point about 100 or so geeks wandered down the road shouting and chanting as we tried to find a bar. Was a pretty unique sight. The last night was great as we drunk through till morning and I saw a nice, crisp early Brazil morning which was fantastic. :)
  • OLPC was rocking and rolling as ever. Great work from the folks there. :)
  • A lot of Brazilians love Slackware, and there was a large Slackware presence there. Slackware was my first ever distro when I got into Linux, good to see it is strong in Brazil. :)
  • My talk went down very well, and the resulting blogs have had very favorable reviews. Thanks so much for your kind comments people. I had a blast doing it, and the audience were very receptive, fun and full of great questions. :)
  • Taxi drivers in Porto Alegre seem to think traffic lights are ambient lighting and other cars are fun things to drive as close to as possible. Madness.
  • If you were there, no I don’t have tattoos on my ass, if you weren’t there, don’t ask.

Brazil is a wonderful, wonderful country, and the people who I met there were incredibly friendly and welcoming. As I do quite a bit of travel, I occasionally come back from somewhere with a particular fondness for the country and the people, and Brazil has so far topped my list. I found it a stunning place with incredibly passionate people and a real drive and motivation for free software. I came away from the trip even more enthused and excited about everything we all do with free software than before. I really admire dedication, passion and excitement in people, and the people who I met at FISL have it in droves. Thankyou to everyone who was so incredibly kind and welcoming to me. Rest assured, I will be back to your incredible country. Thanks also to Sulamita for being an excellent tour guide and always demonstrating an ability to take the piss out of me when I least expect. She is a lean, mean, sarcasm machine with red hair.

All in all an excellent, fun and productive trip. :)

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