What’s up with Transylvanians and Open Source software? That’s a question I got to ask myself a few weeks ago, when my good friend and colleague Ioan Sucan told me that his team won the Open Source Software (OSS) World Challenge 2012 with his excellent work on OMPL. This is the very same grand prize award that we won with PCL back in 2011. No obvious surprises here… Ioan is one of the best programmers and scientists I’ve had the pleasure to meet! Yet, I couldn’t help wondering: what’s up with transylvanians and their love for open source software?
How did we come to this? Was there something that we experienced in our childhood that led to loving open source? Was there something in our daily diet back home? What sort of an anomaly are we talking about? These are tough questions to answer without going down a Freudian path ;).
If I’d have to guess the top 3 things that have been influencing us and contributing to all this open source awesomeness, I’d say:
- bacon! (ro: “slănină”). Weird enough, transylvanians are not known to be fat people, and live long and healthy lives (my grandpa died at 91), yet they consume a lot of bacon/pork belly in their lives.
- strong alcohol! (ro: “țuică”, “pălincă”, “rachie”). This crazy 50-60% — sometimes home-made — N-times distilled alcohol seems to be something we’ve grown up with. Oh no, we haven’t started drinking under age, but in any social occasion, or any lunch or dinner with family or friends, our parents are always drinking a shot of this, before eating.
- hay! (ro: “fân”, “capiță”). Whoah - everybody has hay! - you’d seem to say. Yes, but this is no ordinary hay. If you’ll ever visit the true land where vampires come from (not the state of Washington!), you’ll notice that the hay there is “different”. Spending summers in the country side as kids, running around and jumping in and on haystacks, is definitely something we must have associated with freedom (which in my Freudian interpretation must have connected to “open source” later on ;)).
Whether this is true or not, is really irrelevant. All that matters is that we have two amazing open source software communities, PCL (3D processing) and OMPL (motion planning), both trying to push the limits of what can be achievable in their own fields, and both featuring transylvanians!!! Let this be an insipration for all you other transylvanians out there!
To find out more about Ioan, and his amazing work, please visit http://ioan.sucan.ro/.