GvSIG, Conquering New Spaces ... Necessary! Controversial?

This is the name that has been Seventh International Conference on gvSIG To be held at the end of November of the year 2011.

This year's focus will give a lot to talk about in the private environments of the big geospatial software transnationals; but its approach is inevitable, if it is expected that gvSIG manages to break the existing barriers in countries that lack clear policies on the use of free software and where it is often belittled by ignorance or particular interests.

In this regard, it is expected that there will be talks and discussion panels on medium-term strategies to reverse myths such as:

- Free software has no quality

- Behind free software there are no companies

Folio and banner_ESPThe best thing that the gvSIG foundation has been doing is the link Gym - public - private for its sustainability. Nothing that other open source initiatives have not done, with the marked difference in the efforts for the systematic documentation and consolidation of alliances with an invasive approach that until now has brought interesting results in Europe and America.

Particularly it has been easier for me to convince a client to use a tool that costs thousands of dollars than a free solution. Not because its capabilities can not be technically demonstrated, but because the administrative implications of buying software that does not have a nominal value and replacing it with a service solution is complicated by lawyers of a certain contextual background.

The issue can become sensitive according to the positions, but also internationalization must lead to an attitude of snatching in good faith what will not be granted without struggle. Nothing worse than software that is good and is said ... there is if you want to use it.

It is not easy if we consider the reprisals that can be expected to tarnish the image as the term is now seen hacker, which is almost synonymous with terrorism although at first it was not. In this case, it is risky to be linked to ideological aspects of the left, which, although they are principles with a consistent foundation, in many countries of the Americas are associated with populist customs and ignorant statements of their leaders that detract much from the ideals.

It is a great challenge what gvSIG intends to deal with in this scenario, the confusions between what is Open Source and private Software have their setbacks for a good understanding even by ourselves, let's see some approaches:

Knowledge must be democratized: This flag I have raised myself, Geofumadas part of that principle and I often insist on my technicians who exceed the 50 years to not keep their knowledge to themselves and return it to new generations if we expect constant progress.

As the university professor who has the position that will not transmit Just like it the knowledge that has cost you a lot of effort. Thought that has caused the deterioration in many institutions or careers and more seem roots of low self-esteem that is reflected in arrogance and the inability in not being able to sell the services from the acquired knowledge. If someone thinks they are very intelligent and wise, they can demonstrate this by turning that into wealth, either converting their intellectual production into a marketable product or selling a service ...

The previous commentary will seem to be a good idea, but it is the same principle that is sometimes observed in the obstruction caused by the private sector towards initiatives with community openness.

... over time, sometimes it is proven that whoever transfers their knowledge grows, learns, updates and impacts more than the one who takes his titles to the grave.

Giving advice does not necessarily imply money, nor is it saying that we should give our services for free. When we talk about the democratization of knowledge we refer to a principle of intellectual creativity and collaborative vision in which if I have big aspirations (bigger than my own capacity), I can create a community of people who take the initial idea to another level collaboratively , in the understanding that it will always be in the public domain, as it was conceived.

From this I would then have a capital of knowledge not tangible, but documented and proven to work, with public ownership, that is, of the entire community as well as a street or a parking lot. If implementing it or making specialized adaptations generates money for those involved, then we call this free software: the built knowledge is not valid, but it is charged to implement it. Releasing it to the community under free use rules causes it to mature and acquire characteristics that a small group of specialists could not have achieved.

This is how the combination of the community, with public knowledge and the users return through the developers a product each time improved to the original core. There is always business, but under democratized knowledge ... It is a philosophy that differentiates the free from the free, nor expect it to be so digestible, especially after a session with the people of RedHat to discuss an economic offer.

Software is an unpalatable capital: I invest 10,000 hours of my time and contract three people to develop a computer tool. Nothing should prevent me from considering that product as my property and registering the right so that my investment can return by selling the software to individuals or companies.

In this sense, the knowledge acquired when developing this application produced a capital with which other people and institutions will work with greater efficiency. And there is no reason for me to consider that because it is knowledge, I give the public the codes and smoke only because the knowledge must be democratized. Software is not a palpable good, that's why it's so easy to hack, but it's a bundle of packaged knowledge to provide a solution.

This is the origin of the principle of proprietary software, which after the arrival of PCs ceased to be an added value to the sale of hardware and license concepts were created (which is more like a permit than a product). It is owned by those who invested in its development, and that is understood gives an added value to those who use it: it is worth the packaged knowledge, additionally it can be charged for implementing it.

The computer evolution will continue to venture into the legal definition of intangible capital that makes 30 years did not exist, to give examples, the ranking of a web page, registered users of a forum. Complexes like the difference between 100 lines of code in a software that already exist libraries similar to 5 lines of an algorithm that nobody had developed.


Up there, what there are are two business models with different tactics, both in the search to solve the same problem. The first with the risk of losing sustainability, the second with the risk that the company decides to sell to another that may or may not continue its development.

The issue is then, in what happened to Richard Stallman in 1983, when he felt capable of causing improvements to errors that the proprietary program had. The company did not allow him to touch the code, even though he told them he would do it for free and the benefits would be for the same company.

Then, it becomes contradictory, that if I buy a package of knowledge and I am able to make adaptations based on my particularities ... then I do not own that package, not in a free way. Not as it would be when I put my fins up on my Toyota vehicle to make it look like a dolphin, just because Toyota says its image is damaged by the whims of my wife. If for that Toyota put a clause that if I do that then I can be penalized, then I would believe that I do not own what I bought.

But hey, everything would be solved if everyone does their business. If someone wants to buy proprietary software, buy it, and accept the conditions. If you want free software, pay for the implementation and assume your responsibility.

However, the problem is beyond, on a level not only economic but political and philosophical. In the impositions that large software manufacturing companies make, in association sometimes with the manufacturers or distributors of equipment to get the free software out of the field, closing the collaboration spaces for interoperability and in many countries pressing politically.

In this aspect, we must be very careful, since the philosophical aspects have been the cause of great wars. Some principles enunciated by Richard Stallman in the GNU movement are very similar to the struggle against capitalism whose extremes are caring.

"The fact that companies have a special influence on politics means that democracy is sick." The purpose of democracy is to make sure that the rich do not have an influence proportional to their wealth, and if they have more influence than you or me, that means That democracy is failing. The laws they get in this way have no moral authority, but the ability to do harm. "

Richard Stallman

Totally agree in the economic, legislative and political context of a country if you want to bring to a level of social achievements and transformations for development. But taking this issue requires tweezers in far-right countries, it is not surprising, that in several countries of South America there are already national policies for the use of free software in state institutions. This is a right of sovereignty, and transnational pressures on this should be considered as a disease. But we must take care that the Open Source movement is a victim of the demonization of left-wing principles.


What happens is that this confrontation two years ago in Central America left the 4 at dawn to a president, with his pajamas of bunnies in a Costa Rican airport. Also because of the focus on Venezuela, the private company lives a viacrucis that, in search of justice, has lost its competitiveness focus. And then the populism of some left-wing presidents makes them pronounce atrocities or stop efforts with results more catastrophic than the extreme right.

And in the last case, to see Stallman in a plenary with a beard full of bugs blessing the computers of the auditorium, is folkloric but it takes away seriousness to an effort that does not occupy clichés if it has demonstrated enough its sustainability.



So that is the spirit in which the Seventh International Conference of gvSIG will move. Undoubtedly, the technical presentations will be of luxury, considering the good time that the foundation now has in its internationalization work.

I want to see the papers under strategic focus, we will surely learn a lot in favor of the sustainability of a model that until now we suppose will walk but of which we are not as clear as it will be within 20 years. In this there is nothing written, as we have seen the evolution of the licenses born under the GNU or the flavors of the distributions on the Linux kernel.

Surely human creativity will triumph over extreme postures.


In conclusion, care must be taken not to mix politics or religion with economics and technique, if it is touched with tweezers or addressed at the extremes, it is important to be prepared for reprisals. In this regard there are different positions, from heaven to hell.

Something of the previous reflection does not pretend to be a posture, only an interpretation in an afternoon of Coca Tea, which my friend brings when he goes to Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

At some point I may seem extreme, but when it comes to economic control you have to take care of each clamp. To close I leave the good humor of the popularity that Stallman reached in a controversial issue in which we will hardly agree.


4 Replies to "gvSIG, Conquering New Spaces ... Necessary! Controversial?"

  1. It should be borne in mind that the slight neglect of seemingly delicate issues have caused chaotic situations. And when powerful transnational interests will be touched, we must be prevented.

  2. Excellent Reflection, I think this time was overflowing in prose, but was very good reflection.
    I think the most important thing and had not fallen into account is that Free Software suffers that demonization, as I say, that some multinationals do see.


  3. Thanks for the clarification Arnold.
    Although in the international market, it does not work much to look for it as "coca leaf infusion" but simply as Coca tea or Coca tea.

    It is tea, it is infusion, the truth is that it is very good.

  4. I think it's called coca infusion, not Coca Tea.

Leave an answer

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.