FOSDEM summary

Back from FOSDEM.  I didn’t blog whilst there ‘cos although I’m OK with carrying low-sensitivity passwords (such as my WordPress one) on a mobile device, I had neglected to copy it to the pocket-puter.   Also missing – this time deliberately – the key to decrypt the backup copy available from my webserver.  And finally, a reset seemed OTT for such a brief interruption to blogging.

So what did I get this year?  Socially, I put faces to the names of long-standing online colleagues jMCg and (much more briefly) sjorge, and renewed acquaintance with a few other folks.  Techie-wise, I went to several talks, some of which were discussions in which I participated actively.  Finally jMCg and I met and chatted to Alex and Martin, who I didn’t know previously, but who are developing a really exciting-looking Apache module.

A new theme for me this year was mobile platforms.  I think quite a lot of folks are making that jump around now, as the ‘puter and smaller devices converge.   As I already said, lots of folks this year have foregone the pleasures of a bigger screen and keyboard for the convenience of devices that can be handheld and that run the whole day without having to find a power source.  While there were many different devices in use, the N900 seemed to be possibly the #1 geek gadget ahead of Android: evidently I’m not the only one to see it as the pocket-puter!

An old theme was upstream-vs-downstream, as Gentoo man Petteri Räty gave a session on how to be a good upstream.  Actually he just spoke briefly to bootstrap a discussion (a format well-suited to the subject).   Much of what he said was familiar because where I’ve done the wrong thing in the past, packagers have contacted me to explain how I could improve things.  Speaking as an upstream source for him, I was able to put the complementary view, and add my conclusion that what really matters is good communication.  There was general agreement when I cited Debian vs OpenSSL as exemplifying the perils of failure to communicate.

Alas, I missed the keysigning.  Two reasons: one a clash (to see Andrew Tanenbaum speaking is history in action, and might be a once-in-a-lifetime), the other a muddle (I hadn’t realised I needed to print out the list of keys/attendees myself back home first).  Tanenbaum, who spoke compellingly of the virtues of microkernels, was indeed one of the highlights of the event.

Posted on February 9, 2010, in FOSDEM. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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