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LCA 2008 Conference Report

·3 mins

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a bit late. I found this while emptying out my Drafts folder and thought you guys might like it.

It’s very much a personal, in-the-moment, opinionated account. I’ve only edited it for formatting.

Sunday, January 27

Arrived in Melbourne. Good. Next step, dump bags and get beer. Bump into skinny guys with puns on their T-shirts and hunted expressions. Follow them to pub. Rusty is buying free drinks for first-timers. I take two.

Go to Lygon Street. Eat pizza.

Monday, January 28

Public holiday today. No coffee for sale on campus. The buzz so far is that everyone loves Ubuntu, or at least takes it for granted — which can sometimes pass for love.

The chatter about Bazaar is more interesting. Everyone says “Bee-Zed-Ahh” and lists it along with Git and Mercurial. When I talk to people, they don’t seem to really care about VCS, they just fall in whatever their project uses. Those who have used DVCS talk about “modern version control” (distributed) and “legacy version control” (CVS, SVN). Those who haven’t aren’t even aware of how much DVCS can help:

jml: [[ something about branches ]]
other_guy: yeah, I know what branches are.
jml: but we make a new branch for every single bug fix.
other_guy: what? how can you do that? isn’t that an pain in the arse?
* jml takes other_guy aside and quietly explains.

The guy who talked about securing code — making sure the stuff you release is the stuff you wrote — knew about Bazaar’s GPG revision signing, but didn’t like it. I reckon there’s some nice stuff we could do here.

At the Debian miniconf, I sat down and listened to someone explain how to use Git to make Debian packages. The speaker kept saying “… because Git is stupid” and then showed us a diagram that had more lines than a telephone exchange.

He also did an interactive demo. Before then, I hadn’t seen git being used. It’s not a friendly application. I mentioned this to some people on the way out and got answers that were too complex for a hallway. Bazaar rocks, we just need to get people to use it.

Went to the OpenSSH talk. It was packed, and the content was interesting, strong and a little dry. Got some ideas for improving Conch (the SSH server that Launchpad uses for codehosting).

Tuesday, January 29

At the Gnome mini conf, trying to get a leg up into contributing. My grand aim is to get a calendar on my desktop that is as beautiful and pleasurable as iCal.

It seems that lots of others share my desire. I ended up chatting to Rob Bradford from Opened Hand and a couple of other Gnome guys — it sounds like it might be approaching possible.

Found my phone charger.

Wednesday, January 30

Bruce Schneier keynoted. The talk had a few ideas but was light on point. The tutorial on hardening Linux apps was cancelled, and I’m now sitting here while Russell Coker talks about SELinux.

Thursday, January 31

Tired and cranky. Decide to do some hacking.

Friday, February 1

It’s 6:45pm now and all I can think about is signing off and zoning out. Lots of cool talks today.

During the Speaker’s Panel, someone asked “What was your favourite thing that happened in Open Source last year?”. One person put up their hand and said “git”.