I am 10'000 metres above sea level, on my way from Melbourne to Wellington. I am looking back at a very enjoyable week of conferencing, with LCA 2008 ending yesterday, followed by today's Open Day. The purpose of this final day is to invite the general public to learn about open-source. Individual projects present their work at booths and field questions by bypassers.
Jacinta Richardson and the other organisers and helpers of the Open Day have done an amazing job. The place was buzzing and the selection of projects broad and interesting, even to me. Two talks and a series of lightning talks, as well as catered food for everyone rounded it off. I will try to have this event in mind as we organise a similar event in Buenos Aires after the forthcoming DebConf8 in Argentina.
I had a splendid time at the conference and probably can't thank Donna Benjamin and her army of mignons (update: that should have read be minions) enough for organising it. Compared to the other open-source conferences I previously attended, this one was the most professional. Good job, everyone!!!
Here are the highlights:
- I opened the Debian mini-conf with the state of the project address.
- My second presentation on that day was on my packaging workflow (slides), including a live demonstration, which was received well even though I should have prepared it.
- At the keysigning, I (again) used my Transnational Republic identity card and reported on it in another post. I was pleased by the level of attention this got, and how many people approached me during the week to discuss the issue.
- I really enjoyed the talk by Adaora Oniya on communication challenges in Tuesday's LinuxChix mini-conf. Among other interesting points, she listed traits that are typical to males and females and stated how none is 100% on either side. Glancing over the adjectives, I started to wonder about my feminine nature.
- Later that afternoon, a bunch of us sat down to find similarities in packaging workflows of the Debian and Fedora projects.
- Bruce Schneier's keynote titled "Reconceptualising Security" didn't teach me anything new, but that was to be expected since I am a regular reader of his Crypto-gram newsletter. He's a good speaker, but I think his talk would have benefitted from a few, simple slides to illustrate some of his points.
- A few of us met on Wednesday morning for a few games of the Asian board game Go. Paul Wayper and I played two non-competitive games, in which we talked about each others moves and strategies. I think I learnt quite a bit during that session.
- Jeff Waugh's mini-conf talk titled "Disintermediating Distributions" as well as Stormy Peters' keynote "Would you do it again for free?", as well as a few other sets of slides, taught me that I really need to work on my own presentation style and get rid of bullet points once and for all.
- The Penguin dinner, traditionally a catered event for conference attendees, took place at the Melbourne Night Market this year. Everyone got food tickets and went off to the dozens of stalls to get food and drinks. This was an excellent idea to deal with 600 people.
- I was very glad to have attended Jason White's presentation on braille and text-to-speech interfaces on Thursday.
- My presentation on netconf was well attended and the audience had plenty of good questions. I was able to answer most of them with reference to the design of the netconf core, which is a good omen. The idea of on-demand dialing went into my notes. I screwed up once when I went off on a tangent while answering a question about firewalling and then forgot the original question, but my listeners showed mercy.
- Luke Kanies' presentation of Puppet convinced me to allocate more time to this system administration tool. He did a very good job fielding questions and managing time, but he should try to slow down a bit.
Apart from the busy programme, I particularly enjoyed the "hallway track", which is usually the reason why I attend these events. I really ought to practice remembering names and faces a bit better.
I am not paying enough tribute to this week with this report, but I shall conclude it regardless. Unless something very unexpected comes up, I will attend next year's LCA in Tasmania.
NP: Porcupine Tree: Futile