Like many of my colleagues at Canonical and Ubuntu community members, I’ve arrived to the Ubuntu Developer Summit for Ubuntu Lucid (9.10) planning. Did you know to many Chicanos this place is not Texas, but Tejaztlán ? The word Texas comes from “Friends” or “Allies”, but there’s a lot more in common with this UDS venue with Ubuntu than you’d think. Or so I’ve felt so far.
Yesterday my pre-UDS day kicked off at the Festival del Tamal that was happening right across our hotel. From Wikipedia,
“The terms Chicano and Chicana (also spelled Xicana) were originally used by, and in reference to U.S. citizens of Mexican descent. The term began to be widely used during the Chicano Movement mainly amongst Mexican Americans, especially in the movement’s peak in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The self-identify term Chicano is still of popular usage today. “
I initially thought “mhh Latinos… there must be food”. I knew tamales where a key component of Latin American food but I’ve never ever seen so many people lined up to get their piece of it! There must have been a few thousand people and I truly felt I was in Mejico, not in the U.S. as I typically imagine them and see them in the news. But as we cruised the venue I also noticed a lot of stands and kiosks offering help & services for landing immigrants, and NGOs of all types and origins. We felt the strange contrast of a huge happy family reunion and people struggling to just make it- while keeping a huge smile.
Going into my third year at Canonical in a few days, I still feel the same excitement and anticipation about spending a whole week (and then a bit more) having 100% one-to-one bandwidth with many of the essential individuals that are the driving force behind our favorite operating system – and freedom culture evangelization tool. After a few tamales and being immersed in this huge latino crowd I couldn’t help but see some parallels between the Chicano social liberation struggle and the Free Software movement.
I even got a TShirt from this nice gentleman who kindly explained to me why there was a Chicano Activist Convention a few months ago right here in Tejaztlán. They have these student groups called Mechas who meet regularly and discuss and further issues they face daily (and have for a few decades now). “Wow,” I thought to myself..”this is kinda like our LoCo teams and Bug#1!”. Except on a very different social (and technical) scale, of course. Here, meet the Mecha of Tejaztlán group.
Aztlán, by the way, “is the legendary ancestral home of the Nahua peoples, one of the main cultural groups in Mesoamerica. “Aztec” is the Nahuatl word for “people from Aztlan.”. So you can see a bit of where the Tejaztlán word came from.
He looked at me with a “where the hell have you been” face, but was nice anyways, as my Latino looks couldn’t get him through the notion I was completely ignorant of the Chicano movement to the extent I still thought yesterday it meant “any Mexican in the US” when in fact it means a lot more. I remembered how patient and welcoming we must be to every person that is new to Ubuntu and I felt welcome to further my knowledge and fix their Bug #1.
Going back to the hotel I thought I’d wear the Tshirt on my first day at UDS, if only to honor this land that welcomes us, and in a way, knows what we are up to this week. I am hoping to meet members of the Ubuntu Texas Team and perhaps they’ll help me better understand their very own ecosystem, and if I was wrong in any of my first impressions at my pre-UDS kickoff day, it wouldn’t be my first time. I love being in that position, and having the ensuing discussions, specially when they revolve about Freedom.
Oh, and if you have any Apple hardware, please know I will be nice to you anyways, I don’t hate Apple or you – buy me a beer and we can have that discussion too