Happy birthday Liferay Spain!

It seems that Liferay Spain is celebrating its 10 years birthday today! Happy Birthday!!

Let me tell you an story .. Yes, this is one of those moments I feel a little bit old.

How I met Liferay

It was 2008, I was working in CTIC, and I was part of the team involved on evaluating content management systems for a new regional government’s web. Of course, I was not the decision maker, because my focus was on W3C mobile web best practices, but for some of us in the team, the choice was clear: Liferay.

After 8 years involved in free, open source software, we could not vote for anything that wouldn’t be open source sotfware. The team decided to have a meeting with Liferay, whoever they were, to take a decision.

My first surprise was that, at least, 2 people I’ve had met years before, in an Hispalinux Conference, were part of the Liferay’s team coming for the meeting: Jorge Ferrer and Álvaro del Castillo (I think the whole Spanish Liferay team came for the meeting: 4 people!). I remember ending the meeting talking with Álvaro about how Liferay was facing mobile web.

But the thing that socked me the most was Ferrer’s first sentence about Liferay. It was something like (blame on my age for not remembering the exact words):

“ Liferay wants to build a better world for everyone ”

It was not about technology or product features, it was about human values, and how they drive a project!

Many of you would say that it sounds very Silicon Valley’s (Youtube’s video). But, let me you remember 2 things:

  1. They were not from Silicon Valley, not even close to San Francisco
  2. It was 2008, ~5-10 years ahead of the startups bubble.

The rest of the meeting was about why open source, how they joined Liferay project, a little bit of history, some technical things, Liferay’s business model.. So the decision was clear: let’s go for Liferay!

I remember installing it, playing with the first versions to check how it could be adapted to W3C mobile Web recommendations, playing with Merkur (PDF) to adapt its generated content to mobile devices… It was the beginning of a long story.

Liferay, the story continues

On 2010 I joined Andago (don’t look for it, the company disappeared in 2013). They were doing a lot of open source stuff on top of an open source platform. Do you guess which one? Liferay, of course.

Álvaro was part of the R&D team. I remember talking with him about submitting my CV to Andago. And there I was, as e-health R&D manager. They were intense years, with Álvaro leaving the company in mid 2012 (yes, I was his direct manager, and the one that fired him) and me leaving later. We still joke from time to time about those days!

Was my relationship with Liferay over? Of course not

On early 2013 Álvaro told me about an start-up project he has founded with some friends: Bitergia. It was an interesting project, with a good group of advisors, including Jorge Ferrer.

I was not very happy with my current job at that time, and on June-July I was ready to join Bitergia. The role: business developer,… Who? Me? Are you crazy? “We already have a couple of customers”- he told me – “the OpenStack Foundation, and Liferay”.

So, there I was, meeting James Falkner in 2014’s OSCON. I’ll never forget the Padrón peppers in that Portland’s restaurant (yes, there are Padrón peppers in Portland!) and the Voodoo Doughnuts. Thank you so much James!

Liferay, at home.. sort of!

It was June 2016, and my girlfriend and I were getting married by the end of June.

“I have a new job!” – she told me – “I should start by the beginning of July” (Good, we had moved our honeymoon to December)

You know where the job is, don’t you? Liferay Spain, of course! I was, I am and I’ll be so proud of her. Any comment about Liferay from now, might be a little bit biased.

During last year, or couple of years, Liferay has been working on new ways to engage with their open source community opening communication channels, new Meetup groups, etc. And, seriously, I love their “Why open source is important for us?” video, and when you hear “open source”, you can say “community”:

On 2017, I submitted a talk for Liferay Spain Symposium, and it was accepted as lightning talk (from 30-45 minutes talk to 7 minutes). So here, I was, almost 10 years later, still loving Liferay, still talking about Liferay, and still seeing it as a community, years ahead of many other companies, where success is not measured by money figures but human values

Well done Liferay Spain, Liferay and the whole community behind such great project!!

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