Wow, it's April 1st again. I haven't blogged for over two years (interactive online social life mostly moved to Twister, Pump.io, GNU social, and Diaspora), but today, this blog turns 10 years old, and it's been quite a week for me, so I figured I'd post to celebrate!
Ten years ago, I was stuck in Boa Vista, Roraima, after the Brazilian air control got paralized just as I was supposed to fly back home from a Free Software event. At a nice hotel that the airline arranged for me to stay until the situation normalized, with good connectivity, and in a flurry of FSFLA activity, I figured starting a blog to share my personal views made sense. I posted somewhat regularly for the first few years, but more recently, I've often felt that I'd be repeating myself whenever I felt like writing something, so in the end I didn't.
But last week, something amazing happened, and I'm pretty sure I'd never written about that before. I went to LibrePlanet, the amazing Free Software conference organized by the original FSF, and I got the Award for the Advancement of Free Software straight from Richard Stallman's hands, and in the annoucement he called me a true Free Software champion. That made my day, my week, my year, my entire life and then some!
If you see my acceptance speech, it will be obvious that I was overwhelmed by emotion. I managed to not forget to thank Richard and all the FSF crew, my FSFLA colleagues, my managers at Red Hat, Linux-libre collaborator Jason Self who was there, and my wife and daughter who were watching back home.
In the written speech I'd prepared, I had meant to thank others but, in the excitement of the moment, I didn't bring the prepared speech with me (it was in the laptop!), and I ended up failing to name them, so let's fix this: Ututo and gNewSense developers who first freed Linux, and Jeff Moe who started the Linux-libre project; Thadeu Cascardo, for Free Software programs that complemented and advanced my efforts in Softwares Impostos; the Brazilian Free Software communities, where I've always felt so welcome, and the many other Latin American ones that also welcomed me.
Other than getting the award, what surprised me the most was how many people expressed in very kind and warm words their appreciation for my getting it, and shared in the joy for that achievement. It surprised me because I had no idea so many people would take the trouble of sending an email of support; what we see most often in our communities is criticism. We (yes, I mean to include myself, especially myself) most often take the trouble of writing to others so as to express our disagreement, to correct an error; support, appreciation, celebration, and recognition seem to take a back seat in our priorities.
Having been so gladly surprised by finding out I was so cherished, it occurred to me we were setting ourselves back in a really big way for not sharing enough support and appreciation, which would ultimately translate into sharing joy and happiness and reinforcing our social and political movement.
Having felt how good it is to be at the receiving end of so many positive expressions (I'm still working on responding them all; sorry if I haven't got to you yet), I am now determined to make it a priority to be at their sending end, and to do that often.
So that is the plan. Will I succeed at it? Give me some time, then tell me. Even if I don't. Especially if I don't. Thanks!