Daniel Rodriguez and Celia Palacios write…
The ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlán dawns on an autumn Thursday in November, which could well be just another one and, probably for many people, it will be. But there are different threads of a great plot brewing from the roads that converge there. People come from different parts of the world, in addition to those who travel from different parts of the country to meet in this annual regional event.
It is nothing more and nothing less than the IV Latin American Congress of LibreOffice 2023, which this year was organized in close collaboration with the Division of Electrical Engineering (DIE) of the Faculty of Engineering of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the non-profit organizations Cuates.net, Fundación Dedica and the National University of Alto Uruguay, as well as the companies OSS Integral Institute, Collabora Online and allotropia.
There is an atmosphere of joy for the reunion; accents from different latitudes of our America and Europe can be heard, in the cases of those who try to speak in the language that unites us as a region. But also dialogues in English when the words did not flow in our language; the spirits were high and generous for this unprecedented event in the north of the American continent.
The opening took place in the “Sotero Prieto” auditorium of the Engineering Annex, where a group of volunteers from the university were waiting at their posts, whom we identified throughout the event for their willingness to provide directions and general information and, above all, to make each attendee feel welcome.
It seems to me that the event was more successful than I thought it would be, being very close to the end of the semester. However, the students were very interested in the workshops. I think these events are important for the community to learn about free software, particularly LibreOffice, and to break these stereotypes about free software. It is not difficult, it is so open that you decide what you want to do with it.
Dr. Rocío Aldeco – Head of the Computer Science Department
We see familiar faces, greetings, badges with hurried letters and others, written in more detail, group photos; but the murmur diminishes when the opening ceremony begins with the words of Dr. Rocio Aldeco on behalf of our host UNAM, of the living legend of free software, Federico Mena, and finally, as representative of The Document Foundation, of Celia Palacios. They all take the stage to open the meeting with words of thanks to UNAM, to TDF, as well as to the members and volunteers, encouraging them to continue with the enormous work they do every day.
After the first morning, the paths temporarily bifurcate: there are those who choose to remain in the auditorium to listen to the keynote talks and those who head to the laboratory to participate more actively. In both spaces, a wide range of topics are addressed, ranging from the path taken to adopt the OpenDocument Format in Taiwan, to quality control or development with Python and LibreOffice.
I’m pretty impressed. First, by people there – friendly people, full of passion. I met many community members for the first time, and they all gave me a friendly welcome. Second, the conference itself is well organized, thanks to the amazing team. (Though I couldn’t understand what they are talking about, but the whole flow ran well, and some interim schedule changes didn’t cause problems.) Third, by the city – I could see the celebration of Día de Muertos everywhere. Very interesting. Some Aztec ruins, the pyramids, and in the evening people singing and dancing on the street of Mexico City.
One of my missions this time is to introduce LibreOffice Asian community members. I do hope that there are stronger connections between the Latin American and Asian communities, and we can do something together.
Franklin Weng – President of BoD, Software Liberty Association Taiwan
But the conversation does not end in the formal spaces of the agenda: groups are formed to debate, share information, exchange contacts and form networks to continue thinking and building. The story would not be complete without mentioning that in addition to the technical exchange, there were social and cultural moments.
At the end of Friday, the farewells arrived, but they are only a goodbye, even though a place to meet again for 2024 has not yet been defined.
The success of the event can be explained in many ways, but we choose this one: the hard work of the great organizing team.
Thank you, Mexico City; thank you, UNAM; thank you, Hispanic LibreOffice community!