Guadalinex v6 is out!

I am pleased to announce that the final version of Guadalinex v6 is out ๐Ÿ™‚
The official news are at the Guadalinex website. But it’s in Spanish, so I’ve decided to explain a bit (in my poor English) what is all about.
Before to start I like to thank to all those people who help to develop, test, fix, translate and document all those great projects which Guadalinex is based on. I really do. They make this possible and deserve most of the credits.
This is the 6th edition of Guadalinex which is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. The distribution is paid by the local government of a big region at the south of Spain, which is Andalusia.
There are a lot of people who think this isย  waste of public money, but I think quite the opposite. And I think so because we don’t just make Ubuntu booting in Spanish and change the wallpaper, we try to listen to real end users from this region of the world and bring them the closer system to what they need and demand.
The distribution is oriented to the regular citizen, but it is being used at schools for few years. Thousands of children have been using Guadalinex (ergo Ubuntu/Debian/Gnome and much more free software stuff) everyday at the schools for about four years now.
But also people from very low populated areas of Andalusia have been using Guadalinex at centers with computers where they can learn computers skills and use internet for free. Now there are around 700 centers working from Monday to Friday for them.
Even the public libraries are using now Guadalinex.
Because of that, Guadalinex is more than a few technical or artistic changes. It’s a social project.

I think the changes we have made in this version are useful no just for Andalusian, but for all the people who feels more comfortable reading and writing in Spanish. And there also some interesting stuff for a normal Ubuntu user.

We like to push those improvements to Ubuntu, Debian, GNOME and all the wonderful projects we touch. And also new small tools we develop because our users need them. We think those are also useful for everybody.
I have to say that Guadalinex don’t try to compete with any distro. Guadalinex have its owns users with their needs and we just want to give them what they need. And in the process (if we can) to help the community and other people.

Our goals are really different from Ubuntu’s ones. Ubuntu need to be for everyone. Need to be universal and be useful and “compatible” with every person and culture.
We are the opposite. We need to target to specific people, with specific language, culture, needs and resources. That’s why Ubuntu is so useful for us, but Guadalinex is more useful for our users.
We have to deal with users who barely know how to write and know nothing about computers. Ok, we have also real good IT people or people who really know all this stuff, but our threshold is the user who less know.
We like fancy things on our desktops but sometimes we have to wait a bit to get them into Guadalinex because our users aren’t ready for them. And we know because we have professional helpdesk services, forums, feedback from teachers, from our technicians at the tele centers. So it’s not something we figure out by ourself and then take “conservatives” decisions, it’s something we do, because we know well to our users and we are here for them.
What I was trying to say is that Ubuntu (or any other generalist distribution) has a very important mission and there are a lot of smaller and more focused derivatives distributions that need to be there. This is an ecosystem and everyone grown and learn on this interaction.

Sorry for been so tedious, I’ll promise to tell shorter and funnier stories next time ๐Ÿ˜›

Well, actually my next post probably will be the list of things that are different between Ubuntu Jaunty and Guadalinex v6. The list is in Spanish now, so I want to explain it in English.
And If anyone like to try Guadalinex, we have a DVD version (the full edition) and a minor version on CD.
Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ˜‰
Happy hacking!

Guadalinex is getting close to Ubuntu

Well, the new project I was going to join was Guadalinex v6 ๐Ÿ™‚

If you don’t know, Guadalinex is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Ubuntu made by La Junta de Andalucia (Andalusian regional Government) for the citizens. It’s one of the main distributions in Spain and has a large amount of users. There are over 300.000 pcs on schools and over 600 internet centers in rural areas running Guadalinex.

This is very exciting for me because, although I’ve already participated on 3 versions of Guadalinex and I’ve helped to create the system in which was based the others first, this is going to be developed in another way.

The previous versions were developed by a few small companies working together. The way those companies were chosen was by a public tender.

This was a good way, I think. Letting to small free software companies work, learn and grown doing software useful for the people around. And the whole process was open. It wasn’t that kind of project that one company develop for few months and then put in a public server. It was always open from the beginning. Open and public wiki, mail lists, subversion, forums, bug tracking and so on. Which sadly is no very common on free software project from governments…

Anyway, this time it was also a tender, but not for making the whole distribution by the companies, just hiring separated groups of people for doing different tasks (design the distro, maintain the mirrors, take care of the users and forums, create a manual for human beings….) from inside. I mean, from the public installations.

Well, my company won the tender for leading part of the technical side of this project. So my coworker and friend Roberto Morano and me are working on Guadalinex v6 since the last Monday ๐Ÿ™‚

Guadalinex always has been trying to collaborate with the upstream projects, like the distribution on which were based (first Debian, now Ubuntu). But it wasn’t easy at all.

We have our schedule, few resources, usually we start to work on an already stable version (which means we can not add or fix things for that upstream version) and too much burocracy some times. Also the upstream distro side was never clear and we couldn’t find a middle point to collaborate.

We actually did collaborate with Ubuntu with the first version of the live installer (Ubuntu Express, now Ubiquity), some fixes, translations and few things more. But there was a lot of interesting stuff we created for Guadalinex and never arrived to Ubuntu. That’s sad.

Also, since we got a huge amount of computers running Guadalinex and we must assure those computers work fine (because the child and teachers need them for the classes, for example), we have a lot of bugs and hardware issues notificated and we already have fixed lots of different kind of problem (hardware support, 3g support, digital certificates support, etc).

I know very well that all the people behind the project would like to push all those improvements to upstream and give to more people. But the time, the tools, the language and things like that didn’t let us doing properly.

But, good news, now we are getting close to a better collaboration. We have started to integrate subprojects from Guadalinex on Launchpad, so we can show to the Ubuntu community (and nearby ones) all the things we do. We are creating the projects on launchpad and importing the subversion repositories into bazaar branches registered on lp, as well.

We also add our bug tracker to the list of bug tracker connected to launchpad, so we can connect the bugs we share and give feedback from each other or even close our bugs and notificate the fixes to the related bugs or software in Ubuntu.

People from the launchpad team are helping us with this because the bug tracker we use since more than 3 years (mantis) is not the better supported by launchpad, so we are figuring how sort this out. We’ll see.

Also there is a Guadalinex distro registration about to finish, so we can manage the releases, milestones and subprojects as a normal distro in launchpad.

We are asking to the launchpad and ubuntu people how to doing better so they can take our work and we are open to any idea or recommendation.

Our initial goal is release the stable version between 30 and 60 days after Jaunty and for this version we don’t plan add much new features, like on earlier versions. Instead, we’ll try to help to fix bugs, improve translations, documentation and hardware support, so we can get a better, more stable and more secure upstream distro.

As said before, any help, advise, recommendation will be more than welcome.

I’ll keep posting about our progress and I hope it be just good news ๐Ÿ™‚

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Espaรฑa
This work by Juanje Ojeda is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Espaรฑa.