linux.conf.au 2010 – Day 1

Day one of linux.conf.au 2010 started with a fantastic video introducing Wellington in a very tongue in cheek fashion:

It turns out that Andrew and Susanne Ruthven, the core organisers of the conference are actually quite sick today, which must be heartbreaking for them given how much they have put into the conference. On the flip side, the rest of the team are doing really well, with Glynn Foster doing all the welcome and introductions this morning. So don’t worry Susanne and Andrew, it’s all going well! We miss you and hope you get better soon! :)

Glynn asked the audience members to stand up for previous lca’s they’ve been too which was interesting. There were only about 6 of us who stood us for the very first lca (CALU) in 1999 (although I didn’t actually get to 2001 and 2002 :/) . The numbers gradually grew, but it turns out about half the audience are attending lca for the first time, which is awesome!

40% of this years attendees are from Wellington, 40% are from Australia and 20% are from the rest of the world. Another interesting statistic is that 15% of attendees are women. I’m not sure, but I think it’s the highest percentage yet which is great! :)

Everyday there are podcasts happening from linux.conf.au so I’ll try to make sure I link to them all.

Radio NZ podcast on the linux.conf.au opening

The wireless here has generally been good, although I’ve had to reconnect a few times, so thanks very much to the networking team for keeping the juice flowing :)

Today we even had a few hours of sunshine, which was the first I’d seen in Wellington (I’ve been here since Wednesday). Yay!

Below are some thoughts about the talks I attended:

  • Haecksen & Linuxchix miniconf:
    • Sara Falamaki — “Happy Hackers == Happy Code”. Sara gave a great talk about some best practises, cool tools and other things that make hackers happy.
    • Elizabeth Garbee (ebeth) — “Through the Looking Glass – Free Software through the eyes of a teenager”. Elizabeth shares her experiences with FOSS, particularly as a teenager in the US public school system. “It turns out that any Unix-based machine brought into the school meant immediate expulsion, so we had to get that rule fixed!”. She also discussed how she is breaking the stereotype misconceptions held by her peers and teachers. Go Ebeth! Also, a funny quote from Bdale, “a GLUI is a GUI I’m stuck using”.
    • Joh Clarke — “Hackers, Crackers and Things That Go Bump in the Night”. Joh gave a great talk about security, things you can do to minimise your risk, and a bunch more. I’m going to go back and check out the slides later :) When asked what her favourite security tools were, she said there isn’t one, but experience is important. She also gave out a great poster with the title “Hackers don’t give a shit:” and then listing all the things hackers don’t apparently care about, like “About your Return on Investment” and such. It’s from KiwiCon 3 :)
  • I had a lovely lunch talking about open government, and the challenges facing government, politicians, and the public sector.
  • Business of Open Source miniconf:
    • Nic Steenhout — “Accessibility and FOSS”. Nic discussed the challenges around accessibility for people with a disability, as well as for people involved in FOSS who want their projects to be successful. In terms of reaching the major markets (government, education and medium/large business), accessibility support is mandatory, so if you want your project to be successful you must consider accessibility in your planning and development. He talked about what makes software accessible with examples like keyboard only options, alternate text, no dependence on a particular sense (eg – sound, colour, images).
  • Lightening talks:
    • Pamela Fox – Practical uses for Wave. Pamela gave a good talk about ways you can use Wave. Main points were event planning, learning new (programming) languages and collaborative documentation. Personally I can see that Wave gadgets could (and probably already do for many) make it something quite unique and useful, however I’m still struggling with it. I’ll continue experimenting and see where it goes :) At this point I kind of prefer IRC for chat, Twitter for microblogging, WordPress for publishing and sharing and wiki’s for documentation collaboration. The collaborative doc devel in Wave is certainly much nicer than a wiki, but it also requires a Google account which simply isn’t open enough (nor publicly transparent enough) for most of my uses.

And now I’m off to the lca Tweetup, and then the Martial Arts BoF, both of which I’ll report on tomorrow. :)

UPDATE: There was a great writeup of the Haecksen & Linuxchix miniconf by Helen Varley Jamieson, make sure you click through to part 2 and 3.

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One Response to linux.conf.au 2010 – Day 1

  1. Jeff Waugh says:

    You are in big trouble for spelling “lightning” with an “e”.

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