April 18, 2007

The Importance of Celebration

Category: Anthropology,Debian,F/OSS,Tech — Biella @ 8:17 am

Recently a Debian user left a really nice note letting me know “It makes
me happy and proud to learn that boricuas are Debian developers! (Hopefully you are not the only one). This is for me the best Debian News since Etch released. Proud and happy for you.”

Here I have to confess, however that I am neither a DD nor really a true Boriqua. I have studied Debian for many years, but have never officially joined. In terms of PR, none of my family is originally from there as my father is Jewish American and my mom was born in Russian, wandered as war refugee for many years in Europe and eventually landed in Venezuela, where I was born. But I have made my home in PR for many years and do consider it one of my many homes.

Speaking of many homes, I also feel, even though I am not a DD, that Debian is an important touchstone in my life. It reminded me of a conversation I had with Manoj recently related to this topic, who almost mistook me for a DD:

[biella] who is that DD that wrote an anthro thesis on debian? [08:55]
[biella] he is brazilian

[manoj] I was gonna say that the dd who did an anthro thesis on debian
was you, then it struck me that you are not a dd, but I still
think of you as one now, and then it struck me further that
making you a dd might compromise your postiion as an observer

After many years following the project, I have grown quite attached to it, and every year, a few months before Debconf I am reminded of this attachment. I have managed to make Debconf only every other year, and usually when I face this fact, a sense of melancholia and slight sadness sets in, especially when I hear of everyone making plans to go. I always start to question my decision to stay back, then hit all sorts of websites for cheap tickets, and start to wonder if I can perhaps manage to complete some work there, which is the main reason this year I am staying away.

I then make myself confront REALITY and remind myself that the whole reason I love attending Debconf is because of its extreme vitality, which after a week, leaves you wrung out and tired, because you put so much of your attention and mind, soul and heart in the events. So even if I go for a week, or longer, you usually need a week ore more to recover. I am not sure I can spare such time this year, especially since less than a month after Debconf, I am packing my bags and moving back to the east coast of the United States. And as I learned last year and the year before and two years before, these sorts of long-distance moves take a lot of your time.

My longing reminds me of how important it is to celebrate those things in life you love. And while there is more to Debconf than a celebration, much of it is just that, a chance, a space, a place by which and where you celebrate. And since I sit only in the shadows of Debian, I imagine the pleasure and joy runs deeper and wider for those who sit at its heart. So if you are on the fence on whether to go, this is your friendly public service announcement that it is, indeed, so worth your while.

1 Comment »

  1. Hi Biella:

    I am still happy about your Puerto Rico connection. Is good to share a homeland with people that can apreciate it. So you are still boricua as far as I’m concerned :-)
    (You showed some good taste in your travel recomendations
    I love Kasalta!)
    In another fun coincidence, I may not be Jewish but my
    sister recently converted to Judaism. (With a conservative congregation).
    About Debian, Im still very happy you are part of it’s community.

    Comment by Luis Echevarria — April 18, 2007 @ 9:27 pm

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