Sunday, August 1, 2004

OSCON 2004 Day 4

Ok, so I got distracted at the end of OSCON and didn't get around to actually blogging any of it in real time.

Here's thursday...

The keynotes were the Dysons (one of whom was actually the guy who came up with the Dyson Sphere, they actually showed a clip from that episode of Star Trek at the beginning of the talk), and Bdale Garbee, of HP and Debian. The Dysons were ok (I thought George Dyson's talk last year was better), but Bdale was quite good. He interspersed the standard open source stuff with bits about his experiences building amature radio satellites. It's nice to know that there are people who are realistically talking about putting a satellite in orbit around mars, without government funding.

Saw a talk on qpsmtpd, the Perl SMTPD. Cool app. Must look into it closer.

Andy Lester and Bill Odom gave a fantastic talk on Advice for Open Source Job Seekers. Not that I'm actively looking for a job, but things to keep in mind when one is looking are always good to know. One thing they mentioned which I should really do is to keep your resume up to date even if you're not looking, so you don't have to scramble if some kick ass job opportunity comes up and you need a resume. They also stressed the idea of building up your online reputation by doing cool stuff, so people are more likely to have a clue who you are when you call them up and ask for a job.

The talk on Wackamole, an open source high availability package, was quite informative. I will have to look at this closer. I was particularly amused by the program you use to control your Wackamole installation, wackatrl (pronounced, of course, "Whack a Troll").

Nicholas Clarck gave us a view inside the Perl 5 Porters with Perl 5.8.5 Was Boring, and in the process also gave a lot of useful tips on how to keep the stable releases of a software package actually stable and useful. I also managed to run into Peter Prymmer (the other $COMPANY person at OSCON) in this talk.

Next I went to the What Book Sales Tell Us About the State of the Tech Industry talk, by Tim O'Reilly and some of his hackers. It was interesting enough, but it strikes me that this info will be much more useful next year once they've done more with it. Key things (like linking in geographic data) are still missing.

Finally was the python lightning talks, which were supposed to feature Dan Sugalski being hit in the face with a pie for losing his bet over the speed at which Parrot would run Python code. Unfortunately Guido decided not to hold Dan to the bet. Amusingly it was the Perl people in the room who were most disappointed about this. The remaining talks were not overly memorable, I think the Python community needs to learn a bit more from the Perl community on how to do lightning talks. It's just not the same without the gong.

I've totally forgotten what I did for dinner on thursday, but eventually we wandered back to the hotel for the Novell "Free as in Beer" party. I skipped out after one drink, as I knew my talk was in the morning and I didn't want to be overly dead on my feet.

Unfortunately it turns out that the Perl Foundation auction was also thursday night. If I'd known I totally would have gone to it, but they had like no publicity so I missed out. It's too bad, I would have been willing to pay way more than 300 bucks for an hour of Pair Programming with Ward Cunningham ;-)