Tecnología Libre

Tecnología Libre is a non-for-profit educational organization I founded in 2009 to promote technology entrepreneurship through the use of Free and Open Source Software (FLOSS).

In early 2009, the technology industry in Puerto Rico, and the whole Caribbean and Latin America for that matter, was entirely dominated by Microsoft. As a software professional, I had been following the advances in FLOSS, and how you could finally have powerful and robust software with flexible licensing agreements. As an added benefit, and quite frankly what appealed to me the most, was the fundamental concept of separating the production of the software from building a business model around it. This actually meant that anyone could look for FLOSS software solutions for vertical markets (Linux, Asterisk, WordPress) and build a business.

I started a blog speaking about this topic, sharing ideas, software, experiences and case-studies. The blog became moderately successful and that lead to many speaking engagements and media coverage.

By the end of 2009 it was clear to me that there was enough traction to take this to the next level. A couple things happened at this point. First, I decided to write a book about this topic and how it could help the economy of Puerto Rico and bridge the digital divide. After publishing it, more speaking engagements and a bi-weekly segment in Univision Puerto Rico, which I did for the following year and a half. This took care of getting the word out and create awareness in a scalable way.

The next step was to find a way of spreading this message to software developers. This one was more challenging. In the process I understood how universities create and modify their curriculum, and how difficult and time-consuming (read bureaucratic) the process is. This was a dead-end; there was no way for me to formally squeeze in new content into universities. Time to put on the hacker hat!

My basic idea was to create a simple loop: learning and transferring knowledge. I wanted to create a platform to provide the local software development community with extra motivation to learn new technologies, but learn them well enough so they can teach them. I’m a fan of leading by example, so I started myself. I established Tecnología Libre as a non-for-profit corporation because in my mind, this project more than a business, is a social service.

Having a formal organization as an umbrella allowed me to establish alliances with different entities, and you guessed it, universities. I could now use conference rooms and computer labs for free and the ball started rolling. I created a Web Development (HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP) course, started teaching it, and ended up offering it several times at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico through their continued education program, and as a formal professor (on payroll) at the Universidad del Turabo.

Mobile was picking up at this point (early 2010), and I knew I needed to find a way of teaching mobile development. But since Tecnologia Libre was all about FLOSS, even when teaching iPhone development made sense from a business perspective, it didn’t fit our organizational vision. I needed to find a way of teaching mobile development meeting the following requirements:

  • Native
  • Cross-platform
  • Free and Open Source
  • Able to use it from either Windows, Mac or Linux

I remembered I had seen a tool called Appcelerator the year before, so I went back to it and realized this tool met all my requirements. I created my own Titanium course, and pretty much the rest is history. This lead to the creation of INTELICA, to a two-year teaching agreement with INTECO, the creation of TechBiz.mobi (funded by the Citi Foundation), an agreement with Samsung to be their de-facto Android Evangelist for the Caribbean, and eventually to moving the Silicon Valley to formally work for Appcelerator as their Lead Developer Evangelist.

2009 through 2012 were three very exciting years, and were without a doubt instrumental to my career. Tecnología Libre is no longer active.