Tribute to Antonio Copiello
Tonicopi, a friend.
On January 7 we gathered in the square in Dueville, Vicenza, to say goodbye to you
You had left four days before and it still seemed impossible to all of us. As we traveled through Dueville we couldn't imagine that you wouldn't be there anymore.
A few months of illness, more fierce in the last days, and yet you didn't miss the Joomla! Veneto online meetings, not even the last one in December. But that wasn't the reason why it seemed impossible that we wouldn't have seen you again, there was something else, that we sensed in the messages we exchanged on telegram ("But it's not possible!"), in the incredulous phone calls, and now in the looks we exchanged among the people who, like us, came here in Dueville to say a last goodbye. Many people, so many people. We looked at each other, amazed and a bit intimidated.
Under the large porticos of the Town Hall they had set up a funeral chamber, your coffin surrounded by hundreds of people. The first few rows were occupied by a few dozen chairs, but behind, with us, were most of the people who filled the entire square, right up to under the large cedars that held an afternoon sun that was beating down, despite January. So it's really true, we thought. Tonicopi is gone. Yet in that square filled with people, the whole time we were there, we discovered that this was not the case, or at least not entirely. I try to explain. We discovered a Tonicopi we didn't know.
Who didn't know Toni in the Joomla world? Since 2007 (Joomla 1.0), practically since the birth of the CMS, Tonicopi has animated the Forum of joomla.it with (I checked) 12,790 posts. He has published 96 tutorials to help joomlists. He created a delightful and very popular blog (http://www.joomlacsszengarden.com/) dedicated to the Joomla! universe and its extensions.
Everybody knew Tonicopi in the Joomla! world, maybe just for having read one of his posts, been helped by one of his very useful tutorials, if not for having talked with him... Yet here in Dueville, we found ourselves looking in amazement at the long line of people patiently waiting their turn to tell us something about Toni and probably most of these people didn't even know what a CMS was. They were colleagues from work, from the union, from the political group in which he had been a member, members of the voluntary associations to which Toni had contributed, friends, acquaintances, a very long line, each with his own story, but above all with a debt towards Toni for something he had received from him. A support, a good word, an advice, a concrete help, and much more. And so it is that while we were waiting for Giovanni Genovino to come and take the microphone to say hello to Toni on behalf of Joomla, we listened to all these people tell us something about him.
We discovered many things about Toni that we didn't know and that he had never told us. Yet we recognized him in all these stories. He was a concrete, intelligent, curious and capable person, so curious and so capable that he couldn't do just one activity. Here in the Veneto we say "profession". That's it: one "job" was not enough for Toni. Imagine that for someone who wrote about his work in this way: "I used to be a State Railroad Engineer by trade (Trenitalia they call themselves now). But it was really never a profession for me. It was more of a hobby. I dreamed of doing it as a child, when I played with toy trains.... And that's exactly what I did. Unbelievable. And they paid me too!!!" The "job", which from "Passionate" in 2007 had seen him become in a short time a great "Expert in Joomla!" had transformed him into a solid point of reference for joomlisti not only Venetian but throughout Italy. A reference point because he was competent, very competent. Because the problems, the bugs, for him were not a nuisance but a stimulus to find solutions, perhaps alternative and that no one had ever thought of.
But beyond his undoubted skills and his inexhaustible curiosity that always brought him one step ahead of the others (but always without showing it, without emphasizing it: with a great humility and lightness) there was also another element that distinguished him. An Open Source CMS such as Joomla! and its large community, gave Toni the opportunity to meet and know many people, hang out with them, discover together new ways and paths and give a hand to those who were in difficulty, indirectly, by writing tutorials well done and effective, or directly responding to requests for help in the forum but also via email, by phone or even in his "wonderful office", in the Tagliaferro bakery in Dueville that hosted him during the week. In the couch of the pastry shop he made friends and "customers" sit down, offering coffee and delicious pastries. The pleasure of a welcoming place, where you could taste delicacies for the palate and where to converse pleasantly, even about work and technical things, surrounded by nice and equally welcoming people.
Yes, because Toni liked people. Of course Toni adored the female universe ("my women" he affectionately called all the friends he had earned in many Italian cities with his sympathy and his irony, even if in first place there were his "angel", his wife Mirella, and his grandchildren, of whom he was very proud), but Toni liked above all "people", he liked to be among people.
So if I have to think of a concrete person who embodied the very idea of Open Source, of open and free software, and who practiced this collaborative idea always, even in his everyday life and in all his other activities, this person is Tonicopi.
Dear Toni, a great passion of yours was walking in the mountains. And this is how we will remember you: a friend who knew how to guide us through the most difficult and impervious paths, and who, after having tested the tightness of the rock, would stretch out his hand to let us pass. Thank you Tonicopi, Antonio Copiello, wherever you are.
Ho conosciuto Tonicopi leggendo i suoi articoli, le sue guida e i commenti nel forum italiano di Joomla.
Una persona sempre disposta a dare una mano e a mettere il cuore in quello che faceva.
Toni, da te ho imparato davvero molto su Joomla. Da te ho preso la passione per questo CMS.
Ho avuto poi modo di incontrarti dal vivo, grazie agli eventi di JoomlaVeneto, e di bere e ridere assieme.
Mi hai stupito quando ti sei presentato ad uno dei miei corsi su CSS e Bootsrap perché mi hai fatto capire che c'è sempre spazio per imparare qualcosa, così come c'è modo di trasmettere quello che si è imparato e che il bello del mondo Joomla è la condivisione delle proprie conoscenze.
Grazie Toni per essere stato un faro in questo mondo pieno di linee di codice su schermi neri.
Grazie davvero di tutto!
Un grosso abbraccio ovunque tu sia!